My sister in law Lisa, who is also my dear friend suggested that I started a blog on what has worked for me lately with migraines. I told her people would have to get my humor, and accept a little swearing now and then. And here I am.
For the last 29 days, I have only gotten one migraine. That’s a frickin’ party. Because prior to that, my once a month migraines turned into bi monthly migraines, then bi weekly migraines. I finally lost it and threw in the I give up towel to migraines when I was walking into Cheesecake factory with my good friend Jessica before the Jay-Z and Beyonce concert (don’t judge, I love me some Jay-Z songs!) and a migraine started by the time we were sat at our table. Did not stop me from thoroughly enjoying that concert! I was not really into Beyonce, but seeing her live, wow, she’s something else!
My migraines go like this: usually late afternoon or evening, and almost always after getting out of a car, I get very dizzy for about 10 seconds. Within 5 minutes, my vision is like looking through a kaleidoscope. This lasts for 20 minutes, almost to the second. A little numb on my senses is the after affect until the next day. That’s when the head ache kicks in. Pretty funny trick when I forget I had a migraine the day before, and bend over to get something off the floor (3 kids, happens a lot). That’s when I’m quickly reminded, and my head feels like the description of the big balloon in Pink Floyd’s ‘Comfortably Numb’ although a big balloon with someone sitting on it, creating crazy pain.
The day after the Jay Z concert, I made an appointment with a neurologist I had seen once before. Walking out of there I had a referral for an EEG, brain MRI, bloodwork, and a prescription for Topamax. The Topamax was the one that got me. The side effects scared the crap out of me. I am the one that gets every random side effect with any prescription. I was prescribed the antibiotic Levaquin over the summer, and surprise surprise, woke up after being asleep for an hour, crawling out of my skin, anxious, pacing, ‘psychotic episodes’ being one of the rare side effects listed. Lovely. And I digress… I figured as worn out as I am with these migraines, before starting this major drug, I owed it to myself to try everything I’ve pinned in the past regarding migraines and after I’ve exhausted them all, I’ll succumb to the Topamax if necessary.
I told my good friend Timaree who is a dietitian, nutrition professor at a local college, and my before dawn work out partner of my plans, and she asked me if I’m eating the amount of greens that I should be. I don’t like to admit to her the truth, she’s perfect in her eating, I mean it, perfect! I’ve just come off of vacations where I got to eat at the places I’d have my last meal at!!! Needless to say, greens were not part of those meals. She talked about the greens being good for circulation. We googled green smoothies, and wow, tons came up specific to migraines! Yes! Later that day when I went to our local health food store and gave the list of the items I wanted, the main side effects of these supplements she told me were loose stools. I can handle loose stools man! It’s the suicidal thoughts, and lack of putting together a sentence that Topamax can give you that I can’t handle unless I have to after exhausting these options!!!
So, here is what I came up with in the end:
- Vitamin B-2 (Riboflavin) 100 mg, up to 2 times daily (one in the morning with breakfast, one in the evening with dinner)
- Feverfew herbal supplement 1 capsule, up to three times per day (Feverfew extract 175 mg, Feverfew 150 mg)
- Butterbur. 75 mg of butterbur up to twice daily
- No afternoon cup of coffee (This was an accident, I love my coffee pick me up in the afternoon. I have three kids between 8-14, all needing to be taken to places and helped with homework in the afternoons, but I mistakenly went a couple of days without it, and then didn’t want to jinx anything!!)
- Migraine smoothie (adapted from http://www.chaosserveddaily.com/2013/09/16/a-migraine-busting-smoothie-for-our-unlucky-13th-move/) thank you, thank you, thank you for that!
- 3/4 cup coconut water
- 1 cup frozen pineapple (Costco has a swingin’ deal)
- 1-2 stalks celery
- 1/2 peeled cucumber
- 1″ section of fresh ginger root
- 2 cups greens, I use a spinach/kale mix. Organic is the best
- Juice of one lemon
- Mix it up and drink it up! It usually makes almost two glasses worth, so I sometimes split it into once in the morning and once in the afternoon, or drink one and save the next for the following day.
Sidenote: I went to Costco to buy two bags of frozen fruit. Truly that is all that I went in there to buy. Suffice to say the little plastic part for the pourer of my blender broke off the night before….as I walked by the Vitamix demo lady, I had to stop. And I stayed stopped. I tried the smoothie, the frozen dessert, the tortilla soup. I talked to her about my friend who swore by her Vitamix and that there would be no grit or pulp in my green smoothies if I borrowed hers to try. And I swear, two minutes later my friend walked up next to me in Costco as I stared at the demo lady. With Timaree by my side, I said, ‘Ok, put it in the cart.” I have never, ever purchased something so big on a whim like that. I drove home, my husband was on the front porch. I said “Hi, I love you, I bought something big.” And in one of those crazy rare instances where the moon and stars and all others were aligned, after I told him what it was, his reply was “I bet you’ll use it a lot.” I quietly went into the house to unpack my new Vitamix before he could realize what I actually spent!!!
So, what were the results? In 29 days, I have had one migraine. SO MUCH BETTER than 8 in that same time span that I had come to expect. I’m not sure what if any of the above are the main contributors. My husband and kids practically throw themselves on the ground dry heaving when I drink my green smoothies , but it was my 8 year old that said on the day that I got the my one migraine in 29 days ‘Mom, you must not have drank enough of your green smoothie today!’ Although, I knew the real culprit, it was Pier One Imports. It was a Monday, about 6:00 pm, and I walked into Pier One. I had my smoothie, my herbal supplements, and no afternoon coffee already working for me, but I think I was a bit too cocky, nothing could battle those bright lights reflecting off of every single inch of shiny glass throughout the store. I told a friend recently that it’s like my head is the perfect storm, just waiting for the one thing to push it over. It was the lights at Pier One that day. I’ll take it though.
Just had my follow up with my neurologist this morning, which helped prompt me to write this. Thankful to God that all is good with my MRI, and my EEG. Bloodwork, perfect. So awesome. “So,” she asks, “did you start the Topamax?” I have to admit, she kinda scares me, and I was nervous about telling her that no, I did not. I explained the things I’ve been doing for 29 days, and that I’ve only had one migraine. She proceeded to write down the ingredients of my smoothie, confirmed ‘B-2 not B-12?’, and then said “If it’s working, let it work!” She kept saying “Migraine smoothie huh? Migraine smoothie.” I asked her if she wanted me to send her the recipe, and she said ‘Yes, I have a patient that nothing works for her migraines, maybe this will. Migraine smoothies, you learn something new everyday!”
Today is a good day.
(Update: as of April, 2015, I celebrated 200 days migraine free! Then on day 205, I got a migraine. Still consider that winning though!)