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The Daily Slog of Chronic Migraine

Looking back on a treatment I now know was entirely unsuccessful and seeing how hard I hoped it would work is always so strange. I just came across this, which I wrote the day after my first magnesium IV last March and never published:

I woke up this morning with my pain at a level 2, my tummy growling and my energy off the charts. “Ha!,” I thought, “maybe magnesium is the ticket.” I ate breakfast while cleaning the kitchen, then got ready to shower. Yeah, my nausea grew as I cleaned, but I told myself it was just the magnesium, not a migraine. I was about to climb into the shower and could no longer deny that my energy was gone and my head pain had increased. I pleaded (with whom? my head? the migraine gods?), “Please don’t do this, please don’t do this,” but I had to acknowledge that showering would knock me out completely.

So now, 30 minutes after getting out of bed, I’m sitting on the couch, waiting to see what’s going to happen and trying to decide if I should take a triptan.

That morning was nothing but a typical variation in a day in the life of a chronic migraineur, and another example of wishful thinking after trying a new treatment. This blog is filled with my treatment ups and downs — the anticipation and anxiety beforehand, the tentative belief it is working, the disappointment when it doesn’t. Reading old posts was heartrending before I found helpful preventive meds.

Now I can acknowledge what other people have said they see in me — tenacity, bravery, a positive attitude — but it is like I’m reading about someone else. These characteristics are precisely the reason I survived and yet I can’t fully grasp how I persevered. This excerpt from Anna Quindlen’s Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cakeis the best explanation I can come up with:

And then sometimes we become one of those people and are amazed, not by our own strength but by that indomitable ability to slog through adversity, which looks like strength from the outside and just feels like every day when it’s happening to you.

If you’re still in the daily slog, take heart. You will make it through and will one day be amazed by your own strength.

3 Responses to The Daily Slog of Chronic Migraine

  1. Nilofer says:

    I found this diagram by Dr Matthews (though on Dr Tafel’s site) which does a great job showing pathways for migraine. In fact, this is the most complete description that I have seen to date.
    http://www.drjohntafel.com/?page_id=418
    Never give up hope.

  2. Nilofer says:

    Just had to share this site too. Yes, it is by a celiac but hopefully the Columbia study will help alert others who are gluten-sensitive. IF THE INFORMATION EVER REACHES THEM. Sorry, I was hoping that the NYT or some other big newspaper would really pick up the story. I will look again but it seemed muted in the media. Read the comments – lots of people…
    http://www.delightglutenfree.com/migraine-headaches-and-celiac-disease

  3. Leah says:

    Thanks for this post, Kerrie. I’ve heard the same from others and, like you, not seen it in myself. Thanks for the encouragement. I sometimes wonder if I’m just stupid or crazy to keep looking for ways to improve my fibro symptoms. I resonate so much with your posts.
    Thank you – your words make a difference in my life.

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