Accepting Self Care in Migraine Management

Migraines suck. I really had no plans to post about it, but when I came back to fill in about Friday on my weekly assessment for this past week I realized that I probably should. You see, not once did I mention that a migraine struck me this week.

Since I started taking the Topamax, my migraines don’t behave exactly the same way as they used to. It used to be that they were almost a daily occurrence. Quite literally it was a painful jailer in my life. I would just curl up and wish for anything to end it – even if it meant for me to die. But eventually it would pass and I would be so grateful that I would just live and do whatever I could to take care of my life and my boys with whatever time I had before it struck again. It wasn’t until my mother pointed out to me how worried my oldest son was about me that I started to aggressively seek medical assistance.

In my experience, the pain killers they have out in the market for migraines suck. Every single one they offered me caused me to black out – for the entire day. How was that the answer to helping my son worry about me less? So I set my sights on preventing them. Through the process of elimination I figured out that for me MSG and artificial sweeteners triggered migraines. It was also during this process I figured out I am actually allergic to citrus fruits – particularly oranges and grapefruits. I couldn’t believe how much food I had to clear away from my home when I donated the stuff away. I started to feel better. Much better. I didn’t have to use those pain killers as often and was able to just use the Ibuprophen to manage the pain. But they still hit pretty often and lasted several days.

Years later I landed on the Topamax. Yes, I still have migraines. But not everyday. Heck more often than not they don’t even hit every month. The full blown active migraine doesn’t last a day.

So today my post isn’t a complaint. I truly hope no one reads this in that way. I can’t express enough my gratitude enough for having found this med. I wrote once before my concerns about my discovery that this med has increased my cholesterol. I decided then that I was staying with this med. No it doesn’t balance my mood perfectly and there is probably a better choice out there for that. I can accept that. Maybe at some point I will let them add another med to this one for that. But I feel this med has allowed me to reclaim a huge piece of my life back.

The day that my oldest son and I were trying to put together his health section of his portfolio was the day the migraine hit. Right in the middle of me drafting his Bipolar test. I blacked out while he was taking the test because I was too stubborn to rest and take the meds earlier. I wanted to get the portfolio done and I wanted it done NOW. The price I paid for that stubbornness is that I wasted an entire day and the portfolio is now not finished. My husband is now here on leave expecting the boys undivided attention and I somehow need to figure out how I’m going to still get that portfolio done during all that.

So today this post is about me accepting the truth about the need for self care. Again. The symptoms for my migraines have changed since I have started the Topamax. The aura hasn’t changed much. It’s usually 24 hours that builds towards the big event. It’s hard for me to explain. Some of it is vision changes, but the big thing is the dull ache on the side of my head. The new stuff is how I feel afterwards. I’m almost thinking it’s because it’s that the migraine lasts only a day now instead of 5 days. I feel like I’ve been run over my a truck. My whole body is in pain. Every. Single. Joint. People touching me hurts like hell. I’m wondering if before when the migraine lasted 5 days my body was given time to recover with bed rest where it doesn’t now, because before I would just feel tired and foggy in the head but my body didn’t hurt like this. It could also be that I’m just older now too. It’s really hard to say.

The point is I need to be aware that this is the pattern now and that I need to plan accordingly. I need to take care of myself. I need to allow myself to get the rest I need. I need to stop pushing myself when the aura strikes and then allow myself to fully recover when the migraine passes.

Do you experience migraines and how do you manage them?

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