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. ┬áThe 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┬áregimen. 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.