You know that cliche that says you don’t know what you have until it’s gone? Well, recently I realized it applies to not only losing the good, serving things in your life but to the icky, shit hole ones too. I’ve been a chronic migraine and daily headache sufferer for over 13 years, and now…I’m not. What I’m about to share with you could change your life forever, so please read through this post. As to the cliche reference, well…allow me to explain:
I know what I had, and it was a profound case of listening to the wrong voice in my head. I listened to the one that said “You can’t do anything that requires commitment because you are sick!” and “Your identity is in your illness!” or “You will never get better!” and “You are kidding yourself trying to help others!” and “There’s nothing you can do about your pain!”
There was a new voice…it was louder than all the others! It said, “Fuck this!
I won’t apologize for the harsh language this time because there was simply no other words to get me to listen, change, and move. I could have just stood in the mirror and said, “I’m sick of this!” or “Stop being sick!” and “Headache go away!” or “I can’t do this anymore!” You see what I mean? Those statements lack conviction and cutting power. These two words, however, did not come without years of preparation and, more recently, some deep soul searching that lead me to list every single thing I learned from my pain and illness.
The new, loud voice in my head became my new best friend. It said don’t be afraid to try new things that you haven’t done before. I know migraineurs can get stuck in treatment ruts and forget that they really haven’t tried “everything” as is so often declared in the doctor’s office and to friends and family. Though I am an aware woman, who understands health and the body’s true map to get there, I became stubborn, unwilling to DO some things and to try others. It wasn’t until my teenage daughter began to get serious complex migraine headaches and seizures that I started looking at some new options.
Sometimes all you need is a pair of fresh eyes on the case (and a new voice in your head) to change everything. My daughter wasn’t willing to live with her headaches and seizures. She researched for hours the common known causes and theories about the connection between migraine, seizures, and hormonal imbalances. Her findings amazed me not because I’d never heard any of it before but that she took the initiative to DO it.
She decided to first try cutting out all of the foods she had been allergic to as a young child. Those included wheat, dairy, corn, chocolate, and tomatoes. Though she outgrew her allergy, she thought there may be lingering food sensitivities, which is a whole other animal with which to be reckoned. And I decided (still listening to the new voice) to go on the eating plan with her. I dropped the wheat (gluten) and dairy completely from my diet. The reason I’d never tried this before was a lack of digestive issues to speak of. The laundry list of doctors and I never red-flagged that food could be hurting me. I’ve done plenty of cleanses and dietary restrictions before but never just flat out dropped an entire food group from my plate. Oh, yeah, I stopped drinking coffee too! I did this because my daughter found research that suggested gluten and coffee do similar things to sensitive individuals. Kicking and screaming, I grudgingly put my coffee maker in the garage.
Just One More Book
The last headache I had was two days after I ended the java. And you all know how painful caffeine withdrawal headaches can be…don’t you? It was a doozy! No worries. I spent the day in bed and was fine the next day. That was when I started the other “new thing” that changed my life forever. I was turned on to a book called Pain Free: A Revolutionary Method for Stopping Chronic Pain
Again, most of the basic health info within was that which I’d read and even practiced, but I kept reading…
I did exactly what he said to do. The series of exercises I learned were nothing short of genius. I started them immediately. And, as nearly guaranteed by the author, immediately I felt my body change. I’m not kidding or exaggerating. Pain that I’d suffered since my early twenties left….including, the head pain. Three, four…seven days went by with no headache. The new gluten, coffee, dairy free diet and my postural alignment plan from the book were easy and positive results screamed louder than I ever could. A month…nearly two months went by and I still had not had a migraine or a daily headache. There really are no words to describe my feeling. But I’m sure they are the polar opposite of Fuck This! The last migraine I lived through was November 4, 2012. I don’t know if it will be the last, but two months into a new life, I’m hopeful and living each and every day fully.
Because of the major layer I’ve peeled off the onion of true health, I’m continuing to work toward the core of health greatness. I’ve recently done a candida cleanse diet (still on that) and have religiously used the natural progesterone product Emerita (Pro-Gest) Pro-gest Cream to balance my peri-menopausal hormones. More work to do, but I’m game. Meet me here very soon for part II of the series: Inflammation Was Killing Me. And, sorry this was a little longer than my normal post, but you understand how significant it is. This has been literally the most fulfilling, pleasurable article I’ve written in the nearly four years I’ve been doing this! Thank you God, Universe, Angels, Guides, Humanity, and every living and non-living thing that has helped to get me here!
Please leave your comments and questions. I will answer YOU! And pass this article along to those who need it.
I enjoyed your blog. I am so glad you and your daughter found something that worked for both of you, and many of these are things that migraineurs should try just to make sure. Unfortunately, these types of treatments do not work for everyone. I know that you did not state that, and I am so grateful that you were able to put yourself back on track through diet and monitoring of what you were ingesting.
As a chronic migraineur as well, and someone who works in the field of advocacy, I can tell you that migraines are NOT headaches, and I am sure that is something you are aware of too, but a lot of people are not. In the interest of general education, I’m writing this comment to you. The headache phase is just one of a potential 4 phases in the attack. For some people, the other symptoms sans the headache are just as bad. If it feels like I am nitpicking, well, I am, because it us unfair to call a migraine a “headache” because so many of us struggle with people misunderstanding socially that some of us cannot take OTC meds for “headaches.” Migraine is a complex neurological disorder, and it is incurable. It is, thankfully, treatable for some individuals and controllable, which is the balance I think you have found here.
I have been a migraineur since I was very small. I have tried many therapies too, medicines, gluten-free, scheduling sleep and no napping, quitting coffee, the Atkin’s diet tailored by my doc for migraineurs, biofeedback, chiropractics and massage, and I have seen specialists who are at the top of their field. I hope that someone can be helped by your article because it’s very practical advice; I would also like for people to understand that migraine is not as simple as a headache. I wish it were. I have now had 3 major surgeries to control my migraines, and at this point in time my third surgery does not stop an attack, it just controls the pain – but at least I am not on medications and I still follow certain strict regimens like the sleep problems. While in the hospital I discovered that I wasn’t getting enough oxygen as I slept (and I need to lose weight which is my goal this year), so I came home fearing it was contributing to my poor sleep quality and that I might need a sleep study per my migraine specialist’s line of thinking. Turns out all I needed were those Breathe Right strips. I breathe more freely now and sleep TONS better, and I wake up feeling refreshed instead of right away in pain, so for me, it’s one thing that has added a benefit and will keep me away from another useless appointment. Sadly, the pain comes eventually, but I am very light sensitive and also wear special glasses to diminish the blue-light spectrum signals coming into my optic nerves. If I take my glasses off for a moment, the world is harsh, blue, and cold to me, and it hurts, above all. So basically, my nervous system is a mega-bomb and it trips its wires over very small things that I can’t even control. However, I still work because I have to. I am not ready to give up, and this surgery has been more successful than anything I could have hoped for after everything else I have done under careful monitoring and guidance and TONS of reading. I have many other medical problems as well that contribute, so for me, it isn’t always easy, but the more time that goes on the freer from medicine I get.
I wish you the best of luck over time – may your migraines NEVER return! I will celebrate for you where I am at – it’s a party any time any one of us finds a successful regimen (a quiet one for some, to be sure, but still a party!). Best of health to you in this new year….Keep writing about your successes and I would love to hear more about your migraines (if you wish to write about them, that is), and how you have come to find this path. I also write a blog about migraines – have for years. I work with 2 headache disorders non-profits, so I try to read what I can when I can and again, I find your tips may be helpful for others who are looking for guidance. Do you mind if I add your page to my blog?
Thank you so much for your amazing comment. I do appreciate your expertise and ideas. I apologize if I gave the impression that migraine is just a headache. I’m usually so careful about that. I know how complicated the condition can get; therefore, no way do I believe it’s a mere headache. I’m so fortunate that my changes have left me completely free of migraine, daily headache, fatigue, Fibromyalgia pain, MS like symptoms, vertigo, and other issues. If that’s not a cure then I don’t know what is. I have a different idea about health as some do. I believe that the body can and will heal itself if you give it what it needs or take away that which it doesn’t. I stayed focused on that and not my doom since the beginning and I finally found the answer. So, I didn’t just get cured, it’s been a long journey to get here. It’s just when the time was right, it happened nearly overnight. There was so much mental and emotional preparation put into my state of health as well. I’ve been meditating and practicing manifestation techniques for over 4 years now. And it does work.
Thanks for your well wishes and your kindness. I would love to be connected to your site! I too hope you continue to search and walk your path with dignity and hope that someday you will experience a pain free life. It is a party! That book I mentioned in the post is absolutely amazing BTW. Anyone who has chronic pain could get something out of it.
I am so glad to hear this good news. I mean GREAT news! While I was pregnant and shortly after I experienced a handful of full blown migraines. Its down right scary. How can I work, take care of my kids, etc…. hopefully mine were triggered by hormones that I will not have again 😉 Any way I have several friends and family member that I will share this with. Keep your chin up! You deserve some peace and quiet!
Thank you, Lindsay! I appreciate your support and well-wishes. Yes, please do pass along this info to anyone who could potentially benefit from it. Take care of that beautiful family!
This is awesome and since I know you and have been around you for years (and can testify on your migraines), I’ve been in awe that you are pain free. This validates so many theories about the gluten and dairy free diets that I hear about and certainly proves the point about “inflamation” in our bodies due to the junk we’re eating. I am so proud of you for your determination, insight, research and motivation to plunge into this new way of living/eating with both feet. Your experience is such an inspiration to many others and to me, as I have allergies and pain as well. I’m starting my diet as well which is very much needed. Keep the blogs coming!!! Love this!!
I appreciate your support and friendship so much. Thanks for sticking around through all the crap and the times I cancelled on you because of headaches. It’s only going to get better from here. Great going on starting a new eating plan yourself. I hope you can get pain free as well very soon.