The Multi-Day Migraine That Wouldn't Quit
Last updated: November 2022
The first rule of migraine club is don’t talk about not having a migraine attack for a while because you’re gonna get a migraine.
I had been bragging here and to my prescriber, therapist, and doctor that topiramate had been working well to obliterate my migraines. I saw previous posts of mine about being disabled by my migraines, unable to work a full day, depressed and frustrated by my recurring auras and headaches, confused by my weird symptoms like limb pain and symptoms that went out of order from how they used to go when I was younger and felt thankful that I was finally past all that.
Was it the beginning twinges of a migraine attack?
Migraines can really be the thief of joy, can’t they? And my hubris was my undoing.
I can blame my pride, hormones, or stress, but I started feeling off on Thursday afternoon after therapy. I knew it was a migraine when my computer screen started giving me tunnel vision. I was nauseated even though I should have been feeling hungry by this time of day. I broke out my headache hat and took to my comfy chaise. My dog curled up next to me, the perfect nurse.
Was I prepared for a live band rehearsal?
I got a phone call and downed a sumatriptan and three Advil while chatting with my eyes closed. I had somewhere to be that night, rehearsal for my friend’s show, a Halloween production that paired classic metal songs with spooky stories. That’s right, I was going to a garage band rehearsal…with a migraine.
I’ve done many things with migraine: parented, taught middle school, even graduated, but never had I gone to a rock concert. I wasn’t going to cancel, though. My drugs were kicking in, and the stress of being “there” for a commitment made my blood vessels tighten enough to clear my head. The singer of the band gave me earplugs. Maybe she’s psychic. The rehearsal went great, and then I went straight to bed.
How did I feel on Friday?
I woke up on Friday, and the limb pain was there, along with neck and shoulder tightness. My hands were numb. I had so much work to do. I’d way over-committed myself, knowing things slow down around the holidays and wanting to pad my bank account ahead of that seasonal slump. But I couldn’t look at screens. I spent the morning in bed and then took myself to a quiet coffee shop in the afternoon for the biggest cold brew they had. I mustered up the appetite for a salad. I forced myself to work for an hour and then went home and closed my eyes until it was time for the show.
Again, my stress helped me power through. The show went fabulous. I was running the lights and sound and was able to sip water and focus from my perch above the action. I slept hard.
Was the attack over by Saturday?
Saturday, sure I’d have kicked it by now, I was devastated that my migraine was still hanging around. I’d never had one this long. My hands were still numb. I still couldn’t look at screens without my eyes screwing shut in pain and my aura coming back. I tried to read a paper book, but the words didn’t make sense. I was mixing up words when I spoke out loud. I spent the day lying on the chaise, listening to podcasts. I, again, went to the coffee shop, got a giant cold brew, and rallied for the Saturday show.
The band told me they got feedback that the music had been too quiet.
Sounded good to me, I thought, but, of course, I would have wanted a quieter concert. We did a sound check and added some speakers. It was much louder now. I could deal. That night’s show went even better. The audience was great, singing along and reacting to all the jokes and scary bits of the stories. I was thrilled my brain could carry me through to get me here. It would have broken my heart if my migraine had made me miss this.
Did I find a reprieve on Sunday?
Sunday, the migraine seemed to be in retreat, finally. I’ll need to do some investigating as to why the topiramate failed so spectacularly and what I can do if this happens again. Never count your non-migraines before they hatch, I guess.
Do you have a migraine toolbox for when an attack hits?
Join the conversation