Migraines

Happy Now beautiful souls!

I decided to shift gears a bit to talk about migraines. I have been suffering from a migraine episode for the last six months…yes, one migraine for six months.

Being in a “pain/dis-ease” experience for this long allows me a chance to more deeply understand the flow of the migraine/treatment episode and how it effects the various aspects of my life. Honestly, this will benefit myself potentially more than you. I have been able to be consciously aware of unusual symptoms and warning signs to allow a chance to mitigate the pain before it gets to be too much. I am practicing “Mindful Migraines.”

Before I jump into to what’s being going on, literally in my head, let’s take a closer look at migraines in general.

Approximately 37 million Americans suffer from migraines. It is not “just a headache.” Migraines of which there are multiple types; are a debilitating phenomenon which have multiple symptoms affecting multiple systems of the body.

Types of Migraines include: Chronic Migraine, migraine with and without aura, Vestibular Migraine, Abdominal Migraine, Hemiplegic Migraine, and Menstrual Migraine.

Migraines cause inflammation of membranes covering the brain which can actually cause your hair to hurt. The inflammatory response usually affects only one side of the head, causing throbbing intense pain typically occurring at the temples, forehead, behind the eye and continuing down the jaw into the neck.

Vision, due to sensitivity to light, can be limited or blurry. Blindness, typically in one eye, also can occur. Some sufferers experience vertigo and dizziness since migraines can impact the area of the brain responsible for balance. Additional symptoms include sensitivity to sound, nausea and vomiting, seeing auras, sinus congestion and watery eyes.

Sounds fun, right? I have suffered from migraines for over 30 years. I have been hospitalized because of migraines over 15 times. I started getting them in my early teens. I saw countless doctors and was a guinea pig for medications. By the time I was in college, I was getting 4-5 migraines a week. Yes, a week. 4-5 days of horrible pain, vomiting etc… I was put on daily preventative meds to try to get them under control to no avail. The side effects of the preventative’s were awful. It seemed every few months the medications were being changed since they didn’t seem to work.

The pain meds worked wonderfully but they had side effects as well. Unfortunately, if I wasn’t able to take my pain medication fast enough, I would vomit from the pain. This is typically why I wound up in the hospital- I became too dehydrated from the vomiting associated with the migraine. My parents would have to take me to the ER where I would get IV fluids and more pain meds for the migraine and anti nausea medication as well. I was given Demerol most of the time in the hospital for the pain. I hate Demerol. It gets rid of the pain most of the time but it makes me sick so I vomit more. Vicious circle to be in! Once released from the hospital, I would have a day of dealing with the side effects of all of the drugs I was given. 

At its worst, I was taking 4-5 pills for the pain a week. Sometimes they worked, sometimes-hospital. The medication I was taking 4-5 times a week was apparently more than I should have been taking. The side effects include: tiredness, muscle pain and fatigue, headache, neck and throat tightness, nausea, sweating etc… 

Anyway, it took a ton of personal research, multiple trips to a variety of specialists, and a deep desire for change in order to develop a better quality of life. Luckily, I have not needed hospitalization for the migraines more than once or twice in the last 15 years.

Which brings us to today, one migraine for the last six months. Let’s start with how this began back in April of 2022.

I started experiencing nerve pain and neuropathy off and on. After about 2 weeks the additional symptoms began such as partial blindness in one eye, facial paralysis on one side, speech and cognitive impairment, loss of time, muscle weakness and spasms. During this I had had a migraine come and go.

Initially my doctors/ ER doctors thought it was MS or Parkinson’s. Thank goodness it was neither. Turns out I had a reactivation of the Epstein-Barr Virus (the virus that causes mono). EBV can cause numerous complications when it keeps becoming active. I have had a reactivation twice in 3 years with a recovery time of 10-12 months.

My doctors now believe the EBV caused an uptick in my migraines as well as developing Hashimoto disease.

I went from having Migraine with Aura and Occular Migraine to additionally having Vestibular and Hemiplegic migraine all at the same time- for 6 months.

I am currently experiencing pain, numbness, tingling, dizziness, blindness/blurred vision, nausea, sound and light sensitivity, and cognitive issues daily as it is believed I am in an intense migraine cycle.

Last week I received a Tordol injection to attempt to break the cycle. I should know in about two weeks if it worked.

So today (and most days) I relax. Lots of water and fresh greens to help detox my system. Minimal auditory and visual stimulation. ( it’s taken me 2 days to write this.) By practicing mindfulness I can learn the clues given by my body as to the onset of the migraine episode. I choose to use the term “episode” or “experience” rather than saying “migraine attack.” Using the word attack can fire up the flight or fight response potentially triggering anxiety over the coming migraine. By seeing it as only an episode or experience, we give ourselves over to the knowledge that it is short lived, will be over soon and we will be OK.

“This too shall pass.” ~Persian saying

Mindfulness and a consistent Reiki practice allows me a deeper connection with my body’s cycles. I am more aware of the triggers and more prepared to endure the episodes. Reiki lets me tune in more completely to the erratic energy shifts that occur during a migraine. I am able to dial back the pain and return to my breath. I am convinced this is one of the main reasons I have not required hospitalization more than once or twice in almost 15 years. I am so grateful for what the gift of Reiki has brought to my life.

Rest, my dear.

To all beings suffering from any pain, my thoughts and prayers are with you. May you be blessed and may you find healing.

Namaste

For more information about Migraines, please visit https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/migraine-headache/symptoms-causes/syc-20360201

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