My migraine journey

I have had terrible terrible headaches for as long as I can remember. I didn’t know they were migraines until I was married.

For a very long time, I was never headache free. I ate OTC pain relievers trying to gain that relief, but it just didn’t come. Migraines only came a few times a year – maybe four or five. I went to bed and they eventually went away. I remember one time when the boys were very little and Ron was traveling. I prayed that if I died, God would keep the boys safe until Ron got home. I should have made more of an effort then to find relief. That’s not the kind of prayer you want to utter several times a year. But the few things I’d been given only dulled the pain and made me foggy brain. Better to suffer through.

About ten years ago, the frequency increased. At first it was several times a month and then it was several times a week. I had to go to the doctor then. I felt like a human experiment for several years. The first preventative medication was a low dose of verapamil which was slowly increased to a much larger dose. I was put on an antidepressant which really helped but I was in a fog the whole time I was on it. Then it was Topomax. When I was coming off the antidepressant and building up the Topomax dosage, I went 30 days without a migraine. It was wonderful, except the Topomax made me manic. I was giddy, talked all the time and never slept. When I reduced the dosage, I crashed and burned. The giddiness turned into fear and nearly constant crying. How I managed to go to work each day was a wonder. One night, I got in the car to go to a WFU game with Ron and couldn’t pull myself together. He had to bring me home. This was the end of my rope with preventative medications.

I started searching for natural remedies then. I found an elimination diet that focused on pain-free foods and started out with brown rice and cooked green veggies among a few other things. (There are several elimination diets out there. The one I linked was the one I liked the best.) Two weeks on and then, after your body was clean, I added one thing every 2 or 3 days to find out what my triggers were. I found quite a few including many products with gluten, so I went gluten free. At one time, I was on a gluten free vegan diet. That one got a little hard, but it helped considerably.  The problem with such a strict diet is that it becomes the center of your life. AND you have to tell everyone you go out to eat with or work with or anyone who might give you a present of food what’s up. It’s also very difficult to stay on day in and day out.

So at some point, I started looking for other natural helps. I was already taking feverfew three times a day. I found information on B2 and Magnesium that was encouraging. Most of the information I found was from sites that had some product to push, so it took a while to get through the junk. It took almost a year of experimenting with dosages to find that 400 mg of B2 and 800 mg of magnesium citrate work well for me. I can frequently go a couple of weeks without a migraine on this regimen. I even hit 29 days once. Drinking hot ginger tea helps too, although I can’t say that it will ever be a favorite drink of mine.

There are certain things that will bring on a migraine that I don’t seem to have any control over. Severe changes in the weather are about a 50/50 chance of inducing a migraine. Not sleeping well will cause one. I do everything I can to make sure that I’ll sleep, but I wasn’t a good sleeper ever. Right before I get really sick, I’ll get several – same for sinus headaches, but after, not before. There are certain smells and still some foods that I know I just can’t have. MSG and soy sauce – regular and gluten free are killers. I still eat primarily gluten free, but a little isn’t a hindrance anymore.

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12 thoughts on “My migraine journey

  1. What a journey. That’s great you could find something natural that helps. usually the worse the condition, the less likely those types of things help in my experience. It must be terrible having migraines. I’ve only had 2 or 3 minor ones. I have plenty of other conditions and know what it’s like to think about wanting to die.

    I hope it keeps up.
    Jeff

  2. yes – it’s the “will it keep working” question that stays in the forefront for me.

    And as you know with chronic pain, you just keep going except when you can’t.

    I’ve thought about Paul a lot over the years. God doesn’t remove whatever conditions we have for a reason (or reasons) that we may or may not ever understand. Not mine to wonder why – just to praise the Creator because He is.

  3. I’ve had things poop out on me and it was terrible. But that was partly because I was undiagnosed for many years.

    It’s comforting to know that God answered no to some of the prayers of Paul and Jesus. I wish the health and wealth people would realize that.

    People have told me, “That just can’t be God’s will for you” but they’re in their own little suburban world where nobody they know is in pain.

    It was nice to read some more about you.
    Jeff

  4. Jeff, it is discouraging (heartbreaking) when you think you’ve found something that works and then it stops.

    On others telling you what is God’s will for your life (mine, anyone’s) . . . We can send them to scripture for repeated examples of people in physical and mental anguish. Their comments show them to be shallow to the extreme.

  5. Bitsy, I’m sorry you have migraines. I know they are terrible. Thank the Lord I’ve hardly ever had headaches of any kind, but my sis has always suffered terribly from them. Sometimes they would get so bad she would end up in the emergency room.

    Her headaches are much better now, but like you, it took her many years to find anything that worked for her. She still gets them but not as often. Wish I could remember what it was that finally helped her.

    I’ll be praying for God to increase your good days and give you strength to get through the bad. Take care friend.

  6. I used to get really bad migraines. It felt like I had a metal stake in my right eye and I had sharp pain on the back of my neck. My migraines were sometimes caused by too much MSG, sinus problems caused by hay fever, but I think mostly they were caused by stress and depression. I now eat better so have less MSG, I take Telfast to get rid of the hay fever, and am a lot happier with less stress and depression.

    Good luck with the migraines and take care.

  7. Have you ever tried magnesium taurate? It has helped me tremendously since taking it a little over 6 mos. ago Although I don’t get bad migraines I had other problems — couldn’t go to sleep, restless legs, heart arrythmia’s, etc. Now they’re all gone since I took this type of magnesium. It just works great! (FYI, I don’t have anything to do with selling it)

  8. Kathy, has your sister tried magnesium and or B2? I’ve been surprised at how much my doctor didn’t necessarily know about migraines.

    newtaste – MSG is terrible if you are susceptible to migraines! Glad you figured that out!

    mywaterdr – I did some research and thought I’d add the taurine to my regimen for a while to see how it worked for me. Thanks for the info 😀

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