Comedian Kim Evey smiling among bright large flower petals

Kim Evey On Stand-Up Comedy, Mom'ing, And Migraines

Migraines have a style and personality all their own. They can sneak in as early as childhood and steal away playdates or school time. For other people, they start as an adult and make showing up for work grueling or parenting almost impossible. For Kim Evey, a stand-up comedienne living in Los Angeles, her migraines showed up in adulthood. It was a slow ascent to headliner status, but now they have a regularly playing gig in her head.

An attack at the worst possible time

A photo of Kim Evey, a woman with migraine.

Migraineurs know that a migraine can strike at any hour and on any given day, but how about right before your comedy show? “I was looking forward to getting back onstage for the first time since the pandemic, and I couldn’t because I got a migraine,” says Evey. Once live stand-up shows were deemed safe, Evey’s gig had been on the books for some time. However, after days of dealing with nonstop migraine attacks, she had to cancel. Rescheduling plans and missing out on work opportunities is an all too familiar story for those dealing with migraine disease.

The beginning of migraine

Most people recall their firsts: a first dance, a first date, a first plane ride. The same holds true with migraineurs and their first migraine, “I’d never felt anything like it,” Evey says. Her first attack occurred in her thirties, and she remembers a searing pain traveling from her neck to her head. “I had to go and lie down because it was the most severe pain I’d ever felt,” Evey says. At the time, though, she assumed she must have pulled a muscle. Never having experienced migraine pain, she had no idea that it was her first.

Desperate for relief

In the beginning, Evey’s migraines were few and far between. Her next one didn’t occur until years later when she was visiting friends. She was awake in the middle of the night and in severe pain, and she says, “I was trying to Google what to do, but the light from my phone was hurting my head so much I thought I was going to throw up.” She eventually read that ice might help, so she crawled to her friend’s kitchen, where she found a bag of frozen peas. “I put that on the back of my neck. It was the only thing that helped, and I was able to fall asleep a few hours later,” she says.

Increasing frequency

It was in Evey’s mid-to-late forties her migraines unexpectedly ramped up in frequency. As her migraines amped up, she read the signs her body gave and could predict fairly accurately when a migraine was attacking. “There’s a pain behind my left eye,” she begins, “and my migraines always start out that specific.” When at its height, Evey’s migraines feel like someone is taking an ice pick and shoving it into her brain and her entire body becomes disoriented.

When migraines become full-blown for Evey, searing pain, vomiting, dehydration, and hospital visits have all been part of her migraine experience. “I had to go to the hospital several times because I would get so nauseated that I would throw up and couldn’t keep anything down,” Evey says. Eventually, she was officially diagnosed with migraine and prescribed relief medication to help stop the attacks.

Surrounded by a supportive family

Along with her successful stand-up career, Evey has been married for 17 years and is a mom to a 5-year-old son. When migraines stop in and disrupt a day of mom’ing, Evey says her husband’s flexible work schedule allows him to care for their son. “My husband is really good about helping out,” Evey says. For those parenting and managing migraines, Evey’s advice is to try and have a backup plan. “My migraines definitely caused me to figure out a game plan,” she begins, “also work with a doctor to find medications that work for you.”

Living with migraines can be a game-changer. It can alter versions of self-care and change how you care for your family, but Evey is making it all happen - even if some days she has to take a break to remove the ice pick from her brain.

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