Thursday, January 20, 2011

Migraine Musings.

Today I felt like an egg.
At one point I felt like an egg boiled hard from the inside out and then plunged into cold water only to be rolled over and over until it's shell is crushed into a tiny mosaic of broken pieces.
At another point I was an egg with it's delicate shell being thrust at the hard edge of a cast iron frying pan before being cracked open and my insides spewed out.
At one point I even felt like how an egg must feel when it gets chucked at car going 50 km an hour.

It's tough being an egg.

All my life I have suffered from acute migraines, and yes I know that's not something I want to own as an edict over my life that I shall forever BE a sufferer, but it seems to be the thorn in my flesh God chooses not to remove and so instead we shoulder up and we learn.

It all started at the age of 7 or 8 when I would awaken in the dead of night feeling like my head was splitting open and I would stumble down the hallway to my parent's door and in sobbing tears tell them I hurt.
My dad would sit with me as I lay on the cold tiles of the bathroom floor in the dark until finally the pain and nausea would send me over the edge (literally) of the porcelain bowl and finally, shaking and cold, I would begin to revive.
Of course my parents were bewildered by this and I saw different doctors and optometrists which only led to dead ends and the suggestion that maybe I was highly excitable or maybe I had allergies to different foods.
This meant I wasn't allowed to have root beer for a while as there was a correlation between me, migraines and birthday parties and special outings where root beer was my beverage of choice.

Suddenly one day at the age of 11, they went away and I hardly noticed because I had more important things to focus on, namely the effects of puberty, starting Junior High and listening to Hanson.

One afternoon when I was seventeen and sitting alone in the basement watching television with no rootbeer in sight, I suddenly lost vision in my left eye.
I blinked, and blinked again and tried not to panic. I made my way upstairs to the living room where my parents were sitting and by then half my vision in my right eye was gone too. Amazingly calm, I blurted out "Uh... I can't see anything in my eyes... I think something is wrong".
My mother sprang into action and within minutes we were on our way down to the emergency department. All I kept thinking about was that scene from Little House on the Prairie when Mary wakes up blind and starts screaming "Pa! I can't see! I can't see!" (that still sends shivers down my spine.)
I don't remember much of the rest of that visit to the hospital. At one point I guess I passed out on the bathroom floor while we were waiting to be seen by a doctor. My mom came in and found me there and pulled the emergency cord and all these nurses and doctors came rushing in, put me on a stretcher and stuck me with an IV. I almost wish I remembered it, it all sounds so very ER and dramatic.

I was diagnosed as having suffered an acute 5 migraine ( I guess they rate migraines similiarly to tornadoes or earthquakes) with aura (which is a fancy way of saying I went temporarily blind). They told me to start keeping a journal for the next time it happened and sent me out the doors with some Tylenol Threes.

Fast Forward the rest of my coming of age years, I never suffered another attack like that until my daughter was  almost one and I was driving home from the grocery store twenty minutes from my house. I got home and told Kevin I couldn't see out of my left eye and had driven home using only the right. I felt no pain but wondered if I was having a migraine like the one I'd been through 6 years before. I decided to lay down on the bed and within ten minutes I couldn't see out of either eye, save the top corner of my right, and curiously I had no feeling in my left arm or the whole right side of my face.
This time it was my husband who was trying not to panic as he packed me into the car and there was no wait in the emergency as they ushered us in and put me on an iv drip.
This time they told us, the headaches were back and along with the aura, I was now sufffering symptoms of a stroke. I was advised to stop using any kind of oral contraceptives (as these can increase your risk of stroke 300 fold) and given a referral to a specialist in the city.... for 4 months later.

In those four months I began suffering the migraines more and more. I ended up in the emergency department repeatedly when the trial medications I was given didn't work. On our one and only attempt at having a romantic weekend getaway, we ended up in the Banff regional hospital, me puking my guts out on an IV for 5 hours.

I saw the specialist and tried the new medications she prescribed. I went to the big fancy hospital and underwent the fancy head scan tests, everything came back with a clean report which we were so thankful for, but we weren't any step closer to figuring things out.

Then one Sunday, at church, the Pastor gave a call for prayer for any one with a request that they had always neglected to ask for in prayer.
I don't often bring requests forward, it's a downfall on my part, and has nothing to do with my faith over seeing God actually heal me, (well maybe it does a little, I guess I'll have to soul search that one a little more) but really I had never asked for prayer because of this flawed idea that I had so many other things to be thankful for, I should just keep my burden to myself and be thankful for what I had. No use in complaining when other people had REAL problems.

Well, I asked for prayer, received it and felt like I was healed. In fact another few years went by with absolutely no trace of the headaches. I stopped being afraid to leave the house, I stopped needing to carry medication on my person at all times, I stopped being afraid to drive (as much, but that's another skeleton for another closet for another day). It was great and I give all praise and glory to God for that reprieve.

But following our family's vacation to Hawaii just over a year ago, I was hit with the worst headache yet. I suffered the full extent of my symptoms and didn't catch it in time to take my medication. It lasted almost 3 times as long as the usual attacks and took me almost a week to recover. (there may have been some jet lag in there too).
Since then I've had migraines off and on, I take medication for them when I catch them which is during the 20 minutes I have from the start of the aura till it dissolves and my sight returns along with searing pain. The medication reduces me to a limp dishrag so it has it's pros and cons and I really hate putting something so drastic in my body in the first place.
I've done tons of research on the whole topic, but the problem is, there isn't a ton of research done on migraines. They are like individual thumbprints unique and hideous to the sufferer. There are different methods of dealing with them ranging from acupuncture to fruit juice and of course there's still prayer.

I've taken my burden back to Jesus many times in the last year and asked him not only to take it away, but for answers. All I hear from him back is the answer "no, not now". Not an angry "NO" but the still,gentle, patient "no." of a Father who's worth trusting.

I'm going to continue being proactive about the whole thing. Keeping a migraine diary is something I haven't been disciplined about but the major community out there of people like me claim it is THE ONLY WAY to find the triggers and manage the migraines as naturally as possible.
Really the medication is something I'd love to get off. I'm not on a preventative at this point because even though my doctor prescribed one, I'm really not gung ho to start a regimen of hard drugs. (and believe me these steroids mean business).

If anyone knows of some research I haven't seen I'm willing to look into it, but I also don't want to start throwing myself at miracle cures and I don't have the money to start new product. Like I said I'm trusting that God knows what he's doing and with diligent note taking and making over my healthy living habits, I really think things will go a long way.

In the mean time and that being said, keep me in your prayers,
Humpty Dumpty


  1. I will pray. I can't imagine going through all that, thanks for sharing.

    I felt uplifted by seeing part of your journey of faith.

    I think perhaps we should meet for coffee and curl up in those red chairs....

  2. you poor thing....I will pray, I cannot imagine how awful that miust be.

  3. Hopefully it's now cleared and you're feeling OK and not too pulverized...they sound both scary and extremely horrid and following on the egg theme I expect you feel like you are walking on egg shells after one, wary of doing anything to provoke it's return. I don't tend to pray ..but I don't understand enough about the universe to discount it and have found that love, goodwill and kindness seem to have power to change if you're not offended I shall send good thought and wishes.

  4. Not offended at all Val, I appreciate the gesture, and that was a good pun about the eggshells!
    Thanks Sarah!
    And thank you too Breanne, I am looking forward to red chairs most definitely!!!!!! Name the place and we shall make it happen soon!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...