Monday, November 18, 2013


A Description in Words and Pictures of a Migraine

I took this from my "Why?" Blog but the pictures did not follow though. I am going to give you the link because if you suffer or know someone who has suffered or continues like I do to suffer with migraines, they, and I could write a book. And some of these images are right on the money.


I want to Blog so badly, and I want to read. But I cannot keep it together for anyone's sake today. That is something you should know about me. Besides dealing with migraines and Fibromyalgia, Endometriosis, and Adenomyosis, Multiple Scleroisis, TMJ, umm..oh yes and I am a cancer survivor (You Cannot Bring Me Down!)...yeah that is it I think. It is almost too much for one person. But not this person who love books and loves to share her love of books and loves all the wonderful friends and authors (some of whom are friends too!) she has made while working on this Blog. I hope to be up to speed tomorrow. Or at least by 3am. lol! Please follow the link. The pictures make the post.

As I always say - Love and Light to all of you and may you be blessed.

A migraine is like a living breathing thing. It causes chaos for all involved. It is like a tornado sucking everything into it.

It starts with a craving for sweets. Which I eat and it makes me sick to my stomach. It starts as a headache, but I know my aura and I know a regular headache from a migraine on the way. The lights feel like someone turned the sun on in my room. Every little noise is not only amplified but sounds worse than nails on a chalkboard. And it may just be a bird chirping. To me it sounds like a prehistoric monster screeching. My nose it stuffed up. I feel like I am going to vomit and that feeling does not go away with all the crackers and ginger ale in the world. All my food tastes funny. Even though I can usually only have crackers and ginger ale. Any smell is multiplied 100 times. A heating up some plain chicken to me smells like tons of rotten eggs that have been left out in the sun to bake. And I am freezing cold.

They migraines are always right-sided. It feels like something is pressing from the inside of my head, like there is something in there trying to get out. The pressure in my head is unbelievable. I often lay on my right side with my hand under the pillow putting counter pressure on my right temple, which feels nice. But laying on your left helps nausea. Plus I hate having to turn over to spit in the garbage. Like when you get ready to vomit but it is just a lot of saliva. So I often go back and forth, gently, between laying on my right side and laying on my left side.

I feel like I really might seriously die. I can take a lot of pain. I can even have, on a scale of 1-10 (I have grown to hate that scale over the years) an 8 migraine and still function to where anyone would not really notice how sick I really am.

Back to positioning. You will usually find me on my left side, garbage close by, in the fetal position with crackers in a tupperware container on my bed. And a bottle of water and my can of ginger ale. The pain is all I can think about. It is not the pain of something quick like a needle, or if you whack your leg really hard on the corner of something. If the migraines did not come so often, maybe they would be easier to deal with. But no, I remember as if it were yesterday my very first migraine at the age of 13. All I had was aspirin back then. Today I have medication for my nausea, and pain killers. Sometimes they work, sometimes they do not. That has always been a mystery to me.

I have had migraines that last an hour or two and one's that have lasted days. The worst one lasting five days and I was hospitalized and all they could do was give me an intravenous push painkiller every four hours. (Intravenous push means the medication goes in slowly, over a period of many seconds. It is not a quick shot say like a flu shot)

I have been to tons of doctors. In different states. I have had more MRI's than I can count. I could probably not only set one up and perform it, but read you the results as well!

You know what I want to know. My why? Why me? I would not wish this on my worst enemy. It runs in the family. I literally want to scream when someone is talking and laughing in the bright light and say they have a migraine. They have no idea.

I once saw some art done by patients in a neurology unit where the artist portrayed a migraine in a picture. It was beautiful. It was exactly, on canvas, a migraine. One inparticular was my favorite. But the other pieces were just as good at portraying a migraine and how it feels. And how it made them feel. But my favorite one I have etched in my memory. I wish I had it to show you.

I would like to try it. To represent my migraine as art. Accept it is hard to remember, to a degree, how bad it was when you start to feel better. I guess I would have to paint when I was sick. But how would that work? I cannot even lift my head.

I lay there and pray to God for the pain to stop. I take my medicine and wait. And wait. And wait. An hour goes by. It has not eased up. I cannot take it. I would cry but that only makes it worse. I am curled up in bed with the television on very low. I have a sleep mask on to shut out the light. And the volume really low on the television. I need it on though because the silence, when you are in pain, is deafening. At least the television fills in the thought train of "this hurts, this hurts, this hurts, I am going to throw up, this hurts, why won't it ease up, when did I take my medication, this hurts."

My husband comes in to check on me when he is home and I have a migraine. He rubs my head gently. He rubs my shoulders and back. Just the motion gets my mind off of how sick I am and how much pain I am in. But of course an arm gets tired after a while. But when that happens, I get an apology, which is silly and I tell him so, and then I get a "magic kiss" on my forehead that I now associate with Tony having a innate understanding of Reiki. As he puts his lips to my forehead, I can feel him breathing in the pain, to take on as his own, while at the same time filling me with good thoughts and good energy.

(pretty accurate depiction but my eyes are closed and I am on my side)

Another hour goes by. I wonder how long this migraine is going to last. I want to take my head off my body. Everything makes me mad. I do not want anything touching me, sometimes not even my husband for rubs. I wonder how long this is going to last and if one extra pain pills will help. Although it, again, sometimes does and sometimes does not. I need to go to the Emergency Room. However, that is a roll of the dice.

An emergency room visit can go one of two ways. You can get a jerk of a doctor who thinks you are medication seeking, or a junkie, or just does not believe in giving narcotics for migraines in general so he gives me an anti-inflammatory. It does not help. The give me another shot of the same. Still, no help. They say they do not want to give me anything else and let me go, with hours wasted in a cold, hard waiting room. In a cold, bright, and noisy emergency unit. I ALWAYS have the person next to me a. puking, b. crying for help, c. screaming for no reason, d. or talking way to loud and it seems like in too good of a mood to be in the Emergency Room. Again, any noise-nails on the chalkboard times 100. I wish I had stayed at home.

Scenario two goes like this. The doctor is nice. He or she understands I have a history of migraines. Understands when I tell him or her what does and does not work for me. Dilaudid, a powerful narcotic right into the IV is ordered. Then the wait for the nurse. It takes an eternity. When she comes in I thank God that relief is on its way. The nurse opens up an alcohol pad to swab my IV port. They always give you an IV because with being nauseous, you tend to be dehydrated which makes the migraine worse. The alcohol always smells good, the only thing that does to me at this point, because I believe I have associated it with the shot that brings relief. She puts the needle in the port and does what is called an IV or intravenous push which is pushing the medication slowly over many seconds, unlike a flu shot that is quick. A lot of IV medications are IV push. The principle being that it does not wham you all at once. I wait less then a minute. Then sweet relief. My whole body relaxes and I feel like I am floating. I try to talk to Tony he tells me to close my eyes and let the medication work. That is the ideal. And I do. And I thank God.

There are those times where you need two shots. The migraine may come down from an 8 or 9 on the 1-10 scale, to a 6. But still, I do not want to go home with a 6. A second shot is always good and helps get me down to maybe a 5 or a 4 if I am lucky. And then, if you get a nice doctor, he will give you a prescription for pain medication to take at home.

This is a war I have been loosing for almost 30 years. I have won some small battles but the migraine is the winner of the war.

It would be a good form of torture or punishment for anyone who has committed a crime. I can guarantee if you can induce migraines in criminals, they may turn their lives around. It is one of the worse forms of torture, and it is torture, that I can think of. Okay not the worst, but if you have one, you know what I am talking about and it ranks up there.

I am happy and feel blessed for everyday I do not have a migraine. I have found a lot of non pharmaceutical methods that have worked such as Reiki, acupuncture, massage, and yoga. I do these as much as I can. But the migraines still come. It is like knowing your enemy, and being prepared, but you can never win against this enemy. I will be fighting him the rest of my life.