I believe that I am the only one who can cure my migraines. That the mysterious condition called ‘migraine’ remains just out of arm’s reach of modern medicine and that drugs will not, in the long run, make any difference in my life. I believe that this monster that lurks around in the depths of my body, occasionally rising to the surface (usually at the most inconvenient times), is controllable only by my own instinctive diligence, and that my only chance at consistent health and happiness is to treat myself like a loosely packed mason jar of plutonium.
I believe that migraine is a disease that doctors would rather women not mention, and as it is so specific to each person’s physiological make-up, it is miserable to accurately treat. It’s difficult to show a doctor exactly what you’re going through because making an appointment and then hoping a migraine will consume you during that appointment is too much to hope for. So doctors must rely on your description of the pain, the nausea, the intense sensitivity to light, sound and smells, the inability to function cognitively or to form complete sentences, and the accompanying depression and weariness. I have been through a dozen triptans, drugs that are supposed to be the magic bullet for migraine sufferers but mostly made me nauseous and stupid. I have been through beta-blockers and seizure medications, both of which had intolerable side effects like numbness in my hands and changes in the taste of food. I have been through birth control pills to regulate my hormones. I have seen a look in my doctors’ eyes more than once that suggested that they were noting in my chart that I was overreacting, creating the symptoms, or worse, drug-seeking.
I visit a migraine discussion board online from time to time, and I believe I am at about a 4 on a scale of 10, with 10s being those folks who can not leave their homes and 1s being those who’ve successfully cured the random headache with aspirin. I am in pretty good shape compared to others, and 12 years after an initial diagnosis of migraine, I have decided that I am done with the drugs. I believe that introducing all of these chemicals into my body has caused more damage than anything else.
Through long contemplations of this condition and grief over failed prescriptions, I have finally zeroed in on a plan. I will increase my vitamin and mineral intake. I will regulate my sleep and my diet. I will stay away from my ‘triggers – chocolate, red wine, highly processed foods, getting overheated, stress and catastrophic changes in routine. I believe that I can reach back into a simpler time and place to find a lifestyle, suitable more for farmers than the city girl that I am, that will help me get through the days without pain. I believe that I can abandon modern medicine in regards to this issue without guilt or fear of the medical community’s retribution.
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