Meno(non)pause Migraine Melo(NOT)drama!
Last updated: May 2023
No one knows exactly what your headache feels like - do you ever think that? I do. I often would like to feel someone else's Migraine, and visa-versa so that there could be a little bit more objectivity. What if I could put my headache in your head and you could rate it saying "that is not too bad, I wouldn't even be bothered by it". Would it make my head hurt less when the headache was returned to its original cranium? Or what if the person said, "oh my God, I am going to die, hurry, take it back, take it baaaack!", would that then make me feel smug? Or would the headache hurt worse?
My best friend at this time in my life is another person who lives where I do and also suffers from headaches. We are both post menopausal and share out headache stories and sometimes our remedies or hopeful remedies.
I can talk a lot. About Migraines. I started getting them when I was very young. I remember watching school children out on the playground during recess and thinking "how can they do that and not get a headache?" while they ran, swung, jumped, screamed, etc. I was a side liner - mainly because of the headache monster. I have always had lots of personality and am entertaining. But most of my activity is inside my head.
For now, I am going to tell you a sad truth...I have never tried to figure out my triggers. I have had migraines for about 50 years and still have not bothered to do the research. How lazy I am. I have discovered that if I eat more than a small portion of a baked yam I will get a migraine. That is a start.
I do know that I get what I call Jazzy Neck before I get a migraine - or rather at the beginning of a migraine. It feels rather electrical. I also have a different feeling of pulse/heartbeat that is hard to explain but it feels closer to the surface and lighter...a little bit like nervousness but not quite. Also as I have gotten older I notice that often all of the symptoms that accompany the pain are the most annoying. Odd visual perception, VERTIGO, diarrhea, nausea, and the hardest - loss of short term memory - loss of focus and being able to do anything other than the most simple of job duties. I started to think I was having dementia, until I realized that on the days when I had NO shadow of a headache even, I could think and function just fine. I also experience some odd facial numbness and cobwebby feeling around my nose and mouth area about 30% of the time I develop or have a Migraine. And of course as soon as the migraine starts to blossom I also develop what could be a tension headache to keep it company.
I have tried lots of things. When I was younger and the headaches actually hurt worse, I would occasionally go into Emergency to get a shot of Demerol. That is about the only drug that actually have ever worked. Do not ever give me Imitrex again, please. My headaches have become chronic in the last few months. I tried Topamax. No thank you. I am very sensitive to anything that may have the side effect of Vertigo and Topamax had vertiGOGOGO as well as made me feel even more like I was losing my mind. I like to try to take one Excedrin as soon as I notice any hint of Migraine, however, I have to be careful taking any med with caffeine for long. It makes me terribly incontinent. And you know people can't always tell if you have a headache but they can usually tell if you have peed your pants.
And aphasia - what is that word? Lately with the increase in my headaches I have also begun to have more problems with language. Is that really a word, I think to myself - for instance someone was saying district and I was sure they weren't saying it right. And I had to keep saying it to myself, quietly, to talk myself into the fact yes, that is how you say it. And my spelling is ridiculous when I have a headache. I also have depression. And like to spend lots of time to myself. I am usually ON or off. Kind of bipolar but it seems like that is more dependent on headaches than anything else.
Right now my two favorite aids are Tiger Balm - extra strength - the white kind and a bed of nails cervical type pillow and of course ice. I find that drugs don't seem to help that much and since I have either become so used to the pain, or the pain has lessened, I don't want to add any complications to my lessened intellectual capacity while I have the headache. I HAVE TO WORK - being working class and all.
I do have FMLA for work/migraine only.
Okay - that is enough for now. And if you read this bless you with no headaches!
Are the family and friends you will be seeing this holiday season understanding about migraine?