Living Life With an {Invisible} Disease

Living with Chronic Migraines
In 2012, just weeks after my 18th birthday, I was diagnosed (by a doctor) with Severe Chronic Migraine Syndrome. Although it was great to finally have some confirmation, I had self diagnosed myself long before then, but due to age restrictions in seeing some of the nation's top doctors, I had to wait until I was 18. Like many invisible diseases or disorders, you'd never know I had it unless you caught me on a flare up day, which is most definitely the worst part.

A few things you should know:
-We actually are sick. No, we aren't exaggerating, because the pain of whatever it is, is often so excruciating, we would never want to fake it.
I often spend days, or even the majority of the week in a blacked out room, with a freezing cold fan and ice pack, because I couldn't imagine moving due to the intensity of the pain. Imagine feeling as though someone is pounding on your head with a hammer for 72 straight hours... Yes, that is my life, which normally occurs a few times a month.
-None of us want to hear what works for you(someone who does not have chronic migraines). I personally don't care about your remedies for headaches, or all the different things you've tried. At this point in my illness, I know what works for me, and I know what doesn't work for me.
I get it, everyone has tried something for their issues, and so have I. So has everyone who suffers from chronic migraine. Magnesium  Tried it. Migraine diet? Ate it. Put your hands in warm water and an ice pack on your neck? Haha, doesn't work. I could go on for weeks, but truth is, everyone is different.
-If you say "You don't look sick," just count on me slapping you in the face. You're totally right, I don't look sick, that's kinda the point of it being called an invisible illness/disease.
My brain could be feeling as though it is splitting in two parts, but if I have a test, or a serious engagement that I just can't miss, you bet I'm going to somehow work through it, and no, I won't look sick, because I've been able to cover this up for so long that you could just call me a master in disguise.

The top 5 things that almost always work at curing my migraine: 
1. Whataburger. More specifically, a vanilla milkshake, fries and a hamburger. Something salty (burger and fries) seems to be what the majority of people find relief in, and the milkshake provides something cold to soothe the pain. 
2. Ice pack and sleep! You have no idea what some rest and a cold compress can do for you!
3. My medicines. After being properly diagnosed and after a long, long process of trial and error, we managed to find some medicines that work for me! My onset medicine is Ketoprofen, which almost always does it. And my intense medicine is Naratriptan (Amerge)-man does this stuff work! It almost always kicks the migraine. Both of these medicines have limits on the amount of pills I can take in a day or week, which often times leaves me unable to take anymore of them. At that point, I always opt for Excedrine Migraine!
4. Massage! Even just a 5 minute shoulder massage can kick the migraine. I've become a pro at self-should massages, and Pinterest has some awesome ideas as well!
5. Bubble bath, but not your average bubble bath. Bath & Body Works has an amazing line of Aromatherapy soaps, lotions and other awesome things. When it comes to migraines, I opt for the Eucalyptus & Spearmint line. I literally use it all. Use the soap for the bubbles, throw in some of the bath salts, light the candle to add even more scent to the room and just relax! After bath, I apply the body lotion to my arms, chest and neck, spritz a little of their pillow mist over my pillow and sheets, and by this time I'm in an Eucalyptus/ Spearmint coma and drift off to sleep.
These may not work for anyone else, but I know they work for me! Try them out, see if they help you, because I know for sure, not trying anything is not going to make it any better!

Invisible diseases and disorders come in many different forms, and unless you really know someone, you may never have any idea what they are suffering from. Unfortunately, I not only suffer from Chronic Migraine, but arthritis as well. Although there are many medicines and treatments for the majority of invisible disorders and diseases, you could have no idea how sick someone actually is!

1 comment:

  1. HI Tiffani, I am so sorry you are suffering so much. My son suffers from Abdominal Migraines but it is hard for him to go to school and work. I really feel for you! Barb Gornick