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The Post I Never Thought I’d Get to Write

Not only do I think I’ve figured out my biggest migraine trigger, I have a way to treat it. Even better, the treatment is simple and straightforward and feels sustainable for the long-term. As an added bonus, it lets me eat peanut butter.

Here’s the gist, which may have gotten lost in the epically long post about mast cells, histamine and diamine oxidase a couple weeks ago:

  1. Whenever a person eats anything, histamine is released as part of the digestive process.
  2. An enzyme called diamine oxidase (DAO) processes the released histamine.
  3. I do not produce enough DAO (nor do many other migraineurs, according to at least one researcher).
  4. Without enough DAO, I can’t fully process normal amounts of histamine.
  5. All that unprocessed histamine is a major migraine trigger for me. (Studies suggest histamine could be a trigger for some percentage of people with migraine.)
  6. By taking a DAO supplement 10 minutes before I eat, I’ve been able to eat without getting a migraine.
  7. Histamine Block, the supplement I started this week, is much more potent and more effective than the one I was experimenting with a couple weeks ago, hence the drastic improvement. [Tons of people have asked where to buy the supplement. The name is Histamine Block and it's available on Amazon. Click those words and you'll get right to it.]

Despite still having constant head pain, it is sometimes as low as a level 1 and I haven’t had a real migraine since last Friday. I literally cannot remember the last time I felt as good as I have in this week.

Unsurprisingly, it has been a tremendously exciting and weird week. Multiple times, I’ve been driving with the windows down, dancing and singing at the top of my lungs, the stereo blaring so I don’t have to hear myself sing — and crying. I just can’t get over how normal life suddenly seems.

I’m so overjoyed and overwhelmed that I can’t make sense of the mass of thoughts jumbled in my mind. Could this treatment — which is so obscure as to be unheard of by the vast majority of headache specialists — really be “it”? Am I embarking on a future without daily debilitating migraine attacks? What does day-to-day life without a constant migraine even look like? Is my greatest wish actually coming true?

1/24/14: I awoke at 5 a.m. worried this post made it sound like I think I’ll never have another migraine, so here’s a clarification. I do not. I even expect they will stay chronic. My greatest wish isn’t to be pain- or migraine-free, but to not have a migraine all. the. time.

Having a migraine triggered every time I ate has probably been the greatest burden of chronic migraine for me. Figuring out something that’s contributing to that one piece of the puzzle — and having any sense of normalcy — is exhilarating.

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14 Responses to The Post I Never Thought I’d Get to Write

  1. Marisa says:

    **SO** excited for you. Sending many long-distance excited hugs your way :-)

  2. Mikeal says:

    I understand in ways that I would not have a couple of years ago. Chronic pain is hard to appreciate until a) you have some and b) it goes away. Happy you’ve found this!

  3. Kate says:

    So happy for you! I too hope this is “it”. Best wishes.

  4. Maia Sepp says:

    I’m more of a creepy lurker-type than someone who posts a lot, but I’m so pleased for you and your progress. I have my fingers crossed for you, and I wish you a ton of luck going forward. We are all looking for that thing (or combination of things) that will help us. (I have been in and out of chronic for years.)

    Cheers,
    Maia

  5. Gail says:

    So happy for you. Thank you for sharing this very useful information. I will look into it.

  6. Christina Harper says:

    Did your migraine go up after eating every time you ate? Or was it certain foods that triggered it more than others?

  7. Sue says:

    I’m so happy for you!!!

  8. Ruth says:

    Wow. Thanks for sharing. ..
    Hopefully you’ll continue to enjoy improved health and others like me will benefit.

  9. Thanks for the love and for celebrating with me. It means more to me than you know.

    I’ve gotten multiple email messages with questions about histamine and DAO. Once I get them all responded to, I’ll post my responses in these comments so everyone can get the additional information.

    First, to answer Christina Harper’s question: Eating anything caused my migraines to worsen, but I think I’m fairly rare in that. A lot of people who have low DAO can eat some (or many) foods without a reaction, and only have trouble with food that’s high in histamine itself. Certain foods naturally contain histamine and some others release even more than usual amounts of histamine when you eat them. You’ll find many conflicting lists online of what’s considered high in histamine and what isn’t. This is the one that’s generally regarded to be the most accurate: http://www.mastocytosis.ca/MSC%20HT%20Restricted%20Diet%20Nov2012.pdf

    Kerrie

  10. That Q&A I promised? It has swallowed three hours and still needs work. I’ll finish it up tonight and publish it tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s the answer to the most frequently asked question:

    What’s the name of your supplement and where do I buy it?
    The actual name is Histamine Block and it’s available on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1ivoY5t
    (Disclosure: If you buy through that link, I’ll get a small percentage of the sale.)

  11. Audra says:

    I’ve been following your blog for years, Kerry, and this post makes me so happy … For you and for all those who hope for and stay persistent in searching for relief and better health. Thanks for sharing your story. I hope this is it for you!!! You have gone through so much!! I’ve had CDH and transform migraine for almost 20 years, I haven’t gone to the same lengths as you, and for a couple of years I even stopped looking for answers because I hated all the side effects, lack of results and disappointment from false hope from all the different doctors and treatments. It’s such a long story, but in the last couple years, I’ve been crazy persistent and I’ve found a four pronged treatment for relief more days that not. One doctor insisted I had to go off one medication because of EKG results, I just didn’t believe the results were right, and did go off the medication and fell back into pain. A cardiologist confirmed they were being dramatic about my results and wrote a letter that I could go back on the med and could be under her care for future heart monitoring. With all four pieces: two medications (typically not used together, but found the combo worked while transitioning from one migraine specialist to the next) and vitamin D, regular massage and daily meditation, I feel like a completely new person, like one who is experiencing how fun life can be for the first time. Yes, I still have a headache everyday, but it’s so low that I can actually think, talk, walk and sleep without overcoming pain. I noticed the little things, too, like turning the car radio up and singing or in response to “How are you?” I’ve changed – subconsciously – from “ok” or “fine” to ” good” or great!” Knowing this may not work forever, I’m appreciative every day!

  12. amber d. says:

    FINALLY reading this joyous post and crying with happiness – not only for you but for ALL OF US. This is wonderful. YOU DESERVE ALL THE JOY!!!

  13. Rose says:

    I am so Extremely Hapy for you Kerrie. I have found relief too and I can only say it’s a miracle cause all I was left to do was Pray (Or actually the people around me that had the courage to do so while I cry and scream or sleep through an attack) I will for ever be part of this community of migraineurs I once discovered. I thank you especially who took the time to communicate with me via email and show me I’m not alone.

  14. Thank you, Audra! I remember you from the early days and am so happy to hear that you’re doing better as well. And that you’re enjoying and appreciating the improvement so much. I am too!

    Amber, as always, thanks for the support.

    Rose, thanks for the kind words and for updating me on your progress. It’s great to hear that you’ve found relief.

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