Migraine: Paroxysmal attacks of headache, frequently unilateral, usually accompanied by disordered vision and gastrointestinal disturbances. Thought to be the result of vasodilation of extracerebral cranial arteries.
ETIOL: Unknown, but a family history of migraine will be found in over half of patients. It may be precipitated by allergic hypersensitivity or emotional disturbances.
SYM: Headaches associated with the sensation of seeing zigzags of light, called scintillating scotoma, vomiting, and at times diplopia, unilateral sweating and focal symptoms. Sharp, stabbing pains frequently in temporofrontal region.
Treatment: Rest in quiet, darkened room during attack. Ergotamine tartate proves efficacious in most cases but should be taken at onset of the attack.
(Tabers Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary; edition 15, copyright 1985)
My, but we've come a long way since 1985, haven't we! Not only in our recognition or definition, but treatment. Origin, or Etiology as stated, interested me because of the first word, "unknown."
Though some of the origin is unknown; thankfully, research has blossomed over the past 23 years for those of us who must suffer.
So, how do I cope with monster as it embarks on me? Well, as you can see from the pictures above; pretty much like that. That is, when it beats me to that level anyway. That being a level 10.
Like most Migraineurs on this blog block; I've been around the pharmaceutical candy round, too much. That is to say, my body is and has, paid a price for the many high-toxic drugs I have put into it, just to get relief. Unfortunately, it has left me unable to use most of the "good stuff" out there, when I really need to.
My only abortive now, is Toradol; which I take, with caution. So as not to cause myself the dreaded rebound we greatly fear. When this fails me, I call my doc and into the infusion center I go. There, I receive more "candy" the body hesitantly recieves.
My veins have become very hardened to the idea of the invasion. They roll and burst and laugh at my nurse as she gets more and more frustrated at my vascular system. Over and over she tries; the right arm, then the left and back again. She'll call in another nurse. Heat my arm. Just getting a line started usually can take upwards of two hours. But I am patient with her; this is not her fault, it is the fault of the disease process, the medications of past infusions, vascular constriction of migraine itself.
When I was hospitalized, I would get a PICC line inserted. But because I return for infusion for 3-4 days, the IV is the only thing necessary. I did inquiry about a port two years ago; but because of the risk of a little thing called - stroke, my doctor refused. I'm ok with that. Seriously.
The coping mechanism is, I'm finding, very different with each ensuing migraine. They, the migraine, that is, are very individual. Some can seem very mild compared to others that come smashing in on me, unannounced. So the coping is always somewhat different and unique.
The curtains are almost always closed. Even if the sun is hiding. Because even the faintest of light is painful. Blankets are a necessity, and they must be up over my face. my hand is almost always on my face, as well. I keep a bottle of Lavendar spray next to my nightstand; because I find the scent very calming, and I can tolerate it when I can't tolerate anything else.
My beloved dog knows when the beast is coming, and he seems to try to shield me from it. He can't just lay at my side or my feet, but ON me. Oddly, even at 100 pounds, it's comforting to know he's with me.
Earplugs. My new favorite friends, seem to be company when I sleep, or if I'm at an event that makes loud noise. I should have worn them when I was at Marisa's Drumline competition. You'd think, right.
My favorite drink at the time of the beast, would be my water. But it's not just plain tap water, because that makes me gag. Literally, gag, and when you are already nauseous that's not something you want to do. I like the lemon flavored Velocity water that Wegmans puts out. It's all I can tolerate at the time. And though it's said you should eat, I cannot. I don't know many who can. This is the only thing I can tolerate at the time. I drink a lot of it. At least I'm hydrating. My drink of choice used to be Ginger-ale, but I can't tolerate it so much anymore.
Oh, and music. I love music. All the time, anytime. Even when my head is crushing me. I find music can just take me anywhere, and especially away from the pain. I love DMB, Michael Buble`, Bocelli; music is a wonderful way to escape. If you can tolerate it that is.
Wishing away your pain
Saturday, April 05, 2008
Posted by deborah at 11:50 AM