This is a reader-submitted story.
1. My diagnosis is: Chronic Migraine (without aura)
2. My migraine attack frequency is: 30 per month
3. I was diagnosed in: About 35 years ago but not chronic until the last 20 years.
4. My comorbid conditions include: Gord. Otherwise very healthy.
5. I take __0__ medications/supplements each day for prevention and __1__ medications/supplements to treat an acute attack. Been there – done that – no preventative medication works for me – so I got off the merry-go-round and gave it all up as a bad joke!
6. My first migraine attack was: At around 18 years of age
7. My most disabling migraine symptoms are: Pain, extreme fatigue
8. My strangest migraine symptoms are: Frequent urination, I smell smoke, I see a flash of bright blue light in my peripheral vision (right side only).
9. My biggest migraine triggers are: Breathing, sleeping, laughing, crying, talking, working, resting, exercising, alcohol, stress – anything basically.
10. I know a migraine attack is coming on when: When I start to urinate frequently, when I feel extreme sleepiness (I can fall asleep sitting up) or when I feel irritated for no reason and sometimes simply when I feel pain.
11. The most frustrating part about having a migraine attack is: As most of my migraines develop in my sleep, by the time I wake they are full blown and more difficult to treat.
12. During a migraine attack, I worry most about: That my medication will work just one more time. I am so lucky that the triptans are an effective treatment for me in aborting an attack, except when I wake with a full blown attack.
13. When I think about migraine between attacks, I think: If only I could feel like this all the time – what a wonderful thing that would be. Being without pain gives me a high! Woohoo – no pain!
14. When I tell someone I have migraine, the response is usually: Kindness and empathy from strangers – compassion fatigue from family and friends.
15. When someone tells me they have migraine, I think: Oh, I hear you and I get it!
16. When I see commercials about migraine treatments, I think: I am hopeful there may be something new on the market that could help me.
17. My best coping tools are: Learning acceptance that my brain is broken and that the condition is permanent. Also I have cast aside feelings of anger and frustration as they are unhelpful and counter-productive and make me sound like a cranky cow sometimes.
18. I find comfort in: My own home and my own bed.
19. I get angry when people say: “What did you do to cause that attack?” or “Oh, do you still get those headaches. I thought you were better”. Really?
20. I like it when people say: “How on earth do you manage to work full time with that many migraines?” Sometimes I have no idea myself.
21. Something kind someone can do for me during a migraine attack is: Maybe if someone said, “It’s ok – I’ve got that. You just sit and rest a while.”
22. The best thing(s) a doctor has ever said to me about migraine is: I hear you.
23. The hardest thing to accept about having migraine is: I am stuck with this hideous condition. It has affected my work, my marriage, my friendships and my life. I fear it has changed the person I could have been, not necessarily for the better.
24. Migraine has taught me: I am stronger than 10 men.
25. The quotation, motto, mantra, or scripture that gets me through an attack is: Even though it hurts like hell – it can’t hurt me.
26. If I could go back to the early days of my diagnosis, I would tell myself: Nothing – If I knew what I was headed for – I would have been absolutely terrified.
27. The people who support me most are: That’s a hard one. My husband of course but a pain clinic told me to request family and friends to stop asking me about the pain so I am not constantly reminded about it, so no one asks and I don’t share the condition with many people. I am not sure about this advice as it is very isolating.
28. The thing I most wish people understood about migraine is: It is not just a headache but a neurological condition that affects your whole body, work, life and those connected to you.
29. Migraine and Headache Awareness Month is important to me because: It keeps the issue in the minds of those who can make a difference with treatments.
30. One more thing I’d like to say about life with migraine is: I won’t sugarcoat it – I hate this condition as it has caused me to live a life with less joy, happiness, travel, social interactions and fun that I had hoped I would be experiencing. However, I understand that I am broken but I am tougher than I ever imagined I could be.
Reader-submitted stories solely represent the personal point of view, experience, and opinion of the author, not of The Daily Headache or Kerrie Smyres. Follow this link to learn how to share YOUR 30 Things about living with a headache disorder.