Disclosure: I have partnered with YMC and 1 in 8 Have It and have received compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.
Recently, my husband looked at me and said “I think I might have a migraine. I feel nauseous and the light is really bothering my eyes.”
See, after years of living with a chronic migraine sufferer, he knows what the symptoms are. He couldn’t believe how terrible he felt, and then couldn’t believe that was how terrible I felt pretty much 3 out of 7 days of every week! That had been my truth for so many years that I lost count. Seriously. I think I was at about 20 years of suffering from migraines until they became so bad that I finally stopped pretending they were a normal part of my life and I told my family doctor I couldn’t take it anymore.
By this point, I had tried every possible over-the-counter medication possible. In all honesty, I was becoming so desperate, I wanted to double up on doses of my OTC meds because it was so unbearable. Obviously, that’s a TERRIBLE idea, and rather than trying to medicate myself I told my doctor what all of my symptoms were. She immediately referred me to a Neurologist and asked me to stop taking any over-the-counter medication.
Did you know that because so many people feel the way I did – that over-the-counter pills should help with a headache (and even migraines because there are pills for that available at drugstores) – that though it’s reported that over 2.7 million Canadians suffer from migraines, lack of true diagnosis from a medical professional means that number is actually much higher? Crazy, right?
Worldwide, about 1 in 8 people suffer from migraines.
Can you believe that number? 1 in 8. I have been 1 in 8 for almost my whole life until it changed. What changed? Well, I went to a neurologist who asked me lots of really important questions about family history (migraines run on my mother’s side of the family), diet (I now know that too much dairy, chocolate, red meat, gluten/grains, sugar and coffee are MAJOR triggers), how much I sleep, how much water I drink, and he also asked me to keep really close track of all of these things for a period of time. I believe it was a month. I used an app to track my migraines (there are LOTS of them), and kept a log of every headache, whether it was a migraine or not.
By the way… if you’re not sure how to tell the difference between a migraine and a headache, there’s a quiz that might help you, thanks to 1in8haveit.ca. You can share these results with your doctor to see if you might need a little extra help dealing with migraines.
When my neurologist asked me about family history, I mentioned to him that my mom had migraines right up until she got pregnant. Then they basically stopped. He looked me square in the eyes and said: “well then, I think you might just have to get pregnant to solve your problem!”
At the time, I was nowhere near ready for kids, but lo and behold… the old doc was right! I had horrible migraines in my first trimester, but then they stopped. I didn’t have migraines for an entire year after that! Now I get them once a month, so I’ve discovered that my migraines are also hormonal.
Who would have thought that of all the weird things to happen to my body during pregnancy, not getting weekly migraines would be one of them? I can’t tell you how happy I am that they don’t happen as often and that I have been given tools on how to control them and manage them when they do come around. I want to be able to look out into the light with these boys of mine rather than trying to hide from it because my head is pounding!
I lived almost 30 years, 20+ of which included migraines, without realizing that living in constant pain could have been avoided, or at least controlled. Don’t let that be you.
If you have persistent headaches or symptoms that maybe mean it’s more than “just” a headache, take the quiz, talk to a doctor, and start to change your life. Because life without constant migraines is just SO. MUCH. BETTER!