Every single day of my life is a gamble... and I hate gambling. I love planning, organizing, being punctual and knowing what's coming down the pipe. But my migraines are in charge of my body, not me, and that's hard to handle. I may wake up feeling great, but that can change very quickly. Or I may wake up already crippled with pain...
It would probably help for me to try and explain, as well as I can, what it feels like when I have a migraine. Imagine the biggest chopping knife in your kitchen being jammed up the back of your head (specifically the lower left side, it's always the left) while someone has your temples in a vice grip, and sometimes they are jabbing a thumb deep into your eye too. Add to that sensitivity to light/sound/movement, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, and fatigue. Your level of pain tolerance becomes ridiculous. Nobody should have to deal with pain like that once, let alone 10, 15, 20 times a month or more. Can you imagine living and managing your life with that kind of pain?
Managing and taking care of myself to the best of my ability is all I can do. I spend my days drinking so much water I feel like I could float away, taking handfuls of vitamins, trying to eat consistently... all while avoiding triggers. Speaking of triggers, let me break this down for you in my list that I keep handy for doctors (because if I don't write it down I won't remember them all- but that is a whole other post haha!)
-too much sugar
-alcohol (especially wine)
-nitrates (processed meat like bacon and lunch meat)
-too much sleep
-reading too much
-long hair/tight ponytail
-blood sugar fluctuations
Migraine sits there primed and waiting to go off like a bomb. Usually these things on my list set off the reaction, and other times I have zero clue what might have lit the fuse. That is one of the reasons migraine is so complex and hard to cure. It is different for everyone, triggers are sometimes only our best guesses as to why the migraine started. Avoiding known triggers is prevention, not a cure. You track and avoid triggers to try and manage and have your attacks be less painful or shorter. If I could just prevent migraines by drinking a green shake in the morning trust me, myself and all other migraine sufferers would have jumped on that long ago.
I (and my wonderful husband, Jeremy) read every single food label to make sure it does not have a trigger. Eating out or at other people's houses can be scary because I don't know what they use. I know that a fun family day at the zoo will end with my body punishing me for days afterward. Cleaning my house is exhausting. Reading books to my kids needs to be limited. I plan when I want to watch This Is Us because I know I will cry. My head is always on swivel when I am driving because I need to spot smokers and double check that the air circulation button is on. And even with all the different situations, tracking, checking and planning- migraines still come and all you can do is hold on tight and manage the pain.