Monday, September 20, 2010

My migraines and me

I am a migraine sufferer.  This is my blog.  I am on a journey to try to find healthy alternatives to common medications and medicines for my migraines.  I have had migraines as far back as I can remember.  I recall being a tiny little girl and crying in my bed because I didn't understand the pain or how to express it to my mother, it's fine, don't fret, I just cried myself to sleep and somehow the pain was gone when I awoke.  I was officially diagnosed when I was 14 years old.  I tried several different medications over the next years, some didn't work, some worked for a while, and sometimes I didn't have medical insurance so I was without any medication.   Those are the times when I just suffer through them while at work or class and would finally get home, lay down, and try to sleep. 

When I was about 22 I tried Imitrex, this was a miracle pill for me.  It worked every time and without fail.  So, as long as I had insurance and didn't suffer from a migraine more than 9 times a month, I was in the clear.  A few years later, I did some research online and found a list of food items that may be triggers for migraine sufferers.  I hated this list, it had many items I loved on it.  Bananas, peanut butter, meats with nitrites and nitrates, pickles, chocolate (I had just discovered my love for dark chocolate), and wine.  Now, I was a full time college student living in Phoenix and on my own.  Most of these foods provided quick eats on my way out the door and/or tasty snacks when I was busy studying or doing homework.  I don't think I took this list very seriously.  I stopped eating bananas.  I'm pretty sure that was it. No, I take it back, I also started to shop at Whole Paycheck/Foods for some nice lunch meats without nitrites and nitrates.  Needless to say, I continued getting migraines and the severe hot summers only aggravated them, those endless blazing months seemed like years.

Cut to the present.  After several months of many, many migraines (about 5 a week), I decide to try to do something different about it.  I mention it to my doctor but she doesn't say much about it.  I look up that list again and follow it for a month, more strictly this time but not much changes.  I do more research and find a different list online.  The mother of all lists, it was unabashedly comprehensive and unforgiving.  It consisted of many food items I live on and love.  Some are incredible snacks, some are foods I grew up on and can not imagine living a life without.  Things I eat on a daily basis are on this list.  This is depressing.  I talk, nay, I plead with a co-worker, "What will I do?  How can I live like this?  What will I eat?  Does this mean I die?"  All of these questions swirl through my head and through my fingers to the Reuters instant messaging system.  He reassures me he will help and we will get through this together, we decide he will become my 'life coach'.  He quickly sends me recipes and ideas (following the list guidelines) to eat for an entire week, breakfast through dinner for seven days, if I can survive.  I am now well into my second week of being migraine free and I am over the moon ecstatic.  It's like a different life, when I think about it, I can not believe that this might work.  More than half my life, I have been suffering with these.  They are a part of my life.  Something that I have learned how to deal with and live with for so long.  I am so excited to see if this will actually work for the long haul.  I won't put all my eggs in this basket but I feel that if I follow the exact diet I have been for the last two weeks, I can live without migraines. 


  1. ava - i can't believe you were getting five a week. i can't think of anything more miserable and am so sad for you! chad suffers from migraines and i have a friend who gets them for 6 months straight and has to stop working when they show up. he has this big time doctor in denver who wants him to try taking mushrooms. i guess there has been some findings in europe about hallucinogens and migraines. a quick google search and you'll find info. i say if the diet doesn't work we take advantage and have a super weird party in honor of your headaches. but i hope this new test is the sign of a migraine free future for you.

  2. Lol, well I would need to find out more about that, I can't imagine how that would work. Very interesting though. How does Chad deal with them?