This is a reader-submitted post.
My 30 Things
1. My diagnosis is: chronic migraine with post-traumatic headache (the trauma was hitting my head on pavement and then a car accident) and cervicogenic headache
2. My migraine attack frequency is: every day. It used to be episodic, but became chronic in May 2014.
3. I was diagnosed in: 2007
4. My comorbid conditions include: I’m really lucky not to have anything except the occasional bout of restless leg syndrome.
5. For daily prevention, I take: mexiletine, baclofen, magnesium, Vitamin D, Botox injections, and greater occipital nerve blocks. To treat an acute attack, I take: Promethazine, Migranal, Imitrex, and Toradol injections (not all at once). I’m really proud that I’ve worked my way down to this lower number of pills.
6. My first migraine attack was: in 7th grade. I had aura and tunnel vision and had no idea what was happening.
7. My most disabling migraine symptoms are: crippling nausea (as in, blinking makes it worse). Photophobia is also very disabling because it prevents me from going anywhere. Oh, and the head pain isn’t fun.
8. My strangest migraine symptoms are: numbness on my right side, forgetting simple words, and inability to put sentences together
9. My biggest migraine triggers are: bad weather above all. Also light (especially fluorescent and the computer screen), sound, smell, and concentrating too hard on anything (including being around other people/being social). Just start imagining all the things that keeps me from doing.
10. I know a migraine attack is coming on when: I start to feel really dizzy and nauseous. I get really weak and giddy.
11. The most frustrating part about having a migraine attack is: not being able to participate in daily life. And I don’t just mean going to the movies and hanging out with friends in public. I mean washing the dishes and doing laundry, too. It’s also frustrating to know that my disease affects other people negatively, and there’s nothing I can do about it.
12. During a migraine attack, I worry most about: Am I ever going to feel better? What if I never get better and I’m stuck like this for the rest of my life??
13. When I think about migraine between attacks, I think: I can beat this motherf$&@er!!!
14. When I tell someone I have migraine, the response is usually: I don’t like telling people because I’m afraid they’ll think I’m looking for pity. I’m not. Just understanding and acceptance.
15. When someone tells me they have migraine, I think: I understand. Do you want to talk about it? I would love to talk about it with someone.
16. When I see commercials about migraine treatments, I think: Don’t ever take Lyrica, that stuff is from hell!!
17. My best coping tools are: deep breathing and visualization (of all the things I’ll do when I’m better)
18. I find comfort in: spending time with my mom. Puppies help, too.
19. I get angry when people say: I don’t believe you can be in that much pain all the time.
20. I like it when people say: I believe you.
21. Something kind someone can do for me during a migraine attack is: remind me that I’m going to get better and bring me occasional drinks or snacks. My mom does all of this and I am so lucky.
22. The best thing(s) a doctor has ever said to me about migraine is: I believe you. Let’s try something else. Also, think about what you’ll do when you’re better.
23. The hardest thing to accept about having migraine is: It’s keeping me from living the life I want. If I were better, I’d have finished a graduate degree and be working for some kick-ass feminist advocacy group by now.
24. Migraine has taught me: that I’m strong. I’ve also learned to respect my limits, and that what I thought was a 10 on the pain scale before I had migraine registers now as simple annoyance.
25. The quotation, motto, mantra, or scripture that gets me through an attack is: Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
26. If I could go back to the early days of my diagnosis, I would tell myself: Go to the Jefferson Headache Center in Philly. They know what they’re doing and a lidocaine drip works miracles.
27. The people who support me most are: my family and best friends, who visit me in the hospital and give me amazing pep talks (you know who you are)
28. The thing I most wish people understood about migraine is: it’s more than just a headache. It’s a major, disabling neurological brain disorder. I would give pretty much anything to be normal again.
29. Migraine and Headache Awareness Month is important to me because: it reminds me that I’m not alone.
30. One more thing I’d like to say about life with migraine is: it sucks. Don’t do it. Drive safely and don’t let boys drop you on your head.
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.