Friday, June 1, 2012

Migraine Awareness Month #1: Your First for the First


Today's prompt is:

Share the story of your first Migraine, what it was like, if you knew what it was, what you did, how you felt..

When in Washington DC this last April, my bestie Jules reminded me that she remembered me having a lot of *headaches*  Her daughter now gets Migraines, and she now understands a bit of what I was going through at the time.  

Thankfully for me, I was lucky, those early headache episodes - while painful - did not escalate until later.  My first bonafide Migraine with aura was when I was about 17.  However, I've told that story a million times.  Instead, I'm going to tell the story about the Migraine that finally got me diagnosed...  

I was pregnant and my son was due the middle of March.  We decided to take a family trip up to see my relatives in Minnesota, so hubs and I drove up for a weekend in early December.

We stayed with my Grandma and Grandpa in their home in town.  When I awoke upstairs on Sunday morning, the side of my head felt like I'd bounced it off the concrete outside.  What's worse, I was almost completely blind.  I remembered my mom talking about headaches that hurt so bad "you couldn't see straight".  I figured this must be what she was talking about.  I had one similar, though not nearly so dramatic episode when I was in my teens, and it disappeared, so I thought this would as well.  I hid it from my grandparents who didn't tolerate illness or weakness well, especially on a Sunday morning.

Somehow I managed to get showered and dressed. Thank goodness for wash and wear hair! I took hubs arm and he guided me to the car, and from the car to our seats in church.  

I faked my way through the service with all the bright shining stained glass seeming to stick a rod into my skull.  We had to go to the store, and once again I made it because I could hold onto hubs' arm and fake it.  

I used all the rest of the tylenol throughout the day and it wasn't touching a thing.  So, I tried to lay down and go to sleep.  I was nauseous.  When I awoke, I could at least see.  The aura (as I later learned it was called) was better, but still not gone.  

We had to drive home that afternoon, so we said our goodbyes and I lay my head on the back of the seat and fell asleep again.  

When I awoke this time, it was dark.  The pain was better.  I couldn't tell through the darkness if I could still see or not, so I rode the rest of the drive in silence and in the comforting darkness.

We got home, I went to bed and the next morning I felt normal again.  My eyesight had returned and although I was puzzled and certainly didn't want it to happen again, decided I could wait a week to see my OB/GYN to talk about what happened.

When I explained my symptoms and answered some of his questions, he told me I'd had a Migraine.  Considering he was watching me for a flare of my lupus which he anticipated could be very serious, this was little to be concerned about... it seemed.

However, in my world, Migraine was a word I'd only heard once before, in the same hushed tones normally reserved for terrible things like *cancer*.  Nobody talked about the dreaded Migraines a friend of the family suffered.  It was like some terrible secret.  Everyone pretended they didn't exist.

My doctor prescribed Tylenol 3 tablets and sent me home with no explanation other than the attack meant my blood vessels had constricted and then dilated to the point of pain.  (My how much we've learned in 28 years!)  It might return, and if it did to take the meds and go to bed.  

Nothing about triggers, diaries, abortive meds (there were none).  Nothing very helpful at all.  That would come later as I shopped my way through doctor after doctor hoping someone would eventually help me.

So you see, my Migraine journey actually starts relatively slowly.  My attacks were painful, but they rarely lasted more than a day, and that made them relatively easy to deal with unless I was alone with my baby boy and had no one to help me.  It wasn't until years later that I became chronic, suffering daily attacks that eventually became one long, arduous intractable Migraine that lasted nearly a year.  

And things went downhill from there... 

National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation. The Blogger's Challenge is initiated by

To help raise awareness about Migraine, please Tweet this post with the hash tags #NMAM and #NMAMBC and share it on your Facebook page. Thank you!


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