Monday, February 14, 2011

Migraines

Unfortunately I am one of the many sufferers of migraines. Mine are the ocular kind and it is a family thing. My mom, aunt, cousins and second cousin (all females) have them. Sometimes I can go months ~ even a year ~ without having one, but last week I had two. Last week wasn't a happy week. A variety of things can bring them on: changes in the barometric pressure, stress, lack of exercise, lack of sleep, dehydration. Besides the barometric pressure (over which I have no control) I try to monitor these potential triggers so to avoid migraine episodes. But sometimes they just happen.

Maybe the barometric pressure was doing weird things last week. Maybe I was stressed because last Monday would have been my Dad's 61st birthday. Maybe I was dehydrated from all the shoveling I had to do. Maybe it was a combination of these things.

The thing that frustrates me the most is the unpredictable nature of my migraines. I can be going along, feeling just fine, when suddenly my vision shifts and things I know are right in front of me disappear. Last week my second migraine came on while driving. I remember thinking, "I know there is a red light there.... I just can't see it!" It's a little disconcerting. The ocular part concludes with a mean little jagged line in the middle of my vision and flashing strobe like lights in my periphery. About ten minutes after the visual 'show' the pain begins. Sometimes the medicine mitigates it enough to be bearable. Other times not. Last week I was tucked away in my bedroom most of the day, room darkening shades drawn.

That is the story of my migraines. My migraine specialist told me that they often go away after menopause. That could be a reason to look forward to menopause, but I'm not holding my breath. My mother and my aunt still suffer from them. I imagine I will as well.

So I am trying to make peace with my migraines. I am trying to let go of the rage I feel when that mean little jagged line appears in my vision announcing the pain ~ and the change of plans ~ that will follow. Maybe I can see my migraines as a reminder to take care of myself. Maybe I can view them as an opportunity to free myself from schedules and obligations and deadlines. Maybe I can embrace my migraines. I don't think so .... but maybe :)

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