Taking my medication is the best and worst thing that I do for myself each day.
Migraines have been a part of my life for over twenty years. I vividly remember the first one, when it hit, how it felt like I was going to pass out and throw up at the same time, and that there was nothing I could do but go to bed and hope it would go away. I had gotten headaches my whole life, even as a young child, but this was DIFFERENT. Life-changing. Destructive. Debilitating.
I don’t remember the next few or even the next few years of migraines, but I do remember a few years ago when they started becoming a regular thing, a monthly thing, a “normal” thing. Life stopped for days at a time while I curled in bed, waiting for the pain to fade. I downed ibuprofen like it was candy, and it hardly made a dent in the throbbing at the base of my neck, in my ears, under my eyebrows.
Then my stomach revolted, and that pain started to rival the migraines. Tests taken, no ulcer yet but on that path, I had to switch to another drug for the migraines. The first one made me ask for potato chips in bed with my eyes closed - my arms were heavy, “felt like forever” was the exact phrase I told my kids. Not a good long-term solution. Next drug did nothing. The third drug, an anti-seizure med, made me buzz in that bad pins-and-needles way all day long until the dosage was adjusted.
A hesitant equilibrium reached, I stayed with the third drug, happy to avoid the throbbing for the most part. It broke through in moments of intense stress, but the relief was blissful.
With that relief, came what I call the cloud. It’s not heavy, but it makes me slower. Hours can go by without real purpose, and a wave of sleepiness can hit me at any time of day.
Recently my doctor suggested I lower the dosage to see what happens.
The throbbing started in a staff meeting this week. It continued when I got home, and I found myself in bed for hours. I went to bed early, hoping for a better morning. Felt the throbbing as soon as I woke up, and was grateful that my 10am meeting had been canceled. I spent the day in bed, for the most part, trying my old tricks of aromatherapy and binaural music to dull the agony before taking a pain pill. That night, I had enough.
I took the regular dose again. I had to - I knew it would dull my thoughts, and might make it harder to create and write, but the pain was brutal. And more than that, I hated that I couldn’t do anything else. I spent so much time thinking about and talking about the pain. I don’t want to BE the pain. I’d rather have to push through the dulling sensation to talk about something else, anything else, than not have an option.
I took the regular dose again last night, and I can feel that familiar cloud today. It’s not heavy, but I feel slowed down, ready for a nap.
The beauty of it is that the throbbing is finally gone.
I will talk to my doctor next week and see if we can come up with a Plan B. If I am not posting as often or as well, it’s because there’s a battle I’m fighting in my head, in my body. Some say I won’t have to fight the battle forever, that one day my body may stop and the migraines may go away. I hope that’s true, but for now, I think I’ll let the meds win this one and take a little nap.