Claire Martin

Migraines – by Claire

img_5169suffer from migraines and yesterday was a bad day for me.

Now, there are many of us out there who suffer from these type of headaches, and if you do, you’re going to recognize the moments in this story. If you don’t – here’s the way it usually goes for me ..

I have got very good at recognizing the day-before-pre-migraine symptoms: usually a slight headache, a feeling of “warmth” gently pulsing behind my eyes, and a very, very slight sensitivity to light.

If I’m on top of it.. I wait – literally count the minutes/hours – until I feel the symptoms very marginally ramp up.

Now, before I go any further, I know what you’re thinking – “Why wait? Take a pill!”. But not every minor headache morphs into the searing pain of a migraine. So I wait.

And why do I register the time passing between the slight headache and the ramp-up? Well ironically, if the ramp-up occurs suddenly, the migraine will be a fast doozy. If it takes time to get going, I’ve got a long-slow 24 hours of pain ahead.

So I fastidiously note the time.

Yesterday, started with a minor headache – no big deal. I needed to get some work done at home. So I sat in front of the computer and plugged away at e-mails. About an hour in, I realized that I had only tackled 3. Uh-oh.

I did a mental body check. Yep, feeling warm. Yep, feeling slightly headachy. Close my eyes, yep there’s the pulsing.

I looked at the clock. 11 am.

A little background here – I’ve had migraines my whole life. If I pull my hair back to my hairline on my right hand side – there’s a small scar on my temple. When I was eight my mother caught me with a (thankfully) dullish knife that I was pushing into my head. I had managed to break the skin, but little else. In her shock she grabbed the knife from me and yelled “what are you doing?” to which I replied “cutting the pain out”. It was then she realized that the headaches I complained of, were indeed migraines. I’ve since been in and out of doctors offices, been told to stay off various food groups, and kept pages upon pages of headache diaries. Turns out my migraines are not food related, not weather related. Mine are hormone related – and with a bit of luck, when I finally hit menopause – they will naturally go away.

Back to yesterday. It’s now 1 pm and things have worsened. I take a pill.

So here’s another thing. I also get non-hormone related “bonus” migraines – usually after a particularly stressful period of time, or event is OVER. Yes – as I relax (often the first day of a holiday!) – I get a bonus migraine. And they tend to be the worst-of-the-worst. Yesterday was a bonus one.

By midnight, I’m in full-on unbalanced-can’t-stand-up-can’t-open-my-eyes-puking-please-let-me-die mode.

So why am I telling you this story?

First – there are a lot of us out there. And it actually helps me to know that a lot of you will read this and know exactly what I’m talking about.
Secondly – a big thanks to my work colleagues who every now and again – find that upbeat, chatterbox Claire Martin is a little quiet and slow – and simply accept it.
Finally and lastly – a big request to the makers of Zomig, who have apparently had some sort of issue in keeping up with the public demand for the drug and are struggling to manufacture adequate doses, please tell me you’re getting back to normal production. Christmas is around the corner and God knows, I need to stock up!


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  • Reply Jess November 17, 2016 at 8:16 am

    Hi Claire! Thank you for sharing. It’s like you’ve written my story (aside from trying to cut out the pain…).
    My migraines are hormonal as well, and I get those ‘bonus’ ones too. Horrible, horrible things.
    Wondering if you’ve tried any essential oils for them as I find that works really well and allows me to sleep or rest a little easier without the heavy meds. Sometimes they are the only thing that can dull my pain!
    Again, thanks for sharing as it’s nice to know that we don’t suffer alone.

    • Reply Claire Martin November 17, 2016 at 8:26 pm

      Hey Jess.. nice to hear from you. No I haven’t tried the essential oils.. I’m going to have to check them out.. any particular type/make/brand I should look out for?? Failing that, I’m counting down the days til menopause! Thanks for the comment.. Claire

  • Reply Wendy Beckett November 17, 2016 at 10:26 am

    Oh yes Claire……been there. I suffered the same migraines from sometime in my mid twenties until menopause (whiich for me was just a hysterectomy). No agony like it and no special occasion in which it was dreaded more than another. Perhaps there are blessing in growing older….mine stopped years ago TG. I hope yours will too………Wendy Beckett

    • Reply Claire Martin November 17, 2016 at 8:27 pm

      Hi Wendy.. thanks for your note. I have considered a hysterectomy too.. so glad it worked for you. Here’s – as you said – to growing older! Cheers, Claire.

  • Reply Elizabeth November 18, 2016 at 5:13 am

    Hi Claire,
    Hang in there, it gets better! Like you I lived the migraine hell from aged nine, never a month and often not a week without a migraine, often ending up in emergency dehydrated from vomiting (discovered I’m allergic to gravol and little else worked). I’d think I’d found a pain medication that worked only to find it didn’t the second or third time I used it.
    My migraines often announced they were coming with zig-zag prisms before my eyes and sometimes holes in my vision, they usually lasted about two days but often stayed longer.
    Also like you I got “bonus” migraines post stressful times and when I could relax, always at the start of a holiday and often on weekends. Although going through menopause brought on some extreme headaches that felt like an aneurysm, the seventeen years since then I have been living almost headache free. It feels like a miracle happened to me…getting old has its rewards!

    I think migraines can be inherited, my father had migraines every weekend (stress at work) and when I got older and met my Swiss cousins I discovered many of them also suffered from migraines even into the third generation. My English mother on the other hand told me she had never had a headache in her life.
    Thanks for sharing Claire, I wish when I was young I had been able to read about someone going through what I was experiencing. I used to wonder if I was a hypochondriac because no one else I knew seemed to get sick as often as I did. I was fortunate in my career that my colleagues were understanding but I felt terrible that they had to pick up the slack when I couldn’t carry on.

    I wish for you the good luck I had after menopause and you never have another headache, you deserve it.

  • Reply Jane November 21, 2016 at 9:12 am

    Hi, Claire,
    Migraines are sneaky things, morphing over time. Now a senior, I still get them but with variations I did not experience earlier in life. Different for each person, doctors do struggle with treatment. I have found that meditation and relaxation exercises help to lessen the severity. But I continue to use my meds and an ice pack or two at the first sign of a migraine so I am not debilitated any more than “necessary”.

    Sharing our stories gives all of us some hope that we are not “losing our minds”!

    • Reply Claire November 23, 2016 at 7:46 am

      Thanks for sharing your too Jane.. and I totally agree that everyone’s experience though common, is different. Thanks again for the comments.

  • Reply Christine Baerg November 28, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    Claire, Thanks for sharing. I come from a family of migraine sufferers. Mine were also hormonal with a ‘bonus’ one every so often. In my 40s I tried feverfew which helped. I’ve only had 2 migraines in the last 20 years. I feel very fortunate to be migraine free. Hopefully that day will come for you and others that have posted comments. Chris

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