Monday, March 4, 2013

The Monster Inside My Head

Neurologist: "Check this out. It's pictures of your mom's brain. Isn't that interesting?"
Mags: "No way! That's gross!"

After my hysterectomy this summer, a change happened. Yes. Literally "the change" but also a change in my usual migraines. I've had them pretty much my whole life. I knew well the warm feeling over my face and the disruption in my peripheral vision that warned me it was about to hit. It was like one of those crime shows where they pixelated the person's face that didn't want to be seen. Except, for me, everything looked like that. However, after the surgery, my usual migraines that I would get monthly, turned into a completely different animal. Like, rip my eye out of my socket kind of animal. These new headaches lasted for days.

Just like the migraines that preceded these new multiple day horrors, they gave me an aura of sorts before they happened. They always came in the morning, right as I woke up. The tingling above my left eye and stuffy left nostril was my warning and then...BOOM! The pain was there within minutes. There was no "sleeping it off", no medicine to knock it was just there...behind my left eye, back of my head and neck...FOR DAYS. 

I have a decent pain tolerance, or so I've been told, but these things brought me to my knees simply from the days of unremitting pain that wore me down.

I imagined it was what a vampire felt like when his eyes were exposed to the sun (not the sparkly ones, the Bram Stoker ones). The only time I felt relief from the pain was when I slept in my makeshift crypt. Curtains were drawn, blankets were plentiful and the pillow cradled my pain. When I drifted off, I was thrown into stress dreams. You know, the dreams where you were running around a forest and couldn't find your way out while you were being chased by a mad killer. Needless to say, those days and nights were exhausting and stole my patience, my time and my sanity.

After months of these "lost days", I was sent to a neurologist. He and I went over my history and decided to try a daily preventative medication. In the meantime, I was sent to get an MRI...which was two hours in an extremely tight fitting, noisy chamber.

A few weeks later, I went back to the neurologist's office to get the results. He showed me all the pictures of my brain. My first thought was, "THERE'S REALLY ONE IN THERE! PHEW!" The first thing out of Tuck's mouth was, "It looks like a bunch of curvy roads for cars." Atta boy!

Everything was fine. The only thing that was noted were the white dots that showed up on the pictures. Apparently, severe headache sufferers often have white dots that show up on their scans or as my friend, Amanda, referred to it, "You have a polka dotted brain!" I loved that description so much more.

The doctor was happy to hear that the daily medication seemed to be working on holding off these monsters. He told me that I might have "break through headaches"... every once in a while one would come through. But they'd be less intense and shorter in length. Hey, that's better than four to eight days a month.

And yes, I've had a few since I started on the medication, and it sucked as usual. There's no tempering these suckers. But, I've really tried to focus on my hydration, food intake, stress level and exercise. In other words, I started taking time to take care of myself. And guess what?!? It's helped. 

Who knew?  
I know, did. Good advice. 
(Always listen to your mother.)


  1. Hey, Just wanted to let you know ,the same thing happened to me.. I did not however go on daily meds.. glad to here they are helping.. I still get them , not as often but Ice bag to the back of the neck and moved down every five min. until you are sitting on it can really help...It starts out feeling pain from cold but that does not last long and relief does come for me.... hope this might help...

    1. Yes. He was thinking it was the big and very sudden change in my body last summer. Amazing how much our hormones are depended on in our bodies. Thanks for letting me know. I'll have to try that ice on my neck. I was doing warm. :)

  2. I'm so happy for you getting a handle on these suckers. I've never experienced a migraine, and pray I never do. I can barely handle a regular headache. You're body has been through so much. I hope it catches up with the program, and these become a thing of the past! Btw, I said the same thing when I had my scans. I keep them handy to prove it at a moments notice.

  3. First I had no idea you had a hysterectomy last summer.. What a life change.. Hugs.

    Next there has been lots of talk about migraines this week in the blog world.. It must be that time of year, or our headaches were so bad in Jan and Feb that we are emerging and finally able to write about then.

    I was writing that I used to get horrible painful migraines.. Coinciding with my cycle every month since I was 21 menstrual migraines.. But after I got phone with ivf, the surge of hormones, a twin pregnancy, bedrest my migraines morphed into complex igraines.. Where I have stroke like symptoms.. Aura, then vertigo, tingling all over my body and weakness in my limbs and cheeks. It's a lot of fun (not).

    But again it normally coincides with ovulating or my period or me eating something I shouldn't. I don't take a daily med... But I do take magnesium,vitamin D and riboflavin and the last 2 urs were much better than the first 3 after the boys were born.

    I am so sorry you suffer with these too.. I know how incredibly horrible they are. Hope they are few and far between. Xo

  4. Relieved that you've found a way to make them livable!
    (Still hope they go away though...)

  5. I really hope you get the relief you seek soon. And fully. I'm so sorry you're having to deal with all of this mess.

  6. I have to admit this post had me holding my breath most of the way through it. What a tale. I am also so happy it had a happy ending. Well migraines aren't happy... I've had myself a few of those...but tgat your brain is a beautifully polka dotted road and as lovely as ever. I am also happy the medication offers you relief. Siggghhhh still so happy for the good news!!

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