Restarting the Count

I had a migraine yesterday. This was my first migraine in 156 days.

I’d had a headache all day. I don’t think that by itself, the headache would have morphed into a migraine. Not 100% certain what caused the headache. I think it was a combination of too much sugar the day before, as well as physical therapy. (I’ve been in PT for a while because my hands keep falling asleep. Not while I’m writing, but doing other things. I am MUCH better now. Also, if you’re out in the Maple Valley/Covington/Kent area, I would HIGHLY recommend Dr. Amy.)

Then, last night, I went out to dinner with a friend. It was a lovely dinner, but the waitress wasn’t paying that much attention. (She had a couple of friends there, and she spent a lot of time chatting with them at their table, ignoring the rest of us.) I asked for no dairy, but my steak arrived with a huge chunk of garlic butter on it.

No worries, just push it to the side. I’m sensitive to dairy, but a little bit won’t kill me.

It didn’t occur to me until much later that the veggies, which tasted fantastic, were probably also slathered in butter.

Normally, just that amount of dairy, by itself, wouldn’t have caused me to have a migraine. I would have had a headache. And it might have turned into a bad headache. But not a migraine.

Since I already had a bad headache, which then combined with the dairy headache, I got a migraine.

In some ways, this was a good thing. This was a reminder of just how bad my migraines used to be. This one came with everything: light sensitivity, noise sensitivity, sore neck, all the skin on my skull hurting when I pressed against it (which means that yes, it hurts more to lay down and try to sleep), and a touch of vertigo.

As I commented to my sweetie last night—despite how sore and awful I felt, I remember working through this pain. I would have pushed it to the side and kept going, because that was the only way I would get anything done.

I guess I really am more stubborn than the average bear.

The good news is that this morning, the migraine is gone, disappeared as if it had never been here. A huge part of that is because I no longer take any migraine medication. Instead, I continue to do the things that work for me, and I will do them all day today:

Fast. This morning, I’m having tea for breakfast, just to clear out the remnants of the migraine. Might not eat until 2 PM, when we’re having lunch with a friend.

Drink water with salt. As soon as I finish my tea, I’ll switch to water. I will try to overhydrate today. The salt is mega important as well. Just drinking water isn’t enough. I’ve lost minerals during the migraine attack. Plus as a woman as well as someone who gets migraines, I need more salt than the average person.

Meditate. I did a lot of meditation last night, visualizing the pain shrinking into a ball, then pushing that out the crown of my head. I will continue to meditate today, probably do some mindful walking later—basically, paying attention to my breathing while I’m walking.

Light exercise. I did some level of stretching this morning and a few yoga poses. Later today, I’ll do more stretching and more yoga poses. A lot of exercise would be bad. But light exercise, to get the blood flowing, is the best thing I can do for myself today.

Note also how I’m approaching this. I am NOT focused on breaking my streak of migraine-free days. I’ve always been realistic about that. While I wasn’t having migraines, that didn’t mean that I’d never have another migraine. I’d come too close too many times.

Instead, I’m focused on restarting the count. How long can I go this next time without having a migraine?

156 days is still miraculous to me. I’d gone probably 60 days before without one, back in 2010. Before that, it was at least monthly, if not more, going all the way back to when I was 18.

One of the things that I had wondered about was the various sensitivities, light and sound. Scientists have discovered that the brains of people who have migraines are significantly different than those people who don’t. I don’t have more receptors for light and sound. However, I have three to five times the number of connectors from the receptors. These extra connectors only light up during a migraine. The rest of the time, they’re not used.

I wondered if that extra wiring would be reabsorbed by my brain if they weren’t being used. Don’t know for certain. I will say that while I had light and sound sensitivity last night, it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as it once had been. Light hurt, but it wasn’t super stabby.

So today, I restart my count. Let’s see if I can get to at least 180 before the next migraine.

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