Migraines, Memories and Mirrors

Since I was four years old I have had migraines. Granted, they were not diagnosed as migraines at that young age. The diagnosis would come later and after careful consideration by the doctors it was decided that they had been a part of my life since I was four years old. Now doctors know that young children can get migraines, when I first started having them it was thought only adults had them. Many doctors even thought I was pretending to have headaches. They were not taken seriously. When I finally found a doctor, which would later become doctors, that would give the proper diagnosis it was a relief to have a name for what I suffered from. It did not make life easier nor did it stop people, including friends and family, from thinking that I was just exaggerating my pain, but it was somewhat of comfort to have a diagnosis even if I was the only one who understood it.

I get several different types of migraines. I also get cluster headaches. Any headache I get, even if it is only stress most likely will lead to a migraine. If my sinuses are acting up as they do with allergies, it leads to a migraine. I could continue to list all the different thing that can lead to migraines, but I will just let it stand that many things can lead to a migraine but not be the cause of it. I have been to enough neurologists to know that there is no “cure” for migraines. There are treatments. The one most preferred by many neurologists is that no pain medication, including aspirin, ibuprofen, etc. ever be taken again for the rest of life. The reason they believe this is because of the rebound headache. I get those too. I am of the opinion that billions of dollars have been spent on researching medication for migraines. The research was not done for the medications to it sit on the shelf of a drug store.

Not long after my diagnosis I was put on a mild migraine medication. It works well, but is not a cure-all. I have been given other medications to see if they would work better. The newer ones almost killed me. Each time a new medication failed I was put back on the older med. I finally had it out with the doctor and told him to just keep me on it, stop changing my medications. He told me I might become addicted to it. I told him I really did not care if I became addicted as long as it worked. From my point of view, there is no difference between someone with diabetes or some other life altering illness that requires medication for life and my need for medication for life. The doctor I have now gives me the medication, in fact she is afraid to try any new ones, but I get a very small amount and it must last 30 days, if I run out then I must suffer. If the migraine is worse I must go to the emergency room as she will not give me any narcotics for my migraines. I am okay with this, though truth be told I wish she would give me a larger amount of the medication each month. But knowing I have some is better than the ups and downs of changing medications and suffering all the while.

Which leads me to memories. With every memory, I have a migraine related to it. Here are a few examples:

As a little girl a big birthday party was planned, family were coming from far away, I spent most of the day in my bed unable to move I was in such pain. For me there was no party.

My husband and I went to a race we were both looking forward to, we were invited to events afterwards. Before we went to any events, as we were leaving the track, I asked my husband to give me a moment, I lied down on dirty bleacher seats, hoping my migraine would go away. It did not and we went to the emergency room instead.

We were on vacation, enjoying the sun and warmth. I could not look at the sun though as it made my migraine worse, the warmth might have been fine but the sun was not. I went back to the hotel room, curled up under the blankets and suffered with pain.

My husband needed to go to the doctor. It was an important appointment. After vomiting several times, I managed to get him in the car, drive thirty miles, get him into the doctor. Ask all the questions needed, then return home and to bed. This happened more times than I can count.

This list could go on forever. Every memory has a migraine attached to it. While some memories show minor migraines, some show severe migraines where I probably should not have gone out. As I am reflecting on my life I see that even in my happy memories there was always another presence felt, my migraine. I know the mirror reflected the migraine. No amount of makeup can cover up the most severe migraine. It may make it look a little better but it cannot take away the pain in and around the eyes. I find it sad that my life has been ruled by migraines. As I go forward I know I will still have these migraines. I know I will not be able to cover them with makeup. I know the mirror will show the migraine. I also know in the future when I look back at the present I will still see migraines attached to each memory.