My dad is one of most important people in my life. He is very kind, hard working, and always nice to others. I often catch myself saying the same things and doing the 100 point check that my dad always does before he leaves the house. It is odd to me that I often find myself doing the same things that I used to make fun of him for doing all the time. One thing, that I inherited from my Dad are migraines! Ugh, I love my dad, but these are the worst…
I started getting migraines in 3rd grade and have had them ever since. There have been periods in my life where I have not had one for a very long time, and then there are periods where I get them consecutively for a few days in a row. The most frustrating thing about suffering from a migraine, is that, if you have never had one–you should first off, count your lucky stars and secondly, you have no idea what the pain and agony is like. Sometimes when I have a migraine I am so sensitive to light that the only place I want to be is in my bed with my head under a pillow. The other sense that is always heightened when I have a migraine is my sense of smell. Some of my favorite things (ie. garlic, onions, curry, any strong spices) become some of the most repulsive things I have ever smelled. I remember one time growing up I had a migraine and my parents made sausage and the smell made me throw up almost immediately upon walking in the door. I’ve never been a fan of the smell of Italian sausage cooking, but when I have a migraine, my dislike is multiplied by 1,000,000. It is the hardest thing to explain to people that have never experienced a migraine. On some occasions, noises also drive me crazy. This one isn’t as bad as sight and smell, but at times when I am suffering from a migraine, I would prefer to sit in a room and have no one talk at all. I remember in school I would go to the nurse’s office and sit at a table with the lights completely out and there would be this clock in the room that would tick non-stop. I finally asked the school nurse if there was any way she could take the clock out of my dark room. She did, and that is why I will always love that school nurse, Mrs. Arnold. I will also always remember the biggest witch teacher of all, Mrs. Messenger who would tell me that I was faking it when I had a migraine. I hope she reads this blog, somehow, because I would like her to know that she made 4th grade miserable for me, my mom, and probably the school nurse. Side story, when I was in 4th grade I went to the nurse every single day because I hated my teacher SO much. I can very easily say she is the worst person I have ever me in my entire life…that is almost 30 years now. She was actually the reason I thought that I wanted to be a teacher…so that no child would EVER have to have a teacher that was as mean, as her. The worst part of all was when I was in high school and she decided to become a substitute. I still remember walking into Spanish class and seeing that witch in the human form sitting behind the desk. I think I asked to leave and go to the nurse again because I couldn’t bare to have one more minute of my life in her presence. I wish I could talk to her and tell her how much she ruined my life in 4th grade and came back to haunt me in high school. So, if someone reading this keeps in touch with her, please feel free to share, although I truly feel sorry for you if you have her as your friend…
Anyways, back to the topic of today, and off the tangent of the worst human in America. I have tried all sorts of over the counter medications and prescription medications to help alleviate the pain associated with migraines, but I really can’t say I always have the answer. Sometimes what worked on one headache, is like a joke to my next headache. Right now my favorite remedy, is as soon as I feel a headache coming on- I take one Excedrin migraine and one Liquid Gel Motrin. I NEVER take the CVS or Walgreens or Target generic version of these medications. The only one that I will at times substitute is the Excedrin migraine with Bayer migraine (that is only when Bayer is cheaper than Excedrin). Usually this kicks my headache after about an hour. However, if I know I have something important going on, or I just feel like this is a headache that needs a little help from my prescription medication friends, I take Axert. Axert is actually made by Johnson and Johnson, as is Motrin. When I asked my neurologist about Axert, he was surprised that I knew about it and said it is usually his go to for adolescent migraines. One of the benefits of working at JNJ is that we get our medications at no cost, so I asked my neurologist, if I could just try it and see if it helps being that it’s free. It has been the answer to all of my really AWFUL headaches. The thing that I like most about Axert is that is doesn’t make my heart feel like it’s racing. This is a common side effect of migraine medicines and one that I often felt when I took Maxalt. The one thing that I loved about Maxalt though, is that the medicine is in melts, so it melts in your mouth as opposed to having to swallow a pill. Sometimes when I have a migraine, I can’t even swallow a pill if I wait too long to medicate. My gag reflux becomes super sensitive and if I even try to take a pill, I throw up.
One of my neurologists that I saw for my headaches is Dr. Charles, in Bayonne. I used to call on Dr. Charles when I worked for Eisai and I just liked the way that he talked to me as a rep, so I figured I would try him, as a patient. He was really great as a patient, and I really valued his opinion and treatment path. He told me that he wrote a paper regarding the treatment of migraine headaches and the one thing that he found was that people that medicated at the first sign of a headache, often reported less headache days and a reduction in the severity of migraines following the protocol of immediate medication. I firmly agree and feel that this is SO true of my headaches, which is why I almost always carry Motrin and Excedrin Migraine with me. I am not a fan of taking a lot of pills, but when I have a headache I would happily pop a pill every hour if I knew it would keep these devil headaches away!
There are some things that I have also noticed are triggers, which is one thing that the doctors always ask you to be conscientious of. These triggers range from: lack of sleep, high stress, annoying people, chocolate, nitrates, dehydration, MSG, lack of nutrients, low blood sugar, low iron, etc. Some of these are difficult to avoid, but when I am experiencing headaches, I always try to keep a low stress, healthy diet, with lots of water. I think it helps.
When I meet someone that also gets migraines, we often bond over the pain…how weird is that?!
The last thing that I think that is important for people to know is that my migraines vary in severity. I, sometimes have a mild migraine, with which I can work and I am able to function all day (I usually just don’t eat very much because sometimes food makes it a full force debilitating migraine). There are also migraines where I know the future of my day is questionable–I can just tell it is going to become debilitating at any second, so I usually take the day off from work. Then there are days that I have full-blown AWFUL migraines where I literally don’t move from my bed and only drink water during the migraine period. Don’t even try to ask me if I want something to eat because you will probably get a quick and angry “NO.” I also refuse to talk to anyone and will respond to a text only occasionally because the light from my phone makes me nauseous.
Anyways, in closing, if you are dating, married to, friends or a family member of someone who gets migraines—know that they don’t really mean to be rude when they have one, it is just very excruciating, unique and frustrating pain. They can be complex to treat and all that I ask of people is to just leave me alone when I have one, haha! That is a lot coming from me because as a normal migraine free person, I prefer to be surrounded by people I love.
Well I think that is all that I have for the day, but if you also suffer from migraines, I am so sorry…also if you want to chat about things that I have tried to help with my headaches, feel free to email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading and have a fun day 🙂
Here is my picture from yesterday, but I would like to use it for today as well (note: I had a migraine the entire day of working with my boss)…
This is a picture of my boss and I, yesterday, at Rockefeller Center with the TREE! I always laugh that people travel near and far to see this very tree, but, I am also always so taken back by it’s beauty and the story of how it got to Manhattan. I am so glad that my boss agreed to take a selfie with me while we were there! We sent it to her boss for some holiday cheer…good times in NYC 🙂 If you are interested in reading about the history of the Rockefeller Tree…here’s a great link: http://content.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1863633_1809368,00.html