migraines, Personal Life

How I Reduced the Intensity of My Migraines

Today marks my fifth migraine day this month. I woke up with an aura around 4:45 a.m. and immediately took the meds I take at the onset. Now I am tired and have a mild headache, but I can function thankfully.

For a quick recap if you’re new to my blog and my struggle with migraines. I have suffered from migraine with aura since I was 16 years old. 

In the first years of my migraines I would get one migraine attack a year with aura. What is an aura? An aura starts out as a tiny blind spot in my right eye and eventually moves to cover my entire field of vision in one eye. 

I refer to it as the blindness stage of my migraine because at this point it is very difficult to see as the aura slowly fills my entire vision. My peripheral vision is usually completely gone during an aura.

The aura part of the migraine also usually precedes the headache for me.

When I initially started having migraines, I didn’t have them often enough to really research effective treatment methods.

So, my method of treatment initially was to get past the throw up stage of the migraine and then take Nyquil. I would then pass out in hopes that the pain was gone by the time I woke up.

However, once I had my first child in 2010 the frequency of my migraines increased dramatically. I went from having one migraine a year to two to three a week. It was brutal!

I’m sure it was a combination of the added stress of having a baby and not getting much sleep.

Fast forward to 2019 and I typically have no less than four migraine attacks in a given month. 

In 2017 I started using Evernote to keep a migraine journal. I use this migraine journal to track my attacks, triggers, and treatment.

If you are a migraine sufferer, I would strongly encourage you to keep a journal and track the time of the attack, the duration, and the intensity of the attack. 

Also, write down what you did the night before or anything you think may have triggered you.

My known triggers: stress, sleep disturbances, sugar, cheese dip (so sad I know), and potato chips. I think I may need to add wine and microwave popcorn to that list but I am not emotionally prepared to let those go yet, especially since I can’t have cheese dip.

So, as I stated earlier, this is my fifth migraine with aura this month. From my notes/migraine journal I have noticed that half of the migraines I’ve had in the past month and a half are triggered upon waking, or I’m right in the middle of an aura when I first wake up.

Here is what preventative and onset medication are working for me right now:

Daily: Drink 90 oz of water and take 250 mg of magnesium. Since starting magnesium daily, I have noticed a decrease in the intensity of the migraine once I do get one. However, it did take about eight weeks of consistently taking the magnesium for me to notice a significant difference.

The first time I tried magnesium daily, I was taking 500 mg, which ended up being too much for my stomach and I quit taking it. I noticed a significant increase in the intensity of my migraines once I quit taking magnesium.

When I resumed taking it, I cut my dosage down to 250 mg.

Onset of attack: At the first sign of an aura I immediately take two Excedrin and one CBD capsule. I know CBD is controversial, but as a chronic migraine sufferer I am inclined not to care. If you suffer as well, I would encourage you to have an open mind.

Most CBD does not contain THC, which is what is found in marijuana and is also the part that gets you high.

The CBD not only helps with the pain but it also reduces the significant anxiety I usually get in the days following a migraine attack.

Also, I’m not 100% sure of this, but I used to also throw up when having a migraine and that has since stopped. The nausea is still with me, but it is mild. I’m not sure if this is because of the CBD or because of the magnesium. I suspect it is a combination of both.
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The next preventative thing I intend to add is melatonin. I do believe migraine and poor sleep go hand in hand for me. I also came across this article about the “Benefits of Melatonin for Migraine Sufferers” while conducting migraine research.

I plan to start using Melatonin tonight and see how it does for me over the next 30 days.

I’ll keep you guys posted. I am extremely grateful to have gone from 2-3/migraines a week down to one a week.

What treatment has worked for you in your battle against migraines? Let us know in the comments below. 

To your continued healing.

Hugs,

Bria

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migraines, Personal Life

Eff You Migraines

Migraine Meme Morpheus

I just finished up migraine number two this week and nothing makes me want to crawl in a hole and hide more than a migraine.

Lets recap shall we? I’m not talking about a bad headache that disappears once you’ve popped a few extra strength Tylenols or Excedrin and drank a large coke.

If only they were that easy.

Friday’s migraine started as mine always do, with visual disturbance that slowly expands outward until I can barely see. At this stage in the migraine, driving is hazardous and just downright dangerous.

This was my second one this week having had one on Monday. I am a positive, optimistic,  glass half full kind of girl, but Friday when I experienced my second migraine of the week I lost it. Cue hysterical crying, shaking hands, and extreme anxiety. Why? Because I knew what was coming once the aura subsided (this is what the visual disturbance is called at the onset of a migraine.)

What comes once my vision returns? Pounding headache, extreme nausea, dizziness, and numbness in my left arm and the left side of my face. I usually feel like I’m on the brink of death.

I have them so often, that I have gotten to the point where I just attempt to push through them and stay at work. However, with Friday’s I was like eff it, I’m going home.

Why would I stay at work you may be wondering? Because I have so many migraines that if I left work every time I got sick I would probably get fired. People are sympathetic the first few times but if you’re a chronic migraine sufferer you know that eventually people’s sympathy turns to wonder as they wonder how anyone can have that many debilitating headaches so often?

Praise God for my man though. When Monday’s migraine hit he was out of town so I had to struggle through that one alone, but Friday he had just gotten home the night before so he was there to help me. I don’t know what I did to deserve such a caring, compassionate, empathetic partner but that is exactly who he is. So in between my sobs and hysterical crying J assured me everything was going to be fine. “I’ve got you,” he said. “You’re going to be alright.”

Spring 2018

And although I felt like death for majority of the day, J was right there waiting on me hand and foot. Dr. J did not leave my side. God I love this man.

I am a solution oriented person and so as I slowly started to recover I wanted to try to find some things I could do to try to minimize my next attack. I have always believed my migraine attacks were food related but I’m starting to believe they are not.

I am starting to see a pattern more with my migraines being triggered when I’m extremely tired or when I wake up first thing in the morning. I also think I may have sleep apnea as J has told me that I snore sometimes and I stop breathing when I’m sleeping (sexy I know).

I am an information junkie and I started doing a little research. And apparently there is a correlation between my extreme daytime fatigue and my migraines. The extreme fatigue during the day may be caused by the sleep apnea. I also may be experiencing more migraines because the sleep apnea causes disturbances in my sleep cycle.

Here are a few things I put in place Friday night before going to bed…

  1. I bought some breathe right strips to help open up my airways when I’m sleeping
  2. I used breathe essential oil as well in an attempt to open up my airways and minimize snoring
  3. I started a sleep journal/migraine log to keep track of how I feel each morning and what the quality of my sleep was the night before

I also realized that I may be drinking my Plexus too late in the day. For the first two months I was on Plexus it helped pretty much obliterate my migraines. I usually would drink it in the morning before breakfast.

For whatever reason, two weeks ago I switched to drinking it at work around 10:00 and have noticed an increase in my migraine attacks so I am also experimenting with swapping it back to the mornings before breakfast.

I hate migraines and I will get these under control if it is the last thing I do. I REFUSE to let these headaches and the anxiety that follows them control my life.

Hugs,

Bria

P.S. If you love coffee, wine, or mascara then you may consider joining my Facebook group “Mommy Needs Coffee, Wine, & Mascara.” We share a lot of laughs, mom jokes, and real life in this group. Join in on the fun. You can do that HERE.

migraines

Is Chronic Illness Keeping You From Your Goals?

Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

“Be Kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” ~Socrates

I know I’m driven and ambitious, but I battle “stuff” everyday just like you do. I refuse to let my “stuff” defeat me. Even when it’s kicking the crap out of me on a regular basis.

What am I struggling through every week? I am currently struggling through 1-2 debilitating migraines per week. If you get migraines you just cringed a little when I said that.

If you don’t get migraines let me clue you in on what happens, because people who don’t get migraines are so CUTE when they say well maybe you just need some caffeine. So cute…

First, I get an aura (an aura is a visual disturbance brought on by migraine). It starts out as a tiny speck in my field of vision and then slowly expands outward until I can’t see anything. My field of vision is eventually covered by zig zagging lines.

Next I get really nauseous and cold at the same time. I need to go find a dark place to sit and wait for my vision to return.

Once my vision returns cue pounding headache, nausea, and extreme fatigue. If the Tylenol I took is working by this point I’m still nauseous but I can fight down throwing up. The headache is still there although its about 50% of what it would be. A migraine at 50% instead of 100% intensity still makes me want to crawl into a dark hole and never come out. 

I also for about 2 hours after getting a migraine can’t read words on a page or computer screen and I struggle to put sentences together.

For a day afterward I am in a migraine fog where concentrating is difficult and I am EXHAUSTED.

I don’t talk about my migraines much. I usually just function through them which is an exhausting feat in and of itself. Have you ever been in a meeting losing your vision and feeling like anxiety is about to eat you alive? I have, on multiple occasions and its not fun.

Why don’t I talk about it? Because people who don’t get migraines don’t care. They think you’re pretending, that its weak to go home because you have a “headache.” I will say that my current boss does care, but I get them too much to go home every-time I get one.

If I went home every time I got a migraine I’d miss 1-2 days of work a week, and something tells me missing 1-2 days a week of work does not guarantee job security.

I’ve tried taking prescription drugs, but those knock me out and make me depressed at the same time. NOPE.

I took magnesium for a while and that helped but eventually it stopped working.

I’ve narrowed down the things that 100% absolutely trigger me and I work to stay away from those foods: Chinese, microwave popcorn, and candy.

Sometimes when I think about how long I have struggled with these it makes me discouraged. Then I remember I have two choices. I can lay down in a puddle of self pity and quit, or I can continue to fight and push forward refusing to let this defeat me. Those are my only choices and since Daddy didn’t raise no quitter I will keep fighting.

Do you suffer from migraines? What have you found that helps reduce the frequency or intensity of your migraines?

Hugs,

Bria