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This Blog Does Not Contain Medical Advice (But What Should it Contain?)

I am dismayed by the number of people who told me they read my post on magnesium and immediately started taking 700 mg of the supplement. They didn’t look into recommended dosages or side effects, they just started taking as much as I said helped me. In the almost seven years since I began The Daily Headache, this is the first time I’ve felt like what I’ve written has been misconstrued as medical advice. Fortunately, magnesium is fairly safe and the effect of taking too much — diarrhea — is pretty obvious. But the situation did get me thinking about this blog and its purpose.

I blamed myself because I didn’t include details about magnesium and its potential dangers in the post. I resolved to not post (much) until I had written a thoroughly researched piece on magnesium. Hence the dearth of posts for the last couple weeks. As much as I want to, I simply don’t have the energy to research and write the post. Because I have chronic migraine, I spend a lot of time feeling too brain dead to write. When I feel good, sitting at a computer is the last place I want to be. I love writing and research and, yet, I spend so much time on my butt that I want to be cooking or cleaning or talking with friends when I feel OK, not isolated at the computer.

Since I began blogging again in November, my posts have been more my personal experience and less about what’s in the news or researched headache or migraine information. Being on the computer is no longer a trigger — I have special glasses that help with that — but what I’m interested in writing about is different than it was seven years ago. People tell me that my own stories are actually the most useful to them, but I struggle with feeling like all I care about is myself. Now that one of my personal posts has lead to people taking medication without further research, I’m conflicted.

So now I’m wondering: How do I balance sharing personal experience without being self-centered? Should I restrict the topics that I write about if I’m not up to doing research about them? What should this blog be? Do I write about what I’m thinking about or what I think readers want to read? What do you think?

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Terrible Migraines: Is it birth control pills? Allergies? A bad spell?

My brain has had a rough month. I’ve had brief reprieves, but most of my time has been occupied by terrible migraines. I feel better this morning and am taking full advantage of it.

I’m in my fourth week of birth control pills. I’ve been spotting for the last 10 days, which I assume has contributed to the migraines. I plan to give the experiment a couple more months, but am not sure if I can make it that long.

I’m increasingly certain that allergies trigger at least some of my migraines. You may remember last spring was also horrible for me. Magnesium certainly was a factor. I wonder if allergies were also involved. Taking a Zyrtec yesterday appears to have reduced my agony tremendously. I had to reschedule yesterday’s appointment for allergy tests (for the third time) for later this month. (Please note that although allergies don’t cause migraines, they can be a trigger.)

My outlook is surprisingly good. Especially considering a bad appointment with my headache specialist Monday. The gist of the appointment: I have headaches and migraines that haven’t responded to treatment. With time, headache research will uncover more clues. Until then, why not try some more things in case they help? And I should think about medication to “make life bearable,” like morphine. (That’s a can o’ worms I can’t open right now.)

Back to the good outlook: If I have to live with migraines and headaches, at least I can do it the best way possible. I have a comfortable home; supportive, patient friends and family; and an understanding husband. My insurance covers a variety of treatments. I can stream NPR and audiobooks from the library. I eat good food that I don’t have to make. My life is as good as it can be right now.

I’m sad to not post more on the blog. I want to write about news and research. I want to share resources. I want to write about myself less. I want the blog to be like it was two years ago. Change is inevitable, so I’m trying to not worry about it much. Maybe I’ll get there again, maybe not.