Yesterday I cried at my neurologist’s office because I am just so dang frustrated with my migraines. I’ve had at least one to two per week for the last 12 weeks. In my mind, I say to myself, “Well that’s not that bad, there are people who have it so much worse.” But you know what? Even having one migraine a week is bad. And they are still debilitating for me. I feel like a pretty darn healthy and strong person. Yet sometimes, I think to myself, “You know, if I just try this one more thing, maybe it will fix me and my migraines will stop.”
I have been dealing with migraines for the last five (going on six) years. I’ve lived much more of my life without migraines than with them, and yet sometimes I feel like I can’t remember what it’s like to not worry about getting a migraine. To not say yes to something right away because I can’t be sure I won’t have a migraine that day. To not book my workout classes less than 12 hours in advance because I don’t know when a migraine will strike and I don’t want to have to cancel. To live my life more than a day at a time, wondering when I’ll get that pain in my right temple or feel dizzy and know that a migraine is coming on.
I’ve tried a lot of different things. I’ve been on at least five different medications with a myriad of side effects, including serious weight loss, numbness in my fingers and toes, feeling dizzy or exhausted all the time, decreased appetite, difficulty forming sentences and finding the right words…I could go on. I’ve tried a few different diets including “The Headache Diet” which is essentially a low-tyramine diet, gluten/dairy/soy free (that one sucked), and the Whole30. Even now I have some pretty consistent food restrictions: no alcohol, no caffeine, no dairy, no citrus fruits, no Chai lattes (that last one is THE WORST). I’ve tried acupuncture, physical therapy, and most recently seen a chiropractor. And so far, I haven’t found anything that consistently prevents or cures my migraines, other than sleeping them off after a sumatriptan injection.
I keep hoping that the next thing I try will fix me. I figure if I just try enough methods something is bound to stick. But you know what…that may not be true. Yesterday, my doctor and I had quite a talk about the fact that my migraines are not my fault. They are just how my brain is made. And any migraine is bad – my migraines aren’t less bad than someone else’s. They suck, period. And unfortunately, there may not be much I can do. There probably isn’t some magical diet that’s going to fix everything, or some perfect routine that will help me feel excellent at all times. That’s really hard for me to accept. I’m trying to get comfortable with the fact that I need to learn how to cope with my migraines, and how to take care of myself when I get one or feel one coming on, but it’s hard to feel like I have a problem I can’t fix. I’m a fixer…when people come to me with a problem, I dive in and want to offer solutions. So it’s really frustrating to not be able to do that for myself. I’m not going to stop trying, but I’m also going to try to be gentle with myself, and be grateful for the good days. Hopefully the number of good days and the memories from those days will far outweigh the days I spend in bed with an ice pack on my head.