I Broke My Brain. And Threats.

Hello, my name is Mercedes. (Hi, Mercedes!)  And I struggle with migraines.  I’ve been dealing with them for about twenty years now, with varying degrees of success.  I’ve done it all: kept a migraine journal, (Yeah, if you want good reading, read a migraine journal), a trigger journal, a journal of my feelings about migraines.  (THEY SUCK, YAAAAAH!)  I’ve been on prescription meds, been yanked off prescription meds, taken over the counter meds, tried acupressure, and at one time was eyeing a screwdriver with interest until my husband spirited it away and sent me to bed.  But most of the time, he isn’t here.  Usually I’m shuffling around the house with wild hair and my squinty eyes while trying to take care of the kidlets.  I’m always terrified that the blinding pain will impair my ability to, oh, I don’t know, properly measure out seizure medication, or that sort of thing.

“I’m certainly sorry, Mercedes,” you say, “but what does this have to do with writing?  This is a writing blog, you see.”  And you point delicately at the “writing” category.  Oh reader, how kind and helpful you are!  Well, I shall tell you.

They’ve been hitting daily and that’s putting a serious crimp in my writing schedule.  (See? Back to the subject at hand.)  I have three hard deadlines coming up in the next two weeks, not to mention several soft deadlines.  My production level is meh.  My inspiration is nnnnngh.  My actual output is pfft.

Enough, says I!  Today is the first day of a super clean, nothing processed, no salt/sugar/wheat/dairy diet that lasts for six weeks.  After the initial six weeks, I’ll slowly add things back in one at a time.  This should help me identify dietary triggers.  That’s the hope.

Seriously, folks.  This might kill me, but I’m determined.  Please be kind as I go through what I’m sure will be severe withdrawal.  If you taunt me with your delicious baked goods and your highly processed comfort foods, I’ll come after you with a knife. I will.  But I love all of you madly.  You know this.  Thank you so much for your support.  The advice and suggestions that you have already Twittered/emailed me have been overwhelming  in their kindness.  You don’t understand how appreciated you are.

(And for a good time, Google images “migraine”.  See all of those models prettily furrowing their brow while they flutter delicate fingers to their heads?  I don’t think that’s an accurate representation.  There is a really awesome picture of a blond covering her eyes while she’s engaged in an open mouthed, ugly cry.  That rocked!)

24 Comments on “I Broke My Brain. And Threats.”

  1. Really sorry to hear it. My mom gets migraines, and she’s been having a rough time of it lately too. I hope the new plan goes well. Sounds like a great way to identify the triggers.

  2. nothing processed, no salt/sugar/wheat/dairy diet

    What…what are you eating?

    Says the girl who had a cup of coffee and two fun-sized Milky Ways for lunch.

  3. Well, crap. Sorry to hear of the migraines, good lady. I guess this explains your homicidal tendencies, huh? O.o

    I do hope the diet helps you get back to normal. Rice will be your best friend for a while, methinks. I know it’s *my* best friend, since my son’s allergic to dairy/wheat/corn/gluten/tree nuts. It’s pretty healthy, actually, when you eat nothing but rice and quinoa and veggies and fruits. It’s how I keep my girlish figure.

    Lots of luck with the diet, Merc. I’m sending virtual hugs your way. (And I promise not to slip a knife between your ribs while I’m at it. Scout’s honor.)

    Be well, m’dear.

  4. I’ve been through that diet several times for several different health issues. It’s a bitch but worth it if you can find the pain triggers. I’ve been living dairy, egg, gluten, soy & mostly sugar free for the past five months and it has helped. Best of luck!

    I have a cooking blog at: http://craftycookery.wordpress.com/

  5. Wow, you suffer them too. I used to get them occasionally and bad, but since this time last year I’ve been getting them almost daily. I know how you feel. It’s not a diet thing with me as I’ve got the same diet as always; they have only come on with nasty regularity since my eyesight started going. I hate light, but I hate the dark too because I can’t see in the dark because of being half blind. With me, it’s difficult to get the right balance of light and dark, rather than food, but I so understand how bad it can be! Hugs.

  6. I’m also a migraine sufferer. (Had one last night.) 😛

    I’ve found that Zomig is my best friend and that a light dose of a beta blocker (Nadolol?) helps prevent mine. I went to a migraine specialist to figure that out after having one every day for a month a couple of years ago. They actually put me on a steroid for a week to knock me out of the migraine cycle before medicating me with those other two things.

    I get triggered by food some, but mine is more related to stress or sinuses. Maybe pick a day that will be 100% Mercedes relaxes day. Don’t allow yourself to work on the writing or even talk about the stressful topics and go do something fun. 🙂

    Hope they get better and you feel relief soon!

  7. Oh Mercedes, how miserable. I used to get migraines, too, but I’ve been lucky of late.

    This is probably going to sound like weird quack medicine, but I swear on my life it’s worth looking into. Tight muscles get what are called trigger points, which cause pain in other areas (like I said, it sounds weird, but Google it).

    Check out this site for the most common trigger point associated with migraines. Even better is to buy the book (scroll to the bottom of that link). I use it all the time. Wouldn’t be able to function without it.

    Wishing you pain-free days.

  8. Hi Mercedes–

    I know you’re trying the diet thing but, have you tried botox? Casey has used it on a lot of patients with migraines and it seems to work quite well. If not, at least it’s an excuse to come visit me.

  9. No picture or anyone’s description can really do it justice. I am a fellow migraine sufferer. I am getting them quite frequently as well.

    Yes, it is quite difficult to find the exact culprit to narrow down the search to find the cure. I am as well on prescription medication that only works part time and some days are better than others.

    I agree that it does deter your creative writing style when you feel the way you do while suffering with a migraine and trying to run a household with children and work.

    Food triggers, florescent lights, sounds, smells…the list is limitless. I hope things get better for you and wish you well. Keep fighting the battle and keep your chin up. All we can do is take one breath at a time. I don’t think there really is a cure, but if you figure something out with the food sensitivity…let me know. I’ll try anything!

    It is mentally and physically draining when you can’t function to give your family what they deserve when you are incapacitated with a migraine. Best wishes.

  10. I have migraines, too, and they are debilitating. The best diet I have found is the EAT RIGHT FOR YOUR TYPE diet. It is literally diet based on your blood type. There is also COOK RIGHT FOR YOUR TYPE (much more practical if you are doing the diet). So, there are actually four different diets. I only tried it because I was considering drilling a hole into the side of my head with an actual drill. That… and all of the things that I knew I was allergic to were in the “avoid” column for my blood type. The thing is that all of the diets are hard, because it is no processed foods for all of them. You spend a lot of time eating very healthy. Buying healhty food, etc. I told myself I would give it one month. If I didn’t see any change, then it was history. I saw a change immediately. I went from all of the time migraines to NO migraines for two years straight, when I was eating the diet faithfully. Then I got married to a chronically stressful person and not even the diet could save me. I was back in migraine hell. So, as long as the rest of your life is relatively okay, the diet probably will work for you. Unless your husband is an abusive whack job. If that is the case, there isn’t a diet in the world that will help. In case you are wondering, we are divorced now… but I did keep the migraines. And I am too sick to cook for myself. It all really sucks. My story is too long for this comment. But, I do recommend the diet.

  11. Whenever I tweet about “coffee” pretend I wrote “fish eyes.” They’re really good for your skin, but I have a feeling you aren’t about to go buy a jar ; )

  12. I’ve had a few in my lifetime. I can only imagine what you’re going through. Here’s hoping the new plan will give you pain-free days. :o)

  13. Oh, Mercedes!! My mom suffered from migraines for years, and while I would never say I know what they feel like, I do know from watching my mom suffer that they SUCK.

    I am sending you all of my positive energy so you’ll be strong during the detox. YOU CAN DO IT!

  14. Good luck cleaning the system. I used to have migraines fairly frequently, and they S-U-C-K. Hope the detox and staged reimplementation is just what you need. (MSG was my big trigger…no tasty flavored potato chips for this cowboy)

  15. Whatever you need let me know. I am just a few blocks away. HUGS and I hope enjoying some fun converation and yummy food last night helped.

    HUGS and know that you can do it. You are SUPERWOMAN!!!

  16. nothing processed? oh god. i think there is nothing in my house i could eat then.

    do… do you get wine?

    p.s. my blog was dead but now it is less dead. alive i think they call it.

  17. Two majorly big deadlines? Majorly terrible migraines, kidlets? Handling all on your own? Stress reduction by meditation and relaxation may help. But I bet it’s something you’ve tried.

    My husband is a migraine sufferer and they are really bad when his stress levels rise. He knows then to pull back.

    Take care and mind yourself.

  18. My Dear Friends,

    YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME! Thank you so much for the support and fantastic suggestions! Aromatherapy? Hidden MSG? Trigger points? Believe me, I’m writing everything down and I’m going to try them ALL. I know that bright lights, too much noise, and heavy smells are triggers. And definitely stress. Yep, that’s #1. I even started yoga, which I’m enjoying despite my initial ambivalence. This all seems like a major life change in order to rid myself of headaches, but at this point I’d be willing to sell a limb in order to do so.

    Thanks again! 😀

  19. So sorry to hear it – my husband suffered *horrible* migraines for years until we figured out that for him, Super-B complex was the missing ingredient. After some reading, I found that riboflavin helps some migraine sufferers….so you may want to put a good vitamin B complex on your list as well. It’s water soluble, so it won’t hurt, even if it doesn’t help.

    I hope you figure things out soon…no fun trying to do all that and deal with the pain at the same time. Good luck…

  20. Wow. So sorry to hear this, Mercedes. I hope you get some help soon! My brother in law found that anything with fake sugar in it would trigger his and my mother in law has had a great deal of success in helping sufferers by performing cranio-sacral on them. Just a couple thoughts. Good luck!

  21. I can entirely sympathize and empathize with you. My wife as you already know suffers migraines. She has terrible chronic migraines that she sometimes has to inject Imitrex for, and is on a high dosage of Topamax for. Her migraines seem to be caused by a lot of different triggers of which she can and I know she has told you some of.

    I also suffer migraines, but not your typical migraine. I have what are called “clusters”. My doctor says they are the very worst kind of headache in the world for many reasons one of which is that they are hardest to treat, because their cause is hardest to determine. They are different in every person that suffers them. They’ve been likened to ‘mini seizures’.

    Thus Topamax is also my prescription of choice and as long as I take it like I’m supposed to I’m good. Though I’ve already had to have my dosage upped twice and it’s appearing that I’ll have to go that route again.

    They feel like lightning bolts going off at random intervals slamming through the side of my brain. They can last anywhere from 20 seconds to 3 hours. and for days and weeks at a time.
    I truly hope you can get to the bottom of yours and get some control of them so you can find some peace and relief from them.
    Hugs from Iowa!

  22. Pingback: WIP Wednesday: Writing (and migraine) Updates! « A Broken Laptop

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