Sunday, September 12, 2010

Rats are eating my brains...

Oh Lordy... I had my first migraine when I was just about 2 years old, and I can still remember being scared that I would die or that brain stuff was going to come out my ears and I was too frightened to move.
My mama understood what I was going through, because she had them herself... but the good news was that I had what were called "juvenile migraines" - and the doctors promised me that I would outgrow them.

I guess in one way I did... but sadly, they just morphed into "adult migraines" with little or no let up.
Every few weeks, the black brain eating rats of death would come on me, and I spent far too many years laying on the bathroom floor, only rousing enough to stick my head in the toilet.

I learned that there were "triggers" and I learned to avoid them... but although avoiding the triggers 'sometimes' lessened the subsequent attacks, they never went away entirely.

I learned to pay attention to the prodromes... those funny little signs like flashing zig-zag lights, or smelling rotten oranges or numb dead feeling hands or feet or even burps that felt like they were coming from the very soles of my feet - that always told me that a migraine was waiting in the wings and getting ready to pounce.

flashing lights, wavy lines, spots, partial loss of sight, blurry vision
olfactory hallucinations (smelling odors that aren't there - like rotten oranges)
tingling or numbness of the face or extremities on the side where the headache develops
cold hands or feet
difficult finding words and/or speaking like you're drunk
partial paralysis
auditory hallucinations
decrease in or loss of hearing
reduced sensation
hypersensitivity to feel and touch
food craving
altered mood
hot ears
stiff neck muscles
queasy stomach symptoms
constipation and increased urination
and burping.

I learned long, long ago to lock myself in a dark room (and to always have a bucket handy) and to try and sleep it off.
Losing untold years of my life - and missing out on my children's lives, in the process.

Then when I was in my 30's, I was told that menopause would be the end of them. My hormone levels would change... yada yada yada.
Bring it on, baby!

But again... They lied.
That blessed, longed-for day came and went about 5 years ago.
And although I had a short break from the fortnightly or monthly migraines, they came back with a vengeance.

I've tried every cure known to man - from Cafergot suppositories stuck up my bum with 4 hour regularity, ('scuse me for being gross here, but I'm just being honest) to triptan medications, calcium channel blockers to beta-blockers, tricyclic anti-depressants like amitriptyline and nortriptyline to anti-epileptic drugs and steroids.

To soaking my feet and hands in near boiling water to pull the blood out of my head... to foot massages and back rubs to full-blown 2 hour professional massages.
Bio-feedback and acupuncture... I've done it all.

And some of 'em work.
And some of them don't work at all.

The best I've ever had is 6 months of being pain free after an acupuncture treatment.
So when they started coming back, I again rushed to the acupuncturist for ongoing treatments... and got no results at all.
The rats in my head had set up house, and weren't going to leave for any reason.

I've learned to live with my brain eating rats of black death.
But oh my sweet Jesus... how many years have I lost in the process?
How many years - not to mention open house at school nights, baseball games, or karate demonstrations or Saturdays at the pool, did I miss out on in my children's lives?
How many times did they have to get themselves off to school, or fix their own dinners while their mom was laid up in bed with a towel wrapped around her head trying to block out all light, sounds and smells?

How many times did other mothers have to step in on my behalf, so that my kids could go swimming at the pool or lake with their friends, or even get to their various activities?
How many dollars have I spent fruitlessly trying to at least "contain" the pain - if not trying cure it?
And how well do I know what the inside of my toilet bowl looks like?

This current "rats are eating my brain and I can't open my left eye" episode has gone on for 4 days now, and the latest pain injection (sumatriptan) has done absolutely jack sh**.
The anti-emetic injection (anti-barf stuff) is working though - thank God - because the only thing worse than a migraine is puking my toenails up while my head feels like it's about to explode and splatter my brains all over the porcelain throne.

This is a cruel disease, and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

Does anybody have a chainsaw I can borrow?


Kurichan said...

omigosh....hope it goes away soon, migraines are a walk in the park compared to yours...


Becky said...

My mother had them, I had them and now my Meagan has them. My mother's went away after menopause, mine did too after chemo made me go thru menopause. I feel so bad for my daughter. I wouldn't wish them on anyone either. I pray that relief comes soon for you. Hugs to you!

Momlady said...

I'm so sorry that you are having such pain. I can empathize because I used to have migraines also. I was lucky because three acupuncture treatments made them go away. I wouldn't give up on the acupuncture. Meantime, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

Marjie said...

I consider myself fortunate to not have migraines, although I've had headaches that last all days. I spend those days hiding in a cool dark room, too. You have my deepest sympathy.

Fruitcake Sandy said...

I am SO sorry, Katie ... My heart goes out to you. I have been spared migraines ... although the auto-immune disorder delivers some Grade AA pain throughout my body at times. I once had a patient/friend look me dead in the eyes, during a migraine attack and utter (from the depth of her bowels) "PAIN ?? ... you don't even know what pain is, I can give you a new definition of pain" ... then she promptly heaved all over my shoes before sinking to the floor.

I send prayers and hugs that you can sleep and escape the torment.

Kerry O'Gorman said...

I have had the pounding, deadly, one sided migraines for years and my mom said "oh don't worry dear, they'll disappear with menopause". After reading your post though I no longer have the faith that within 5 years I won't feel like cutting my head off! Good grief! What's a poor gal to do?! hope you feel better soon...

Faithful said...

i too have wished for a chainsaw and have beat my miserable, exploding, head into the hard ground with migraines..but alas...FINALLY after many years...I found a great relief! I swear by the drug "Topamax" (Topiramate) i also have Lupus, which adds inflammation to the insult of the migraine until a neuro doc started me on this anti- seisure med. i take 50 mg twice aday. it takes a while to take effect BUT IT WORKS! I never get rid of my migraine completelt but it has lessened them to the point of managing them. I've got my life back and that has been for over 2 years and it still is working for me! You might ask your doc about it if you haven't already..just sayin'! Good luck!kay

Bz said...

And the post title had me stop ..then the description... gees... chain saw... rats eating... uh uh uh... all I can say is that I hope it ends soon for you... the migraine(s), that is.

Roslyn said...

So sorry I do know about migraines though I have never suffered the frequency the way my Mum did, she was just like you, Kate.

Please God take Kate's pain away.

Tatersmama said...

~~Kurichan - I'm feeling considerably better today, so I think I might just live. ;)
Becky - They're cruel, aren't they? I don't know why mine have actually gotten worse, but I've heard that most people eventually get over them - and I hope that's the case for your daughter.
Momlady, Thank you. I'll give the acupunture another try - because what choice do I really have? I hate taking medication anyway!
Marjie, are you SURE that yours aren't migraines? It sounds like it to me - although I hope they're not! If I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy, I certainly wouldn't want a friend to have them!!!
Thanks, Fruitcake Sandy - In your line of work, you've seen it all, haven't you? I almost feel bad about whinging about it.
My heart goes out to you as well... but you already know that, don't you? :}
Kerry, Keep the faith! I've heard that menopause makes a huge difference in 99.9% of folks, so I'm SURE that you'll see relief!!
Funny to think that we actually look forward to "the dreaded change", isn't it? ;)
Faithful, I thought I had your email address, but I guess I don't. Could you send me an email? I've got Lupus too, and maybe that's an angle that we've never looked at???
Bz, I knew what you meant! lol! Unfortunately, there are no chainsaws around here. ;)
Ros, I'm doing much better today!
Can't let anything keep this ol' duck down for too long!

Nancy M. said...

Kate, I am so sorry for what you have to go through! I can't imagine the pain you are describing! I really wish it will ease up for you! {{HUGS}}

Homestay Mama said...

Oh, dear Katie! How awful to have migraines like that! And to have them since age 2! If I were in your shoes, I'd never be able to come up with the humor that you that do. Which is proof that you're a much better person than I!!

Sniffles and Smiles said...

My dad suffered terribly from migraines...I've had a few...but mine are diet i can control them...but Dad's were like yours...and he did the Cafergot and all the rest of it...My heart breaks for you!!! Migraines are HORRIBLE!!! I hope you feel much better soon!!! Love you so much!! Janine XO

diney said...

I have friends who suffer, but the worst I have are really bad headaches, which are distressing enough. Hope relief comes soon


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