Wednesday, September 3, 2008

That gave me a headache just writing it!

I am not used to Jill being the one under the microscope. It is a strange feeling having Jill be the one that is having a health problem.

I started having migraines when I was about five. They can be hereditary, so when Jill started complaining of headaches I was on alert. I also didn't think it was all that unusual. I mean, everyone gets headaches all the time, right? Wrong. Growing up, struggling with severe migraines, I have a skewed perspective on normal. Some days it is just a plain, run-of-mill headache. At least, three times a week, I had migraines. I was taking so many treatment pills (ones you take at the onset) that I knew I had to do something. This year, I finally relented and went on a daily. Twice daily. At what is apparently a high dosage. I am finally experiencing some headache free days. Some. The migraines are down to once a month. Much improvement. But just as I was finally getting relief, Jill started showing symptoms.

At first she complained only of a headache. Then she complained about light, asked to wear sunglasses often, sat in dark rooms, shielded her eyes from sunlight. The sun, too, is my enemy. The vomiting and stomachaches started soon after. And, the most telling moment? Jill mentioned having "colored polka dots" in her vision. I see these also during migraines. So bad that sometimes I can't walk. I loose peripheral vision. I can't look at things that are white. I hardly ever talk about that part of it. In fact, I hardly ever talk about any of it. I know she has not heard that from me. As the pain of the headaches increased, Jill's sleep pattern became more erratic. I didn't connect the two until I did some research. I since learned that periods of irrational/emotional behavior and sleep disruption/insomnia can all be part of the period leading up to the point of the headache. That the migraine is the end of the cycle. I never knew all of this. I have been diagnosed for so long that this research was not even available. I never had gone back and relearned. I recognized some things in myself, realized I could be heading these headaches off LONG before they start. And? Apparently, this could largely play into my mood. Times I have assumed that I have suffered from depression, could actually be linked to these migraines instead. Ask my mom, she could tell you when I am going to have a big blowup with a friend or at school. She could sense the mood change. The irrational behavior brewing under the surface. The build-up. We assumed it was emotional. We never knew it was neurological. I read many accounts of people describing this kind of event. I could never put into words the way it felt in my head, but as I read those, I knew they understood. It was part of the migraine cycle. My refusal to be medicated for so long, in hindsight, was probably a horrible idea.

Today, Jill finally has her appointment. I will do things completely different with her than I did myself. I will insist that she be put on a daily medication. I know that it will be hard for her to adjust to. I know that it might make her "different." It certainly did with me. But ask anyone, and they will tell you it made me less irritable. I sleep better. I concentrate better. I just can't drink carbonated drinks. Not that bad of a trade-off, if you ask me.

It just seems so strange having Jill be the one needed medical attention. With Emmi it seems like no big deal, even over much bigger issues. This. Has me completely undone. She is my "healthy" kid. The one without problems. I am not supposed to be taking her for MRIs and talking to neurologists about her. It just seems so wrong. And that in itself seems wrong.


Sheri said...

Oh man! I am glad you are getting her help. You know I have suffered from headaches since young. Thankfully, they subsided as I got older.

Madison has been suffering from headaches(boderline migraine IMO) for a while. Her pdoc thinks it is her meds. He switched them to ones that do not have that as a side effect, though. However, she is still getting the headaches. Her mom keeps insisting it is the meds, and refuses to hear me when I bring up the possibility that she just suffers from headaches. @@ Meanwhile, Madison has bad ones every few days.

I am Trish Marie said...

They have decided that the insomnia could signal something more than a headache, so they have scheduled an MRI. They sent me home with pain meds to get her through the weekend. Fun times...

Sounds like Madison's mom... oh nevermind! Waste of breath!

Linda said...

Because I almost never had headaches of any kind and didn't even know children could have migraines, it was several years before we recognized that what you were having were migraines. Then, the medications typically given caused side effects you couldn't tolerate or wouldn't tolerate. We didn't know at the time that migraines can cause permanent neurological changes.

And we sure didn't know about the aura effects, did we? You're right that I could tell when something was building and won't it be nice that Jill won't suffer as much of that or of the pain as you did? You know I'm not much of a person to push medications, but when they're needed, they're miracles.

The Van Fam said...

Oh wow. I didn't know half of this stuff. I have suffered with mirgaines my whole life. They are heriditary here too. My great-grandmother had them, my mom had them, and both my brother and I suffer from them. I pray neighter of mine has them. Jimmy has had them before but they are few and far between.

I was on a preventative 3x a day med when I was 12 or so. It was a 6-month trial and helped a lot for quite a while.

I now just take something when they come one and they seem to be more hormonal these days. I tend to get them around the time of my period. I never had them while preggo and have only had 1 or 2 since having MacKenzie, but I have a feeling that as soon as I stop nursing they will return.

Anyways...I know how awful they are and I can't even imagine watching my little one suffer!! Good luck, hope she starts feeling better soon.