Tuesday, January 13, 2015

When my skull cracks

I wasn't sure how, or if, I should write this post, as it's anything but crafty or sewing-related, but I've decided to share one of my crosses with you.  Maybe this will help someone struggling, or maybe give some insight into my disappearing acts here, in my shop, and in real life.

After suffering for over 20 years, I was diagnosed last year with chronic vestibular migraines, which basically means that one of my main migraine triggers is MOTION.  Seriously?  I mean, how can you not MOVE?  Long car rides, like our frequent trips to Dallas for Brendan's treatment, are pure hell.  It's not motion sickness.  I'm perfectly fine IN the car.  The hell begins when we stop.

fun for them, hell for me.

When the car stops. . . .

The moment I step out of the vehicle, it hits me.  I can't hear anything but a loud roar, like really loud road noise, as if you were driving along rough pavement in a poorly-insulated old truck.  I'm dizzy, and feel almost drunk and disoriented.  Then the skull-crushing pain slams in, along with other classic migraine symptoms like nausea, neck pain, light and noise sensitivies, chills, body aches.  At that point, I'm done for the day; maybe for a few days.

Ibuprofen chased with a cold caffeinated beverage, and maybe some super-salty potato chips (for the nausea) seem to help the most, if taken immediately at onset.

Don't judge.  It works for me.

I do have other migraine triggers, with hormonal swings being the other biggie.   There are a few other triggers, like heat. . . .

MASSIVE migraine after this.

. . . and loud concerts, movie theaters, MSG, skipped meals, or interrupted sleep (what? with kids? ha!) that I try to avoid or negate if I can.

 interrupted sleep

Pain and postdrome. . . .

I typically have 6 - 13 migraines every month.  If I don't have a migraine, I'm recovering from one.  Migraine hangovers are a thing.  They suck, too, but I'd rather feel hungover than in excruciating pain. On the rare days I'm not suffering from either of those, I'm almost manic, trying to get as much shit done as possible, because I know the good days are precious and few.

As an example, I did all of these projects for our homeschool classroom in one, maybe two days.  I wasn't sure how much I'd be able to do, or finish, so I had to rush. . . .

From zombie to crazy. . . .

So far, preventative medications haven't helped.  They've been nightmarish, really.  I'd prefer a migraine over insomnia, interrupted sleep, extreme fatigue, suicidal thoughts, sluggish thinking, vertigo, horrific nightmares, weight gain, even more frequent migraines.   And did I mention hallucinations?

hallucinations are not cool.

Waking up to find my bedroom engulfed in flames (it wasn't) was SO. INSANELY. TERRIFYING.   And then there was that time that I awoke to see my bedroom walls dripping in blood (it wasn't). . . yeah, that was the time I decided to stop taking medication that was making me batshit crazy.

 never cool.  especially in your bedroom.

My neurologist's solution?  Throw in some anti-depressants!  You know, because if you aren't waking up and seeing horrific hallucinations, are you really even having hallucinations?  I mean, maybe if I were just a little more stoned or catatonic, maybe I wouldn't know I had a migraine?  Maybe?

He's now my ex-neurologist.

Now what?

I'm free of those shitty drugs.  I have Imitrex for emergencies, and it usually works very well.   I use it sparingly; that's some really powerful stuff.  I once used a month's supply within a week. . . SO not good.  Now I try to rely on avoidance and ibuprofen.  I'm considering the botox treatment once I find another neurologist.  Or maybe acupuncture?

 on my functional, less-excruciating migraine days, 
I take photos to take my mind off the pain.

 another migraine day photo.

and another.

Migraines are making me fat(ter). . . .

The medication debacle packed on some pounds, and being a zombie helped kill my workout inclinations.  Remember when I went to the gym almost every day?  Yeah.  Good times.  Then a Month of Migraines happened, and I've just never really been back.  Add eating salty junk food crap, and 20 pounds appear on the scale.

I need to add gym time to my manic get-shit-done days, I suppose.

So that's where I'm at.

That's why I don't (can't) blog much, sew much, interact much.

waiting for me.

I haven't even touched on how this affects my family -- my husband, my precious babies, our homeschool, my relationships.

Migraines touch, affect, and infect it all.  Let's talk about that another time.

For now, I'd love to hear from other migraineurs.  I'm curious -- what's worked for you?  Have you tried botox or acupuncture for your migraines?  How are you coping overall?

Talk to you soon. . . or on my next good day.  :)


  1. Oh man. I feel your pain. I have suffered from headaches for literally years. Sometimes every day for weeks. Sometimes not for months. I never know when they'll come and there's no rhyme or reason to why they happen. I think now, after research, that I suffer from cluster headaches. Like someone driving a hot iron bar through my eyeball into my head. I am so sorry you are going through this. It really does affect the whole household and it's debilitating. I wish there was a more permanent solution/answer.

  2. Oh, I'm so sorry to hear this. I followed Lori Anderson (Pretty Things) blog/story about her awful migraines. I hope you find some help and answers. I only have migraines about once a year, sometimes more often and often related to our snowstorms. I seldom had them when I was younger. Hugs.

  3. Thank you, sweet ladies. I appreciate your kind words. I will definitely check out the Pretty Things blog... thanks for mentioning that, Laurie!

  4. I have had Migraines since age 10 or 11. I didn't find out what they were until I was in my 40's. Normal is what you are used to. I thought when everybody had a headache they thew up. I refuse to take prescription medicine. When I went to my doctor he gave me a prescription sample and told me it will make you feel like you are having a heart attack. That would pass and you headache would go away. No thanks I will keep my headache. I home school my children too. On bad days school just stops. I hope someday they will find a cure. I have a wonderful family that helps me on my bad days. It looks like you do too. Good Luck!

    1. I understand completely about thinking those headaches/migraines were "normal!" I didn't realize what they were until I was in my mid-20s. I then tried all kinds of homeopathic, natural remedy -- all failing to help. I'm so sorry you get them, too. It's an awful cross to bear.
      The med sample your doctor gave you -- was it sumatriptan / Imitrex? That's the same warning my doctor gave me (about the heart attack,) but I was so desperate I didn't care at the time. But it turns out that the only sensation I get when I take that is a stinging in my nose for a few seconds, like I just snuffed up a bit of water, and then the migraine literally melts away. I can live with that. That's the only Rx I take right now.
      Yes, school stops when the migraine arrives. I feel like we're always behind. :/
      Good luck to you, too! :)

  5. Once the doctor gave me the sample I still wasn't sure about taking it. I read the warnings and did a lot of research. It seems that I am a risk factor for heart disease and people with a family history of heart disease shouldn't take it. My father and grandmother both had migraines and heart disease. The doctor never asked about that. The med sample was Imitrex.
    It is an awful cross to bear, but I refuse to let it depress me. I looked up on the internet famous people that had Migraines. Here are a few Thomas Jefferson,Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Ulysses S. Grant, and Robert E. Lee. See, we are in good company. If Jefferson could write the Constitution with a Migraine I guess we can get through it! Not to mention Grant and Lee.
    Nice writing to you.Once again good luck. P.S You'll get caught up in school. :)

    1. I like your positive attitude. :) Thank you for sharing your story with me.

  6. I know how you feel, like the others I suffer also from migraine for long time ago and then I join to my sister who has a regular session in Kendall acupuncture. So far It's very seldom to feel the pain and hopefully after the continuous session I will not suffer this anymore. Please refer to this link: https://miamiherbs.com/kendall-acupuncture/

    1. Thanks for the recommendation! And thanks for dropping by!


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