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Archive for April, 2008

Headache & Migraine Disease Blog Carnival will be posting links to various blogs on Monday, April 14, 2008. The host is Somebody Heal Me. The topic this month is “Coping with Migraine and Chronic Pain”.

I have pondered this over the past several days. How do I cope with my chronic pain? (sometimes I don’t cope well) . What works for me?

The first thing that came to my mind is EDUCATION. This means educating myself about migraine and educating friends and family.

Educating myself is crucial. I can’t tell others if I don’t understand migraine disease. There several websites and blogs that contain so much information and support for migraine sufferers. You can find links to otherblogs and websites along the right-hand side of this blog. One website is My Migraine Connection. I can’t begin to say all of the information contained on this site. One important piece of information I have learned from this site is that migraine has a prodromal phase and a postdromal phase. If I pay close attention to my prodromal body signals, I can arm myself early and abort the migraine. Now I know that the “hung-over” feeling after the pain is gone is the postdromal phase of migraine and not necessarily drug related.

Educating Others: This can be a daunting task because there are untold numbers of people who believe that migraine is “just a bad headache”. I have been told, “I know what you mean. I had one once.” This requires that I take make requests based on my needs. I can’t just be silent when I need some accomodations. For example, my migraines are triggered by flashing lights. For some reason I cannot tolerate watching TV in the dark. This means I need to speak up and say, “No, please leave the lights on because my migraine disease prevents me from watching TV in the dark.” I need to educate my entire church family as to why they can’t turn the lights down when we are watching a DVD or video. Once I have made these requests, I can start educating my friends as to the nature of migraine disease and the consequences. Teri Robert has written an excellent letter designed to educate family and friends about migraine.

Be alert. This requires a bit of practice, but it is worth the effort. It may be extra-difficult for people like me who do things on autopilot. Every so often throughout the day I stop and take a deep breath. Then I am mindful of whatever I am doing. What do I hear? What am I seeing? How do I feel? What am I doing? I mindfully and deliberately pay attention to what I am doing NOW. I don’t think about what I need to do later. I live in the present. This exercise helps me recognize my prodromal phase.
Being alert may save me from awkward situations such as having a friend drive me home because I didn’t catch the migraine early enough.

Tips: 1. Have abortive medication handy.

2. Always have at least a swallow of water handy. I don’t have the dissolving Maxalt and I can’t swallow pills without water. So, I don’t drain my water bottle after my exercise class and when I leave the house I fill a bottle and take it wherever I go.

3. Get enough rest. I know this is hard. I hate to leave social events early. I usually was the last one to leave anything. But now, I leave by 9 pm so I am in bed by 10 pm. My friends know this and all I have to say, “It is getting past my bedtime.” Everyone laughs and I leave.

4. Eat regular meals. I have to admit I am really bad at this, especially when I am running errands and I miss lunch. However, I have found that being over-hungry is a trigger for migraine attack. I have an energy bar in my purse just in case I can’t grab lunch.

5. Know and manage my triggers. I am still learning to figure out what my triggers are at any given time because they change. However, being alert and conscious of them can save me in the long run. I know that changes in the weather can easily trigger an attack for me. So, now I keep track of the forecast and prepare myself accordingly.

6. Have at least one person who knows your pattern well. This person is my husband. He helps me manage some of my triggers. Sometimes he can tell when it is time for urgent care better than I can. He calls me a “high maintenance wife” and then smiles.

7. Have a support network. This can be physical or virtual. I have to say that I feel so much better after having found My Migraine Connection and the forums. It is so comforting to know that I am not alone. I also have a friend who will take me to the ER if my husband is not available.

8. Be positive. Yes, I have chronic migraine disease. Just saying that opens the door to changing the way I see my migraine attacks. I can choose my attitude toward this disease. I can make a conscious decision to have it run my life or not. Which is it going to be?: This disease will not run my life.

9. Consider prayer. I know that many people would not consider this option, but for me it is literally a life saver. Knowing Jesus as my Savior has changed my life. Prayer is my connection with Him and it brings me great comfort to know how much He loves and cares for me.

I hope these points will help you, my readers, to live and cope with migraine disease.

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Over the past 3 days we had had nice sunny, but cold weather, followed by high winds, warm weather and rain. And then more sun and cold. The barometric pressure was on a roller coaster.

I knew the weather was changing.

You would think that after all these years I would have seen it coming.

I didn’t;

just like other umpteen times the Enemy snuck up behind me and struck while I was asleep. You would think that at the first sign (a runny nose), I would have tried to abort it, but I didn’t. I just didn’t make the connection.

So, I woke up this morning with a full blown migraine.

So what is behind missing the warnings? Why do I time and time again fail to make the connection when it is most important? Is it denial? It won’t be this bad this time, I tell myself.

No, it isn’t that. There is no internal struggle; there are no voices telling me that I really should take some medicine NOW. No, I am completely unable to make the connection when it is necessary for me to realize what is going on and act on it.

I only see the connection when it is too late. I missed my one and only chance.

What now? Wait it out? Emergency Room? Our co-pays have doubled to $100. Will I get a doc who will believe me? That’s another post.

I could go see the neurologist for an IV. But I hate waiting for hours and hours in his office before I am seen.

Right now I can hardly think straight. I can’t make a decision. I just want it to go away.

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