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I Made It Through Carnival Tuesday!!!!

I used to be a real Carnival person. I am from Trinidad and Tobago, and if anyone knows anything about that country, they know that Carnival is the most important event (after Christmas) for almost everyone. I played mas’ (short for masquerade parade) every year until the day my migraines turned chronic.

This year, determined to get my life back, I tried unsuccessfully to make it through the parties, which are full of triggers – Bright, flashing lights. Loud, Bass-booming music. Lots of free Spicy food. Lots of Free Alcohol. And this is just the lead up to Carnival; the two days before Lent, which is really a two-day street party in the 90 degree hot melting sun.

On Carnival Monday afternoon, I was watching the activities live on TV and feeling depressed, decided that I was going to participate the next day. But, I had not joined a band and had no costume. My boyfriend is very supportive. We went into to the city, made some phone calls to a mas’ camp (a place where costumes are made and sold) that we found on the Internet and found two costumes that we collected at 6am on Carnival Tuesday morning. The band started the parade at 78am and there I was, ready for a whole day of partying in the hot sun with every migraine trigger one could imagine.

But, I went prepared. I had my ‘pharmacy’ with me. I was determined to medicate away anything that came my way and right on time, an hour into the festivities, the nausea started. I thought, God, I didn’t even make an hour. But I sat down on the curbside, took some Gravol (dimenhydrinate), drank some club soda and waited for the feeling to pass. While waiting, a man was passing selling ear plugs – $10 (US$1.60) a pair. My boyfriend got me a pair, and immediately I started to feel better. I also had on the darkest shades that I could find.

Soon I was back on my feet and chipping along to sweet calypso, soca music waiting to go on to the main competition stage at the Savannah. I was so exhilarated when we got on stage. I made it to the stage. I was four hours into the do and still there. There were a few more triggers to overcome. The food and my anxiety attacks. I took some Pantecta to make sure my stomach would not actup, avoided anything that looked like it would contain triggers, and took some Valium for my anxiety attacks. That got me to the next judging point for the parade. We crossed that stage at 4pm. I was on the road now for 9 hours and thought to myself, I did it. I did it. I did not go downtime for the next judging point though. That would mean being on the go (dancing through the streets) for 12 hours till 7pm. I did not want to push it (though I did have Panadeine F on me if a migraine did go full blown).

It is Ash Wednesday. I have lots of great photos, and I am smiling to myyself. The last two times I tried, I only lasted a couple hours before migraine sent me home. This time, I lasted the day. I enjoyed myself. I had my Carnival time, at last.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Sandy
    4 years ago

    Hi Michelle, glad you made it!!! yes, i live close to new Orleans, Louisiana USA so I know about carnival. here it is called mardi gras. I have been too sick/too much crisis while the drs. try to figure out why i became chronic or what other problems are happening to me. I don’t dare go to carnival right now. I am doing good if i can make it through a meal at a restaurant. I too, watched it on tv, saw pictures from my friends from rio. and cried and was sad because I miss it so much. Thank you for inspiring me. Maybe next yr if I am well. or the yr after, I will get back to it.

  • Katie M. Golden moderator
    4 years ago

    I am so excited for you! Everyone who deals with a chronic disease just needs to have fun every once in a while! You were really smart to have your pharmacy with you, stay hydrated and take breaks when you needed it. The memories from that day will be the best. Here’s hoping that you have more days like this one!
    -Katie Moderator

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