What a strange question to ask. Whenever a doctor or friend asks, “Are your migraines under control?”, I really never know how to respond. To me, a “yes” answer to this question means that I don’t have migraines anymore, because I feel out of control when I do have them. Therefore, to be able to answer “yes” would mean the following:
- I never leave my house.
- I never breathe air coming from my neighbors dryer that is venting perfumes from dryer sheets.
- No one enters my house unless they talk quietly, avoid wearing fluorescent yellow/pink/green clothes or clothes with patterns that my brain can’t figure out, and remove all scents from clothes/hair/skin/armpits/etc.
- I never consume anything outside my diet.
- No city water treated with chlorine runs through my faucets, showers, or clothes washer/dryer. (see here for an update)
- I never open the window shades to let in sunlight or light reflecting off of snow.
- I never look at a computer screen, swipe across my phone, or watch the news with all of the banners moving different directions and cameras zooming in and out. Watching the news is not really desirable anymore anyway, but that’s another story.
- Never travel more than 60 mph so that my brain can keep up with all of the movement around me.
- Never travel more than 1 hour from my home so that I can return easily if a migraine starts coming on.
- Drink enough water.
- Eat and take supplements on a precise schedule regardless of other commitments in my life.
- Eliminate insomnia completely.
Since this is obviously not possible to achieve completely, I have decided that I have to look at the question “Are your migraines under control?” differently. To me it means:
- Am I doing what I can to minimize them as much as possible?
- When I do get one, am I able to keep it from progressing into a multi-day ordeal?
To keep a migraine from progressing beyond 1 hour, I do the following:
- I maintain a rigid diet which is under my control (also see here).
- Increase vitamin C intake when the city is increasing its chlorine use in the water (see an upcoming post).
- Allow myself plenty of time to sleep and pray that I will be able to do so.
- Stop taking synthetic hormones.
- Avoid going to places that I know cause problems for me (lighting, air fresheners, loud noise etc.)
- Choose where I sit in large gatherings so that there is maximum airflow and ease of leaving if necessary.
- When I do leave the house, I wear my visor and clips, take plenty of snacks in case I get stuck somewhere for a while, take earplugs which I put in at the first sign of excessive noise, and pack magnesium and ginger in my purse.
- Immediately, take 25 to 50 mg magnesium glycinate and 550 mg of ginger when I feel the twinges of a migraine beginning. Put in my earplugs. Head home. Eat chicken nuggets drowned in yellow mustard (try searching “yellow mustard for headaches”). Put an ice pack on my head and rest.
- 1 hour – DONE – move on
Obviously, this still means that I don’t go very far from my home. I haven’t figured that one out yet, and I haven’t successfully travelled without getting migraines yet. However, I do have something that I can do for my migraines to keep them from being multi-day events. Therefore, I feel that they are “under control” by my definition, and that is progress from where I was just a year and a half ago.