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Stealth Attack

It sneaks up, so quiet that I don’t know it’s there. It bullies my body until I awaken, dizzy, nauseated and gasping in pain. My only choice is to go back to sleep, but it’s never a restful sleep. If I’m lucky, I’ll wake in the morning slightly out of sorts, but without much pain. More often, I have to sleep at least an extra two hours and the rest of my day will be mediocre at best.

These were my thoughts when I was awoken by a migraine for the fourth time in the last five nights. (Yes, I do mentally blog in the middle of the night!) This happened a few months ago too, but I’m not sure when it was or how many days the night migraines lasted.

If only I kept a headache diary I might see if there was a pattern. I get so sad when I can look back at the month and see just how bad the pain was. Without a diary, it’s easy to fool myself into thinking the pain wasn’t so bad.

While I insist my migraines aren’t linked to my menstrual cycle, I did start my period on Thursday night and have had a migraine every night since then except for Friday. Hmm…

I really like the headache journal on Migraine Survival. Maybe today’s the day to try charting them again.

Do you chart your headaches? Is it helpful for you or just frustrating?

7 Responses to Stealth Attack

  1. Amanda says:

    I try to keep a headache diary, and did so every day for about a month recently… and it is so depressing! It’s hard to keep up with, though, because having a headache is just a given, and it’s easy to forget to write an entry.

    You’re absolutely right, Kerrie, it’s sad to see your pain right there in black and white.

  2. Diana says:

    I do keep one. It is depressing to look back over my headache diary, but I know I minimize the extent to which I am disabled by migraines if I don’t keep track and bring my doctors copies for my chart. I try not to dwell on it, but it is hard not to get down about it sometimes.

  3. Sarah says:

    I track my headaches but the method has changed over the years. For quite awhile I kept a detailed journal that included a summation of my activities for the day and everything I ate. It helped me figure out my multiple food triggers, as well as sort out stressors that were triggers.

    Now I keep a monthly calendar with just a small amount of space for writing in, but I can see the whole month at a glance. On days when I have to take extra medication (other than my daily migraine preventative) to prevent a headache from turning into a migraine, I list the medication and quantity on the calendar. I also write down what I think the trigger was. When my attempts to prevent a full blown migraine fails, then the notes get longer, and I enter them into a log in my computer.

    I tell myself I’ve made progress because I don’t use triptans anymore and I’ve only had two full blown migraines in the past 10 months. While in fact this is significant progress, I’m still doing quite a dance to keep them at bay, and my monthly calendars reflects that reality. On average, I take extra meds 15 days a month to prevent a migraine. *sigh*

  4. Aaron says:

    I used to keep a detailed headache journal as well including intakes, times, and feelings. Of course, this last maybe a month when I realized that I get the headaches every day. I like the idea of just keeping track of when you have a headache and if you took something for it. Most of the time when I see my neuro, I probably understate what is actually happening in terms of frequency and duration.

  5. Kerrie says:

    Thanks for your honest answers. You validate both the idea that it’s hard to do and that it’s but a valuable tool. It helps to know that I’m not the only one resisting or saddened by it.

    K

  6. Kate says:

    I’ve kept a chart of pain levels and meds used for about 5 years. My doc and I go over it in each appt. to keep track of headache patterns, med use, what is & isn’t effective, when to try something new, etc. It’s a nuisance but has become habit. I carry a small notebook in my purse, and write down each pill I take, what time it is, and what the pain level is at that time. Then I transfer it to the chart each month. The notebook also helps ME remember how many hours ago I took a painkiller, and when I can safely take one again if needed. I couldn’t remember otherwise! I’ve come to rely on it totally.

  7. Christina P says:

    It has been interesting–and helpful–to read your comments. We have been in the process of developing an online headache diary at MigraineSurvival in an attempt to find a better way to go about this than boring blocks of space on a page, or little notebooks. (Still, it’s good to know that we also have the better page!)

    Take a look at the demo pages–the link is at the bottom of the page called Why Join? I am very interested in your input as we move forward with this. As currently configured, it takes about ten minutes to complete. At least you can see it all in color instead of black and white.

    I do think it helps to be able to track things. I myself was shocked when I first filled out the intake form on my own diary–I had checked three quarters of the boxes for things that can trigger my headaches. Until I saw it for myself, I really hadn’t realized I had so many triggers. And I have had migraines for 40 years, and treated them for 20.

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