The Migraine Merry-Go-Round
Last updated: November 2021
My family tree is filled with migraineurs, so when my first one struck while I was barely beyond Kindergarten, there was little mystery about what was happening to me. My mother, grandmother, aunts, uncles, and several siblings could all empathize. But empathy does little to chase away the pain, nausea, auras, sensitivities, brain fog, and post-headache "hangover", so over the years I have many tips, techniques, and medications aimed at preventing and relieving migraine attacks.
This has been complicated by the natural aging process: the triggers and telltale signs of my childhood and teenage migraines differed from those during my 20s and 30s, which differed from those I experience in my 50s. When I was young, I could tell almost to the minute when a migraine would strike in full force; today it is not unusual for me to have one crash down without any warning, or even wake me from a dead sleep in the middle of the night.
About the only constants have been these: none of the preventive medications work for me (at least well enough to outweigh the disturbing side effects); Excedrin and sleep are STILL the most effective treatments for me; and while no single trigger will inevitably lead to a migraine, combinations of two or more almost certainly will. Except when they don't. ;-)
Though I work from home as a "full-time" freelance writer and editor, for the past four or five years I have not have enough headache-free days in a month to support mysel, so recently I relunctantly began the disability application process. Menopause has not changed the frequency nor the duration of the migraines, only made their arrival more random, so I am resigned to the fact that I will probably endure them for the rest of my life, which means another 20 to 40 years on the merry-go-round of missed outings, cancelled plans, painful appearances, abrupt departures, and countless postponements of everything from daily responsibilities to long-awaited events.
Do you have a migraine toolbox for when an attack hits?
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