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14 October 2008 @ 12:29 pm
A Post on Migraines  
So, I get three different types of migraines, apparently. Thankfully, never all at the same time (knock on wood). But these three types of migraines are so different and affect me so differently that I wanted to get it down somewhere. I chose here.

The Weather-Related Migraine

I am still trying to work out what triggers these. I've had them during really high-pressure storms and during really low-pressure storms. I've had them two days before storms, on the day of the storm, and during the storm, but not after the storm.

The pain starts as a fuzzy, carbonated feeling at the base of my skull and escalates from there to pressure in my ears, head, and jaw to the point that both my upper and lower teeth throb with pain. I get very irritable but am still able to function at about 90-95% capacity with regards to intelligence, coherence, productivity, etc. OTC pain meds do not help. Sleep is my best remedy, preferably if I sleep through the storm and come out the other side. I have taken prescription pain meds for this type of migraine but only to induce the sleep.

The Hormone-Related Migraine

Since my hormones are completely out of whack, I have no idea what triggers these, only that it must be hormonal because of other mitigating factors.

The pain hits me first in the left temple and then migrates until it is sitting directly behind my left eyeball. The pain can be intense but isn't always, I usually become photophobic but--again--mostly with the left eye, and I get what I call The Dumb. The Dumb is characterized by a feeling of heaviness over and behind my left eye, as if the brain matter there had transformed into a block of government cheese. The Dumb also causes me to be relatively unable to function. My intelligence, coherence, and productivity all drop massively (like the Dow?) and hover around the 40-50% capacity range. My reaction time drops, my memory fails, my ability to respond to simple questions becomes limited.

OTC medication can hold off the worst of the effects for a few hours or more. I have taken prescription pain meds to induce sleep, which is also the best cure for these migraines. Sometimes there is no help in the form of sleep or pain meds and I just have to wait it out. That generally means that this type of migraine is about to transform into the last type.

The Did-She-Just-Have-A-Stroke? Migraine

Again, I have no idea what triggers these. My guess is stress and hormones and a combination of other factors that I cannot seem to control with any success.

Sometimes I get these on their own and sometimes they are The Hormone Migraine transformed. The pain is excruciating but it isn't the first thing I feel. The first thing to come is an inability to talk. I suddenly feel no desire to speak at all and if I have to, I sound like a Speak n' Spell: halting, awkward, and slow. I will seem to stutter, both verbally and in typing, but it is not true stuttering. It is, in fact, a sudden obsession with a particular sound or letter of the alphabet. Then the pain will come, again over my left eye, and it will feel like a cranky Sauron has taken up residence inside my brain. I will become photo- and phonophobic with relative speed. Then I will lose the ability to use my right arm, hand, leg, and foot to maximize the terror of my loved ones, who will invariably worry that I've just had a stroke. Obviously my ability to function independently in the world plummets to around 5%.

Nothing OTC or prescription will help this migraine (not even morphine which they gave me in the hospital once). I usually have to lie down in a cold, dark, silent room until my brain stops screaming. Sometimes I am able to sleep. Sometimes I need to be drugged into sleep. I have had this migraine when traveling across country and it is not pleasant. Not at all.

So why the lesson on Erin's Types of Migraines?

I'm having version two today and am already seeing signs of it becoming a three.


I'm going to at least try to make it until 3pm here at work and then I might just call it a day.

We'll see.


Shut up and smile: Comics // Runaways // Fly me to the moonmorningafter2 on October 14th, 2008 08:29 pm (UTC)
That sounds um, very unpleasant. I wish there was something I could say to make it not suck, but short of the obvious (and typically highly irritating) "try to feel better", I got nothing.

Oh, but this might amuse you. I was reading a Outlander on my computer (I justify having downloaded it by the fact that I've already bought the book), and was switching between reading this post and reading the book. So, I was reading this post, and I was about halfway through a paragraph when I realized that I still thought I was reading Outlander, and thereby explained my bewilderment at the change in writing style.

Ariestessariestess on October 14th, 2008 11:28 pm (UTC)
The first sounds very familiar to me. We joke that my migraines of this type are a better barometer than the weathermen/women. The really major weather related triggers I have are extreme heat/humidity and extreme changes in barometric pressure. There are other triggers, but these are the primary weather ones.

And I won't get started on the Nutrasweet migraines...
tulliolus: defaulttulliolus on October 14th, 2008 11:31 pm (UTC)
Once or twice in my life I've had to endure pain, knowing that relief would have to wait until at least the following day. I shudder to imagine what it must be like to go through that sort of thing (only worse, I'm sure) with this sort of frequency. I send non-ouchy-thoughts, wishes for a speedy recovery, and images of cute little bunny rabbits, because everything's better with bunnies.

Pop psych tells me I shouldn't ask if you've ever been prescribed sumatriptan or Fioricet, or given feverfew a go, because that is the typically male find-a-solution response. By all means let me know if pop psych is as wrong as it usually is.