Chronic Migraines in Toronto

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Chronic Migraines in Toronto

Post by Brain Storm on Mon Jun 24, 2013 3:02 am

Hi folks,

I am relatively new to the world of chronic migraines, and really still trying to get my bearings. I started a blog at in an attempt to connect with others dealing with the same issues.

Here's my story:

Winter 2012

I was minding my business, working hard, being social, setting lofty goals, and then whoops! A Migraine! "So this is that nasty headache so many people are on about! I'd rather not have one of those again," I thought as I carried on with my busy life.

Spring  2012

In a cocky, brazen move to try and pass another cyclist while totally forgetting the danger of streetcar tracks, my face and the College Street pavement became intimate. I immediately put myself down for a nap in an attempt to quell the shakes and nausea. Later on, some friends attempted to medicate me with sweet, delicious honey vodka, and lovingly convinced me that streetcar track falls are an important rite of passage for all torontonian cyclists!  Hooray! I was a real cyclist in the big city with scars to prove it! Only, I probably had a concussion and probably should not have had a nap or a drink of sweet, delicious honey vodka.

Fall 2012

I began to have weekly migraines. They came on in the afternoon, usually while teaching under florescent lights in dusty, cologne-filled rooms, and almost always on Friday. "Wow, these migraines are really the pits. How does my mum put up with them?" I thought, as I cancelled my fun Friday night plans and set up expensive bi-weekly massages and acupuncture sessions.

Winter 2012-2013

I started having migraines twice a week or more, and started calling in sick more often.
"Have you tried not eating cheeeeese?'' 
"Have you tried not drinking alcohol?"
"Sounds to me like you're stressed out!" chimed so many people in my life who wanted to help. So I tried all the stuff they said. I continued with the massage and acupuncture, saw an osteopath, added yoga and meditation to the mix, and cut out all kinds of delicious foods while popping pain meds and triptans like M&Ms.
Then I had pain most days. The pain changed, lingered, lifted, hit me over the back of the head, and filled my whole body with unfamiliar, nasty feelings. Then I felt very lost and sad and confused and afraid. Then I took a short sick leave and felt a bit better, so I went back to work. Then I felt even worse, took another sick leave, and here I am.

Spring 2013

I've had some long stretches of good days lately. The new combo of regular massage + mineral and vitamin supplements + yin yoga + meditation + a stupidly restricted diet + avoiding loud/smelly/bright spaces + no pain meds ever + preventative daily medication seems to be yielding results. But I still have ugly unanswered questions, like, "Is this careful, sheltered routine even the slightest bit sustainable?" and "How and when can I return to my job that is such a huge part of my identity and feeling of self-worth??" and "When will I get to eat pounds of dark chocolate followed by sweet, delicious honey vodka while dancing my heart out on a Saturday Night???"

In the past, I've thought about how navigating changing abilities or disabilities must be difficult for folks, but I didn't really get to thinking how big of a deal it is until my abilities were in question. Even with all the amazing supports I have in place already, it's a big, scary emotional roller coaster, and that is why I feel compelled to make parts of my experience public in hopes that I can support, and be supported by, others who are also learning how to manage their lives with chronic pain.

Brain Storm

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Join date : 2013-06-24

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Re: Chronic Migraines in Toronto

Post by pīwakawaka on Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:27 pm

Welcome to the forums. Sorry that things are rather quiet here at the moment. I'm not sure what has happened to the regular posters.

I guess all chronic migraineurs hope for that "miracle cure", and no doubt a few find it. But for most of us it's something we have to learn to live with and at best learn how to "manage" it.

I've had migraines for over 50 years, and been chronic for about 15 years. I'm one of those who have yet to discover how to manage the migraines, can no longer work and haven't worked full time since 1999. My migraines often cause stroke-like symptoms which can be quite distressing to others (I don't usually remember them, so it doesn't affect me the same way).

Back to you and some of your questions. You ask if your current routine is sustainable: In one word: Yes! Sure you might not be able to live the way you did, but that doesn't mean you are a lesser person because of it. Self-worth comes from inside - not from what you can or cannot do.

I guess learning to pace yourself and knowing your limits is one of the more difficult skills to master. I'm probably luckier than most in this regard, as I've had migraines most of my life and the progression of the severity of the symptoms has been very gradual over that time. So I haven't had to face a sudden shock of realising life is going to have to be different. It's just been small adjustments year by year.

An important step is to educate those around you as to what your migraine really is. It's not just a bad headache as so many people seem to think. It's a neurological condition that affects everyone differently.

I've thought about blogging my migraine experiences, but never got around to it as I found these forums. But now that things have gone quiet here, I might reconsider (yes, I'm a born procrastinator). I'll have a look at your blog when I can and may make some further comments here after I have done that.

"I didn't mind getting old when I was young. It's the being old now that's getting to me." - John Scalzi Old Man's War, 2005

Posts : 272
Join date : 2012-03-11
Age : 69
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Re: Chronic Migraines in Toronto

Post by Laura on Fri Jul 12, 2013 3:13 pm

"How and when can I return to my job that is such a huge part of my identity and feeling of self-worth??" and "When will I get to eat pounds of dark chocolate followed by sweet, delicious honey vodka while dancing my heart out on a Saturday Night???"

I totally understand. I'll check out your blog.

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Join date : 2011-08-04
Age : 53
Location : Baton Rouge, Louisiana, US

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Re: Chronic Migraines in Toronto

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