Service Ending Change

Let me start with a fact that many do not believe, I am a MAN that gets Migraines. I know I am in the minority, I accept it, but I do wish others would. I guess that is why I am here. The First Migraine I ever had was complicated by me basically dying from a fever. I was on active duty in the Marines, when I started to not feel well. Typical flu stuff, chills and aches, but my head started to feel like it was getting blown out from the right side and I could not tolerate light. I tried to trudge on through a briefing, but ended up passing out. I don’t remember too much after that. Apparently I was admitted and discharged from the ER twice, and on my third visit was admitted to the hospital with a fever spiking in the 107 range. I was run through a battery of tests including a lumbar punture (spinal tap) that I remember all too well, ct scans, etc. I also cussed out a Navy Captain (equal to a Colonel in other branches) for turning the lights on in my room, which I gladly don’t remember but made a point to appologize to him for obvious reasons. Official diagnosis was I had a virus, a nasty virus that nearly killed me but a virus no less. Every since then the migraines became lingering side effect of a week in the hospital burning my brain up.

So what have I learned? Well the learning curve was a bit of a cliff more than a curve since no one in my family gets migraines, and I didn’t know anyone that got them. So I did what I was trained to do, observe, locate, close with, and destroy the enemy. Observing and learning the patterns of my triggers is an ongoing process. So far not eating in a timely manner, a lot of women’s perfumes/air fresheners (especially vanilla ones), stress (by the way I do have a mild case of PTSD), and weather (especially heat) are the most common violators. My symptoms typically include an aura (for me it is blury vision with increasing sensitvity to light to the point of being photophobic), weakness in the hands to where I cannot even open up my meds, tremors, difficulty speaking, loss of balance, loss of conciousness, general weakness (crawling to go to the bathroom for example), sensitivity to sound, nausia with occasional vommiting, memory loss, and it also seems like my digestive system shuts down (oral meds have little to no effect and I have no BM’s) The destroying part is a bit more difficult. So far I use Excedrin Migraine, 800mg motrins, Vicodin, Imitrex, injections of toradol and anti-nausia meds, anything else the VA will give me, herbal supplements like feverfew, and heat/cold therapies.

Migraines are a pain (pun intended) but the thing I notice is the lack of understanding others have toward people with migraines. Statistically 3 times as many women are reported to have migraines than men. If this is due to under reporting or other men just not knowing, being diagnosed, or admitting they have migraines is beyond me, but it does put that much more of a burden on myself and other men with migraines. My hope currently is to manage and learn more from my migraines and help other veterans and migraine sufferers that are out there reading these posts. Let me know what you out there think, and if you have questions and I can answer them I will be happy to do so! Semper Fi!

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