Let’s just say it’s been quite a 7 months. I used to be one of those people who could say “I can count the number of headaches I’ve had in my life on one hand and have fingers left.” Well, let me tell you, that ship has sailed. I had my first migraine in 2005 while I was pregnant with my first son. I had no idea what it was – I just knew that suddenly, in the middle of the shift I was working in the psychiatric emergency room, I could no longer see patients and had to be driven home by one of the ER techs. Every word out of his mouth made me feel like I would puke. I didn’t have another migraine until 2007. Again, I didn’t know what it was – but suddenly in the middle of a meeting, I just didn’t feel right, ran to the bathroom where I spewed the contents of my insides and promptly nearly collapsed from the pounding in my head. It was at that point my cousin said “Zing (my nickname), this is a migraine.” I went on to have monthly migraines for a while, until we figured out they were being caused by the birth control method I was using at the time, the Nuva-Ring.
Several years passed until I took a new job in 2011. Suddenly, I was getting migraines every week. We thought it was the increased stress of a new job. You know – long hours, decreased sleep, not hydrating, missing meals – all things I learned were triggers. Sure enough, I became that person that had Migraine Relief medication stashed in every purse and every console. I even downloaded an app to help me identify my triggers – altitude and dehydration were my main two. A stop at my best friend’s bed on the way home from our North Georgia clinic became the norm.
In 2012, an unbelievably amazing turn of events led to my high-powered healthcare executive job becoming a work from home position. Suddenly, I had work-life balance, time for yoga, hydration, adequate meals, adequate sleep, meditation – you name it! And guess what, the migraines went completely away. The only time I would get a headache would be when I’d fly. Reliably, on landing, I’d have a migraine so bad, I could barely make it out of the hotel room. I just learned to plan for it and deal with it.
But then, in 2016 July, I started to notice that my migraines were increasing in frequency and severity. I thought it was because my work schedule had gotten more demanding. I was doing more consulting and flying more frequently. I was also getting less sleep and missing yoga more. I began keeping peppermint oil and migraine tabs by my side. And then it happened. September 27, while at the Beyoncé Formation Tour in Atlanta, three flashing strobe lights hit me straight in the optic nerves and I felt it. “Uh oh,” I said to myself “This is not good.” Sure enough, I woke up the next day with a migraine – one that wouldn’t ultimately resolve for 13 straight days.
Well, you can imagine this set off an entire series of Facebook posts – basically everyday lamenting that I couldn’t believe yet another day I had a migraine. My friends responded with all of the tricks they’d successfully used to manage their migraines and I tried nearly all of them. Even those I didn’t try, I put on the list. I have drug my feet for several months in getting this list into a blog – mostly because I have been spending all of that time at doctor’s appointments, in the bed with icepacks on my eyes, at CT Scans and MRIs and XRAYs and otherwise just feeling like you know what, but today during my post-op visit, I was inspired by my ENT surgeon who I believe has put me on the path to migraine freedom to get it done. And so, here it is: the comprehensive list of things people told me and things I found on the internet about what to look for, work-up to have done, professionals to see and things to do for migraines. I hope you will find your answer as I believe I have found mine.
Now click on the next blog and start reading!