Sunday Thoughts on Living with Migraine - Emotions

HappySundayBlossomsHappy Sunday to my extended Migraine and Headache Family!

Last week, I had an interesting conversation with a fellow Migraine Ninja who has been frustrated by how her moods and emotions are impacted by Migraine. This is a topic we've discussed several times recently. For her, the impact on her moods and emotions begin during the prodrome phase, a couple of days before the rest of the Migraine attack hits.

When we began our discussions, she had just put it together that her emotional swings were part of her prodrome. Her doctor had never mentioned the possibility to her, let alone explained why this can happen. When we have a Migraine, it can cause levels of neurotransmitters in the brain to fluctuate. We've known for some time that levels of serotonin and norepinephrine fluctuate. A study has now shown that our dopamine levels fluctuate also, and the drop in dopamine may be behind our need to retreat to a dark room and avoid stimulation.

My friend had shared with me that she finds herself feeling very anxious and cranky when the prodrome begins. Then she feels guilty for having been cranky with the people around her. That's a problem I can definitely relate to because one of my first signs that a Migraine is starting is crankiness. Bless my husband who will sometimes point out that I'm being cranky and ask if I'm getting a Migraine.

Once I realized that my crankiness can be part of the prodrome, I tried to figure out a way to handle it. When I notice it (or when John points it out to me), I employ meditation and deep breathing exercises. Then I play some of my favorite music. When we talked last week, my friend happily reported that she'd tried those counter measures, and they had helped her. They helped her to not feel as cranky, which also meant that she didn't have the guilt that went with being cranky with other people.

Another issue I've had is total panic during a Migraine attack. One night, I told John that I knew something was terribly wrong, and that I need to go to the emergency room. My doctor has prescribed rescue medications for me to use when my first-line meds fail, specifically so I don't have to go to the ER. John knew I hadn't used them, and that it hadn't been very long since I took my first-line meds. So, he asked me if it was the worst Migraine I've ever had. I told him it wasn't. He asked if my symptoms were new, unusual, or worse than usual. Again, no. By then, his questions had made me think, and I realized I needed to go to bed, not the ER.

Do your emotions sometimes run away with you during a Migraine? If you've found things that help you during these times, please leave a comment below, and share them with us.

Live well,

PurpleRibbonTiny Teri1

 

 because a migraine is NOT "just a headache"
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Aphasia - The Migraine Symptom That Can Rob You of Your Words | TED-Ed

Worth-a-lookMany of us with Migraine experience aphasia as a Migraine symptom. This video lesson offers interesting comprehensive information about aphasia that can help us understand what's going on in the brain when aphasia strikes as a Migraine symptom as well as more in-depth information about aphasia.

Aphasia - The Migraine Symptom That Can Rob You of Your Words | TED-Ed

Language, written and spoken, is an enormous part of life, but aphasia can temporarily or permanently disrupt it. Temporary aphasia can be a symptom of a Migraine attack, beginning as early in a Migraine as the prodrome phase. Susan Wortman-Jutt details aphasia in detail. Not all of this video relates to aphasia as a Migraine symptom, but it's all very interesting and educational.

Live well,

PurpleRibbonTiny Teri1

 

 because a migraine is NOT "just a headache"

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Migraine Gem - The Possible Phases of a Migraine

MigraineGemsPurpleWhat do you think of when you think of a Migraine attack?

The headache? Maybe the Migraine aura?

There are actually four possible phases of a Migraine attack:

  1. the prodrome,
  2. the aura,
  3. the headache, and
  4. the postdrome.

Not everyone gets all phases, and each Migraine can vary from the next. You may have different phases from one Migraine to the next.

Want to know more about the four possible phases and their potential symptoms? You can find that information in Anatomy of a Migraine.

Live well,

PurpleRibbonTiny Teri1
 

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© Teri Robert, 2014
Last updated January 20, 2014.

 


Migraine Gem - The Impact of Gastric Stasis

MigraineGemsPurpleFor some time, it was theorized that the nausea that many people occur during a Migraine attack may, in part, be caused by gastric stasis. In simple terms, gastric stasis is delayed emptying of the stomach.

Research has shown that the nausea of Migraine isn't caused by gastric stasis, but gastric stasis is still thought to be one reason why some Migraineurs don't respond well to oral medications during a Migraine attack.

This is one reason that in addition to the current injection and nasal spray medications available for aborting a Migraine, there are two new Migraine medications awaiting FDA approval:

You can find more information about gastric stasis in Study Ties Gastric Stasis to Migraine Disease.

Live well,

PurpleRibbonTiny Teri1
 

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© Teri Robert, 2013
Last updated December 4, 2013.

 


Migraine Gem - Yawning as a Migraine Symptom

MigraineGemsPurpleIt may seem strange, but did you know that repetitive yawning can be a Migraine symptom?

Repetitive yawning can be a symptom or Migraine prodrome, the first of four possible phases of a Migraine attack.

The prodrome phase, once we learn to recognize it, can be very helpful because it can warn us that a Migraine is beginning. This can allow us to be prepared - get home of we're out, be ready to take our medications, etc.

You can learn more about the Migraine prodrome in Anatomy of a Migraine and Recognizing the Migraine Prodrome.

Live well,

PurpleRibbonTiny Teri1
 

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© Teri Robert, 2013
Last updated September 30, 2013.

 



Migraine Gem - Nausea and Medication Redosing

MigraineGems190If vomiting during a Migraine attack makes you think your medications didn't "stay down," think again.

It's extremely important to talk with our doctors about our treatment plans and have his or her advice about what to do if that happens. Depending on a number of factors, a significant amount of medication can be absorbed into our systems in a very short time after swallowing them.

Even "safe" over-the-counter medications can cause serious, even fatal problems before we realize we've taken too much. It's an older case, but the memory of this one will always stick with me. In 2003, a 17-year-old girl turned to Tylenol for Migraine pain relief. Shortly after taking it, she vomited, so she took more. The Migraine and vomiting continued, and Kellie took 20 tablets in a 16-hour period. The last thing she said to her mother was:

"I thought it was OK, Mom. It was only Tylenol."

If you'd like to read more about this case and the letter I received from Kellie's mother, continue to A Mother's Plea: The Dangers of Acetaminophen Overdose." 

Live well,

PurpleRibbonTiny Teri1
 

Make a difference... Donate to the 36 Million Migraine Campaign!

 

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© Teri Robert, 2013
Last updated August 30, 2013.


Do You Experience Migraine Aura? Are You Sure?

TERI-Migraine-AuraIf you have Migraine disease, do you experience the aura phase of the Migraine attack? If you said, "No," are you sure?

I've been seeing far too much confusion about Migraine aura online lately. Here are some misconceptions and pieces of misinformation that I've recently encountered:

  • If you don't have the aura, you don't have Migraines. Whoa there. Not everyone experiences the aura, and those people who do, seldom experience it every time they have a Migraine attack.
  • Aura is only visual symptoms; any other symptoms that occur before the headache are prodrome. Yikes! That is so incorrect. There's a wide range of other possible aura symptoms.

Yes, there are some symptoms that can occur during either prodrome or aura, or even during both, but there are some possible non-visual symptoms that occur during aura only.

Why should we care? Research has shown that the acute treatments we use when we get a Migraine work better when they're taken earlier in a Migraine attack. That's one good reason to know the possible symptoms of the aura phase and learn to recognize them.

The current statistics indicate that only 25 - 30% of Migraineurs experience the aura phase. I'm beginning to wonder if that's correct. It seems quite plausible to me that there are other people who have the aura phase, but since they don't know all the possible symptoms, they don't recognize that they experience the aura phase.

I've been giving this a good bit of attention lately because I want all of us to know all we can about Migraine disease and get the most out of our treatments. I've written about this a couple of times lately, so rather than write it here again, here are some links to information we should all have...

If you've been diagnosed with Migraine without aura, but this information causes you to wonder if you may also have Migraine with aura, please discuss your symptoms with your doctor. It's not only possible, but common to have both forms of Migraine.

36 Million Migraine Campaign

36 Million Migraine Stories

Live well,

PurpleRibbonTiny Teri1
 

Make a difference... Donate to the 36 Million Migraine Campaign!

 

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© Teri Robert, 2013
Last updated August 23, 2013.

 



Migraine Advocacy, Leadership, and Nonsense

MimeSteepledFingersSome of you who follow me on Twitter (@TRobert) have been asking what's going on with a certain person who has been attacking my integrity as a Migraine patient educator and advocate. I'm not going to give him the attention he seeks by mentioning his name. I'll just refer to him by an appropriate movie reference, "he-who-must-not-be-named."

His motivation is a mystery to me, partly because he contradicts himself often, and partly because he often just makes no sense. He has said that I'm biased because I take money from "big pharma," which isn't accurate. I explained that a while back for you, my readers, not for him, in Migraines, Advocacy, and Big Pharma. Now, he's calling that blog entry "inaccurate" because I said I'm paid for blogging for Migraine.com, and that they provide the site to users at no charge by selling advertising space on the site. Now he's yammering that there are no "big pharma" ads on the site. Maybe you can see my confusion here? First he gripes about there being advertising; then he's giving me 24 hours to prove there are ads on the site or his company will "issue a press" on me. As it turns out, the reason he can't see the ads is that they're only visible to people viewing the site from the U.S. Regardless, there's simply no sense in the aggressiveness or attacks, especially when I've been quite open and transparent about all of my relationships with any company.

That's just a bit of what's been going on with being maligned by "he-who-must-not-be-named." If he lived in the United States, I could consider suing him for libel, defamation, and other things, but he doesn't live in the U.S. I suspect that's part of why he feels he can say the things he does with impunity. Of course, he has tweeted that he enjoys arguing. Go figure!

Twitter will do nothing about him and his Tweets. It's their policy that "differences" between users be sorted out between them. Since he hasn't physically threatened me, they don't even consider what he's doing to be harassment.

In any case, this makes me think of something my college president said, "You know you're being an effective leader when half the people are following you, and half the people are chasing you." Looking at it that way, maybe it's a badge of honor to be attacked by this person. I'm in good company at least. He also claims that some of the best and brightest doctors and researchers in the Migraine field are wrong in their thinking about Migraine disease, claiming that their research is flawed and biased. Yeah, right.

Usually, I'm happy to discuss different theories with people, entertaining the thought that their theories can have merit even though they fly in the face of the current conventional wisdom. In the case of "he-who-must-not-be-named," his approach has resulted in my not wanting to hear anything he says about the theories he supports because he's so certain that only his theories are correct and the fact that he attacks and vilifies anyone who disagrees. 

In the end, he's nothing more than a bully who seems to need to attack other people to prove his worth. I've been responding to him because I want patients to have access to good information and not fall for his rhetoric. I'm through with that. You are more intelligent than to fall for it. In the 13 years I've been working to bring you information and offer you support, I've never misled you, and I never will.  Responding to "he-who-must-not-be-named" accomplishes nothing, reinforces his bad behavior, and - most importantly - takes time that I could spend writing for or supporting people with Migraine and other headache disorders. He'll have to be content with talking to himself because I'm not playing his game any longer.

Live well,

PurpleRibbonTiny
 

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© Teri Robert, 2013
Last updated February 12, 2013.