Thursday, 1 November 2012

Dear Migraine

Dear Migraine 
You are not big, or clever, you are a bully and I wish you would go away. 
But like so many bullies before you I bet you are poorly understood and in need of some love and attention. 
Let me help you with that.

Migraines are a big part of my life. I've been admitted to emergency care of one form or another more than once because someone didn't understand that a migraine could be that bad (fancy being told by a doctor that you have symptoms similar to a stroke or brain tumour?)

There are two things that have made the biggest difference to the grip migraine used to have on my life. The first was a group of medicines called Triptans. In the beginning they were VERY expensive, I had to beg and plead with my GP to get on them and at £60 for a packet of 3 tablets I think you can see why. Over time I moved onto injections of triptan and then nasal sprays and now I have soluble wafers. The point is that if I catch it quick enough I can beat the migraine in a few hours rather than losing 3 to 4 days to it.

The other thing that improved things was working out my allergies. I've mentioned before that I'm allergic to coconut, other nuts and palm. For me they are essentially migraine triggers. I wont finish up in hospital with anaphylaxis but never the less lying in bed covered in sick and wanting to die is something I prefer to avoid.

But despite these personal breakthroughs I still get migraines and they are still horrible when they come and now I'm a parent things are a little more complex.

While we were trying to conceive and once I became pregnant I had to give up the triptans and go back to paracetamol and if necessary, codeine. Luckily breastfeeding stabilised the hormones for a while but the 'natural weaning' took it's toll and eventually I had to go onto Beta-blockers. I hated them, it was like swimming in treacle, everything I did took so long, I was so sleepy and I started putting on weight. So recently I've come off them again.

I probably got a migraine this week because I haven't been looking after myself too well. I spent the school half-term holidays worrying about two kids rather than the nasty bug I was brewing, I didn't do enough upper body exercise and I am overly stressed about a few things at the moment. This was all compounded by changing hormones and BAM suddenly I'm flat out with a migraine I didn't catch in time to knock on the head with triptan.

So having delivered the kids to school I collapsed on the sofa for a nap. Bad idea, migraine needed more attention than that. Eventually I got the message, I got the hot water bottle out and the TENS machine on, I did a steam facial (it always helps) and popped back a couple more tablets. At first I felt guilty about not doing the housework, the washing, ordering the insulation, chasing the builders etc. then I felt mad at the migraine for making me feel so bad and lose so much of my day. Then I saw the migraine for what it was, a little wake-up call to pay some attention to myself and before I went back to school to pick up the girls I resolved that I would not feel guilty for letting them sit on the sofa and watch TV for the rest of the afternoon.

TV didn't happen though but we did sit on the sofa, sometimes I read a book (even with a migraine I can cope with the big print and easy words), sometimes big-girl read a book and once or twice little-girl did too. Once or twice I got told off for falling asleep but I think that's OK. I looked after me and I looked after them and I hope I reassured migraine that I would listen to it and do what ever we needed to to get on.

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