Coping, Treatment

Migraine Design Project, Questions 2 & 3

Here’s the second installment of my answers to Molly’s questions. The third question was pretty tough for me to answer, so I’m taking a few days off before I answer the last two.

2. What sort of drugs have you been on and what were the side effects? Are the side effects worth it?

My drug list is long and probably best summarized in classes: Antidepressants, mood stabilizers, anticonvulsants, triptans, opioids/narcotics, OTC painkillers, anitnauseants, botox, ergots, vasocontrictors, prescription painkillers, calcium channel blockers, vitamins, natural Chinese remedies — including tea made from ground scorpions.

I’m extremely lucky in that side effects often pass me by. If I get them, they only last a month at the most. I’m able to take pretty much anything (obviously) except beta blockers because my blood pressure is on the low side. Knock on wood.

3. What might you give up to make your migraines go away?

Sorry, but my first response is to laugh. Headache and migraine have made me give up so much that I’m not sure there’s much left. But I do like the idea of a bargaining chip.

I’m going to start with a list of things left that I could trade. Reading, living in Seattle, having a home I love, concerts, travel, friends, writing, coffee, wheat products, TV, movies, listening to Dave Matthews, the internet, wearing jeans, appreciating design, listening to music while on an airplane, blogging, dancing, owning a car, eating at restaurants (which is already compromised by a restricted diet), baking, walking, talking, sleeping, breathing.

Of this list, I’d reluctantly consider trading a few of them. TV is an easy one and movies are a close second. I could probably handle wheat products. The internet, although that would make blogging impossible. Maybe dancing, but that would preclude concerts and remove a major stress release for me. Owning a car as long as I live in a place where I can walk everywhere.

If push came to shove and this would ensure that I’d be pain-free for the rest of my life, I’d consider more items to barter. But it’s agonizing to even imagine life without them. Too many are vital to my happiness. (Even though it might seem like I am, I’m not being melodramatic.)

The most recent thing I’ve given up is yoga, which may be one of the most significant losses yet. It was the one time when I focused on how strong and functional my body could be, not how broken it is. Unfortunately going without yoga doesn’t make my headaches any better.

I also can’t forget that the symptoms of this disease may eventually force me to give up travel, concerts, reading, TV or movies.

To help with Molly’s design project, send your answers to her at

2 thoughts on “Migraine Design Project, Questions 2 & 3”

  1. I’ve had Chronic Daily Headche for 8 years.

    I used to work out at the gym, but have recently had to give it up. I’m just too tired, and I’d begun to suspect that my whole muscular system was out of whack, so I was just reinforcing imbalances that were causing certain shoulder and neck muscles to overwork, and cause referred pain. I now have a prescribed, extremely gentle and mild exercise program intended to correct the imbalances.

    My point is, giving up the gym meant I have put on weight, and my body is not nearly as toned as it was. It’s an assault on my vanity! I don’t feel nearly as attractive as I did a year ago.

    The past 8 years have in some ways been a profound test of what is important in my life, and what is expendable. I have found myself time and time again thinking ‘I’d give anything to be well’. And then I have found myself having to test that statment. Really? Anything? What about this? What about that? Foods that you love? Activities, even people that you love? Feeling fit, slim and sexy?

    Sometimes it’s scary, wondering where it’s going to end. Sometimes it’s amazing, finding that I am a thousand times stronger than I thought I was.

    That’s beautifully written, Eleanor. Thanks for sharing it with us.


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