Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A momentous occasion!

Here's my momentous news:

I HAVEN'T HAD A MIGRAINE FOR ONE WHOLE YEAR!!!!!!!

March 30th, 2015 was the last time I had a migraine. Now, it is March 30th, 2016, and I'm praising the Lord for this blessing!

For the uninitiated, I have been getting migraines for about six or seven years. We never found out the cause (though we supposed it had to do with hormones) and never found medication that completely took away the pain. Usually, when I had a migraine, it would debilitate me for the whole day.

My first migraine.
I have two stories, since I can't remember which one was the first.
1. I was lying on the sofa reading a Tintin book when I started seeing "flashers" (see below). I didn't know what they were at the time, and why they were keeping me from reading my book. Then, the headache hit. I had never had a headache that bad before. I can remember lying in the heat of the sunroom because that made me feel better, but I can't remember anything else from this migraine.
2. We had had tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner. It was bedtime. Daddy was reading Tintin to me when I got the worst headache I'd ever had. I began to feel sick. The pain was so bad that I couldn't concentrate on what he was reading. Eventually, the tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich came back up. I couldn't eat them again for months.

Symptoms:
I always had a warning before a migraine. A small part of my vision would be blocked by a half-circle of flashing brightness that would grow and grow and grow until it exceeded my vision. Then, the headache would come on. The "flashers," or "auras," as we've called them over the years, always made me nauseous. Even trying to describe them to you now makes me slightly nauseous.
If I didn't take my medication before the flashes expanded beyond my vision, the pills wouldn't be of use, as the pain from the headache would make me throw them up. Sometimes, even after I took my pills, I would throw them up again. Twice I've had to be taken to the emergency room because I couldn't stop throwing up.
After a few hours of lying in a dark room, the headache would eventually go away. For the rest of the day and the next, I would be groggy with a lingering headache and a sore throat from vomiting.

Solutions we've tried:
-Caffeinated coca cola, because caffeine is supposed to help with headaches. This seemed to work for awhile, but it wasn't a long-term solution.
-Ice chips. This was the most recent solution we tried, and it worked well in three ways. 1) Pressing ice against the top of your mouth/getting a brain freeze makes the blood vessel in your brain constrict, which is somehow linked with stopping migraines. 2) The ice kept me hydrated. 3) The ice gave me something to concentrate on other than the headache pain.
-Advil. At first, when we thought my migraines were just headaches, I would try Advil for the pain, but that didn't work well.
-Excedrin. This is a common over-the-counter migraine medicine, but it never worked for me.
-Sumatriptan. This is a prescription migraine-preventative medication. I believe we tried it on its own for awhile, but that never worked well so...
-Naproxen. Yet another painkiller. I took this in addition to Sumatriptan and the two drugs together staved off most of the pain. I knew that the pain was still there, but it was as if it was hidden behind a wall.
-Ondansetron. This is a nausea medication I took to, well, stop me from throwing up every ten minutes.
-MigreLief. We thought my migraines might come on because of a deficiency of some sort, so I began taking two supplements a few years ago. MigreLief is one of them and it contains feverfew, magnesium, and riboflavin.
-Butterbur. This is the second supplement I take. I used to take two MigreLief and Butterbur every day, but, recently, I've gone down to one of each a day. It hasn't had any adverse effects on me yet.

I used to get one or two migraines a month, which then slowed to one a month, which then slowed to one every other month, which then slowed to one every three months, which then—strangely—changed into two every threeish months, except they were a day or two apart. So, instead of having only one migraine every few months, I would have two in a row every few months, which was both odd and annoying.

These migraines have tested my faith over the years. At first, I thought if I only prayed harder and had stronger faith, God would take them away from me. That is not how prayer and faith work, so, obviously, it didn't work. For awhile, I felt like God was punishing me with migraines because of something I'd done, but that's not how God operates. Eventually, I learned these lessons and learned to trust God, even in the midst of the pain.
I used to be very afraid when anything exciting was happening because I worried that I would get a migraine and not be able to go. While I still have those fears occasionally, for the most part, I'm not deathly afraid of migraines any more. I think having medication that blocks most of the pain helps, too.

Maybe the supplements balanced out whatever was missing from my body. Maybe the teenage hormones settled down. Maybe I grew out of migraines. Maybe God healed me. Whichever answer is the correct one, I am very grateful that I have been one year migraine free! It is such a blessing!

12 comments:

  1. Praise God for a year of freedom!

    Thanks for sharing this. I had no idea. Pain is so hard to take, isn't it? My wife, who suffers from chronic pain, recently read a book called "A Place of Healing" by Joni Erickson Tada. She cried a lot, but I think it helped her.

    I pray you'll have many more years free of that awful pain.

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    1. I'm sorry that your wife suffers chronic pain! That must be difficult. Pain is horrible.
      Joni Eareckson Tada is a wonderful lady. I've seen the movie about her life and I know that my aunt who suffered from multiple sclerosis enjoyed her books and her devotionals.

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  2. Praise the Lord for such a wonderful anniversary! I pray you will continue on migraine-free. I'm so sorry you had to deal with that for so long :( I've dealt with fairly bad headaches for most of my life, but I've only been hit once or twice with anything even approaching migraine-level. They are no fun.

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    1. Thank you! Headaches are awful, whatever the pain level. I'm sorry that you suffer from them!

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  3. Obviously from the beginning of your post, they are brought on by reading Tintin. Stop reading him!

    I've only had one aura without the migraine - right when I finished menopause. It scared me - thought I was getting retina problems, so I went to the eye doctor who said no, it was an aura and told me to expect a migraine. I did get small migraines once a month since David's birth. After the aura, no more headaches! I guess my periods were finishing with fire-works! So happy for you that they are gone!

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    1. Oh my goodness! You're right! Goodbye, Tintin. It was a good twelve years together.
      Well, that's a good way to finish menopause. No more headaches, woohoo!

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  4. Rejoicing with you!!! And praying for God's continued healing and care for you, dear Abbey.

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  5. momentous indeed! Am very happy for you.

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