Meet Migraine Maggie

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As soon as I went into first grade, I started complaining a lot about headaches. We had to get a doctor’s note to bring my own special bottle of Advil to keep in the nurse’s office. It wasn’t until years later that I was officially diagnosed with migraines. I remember my doctor apologizing that we didn’t “catch it” earlier, but it wasn’t as common back then. Now, we hear about migraines all the time.

I don’t usually talk about my experiences with migraines very often. I try to deal with it quietly; I don’t want people to think I am complaining or asking for pity. However, it is a huge part of who I am. It is why I left teaching and began pursuing The Love Nerds. Putting my health first was and is a really hard decision, and my husband encouraged me to make an effort to come to terms with it. To accept it. I am a highly driven person in a career focused world, so making this leap into small business doesn’t make sense to everyone in my life. It doesn’t always make sense to me either. Here is what I do know: I love not having migraines as often, I love having more energy and staying up later so I can hang out with my husband, I love The Love Nerds, and I love all of you. So,  I thought I would share some information about the “other” Maggie, Migraine Maggie, so you can get to know me a little better. (Plus, you get a little preview of our anniversary shoot with the fabulous photographer Robyn Aaron!) 

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Migraine Maggie…

…has a hard time speaking. I cannot think of the right words or I start yoda speak, switching words around. I actually avoid conversations with most people when I am like this because I don’t want to be laughed at or feel stupid. It can be so incredibly frustrating to not be able to vocalize a simple word. This was one of the hardest aspects of trying to teach with migraines; my seniors used to help fill in the blank but my sophomores would just awkwardly stare at me. These brain skips just don’t happen when I am in pain either. Migraine suffers can exhibit this trait both before and after the worst of the migraine. Many times, it is how my husband realizes I am going to have a migraine.

…likes really greasy or spicy food. My sense of taste is dulled during a migraine episode so I like fried food, pepperoni pizza or hot buffalo wings because I can actually taste it.

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…is overly sensitive and emotional. It becomes impossible for me to think or process anything; I am generally so overwhelmed with the noise in my head and pain that i just become overwhelmed. I don’t know if everyone is like this, but the pain makes everything feel heightened. The little insecurities of making my small business work or leaving teaching feel insurmountable.  My mom always reminds me that getting upset makes my head worse, but sometimes my emotions are bigger than logic. So, when everything becomes impossible for me, I can become impossible for others.

…has vision problems. One of my biggest concerns when I was commuting to my school last year was not being able to drive home. A couple times I left early from work just in case; I was having other subtle symptoms and I didn’t want to start having tunnel vision or spots before I got home.

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…hates having to miss out on events and hates not being “fun”. I try really hard to make everything and be everything to everyone when I have a migraine. It can be really hard. I do sometimes have to say no and put something to the side, but I also hate not being asked. I was having a really hard time last year. My migraines were being triggered by conditions at work, and I was experiencing almost daily pain. I would come home and spend the rest of the night on the couch or in bed. It was horrible, but it was worse when a very good friend told me they didn’t tell me she bought a house and moved because she didn’t want to bother me because of my migraines. I always make an effort to be there for the people that I love despite my medical issues and would have really loved some happy news. So my suggestion? Even if your friend has a chronic illness, keep them in the loop. Maybe a phone call would be hard, but I am sure they would love a text or email.

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I hope that these things don’t make you disconnect me from your social media or blog readers and I hope that you keep coming back for my recipes and projects. I hope that maybe this will ring true for other people or those in your life and that you will want to know more about migraines. And I hope you check out the fabulous Robyn who took the pictures above. So yeah – I am done!

Do any of you have migraines or know anyone with migraines? 

       

Comments

  1. I enjoyed reading about your experiences with migraines. You approached this from such a unique angle. It makes me love you and your site even more just because I can totally relate. I’ve had really bad migraines off and on since I was 12 and I usually don’t bring it up because, like you, I don’t like to complain. So I usually suffer in silence. Even though I would never wish migraines on anyone, it does make me feel better to know that there are people out there who are working to overcome migraines just like me!

  2. I’ve had migraines for the past 20 years. I’ve been on so many drugs and drug preventatives. It really depends on your triggers. I currently get Botox every three months, which lessons the pain by at least half. The biggest helpers have been exercise and vitamin supplements. I find that on days that I exercise I have the least amount of migraines. And when a migraine hits, I try to walk for at least 55 minutes to decrease the severity, magnesium oxide has as also helped decrease the severity. I’ve gone from 25 per month to six a month. Try magnesium and calsium supplements it helps with the foggy head symptoms.

  3. I’m grateful that I don’t experience migraines often. Mine are related to my vision and issues with my eyes that I’ve had since I was born. It’s completely debilitating, and most people don’t understand. I hope you have great friends who support you when you need it. Mine mean the world to me.

  4. Oh, i also see you posted about being nervous about children. After suffering these terrible migraines for years and finally getting them minimized with Topamax, we are trying. Needless to say , the migraines are worse without my topamax. Make sure you find a neurologist who’s willing to work with you on the migraines because there are pregnancy safe options. I like you = have also tried just about EVERYTHING out there for the migraines. Topamax was the only thing to work for me – that and Imitrex as an abortive therapy. However, my neuro has reccomended Botox and esp. during pregnancy. that makes me really nervous but it works for a lot of people.

    • I hope everything works out for you, Courtney! Taking the step into parenthood and giving your body to pregnancy can be nerve wracking enough without also adding the migraine issues on top of it. You will definitely be in my thoughts!!

      I am glad Imitrex works for you as an abortive. I know it’s supposed to be one of the best out there, but I had an allergic reaction to it. Imagine that – an allergic reaction on top of the migraine I was trying to abort. :/

  5. Girl! I understand! We are in the same chronic migraine boat! Mine are so frequent that without medication, i would get around 25 a month. some of those driving me to the Emergency room in the middle of the night. I have seen two neurologists and I finally found a good one who’s worked with me. It is soooo good to have a supportive husband that understands!! Someone to think and do for us when we can’t. thanks for speaking out about this because I don’t think people do often enough. don’t you have it when folks say – ‘what? its just a headache?’ – obviously most people do NOT understand. It’s nice to find when someone does!

    • I think that might be my next migraine post – Why a migraine is NOT just another headache! It is one of my top two migraine pet peeves, and I know it primarily stems from ignorance.

  6. Migraines can be so debilitating…what a blessing that you and your husband have agreed to work to lessen them in your life! I too get migraines, though much less often then at other times in my life. For that I am grateful! Blessings to you!

    • Thank you so much, Diane. I am thankful every day that I have such an understanding husband. I have talked to many migraine sufferers who are not as lucky. I’m glad that your migraines are not as severe right now and I hope it stays that way.

  7. I’m so sorry you have to experience this! I occasionally experience migraines and the pain just stops you in your tracks. It’s almost impossible to get anything done, let alone have the energy to get out of bed.

    • I’m sorry you experience them too, Jazmin. It really is so hard to accomplish even the simplest of tasks with a migraine, like getting something to eat or brushing your teeth.

  8. I’ve had a few migraines in my life, though nothing as frequent as what you’ve just described!

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks for coming over, Sarah. I always keep my fingers crossed that my hormones or something will dramatically change and I don’t have them anymore. I hope yours remain uncommon!

  9. My best friend suffers from migraines but luckily not as bad as you. When she gets one she generally just has to go home and lie in a darkened room. One of her friends told her that seeing a chiropractor almost eliminated her migraines so my friend started going and she’s seen a significant improvement. I don’t know if that’s any use to you but I hope it helps.

    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences!

    • Seeing a chiropractor didn’t really change the amount of migraine episodes I would have, but it definitely reduced the number of headaches I was having. This comment has me thinking of writing a series on things I have tried; maybe I will even start trying some of the weirder suggestions I have received like sucking on a lemon.

  10. I have migraines too, though not as often. So difficult to deal with especially with a toddler at home. I was a teacher too- I miss it but am glad to be home!

    • Sarah, I can’t even imagine dealing with migraines with children. It is definitely something I am a little nervous about as we get closer to that point in our lives. I truly believe that teaching is full of triggers for people with migraines with all the expectations, crazy schedules, over stimulus, and horrible fluorescent lights.

    • Thank you! It is not easy to share such difficult personal experiences, but I hope it can be helpful for someone.

  11. I’m so sorry you have to go through this! 🙁 I am glad you are able to have this blog. I love your blog. You are a fun blogger to follow! That’s wonderful you have such a supportive husband. I’m sure that helps so much! Very cute pictures of you two!

    • Thank you so much for your support, Becky! And I do have an amazingly supportive husband. He has always wanted me to put my health first, even when it means taking a big pay cut.

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