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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Nobody Likes the Brain Pain

Today I am dedicating an entire day to myself. It is 2:36 pm and so far today I have had a cup of tea, responded to alerts in the Facebook PMDD support groups I help admin, had a bowl of cereal, took a handful of migraine pills (acetaminophen/aspirin/caffeine) and went to sleep on the living room floor. Having just awakened after my four hour nap, I am working on repeating the entire process.

Migraines are the only pain I have ever experienced that I can't think my way around. Mind over matter is impossible when it is your mind that is screaming and throbbing in excruciating pain. And this is coming from someone who was in labor for four days. Yeah, I said days. That is a hell of a story that I will share with you sometime.

People who have not experienced migraines just cannot understand the torture. Many, many people get them for too many reasons to list. Mine are hormonally triggered, when my estrogen levels drop my brain throws a fit. I normally have a few warning signs the day or two before called auras. Mine are numbness and tingling in the left side of my face, light flashes in the peripheral vision of the left eye and sometimes slurred speech or uncontrolled spoonerisms. (What is a spoonerism?)

This is an example of how the female hormones rise and drop over the course of a cycle. 
(I do not own this photo and could not find proper attribution) 

Menstrual migraines are fairly common in women. I have had a migraine for 2 to 5 days of every month for many years. I have just pushed through the best I can. With my advancing age and progression toward menopause my body makes less and less estrogen for itself, meaning more migraines. For the last three months I have had 5 to 10 days of blinding pain that I can feel even in my sleep, in two convenient installments. I get a week and a half of relief between each migraine. I still manage to go to work every day, but I do lose a lot of hours from being slow to get there in the morning because I'm throwing up and needing long lunches to medicate and nap. A few of my coworkers, mostly men, also suffer from migraines and there is a lot of sympathy and care in the office which helps a great deal.

Nobody likes the brain pain.

But what is the answer? How can I stop them if they are triggered by my own body? That is the next step of the journey. I am researching options. I started here : Migraine Research Foundation

Now I am checking out a local PA who specializes in neurology and has a working knowledge of the endocrine system. At least that's what I heard from the lady working at the mailbox place. Every lead is a good one in this medical detective work. That is what a person has to do in order to get the best possible medical professional match for their particular issues. Most doctors just throw pain pills at you. I want to treat the cause, not just the symptoms. And how will pain pills affect my PMDD symptoms? They are known to cause depression and anxiety. Um, no.

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