The truth of the matter is I have been A Migraine sufferer since before I was sent off to kindergarten. Which is a good thing, or so they tell me. It means nothing had suddenly begun growing inside the little area where my pea-brain exists when at 35-years-of-age life became absolutely unbearable.
I do not remember life without A Migraine. They were called, "Darya's Nervous Headaches." And more-often-than-not, A Migraine came on if I was especially excited about something like a slumber party or a looked-forward to field trip to some place special or even one of my own weddings.
And do not even get me started about how my menstrual cycle and then menopause figured into the whole shit-and-caboodle because I KNOW it did, but I NEVER could get a handle on THAT.
In fourth grade we visited the Starkist Tuna Processing plant in Long Beach--rode the train and everything. Some kids brought Their Motion Sickness and they got good seats up front by the driver. I brought A Migraine. I did not get a special seat or even a special bag to throw-up in. I spent the entire day doing recon for ladies rooms into which to wretch my guts. I got yelled at twice for getting out of my seat while the train was moving. I only recently remembered this and recanted it to the Caveman, who just shook his head.
And, unlike Sgt.Airborne and spousal abuse, A Migraine was inescapable.
I have spent an entire lifetime with one eye open on the look out for A Migraine. I have lived a life of hyper-vigilance. I have also had to be productive and take care of a kid and a home and a couple of husbands, as well as make a living and get an education and basically become and be an adult.
Those were just the things that happened when I had A Migraine and that is what I had to deal with in order to deal with A Migraine--perhaps that sounds cruel, but that part of me just learned to deal early.
At some level, I am grateful, because it has made me tough. I could handle it. Teachers, parents, friends, coaches--nobody ever really knew when I had A Migraine. Honestly, I know that I can handle anything because I have handled A Migraine and I know of no greater pain.
In my world, anyway: Childbirth; broken ribs; a collapsed lung; a busted nose and split skull; knocked down in the surf or knocked out in a rear-end collision; 7 busted ankles--3 in casts--6 armpit to wrist casts status post two surgeries each, and now a broken back with bona fide left hip bursitis who even knew that shit REALLY still existed outside of the Beverly Hillbillies' cement pond.
ALL my pain is measured by the yardstick of A Migraine.
And when A Migraine comes. It comes with a vengeance. Like, a Viking-styled vengeance. With axes and swinging balls on the end of chains and huge machete-like axes and burning and raping and pillaging--it is just on the inside of my head where no one else can bear witness--where only I can feel the carnage.
Even if I went to bed at the correct time and did not oversleep and I was not too hungry or too tired and I did not sleep too much. Even if I did not eat any cheese or yeast or MSG or fermented whatfuckingever or white wine or red wine or red meat or sleep too little for that matter, and I had slept on a lavendar aromatherapy pillow--or not--because sometimes just the smell of something--anything--makes A Migraine worse, oh, God, so much worse.
YET, on the morning of the first day of a very-well planned vacation I have been known to wake up at 4:00am sweaty and nauseous with diarrhea and feeling like I will pee and crap and barf all at the same time. I am not entirely sure which is gonna happen first, but it is all gonna happen, oh for sure it is all going down or coming up, whichever the case may be.
Generally, it s the vomiting that wins out. It is what makes me grab the sink or the trashcan or the pretty little bin that holds the extra toilet paper and heave. And heave like I have never heaved before, and, like, every 20 minutes, heaving almost like a seizure and hard enough to make me think that I may have actually broken something in my back--I know I have broken blood vessels in my chest and and across my cheeks and in my eyes--they call it petechiae.
And in those quiet moments in between the throw-up seizures, my mind wanders and I think,
"Maybe I am having a stroke?"
Because I was on The Pill a million years ago for a combined lifetime total of, like, seven months, and, well, dumbass, you did smoke for all those years, and also because the pain really is THAT bad and I am afraid I may die from the pain, and my mind wanders even further and I try to remember if anyone has ever died from pain besides my favorite grandmother's brother who actually blew his head off his shoulders with a gun because the pain was so intense and undeniable and inescapable from A Migraine, and then I am even more afraid that I will NOT die from the pain and because I only like guns for one thing and it is not blowing my own head off; then it ALL starts all over again.
In the meantime, mind you, I have been breathing mindfully, and massaging and accupressuring appropriately and reciting my mantra and praying my rosary and generally doing whatever I know to do to get the pain and panic to subside.
I take my "rescue medicine"--my Imitrex or Maxalt or Amerge or Zomig or Relpax or Axert--then, there is even more excruciating pain for a bit, and then, if I am a very, very lucky girl, I fall asleep.
I am rescued.
I sleep it off for just a a little while because now I am late for everything and my adrenaline is really pumping, and I am in a neurological fog or haze or web and my legs ache oddly and my fingers are not really attached to my hands, but I will take that over A Migraine any day of the week.
I walk around kinda hollow and kittenish--a wind could knock me over. I am a ghost of myself and my head hurts from hurting. As the day wears on, I am both grateful and going through the motions dreaming of the moment when I can lay my head back down on my pillow and recoup the lost hours brought to me via A Migraine.
But it never adds up; I never really regain those lost hours. I even swear it has taken years off of my life.
And people look at me oddly, like, how bad can that "headache " really be--and they make actual little bunny ear air quotes around the word headache--that you cannot get this work done or take that test or load this trailer or go to that market and those groceries and ice or whatfuckinever else you were supposed to do until A Migraine decided to explode the contents of your own brain inside your very own skull.
And here's the thing, there is nothing on the outside to show anyone exactly what it looks like on the inside of me when A Migraine war is raging.
It is horrible. You would turn away in terror if you only saw what I feel.
If you know me at all, you have heard me say, that I would birth a hundred babies if I never had to have A Migraine. I would make a deal with the devil. I really do not believe anyone that has experienced A Migraine would say I was being overdramatic when I make that statement unless of course they also had a horrendous labor and delivery, which is entirely possible, but it certainly makes my point even more poignant if you ask me.
It is the yardstick by which I measure every kind of pain or hurt or owie, internally and externally and emotionally and intellectually and physically. Even when I had two fractured ribs and a completely collapsed lung, I just kept asking myself, "Is this as bad as A Migraine?"
Even when I thought my teeth were knocked out of my head and floating in the whitewash and I knew my nose was busted and separated from my skull and my lip was split or my head was slammed into the front windshield and then back into the seat, which left me lying flat and staring right into the cold flat black wide-opened dead looking eyes of my four-year-old Hero.
And I kept answering myself, "No. All this sure as hell hurts, and I do not like it and I cannot breathe and I think my Hero is dead and I wish it would end and aren't we there yet, but I am not thinking about ending my own life at this very minute, so, no. No, it is not as bad as A Migraine." Well, okay then, no need to call the paramedics--epic fail on my part as we all later learned.
Truth be told, I sustained surgical menopause before the age of 40 and it really did nothing to lower the number nor the intensity of A Migraine. More is the pity; some women get relief that way. Not me. It has been only recently, like, within the last 18 months that I have been taking a daily prophylactic angiotensin medication that has taken me from approximately 15-30 migraines a month to 2 migraines within the previous 18 months. If you have something to say about drugs at this point, I ask out of respect to me that you keep it to yourself because I have tried it all: ART, accupressure, accupuncture, tapping, praying, a mantra and mala that I use to this day; self-hypnosis; and an entire host of dietary and lifestyle changes that have been good but never really did much to alleviate the frequency nor the intensity of A Migraine.
In the end, it was the drugs. Simple. Easy. Old. Safe. Drugs.
More than just about anything--more than Sgt. Airborne; more than the love of the Caveman; more than the birth of the Hero and the care I give to the MIL, A Migraine has been that sentinel experience; that one constant, that has literally shaped who I am.
Dafuq! How freaking sad is that.