Vice and Vices…

My head is stuck in a vice again.

The throbbing pain coupled with photophobia (light induced pain) makes it hard to write anything interesting. I am trying to fight off despair. I am so tired of dealing with migraines. I know I don’t have a life threatening illness, and I am ever thankful for the mostly healthy life I have had, but I am still longing for a headache free life.

I mean seriously, who has time to sit still in a quiet dark room for days on end? If I had time to do that, I would be a member of the landed gentry, stuck in a whale boned corset, and forced to gorge on meals before leaving for parties in order to maintain the image that women eat like birds. (An asinine comparison, since birds eat more than their weight each day, and therefore a woman eating like a bird would be consuming over a hundred pounds of food daily. I digress.)

I have suffered from these nasty, soul sucking, headaches since I was twelve. In fact, this year marks the 20th anniversary of my introduction to migraine hell! Bully for me! Two decades of intense headaches coming and going, sometimes a few a year, other times a few a month.
I have gone to work and class in sunglasses, lived with a permanent prescription for percoset and muscle relaxants, and worn earplugs when watching my kids play. I have tried yoga, massage, chiropractic treatments, diet and vitamin changes, heat therapy, cold therapy, herbal therapy, swimming, walking, sleeping, drinking, lying in a dark room, working through the pain, sex, and more. I have had dozens of C.T.’s and MRI’s, not to mention the plethora of EMG’s and nerve conduction survey’s I have been treated to. I can’t even explain the other myriads of medical brain and nerve scanning technologies I have been treated with over the years.

I have been told they were caused by stress, hormones, insufficient bra support, birth control medication, allergies, the manner in which I carry my children/backpack/purse, diet. You name it, I have been given a reason. I have even been told to get breast reduction surgery on the off chance it will improve my headaches. (Cause yeah, medical science is down to a science, there ain’t no guess work in them there diagnoses.)

What I haven’t been given, is a solution. Each time I try a remedy, I get hopeful. I think maybe this time I am done. Each time I have a month, or two, sometimes even several months, without headaches. Each time they return. The only time I have been successful in getting rid of them is when I am pregnant. As much as I enjoy the lack of migraine’s while enciente, I am certainly not going to be pregnant forever. (That would be another nightmare entirely.)

I refuse to let these headache’s ruin my life, so over the years I have adapted to living with a certain amount of discomfort. I buy ridiculously huge dark sunglasses to wear in and out of the house, I take medication to dull the ache, and I live my life.

I know my family can still tell when I am having one. Monkey will come to me and pat my head and say “I am sorry you hurt mama.” Lee will make me tea and rub my shoulders. I wish I could live my life with as much zest as normal, but at least I am up and about.

And today, I am blogging. Which has become one of my vices. I am pretty sure I could be at death’s door in the ER and still would ask for a laptop and wireless connection so I could connect with the blog-o-sphere. It’s better for you than most vices, I won’t get lung cancer or destroy my liver by blogging, though carpal tunnel is certainly a risk. At least I can socialize with someone, without having to explain that smiling makes my head hurt.
Thanks for being there to socialize with.

12 thoughts on “Vice and Vices…”

  1. I could go on an on about my medical history with migraines, but I’ll try to make it short. I have the same symptoms as you only I had them worse in the first 3 months of being prego. Then they would go away for a year or so after baby was born and then return. I was diagnosed with PTC-Puesdo Tumor Cerebri about 10 years ago. Like you, Vicodin was candy when these migraines came on. I have had several spinal taps done to release the pressure of spinal fluid. It used to help until I couldn’t handle the needles anymore. Since Baby number 2 has been born I have only had one, but most likely they will return in a year or so. Talk about sucky, I live for dark hours and low light. No one can really say for sure what caused mine, but I do dream of a life where I never have a migraine again. I used to get crap from people, school and work, when I would have to leave because I was so sick with a migraine I couldn’t even stand up or talk. No one understands what a migraine is unless they’ve truley had one. It’s no headache baby!

  2. I’m so sorry.

    Breast reduction surgery? For migraines? Really? Do they want to bleed you as well? Maybe break out some leeches?


    One question, though you may have already tried this: have you tried acupuncture? I haven’t, personally, for my migraines but mine have specific triggers. Yours don’t appear to. I’ve heard AP can help, but if you’ve already done it, then that idea is blown, too.

    Again, I’m sorry kiddo. Hang in there.

  3. Aw, sweetie. Mom hug being sent. So sorry you’re hurting. Love you, girl. Call me when you feel better.

  4. Hey there, (no edit button, so I deleted and reposted) you might remember me- Tiffany’s friend Sara, I live in Denver. I came across your blog the other day and enjoyed reading it.

    I’ve been plagued with migraines daily for years and only recently had them diagnosed (since they’re in my sinuses!)

    One thing I didn’t see listed as having tried was sumatriptans (i.e. Imitrex, Maxalt, etc). I’ve tried a number of pain meds to no avail. I take an imitrex and within 45 minutes, they’re gone! Maxalt works quicker (about 15 minutes). You probably can’t take any of these while nursing, but I will tell you– it changed my life. 🙂 I will never go back!

    As for breast reduction? That sounds drastic (I’m buxom myself). I’d be more inclined to buy better bras (I can recommend some) and get physical therapy if that were honestly the cause! (maybe invest in a rowing machine?)

    Anyway, I can completely relate to the misery, and thought I’d mention the sumatriptans- like I said, they changed my life!

  5. They suggested breast reduction for mine too. We big boobed babes are doomed, eh?

    Feel better! Have you tried topomax? My friend says it works well for her.

  6. Oh, Mama, sorry about your migraine! I wish I had good advice or something to help ease the pain… Hope it eases soon.

  7. Thanks everyone! I am comforted by the amount of support you have given me, and appalled that so many of us suffer from migraines.

    I have tried Imitrex and others of it’s Ilk, but it was ineffective for me.

    I have not tried acupuncture, but I suppose it may be time to try.

    I have never heard of topomax, but when I am finished nursing I may call the doc and give it a try.

  8. I was on Topomax for a long time, I didn’t see a result but then again Maxalt and things alike never worked either.

    Good Luck!

  9. Hey Misty, I was just talking to Michelle (the lovely cleaning lady you sent my way) and SHE said that she did acupuncture for her week long migraines and they went away. Now, if she gets one, it only lasts a few hours and ADVIL can take care of it!

    I think I’m going to have to find an acupunturist now. Oh, and she said it worked on her allergies, too. Stopped those dead. She said it changed her whole life.

    Seriously, break free some cash for acupunture. I’m going to. These allergies are killing me!

  10. If your migraines go away when your pregers can you take something that simulates some of the changes of pregnancy. Like birth control pills but better, more natural? Yam extract?? An amino acid…Arginine more fish oils.

    This is Adrie not dan

  11. Hey Adrie! Nice to see you!

    I can’t take Birth Control pills, because one of their side effects is migraines. Which blows.

    But it is not a bad idea.

  12. I can relate! I have been getting migraines 4-6 days a week for 33 years. Like you, I have tried just about everything including pointless surgeries and I was also blissfully migraine-free during my two pregnancies. Sumatriptans such as Imitrex, Relpax, Zomig are indeed lifesavers but they are only fingers in the dike. Recently, however, my migraine life seems to have dramatically improved. I have always had low thyroid issues and I have been on medication for years to regulate it so I didnt think that could be related to my headaches. However, after reading a book by Kenneth Blanchard, MD, PhD called “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Hypothyroidism…” and beginning his protocol my headache life has improve dramatically! The only other thing that has changed recently that could possibly attribute to the migraine improvement is that also at the suggestion of Dr Blanchard, I have begun taking Vitamin D which it turns out I was deficient in and which is in actuality a hormone and not a vitamin and so it can affect thyroid function among other things. I would urge anyone who suffers from migraines to READ THIS BOOK! By the way, interestingly, our thyroid functions change dramatically during pregnancy so that may be a clue for you. Good luck to all of us and hang in there!

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