Friday, June 1, 2012

My First Migraine: National Migraine Awareness Month #1
My goal is to participate in a majority of the daily Migraine Awareness Blogging Challenge in June.

Today's prompt: Share the story of your first Migraine, what it was like, if you knew what it was, what you did, how you felt.

It was starting to get brisk towards the end of October in 2005. I was driving to Delacey Family Education Center where I was one of fourteen Speech Language Pathologists working with children with disabilities aged three to five years old. One of the special education classes I worked in was going on a field trip to the pumpkin farm that day and I was tagging along to do integrated language therapy.

Working in that old moldy DeLacey building for two years, by around May of 2005, I had started to have a daily headache whenever I would go into work. Then my head would improve when I left. I have had headaches my whole life though daily headaches was a new thing. In high school, I popped four to five advil at a time (*do not do this*) for my frequent headaches. 

But October 25, 2005 was different. I opted to drive myself rather than take the bus to the pumpkin farm. I was feeling woozy and nauseated as I interacted with the children. Toward the end of the time, I started to feel like I was going to vomit and I could not think straight. So, I drove back to the school to tell my boss was going home.

On the twenty minute drive home, I could barely make out the road. Vomit was gurgling in my throat, threatening to cover the steering wheel. I was not thinking clearly. Though it was cloudy, the bright skies were making me squint and every movement and sound seemed to pierce through me like shrapnel. I hastily dialed my fiance and then my mom but got voice mail for both. By the time I pulled into a parking space of my condo complex, I didn't think I would make it inside. I crawled up the stairs to the second floor, reaching up and fumbling to get the key in the lock. I crawled three feet to the bathroom and vomited.

I clearly remember laying weakly on the sea green plush pile bath rug and feeling the sharpest pain I had ever felt in my life inside my head. It was so painful that I could not believe that such physical pain was possible without it killing a person. I could not move, and I thought I was dying. I do not know how long I lay there.

The phone rang and I heard the voice of my fiance of just ten days, George, coming from the land line answering machine and I thought he was going to find me dead laying on that hideous sea green plush pile toilet-hugging bath rug.

I had no clue what was happening to me. I vaguely remember crawling into bed. The next day I made a futile attempt to return to work, only to leave early and barely making it back to my bed. George took me to immediate care that night.

That first Migraine did not abort. In the first two days, I was at the immediate care twice and emergency room once. My mom, who lives out of town and is a nurse, flew in to take care of me. By November 2nd, I was admitted to a hospital for dehydration as I wasn't eating drinking because I was so nauseated from the Migraine.

The neurologist that treated me in hospital and eventually outpatient was arrogant though obviously did not know what to do with me. I was under his care from November 2, 2005 to February 14, 2006 and I was given daily medication that gave my brain NO chance to abort the Migraine and only perpetuated it. Over those four months, that neurologist never said the word Migraine to me or mentioned that he thought that was what it was. However he wrote "Migraine" on my FMLA papers I asked him to fill out on February 14th, 2006. That same day, when George asked him what was wrong with me, the neurologist told George in front or me, "She has depression."

A Migraine that lasts more than 72 hours is called Status Migraine. By the time I had an appointment with a headache specialist in downtown Chicago on February 17, 2006 I was so bad off that the Migraine/headache specialist who admitted me to their inpatient care said he could not believe the poor and neglectful treatment I had received from the prior neurologist.

I cannot say when my first Migraine finally aborted because I was Status Migrainosus for a long time and my body had become non-responsive to medication.

I hope that what you will gather from my first Migraine experience is that what you do from the beginning (choosing a doctor, finding treatment, self-education, community support) can affect not only the progression of your Migraine, how your brain chemistry changes and how well you cope.

After my first Migraine experience:
-I wish I had not blindly trusted a doctor. Your gut instincts are usually the best.
-I wish I had investigated and read up on the medications I had been given and not simply taken them with blind trust they were the appropriate treatment and would not be harmful to my system.
-I wish I had listened to the nurse in the first immediate care I went to that told me I should seek out a specialist in the city and not a neurologist in the suburbs.
-I wish I had gotten online and educated myself by reading research articles, and going to trusted medical websites. (, Migraine at Health Central)
-I wish I had plugged into a positive, encouraging and educational support community earlier than I did.

I am thankful I have learned so much from that first experience and am in a much better place than I was then!

June is National Migraine Awareness Month. "National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation. The Blogger's Challenge is initiated by" There are so many activities to be involved in and you can read about the events in a comprehensive way at Somebody Heal Me: 2012 Migraine Awareness Month Events: Chats, Blog Prompts, Giveaways & Much More #NMAM. If you want to take part in the blogging challenge you can find them HERE.

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