I got my first migraine when I was eight years old. I remember being at school playing Carmen San Diego (anybody else know that game?) when all of a sudden my head started pounding. I was experiencing terrible pain, but had no clue why. Luckily it was near the end of the school day, so I went back to my classroom to pack up. I mentioned to a boy in my class that I felt terrible and like I was going to throw up. Well, what did he do? He pounded me on the back over and over with a rolled up poster board yelling, “Barf! Barf! Barf!” And ya know what I did? I barfed… all over my teacher’s desk. Yeah.
My teacher never said a negative word to me about vomiting all over her desk (whatta saint), she only showed me care and concern. (Thank you Mrs. Shisler!) Since it was the end of the day and my mom was already in the car line waiting to pick me up, she was able to come in and get me. Seeing that my mom also suffers from migraines, she was able to clue me in on the pain I was experiencing. I literally don’t remember anything else about that moment other than it was terrible.
I had a few more migraines sporadically between the first one at eight years old and my teen years, but then they really came on strong in high school. There was one month where I had five migraines and several of which where my parents had to take me to the hospital. This was because they were so bad that nothing I could do at home provided any relief. So they would pump me full of fluids and medicine at the hospital to where I could actually sleep it off. And when I say sleep it off, I mean I would sleep for like 36 hours straight. And you know what? Sometimes I would still wake up with a headache. Now if that ain’t some BS I don’t know what is.
As I got older and my hormones started to level out a bit, my migraines also started to level out. It wasn’t uncommon for me to get one, they just happened less often. In fact, when Keenan and I moved to Vancouver I only had maybe five migraines a year – if that!
Well then we decided to do the worst possible thing for someone who gets migraines. We decided to move to Calgary. Most people think of Canadian cities as super snowy places all winter long. Well Calgary isn’t one of those places. Yes we get lots of snow, but we also get chinooks, which are when warm, dry air blows in off the mountains. Due to the rapid decline in barometric pressure and sudden change in temperatures and wind velocity when a chinook hits, you can almost be certain that a migraine is coming.
We moved to Calgary in the summer when the weather wasn’t as variable, but I started having migraines more frequently. Then fall came about and I was having migraines every 2-3 days. How I functioned is beyond me. The symptoms that came along with these chronic migraines were so debilitating that I reached out for professional help. But more on symptoms in part two of this series.
So here we are, still living our best lives in Calgary and still I am struggling with migraines. However, I have found some treatments that help, which I will share about in the third part of this series. In the next post, I will share all about my causes and symptoms, so stay tuned!