The No Good, Very Bad, Migraine-filled Day (or week)

Yesterday I was shot in the middle of my left eye with an uzi.  Or at least that’s what it felt like.  I woke up to feeling a twinge that I knew would more than likely turn into a really bad headache or migraine.

I’ve suffered from migraines since I was in elementary school.  I believe I can thank my Father for this ailment – he gets them so badly, I remember my mom having to take him to the ER in the middle of the night for a shot of some magic meds to at least numb part of the pain.

I’ve been taking Midrin for years now.  And it works most of the time.  But every month, like clock-work lately, I’ve been getting the killer of all migraines about once a month and it lasts at least 4 days, only partially numbed by my Midrin.  But when the medicine wears off it’s back to uzi-in-the-brain status.

Last week I saw Christine’s post about her Mirena.  I actually had a date appointment set for my gynecologist who is Dr. Scheinberg vaginal rejuvenation surgeon. This was on last Friday so I was prepared to ask her about perhaps removing my IUD, thinking it may be the cause of these debilitating migraines every month during my period. She gave me a list of other things to try first, as I do like the IUD, other than these migraines.  She also sent me home with some estrogen pills to take just during my period to combat the drop in my hormones.  I’m starting those today. We’ll see if these pills will be my magic meds to help me ward off the war that goes on in my head once a month.

During this week of  AF (Aunt Flow, period, menstrual cycle, whatever you want to call it) I get debilitated.  The day before, I get very fuzzy in my head.  A tad depressed. Tired and just very cloudy.  Then sure enough within 24 hours I get a whopper of a migraine, with nausea, light sensitivity, and the throbbing head that wants me to go all Van Gogh and chop off my ear or punch out my left eyeball – where the pain usually starts.

So we’ll see if the estrogen pills help…oh lord, please let them help! In the meantime, while I wait and see (and I feel like I am standing in a mine field with my foot precariously just an inch from the detonator), I will do the following to combat this already heavy and hurtful head I have…

My way of dealing with a migraine:

-Take my medicine right away, at the first twitch of pain – if I catch it in time, I usually can deafen the pain – yesterday I had to take FOUR of these pills…which does a number on my body but the pain does get less, it would have been better to use the original Red Vein products to cure this right away

-Take a shower and turn the water hot, then cold then hot, then cold while running over my head

-Put an ice pack on my head and/or neck

-Lay down in a dark, quiet room…do you know HOW hard this is with kids running around? Damn near impossible.

-Cry – which only makes the pain worse but sometimes I just can’t help it.

If you suffer from migraines, what do you do to deal with the pain?  Any ideas or help is greatly welcomed! 

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  1. I can feel for you and relate. I too have had migraines since I was a kid. I have been able to manage them until I became a mom… after having my daughter something happened and everything I tried just wouldn’t work.

    When she was first born and nursing, the Dr.s said that some people get nursnig migraines… so 14 months later when she was weaned, I was still having the headaches. They were worse when I would try different birth control pills, rings, etc.

    I pretty much went almost 2 years with what felt like a constant migraine. I also wound-up having 2 D & C’s because I was having heavy periods. Come to find out that I was actually low on estrogen… all the pills, etc. I had been taking were low in estrogen and giving me the wrong combination of hormones. I would get the monthly headaches like you describe and was giving hormones to help offset the hormonal crash just like you mentioned.

    I had to wind-up going with a pill called FemCon, it’s a heavier estrogen pill. I didn’t want to take a pill, but when I realized that the headaches were actually gone… I decided it was well worth it. I have been on it for 3 months and so far I had far less headaches (I will occassionally get one if I have been working outside all day), less cramps and lighter periods.

    I just wanted to share because it took me so long to figure out what was going on. From what I have read a lot of women have the same problem after childbirth and things like nursing, additional pregnancies, IUD’s & birth control pills can mask the problem.

    I hope you feel better soon and figure out what’s going on. It’s so hard to be a mommy & have a migraine.

    You are in my thoughts.
    .-= Penny Pinching Parent´s last blog ..Free Shipping At Baby Age Offer =-.

    • Thanks so much for your story! I am actually suffering from another one right now. Was up all night with it and now have a migraine hangover. It’s so hard to deal with. :(

  2. Hi Sara, migraines run in my family like crazy! My mom and cousin get it the worst but when I do get one, they are gnarly. Each month about that time I take some supplements and then go right to my chiropractor. She adjusts me and sometimes I don’t get any headaches that month. If I do I go back and she works on my neck and head, shoulders and gives me certain supplements to aid in healing. It’s definitely worth a shot. I know how you feel. Each month I’m in bed for 4 days straight. Totally incapacitated. So so so impossible to get away from the kids to lay in bed all day….if only.

  3. Thanks Sarah! Can’t wait to hear from you again! Love your blog!

  4. Hi Kate…we’re in misery together right now…I have a headache that I can deal with but most would think it’s a migraine, right this very minute. Anyhow, so far I think the estrogen is only making me really nauseous :(

    Hope you feel better soon! I’ll keep you all posted about the estrogen pills after this week on them.

  5. I get migrains too. (have one now). I too am on midrine and it “helps” most of the time, but i down caffeine when I get headaches. I’d love to just go to bed, but when I awake, my house looks like it’s been through a hurricane. :\ i am so curious to know if the estrogen has made a difference.

  6. I really suffered from migraines, too, but I’m allergic to aspirin and can’t take any of the conventional meds that are on the market. I had to do some research about fifteen years ago and found that Feverfew helped to minimize the migraines. It is natural and I had no side effects from it. You should look into it – it’s really wonderful! It helped me – and I had violent ones, complete with the nausea and vomiting and pain so bad that I prayed for the Lord to take me!

  7. Marcy Strahan says:


  8. After years living with hubby with migraines, and aunt with migraines, and both daughters with them (and I can say I have had about half dozen really bad ones myself) and having worked for neuro MD – who treated many sufferers, as soon as you think you may be getting a migraine – infuse the CAFFEINE! part of the cause of migraines is that the blood vessels in the brain/neck/behind the eyes either are constricted or dilated and when you add caffeine (cola, coffee etc.) it forces the opposite effect to occur in the vessels and thus relieves the pressure. If you are already nauseated, it may be too late (even to swallow a pill and keep it down – thus the injections of Imitrex or hospital Demoral). Biofeedback to totally relax is good too – hormonal and blood pressure with AF can trigger monthly too. Yams have estrogen in them (homeopathic treatment for hot flashes too) but watch the amount and duration of using any form of Estrogen as one of the types of cancerous cells in breast cancer is Estrogen based – wise to have a blood test to measure your levels before and during estrogen therapy esp if it looks like you might have to be on it for long period of time – like few days a month for many years. Too much estrogen in your system can be bad w/relation to increased chances of breast cancer. A neurologist working with a gynocologist or woman’s health specialist would be good to consult for personalized treatment. The tiger balm and peppermint oils would help to simulate the “ice” pack effect (hot/cold showers) which works to “freeze” the pain and also to make those blood vessels in the neck/head either dilate or constrict (open/close) changing the blood flow in the brain. Also be very careful of foods/supplements – many can be triggers. Too much sun (vit D) or heat can exacerbate – vog in the islands (or any pollution in air) or allergies to perfumes etc., change in elevation, or change in normal stress level – many people get migraines 2nd day into a much needed vacation, can cause the onset.
    I have to agree re birth control and the IUD. Also ask your gyno about extremely low dose estrogen patches if it is transdermal it releases into your system instantly and at regulated intervals vs. pills, but again, beware it is still estrogen. You can also get estrogen naturally from SOY – introduce tofu or other products daily into your diet and see if that helps to ward off migraine any and then lessen the addition of estrogen meds.

    I pray you get long lasting relief – sorry I am not there to grab up the help with the children. My prayers go out to all of you experiencing this debilitating monster!

  9. I do suffer as well. I do know that people who have never had one have no idea how really bad they are cause I had no idea until I had one. I get the worst kind. The face goes numb I throw up can’t think clearly and have residual headaches for days kind. A few things that help. First get some wild yam cream that is good quality. It will help take more of the edge off and make them a lot shorter. Second get pure essential peppermint oil. Rub it on your temples and forehead but be careful not to get it in your eyes. I use doTerra essential oils. Third I use a cold pack on my forehead but a warm pack on the back of my neck. The warm pack helps relax the muscles in my neck.
    I am really thinking that the estrogen pills may make them worse. The wild yam cream will help balance the hormones.
    And yes do get off of all birth control. I never had a migraine until I was on birth control. For some people it messes up the hormones big time.
    .-= April~Living The Sweet Life´s last blog ..Sweet Crafty Creations * Tissue Paper Flowers =-.

  10. What I take to help alleviate mine (and sometimes it really does go away) is M-Grain oil from Young Living (get it.. M-Grain for migraine?)

    You dab this stuff on pulse points – your temples, behind your ears, wrists, inside of elbows, behind knees, etc. I even put some under my nostrils to smell it, and then sit and smell my fingertips that I used to apply it, too. I can’t say enough about how much it helps me, seriously. I haven’t had a super-migraine pill in quite some time.

    Also, you might want to invest in an herb-infused silk eye pillow. Love those when they’re stored in the fridge, that cold weighing down on your eyes like that, so deliciously helpful!

    *hugs* I hope this helps you, I know all too well how badly they hurt :(
    .-= Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting´s last blog ..To Do Tuesday Week 30 =-.

  11. You poor sweet soul!

    I have a friend that eats avocados on a regular basis. She suffers from chronic migraines and swears that when she added avocados to her diet, her world changed.
    .-= Renee´s last blog ..Bye Bye Binky =-.

  12. I am so sorry Sarah. I hope these new meds do the trick for you.
    .-= Marianna´s last blog ..Fig Leaf Baby Organic Baby Clothing =-.

  13. Mine are caused by barometric pressure drops, and guess what. We’re starting hurricane season, so… yay.
    I seriously feel for you. I have no idea what to do other than quiet darkness and heading them off at the pass.
    On the subject of AF: it might be worth it to try getting rid of your IUD… if you’re sure your migraines happened after … I haven’t blogged about it yet, because I haven’t fully resolved it, but I have a hormonal disturbance, the gynecologist thinks caused by Depo-Provera, and I’m now on treatments (including estrogen, which I lovelovelove) to combat it. I feel so much better already, and it’s only been like 6 weeks. seriously push the issue. it’s your health. there’s no point in living in limbo (what I felt like, anyway).
    Hope you find the answer soon.
    .-= WackyMummy´s last blog ..Confessions =-.

  14. I get killer migraines as well. It feels like my right eye is going to pop out of the socket. I can’t stand noise…or light…or smells…or bright, loud colors…I am in hell when one of those suckers hit. I have been on every medication there is. Midrin is crap, Imitex, crap too. Toradol made me hurl. The ONLY thing that has worked is Maxalt.

    Migraines are not something to mess with. Four years ago, my BFF got one of her killer migraines…only this time it lasted for weeks. Then she lost most of the movement and feeling on the left side of her body. This was in May. She wasn’t able to get an MRI and Cat Scan until OCTOBER. She has a part of her brain that is dead and black, but they would not actually say “mini-stroke”, which is what I think she had.

    She eventually got all her mobility back, but when a migraine is coming on, she will feel a disconnect between the two halves of her body. And then BAM down for 5-7 days with the migraine from hell.

    My migraines have different triggers….The Santa Ana Winds, bright colors, strong perfume smells or just strong smells in general and sometimes my period. I would try the Maxalt. You stick it under your tongue at the first sign of headache and it usually kicks it out pretty well, depending on what my trigger was.

    That sucks to have migraines in Paradise…What a cruel trick of fate, huh?
    .-= Shan @ Last Shreds Of Sanity´s last blog ..Next Time, Daddy Can Take The Drama Queen! =-.

  15. had migraines forever too. been hospitalized for them in Chicago, I live in Indianapolis, if that tells you I can relate! =)

    have you tried taking magnesium? I know it sounds simple, but you need to get a really good, absorbable form, and it is not easy to find. let me know if you are interested and I will dig up the research i did. it helped me.

    topamax made me so tired, and dumb, and gave me gray hairs. I have tried everything. or at least I feel like I do. I hope you are able to get them under control!!
    .-= karissa´s last blog ..Fall and Fashion and My Favorite TARTE! =-.

    • Sarah Burns says:

      Karissa, I’ll have to look into the magnesium. That’s in bananas right? I know that bananas trigger migraines so I’ve been holding off of them. I’l try and see how I can get some magnesium that’s absorbable, thanks for that tip! I’ll look into it more.

  16. so so sad for you! every time i get a migraine, i ask what did i do to deserve such punishment? those who don’t get them have NO idea how annoying, how depressing, how inconvenient these monsters are.

    i have no real solutions for you, as yours seem to be worse than mine during the visit. most of my monsters are sinus-related, and the only solution to that is for me to move. the hubs is not so keen on a long-distance marriage though (instead i pop 2 aleve with a coke, and that helps a little). when i do get a mega monster, i put cold packs on my forehead and back of my neck after rubbing with tiger balm (or something like it) and follow that with 2 relpax pills. but those always make me yack, which in the end actually helps me to feel better. sucks to have to throw up to get over a stupid headache.

    again, i am so sorry for you. and living where it’s super sunshiney more often than not really doesn’t help your plight i imagine. you have my sympathies, though it doesn’t really help with the pain. hope you feel better soon!

    • Sarah Burns says:

      Jamesie, yeah, the heat of summer doesn’t help either. Heat gives me bad headaches. I’m looking forward to the fall and winter :)

  17. Erin, I totally get that, staring at the ceiling thing – but sometimes it hurts to even have my eyes open.

    I’ll go find some peppermint oil for my head – i have tried that before – can’t hurt and at least I’ll smell good :)

    thanks ladies!

  18. Migraines. I used to get them ALL THE TIME. I heaved at Universal Studios when I got one there – I remember asking my brother in law to just cut my head off at the park. I couldn’t move.

    I have also just sat and stared at the ceiling for hours (something about sitting, yet looking up, helps) or I sit in the warm shower.

    I also take any medicine that will make me drowsy. Totally stupid, but in the end you just don’t even want to be aware that you are in pain. Being knocked out sounds better.

    I feel your pain. I’ve been getting a few migraines lately the past few months and no clue why.
    .-= erin´s last blog ..Set Your Boundaries to Get and Stay Fit =-.

  19. I used to have migraines when I was in middle school as well. They’ve stopped as I’ve gotten older, but when I was in massage school, they told me french peppermint essential oils really help. And you know what, it really did! Try rubbing some on your temples. May have to order online. AND go get a massage!
    I hope you feel better soon! It sucks when we are sick and still have to take care of the kids!
    .-= Kasey´s last blog ..Preschool and Piggies =-.

  20. Ugh oh no sweetie!!! I just emailed you asking if you were alive out there. As you now I get terrible migraines. The ONLY thing drug related that works for me is Excedrin Migraine. I’ve tried Imitrex, Midrin and numerous others. I also take Zoloft as a regular stress preventative.

    Once a migraine comes on I take Excedrin immediately. Then I put Tiger Balm on the area where my head meets my neck and my shoulders meet my neck. Those are both super sensitive spots on my body for migraine. Then I take Essential balm which is kind of hard to find, and put in on my temples and around my eyebrows area. Also big tension areas. If that does not do the trick I take a hot shower pounding on my head, neck, temples…all that. Then dark room, like you.

    Get better,
    .-= Lee Allport´s last blog ..Exederm Review and Giveaway! =-.

  21. Trisha, yes, for sure…that’s why yesterday I wasn’t on very much.

  22. I’m on daily topomax and zomig for my break through migraines.
    .-= Amanda´s last blog ..Back to the School Groove – A Collection of Random Thoughts =-.

  23. Sarah, do you think it could be acerbated by being on the computer?

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