Pretty recently, one of my friends started getting what she believes to be migraine attacks. It sounds like this is most likely connected to perimenopause and the dizzying hormonal changes that accompany that time in life. She posted about it on her Facebook page almost in passing, and I was so pleased to see several friends jump in to offer their support and encouragement. Of course several of the people mentioned that they had migraines themselves. So far no one has posted a link to some miracle “cure,” which is encouraging—I really feel that there’s more educational opportunities for patients out there nowadays, and more people are recognizing that there’s no easy-peasy solution you can buy online.
One fellow responded to my friend’s post by saying, “I suffered from migraines but haven’t had one in over 5 years. My triggers were artificial sweeteners and grapefruit. Quit those and my migraines were gone forever.”
Let me be totally honest: my first thought wasn’t to be entirely happy for him. Instead I felt a rather uncomfortable mix of happiness and envy. Why can’t I be someone whose triggers are that clear? Why can’t I simply take a couple of things out of my diet and be migraine-free?
If you’re reading this post, it’s because you’re already interested in learning more about migraine disease. And you likely know by now how different the illness presents itself person to person and episode to episode.
After my initial burst of not-quite-pure-happiness for him, I really did feel comfort and joy for this friend of a friend. How wonderful and encouraging it is to know that, for some people out there, there have been breakthroughs in treatment (or trigger avoidance) that allow them to have a migraine-free or migraine-light existence. Stories like this can discourage me and get me down when I’m in a really bad spell, but when I’m feeling good, as I am today, I see these stories as hopeful and inspiring instead.
I want to keep going. Even though my migraine frequency fluctuates and I have yet to find something that keeps them under much better control, it’s true that I do have phases where I’m mostly feeling better. I go through phases where the medications work and I can function pretty normally. True that I also have really crappy times where I can’t get out of bed or stop throwing up, but memories of the good days assure me that there are improvements to be made.
As I age and the disease changes forms, it’s highly likely that I’ll uncover new triggers and find that certain tried and true preventive therapies no longer work for me. Bodies and brains are fascinatingly complicated and will continue to develop and shift, so there’s no sure bet when it comes to our heath.
Do you know anyone who has had an amazing migraine breakthrough? Have you yourself had a treatment (perhaps one that still works for you or has effects that have worn off over time) that reduced your migraine suffering dramatically? How did either situation make you feel?