Thursday, June 7, 2012

#NMAM List topper

There are lots of myths and misconceptions about Migraine. Which one tops your list as the biggest and most common? What can we do to get the truth out there? My list topper? "It's just a headache." No... it is FAR from "just a headache." It's a neurological malfunction that disrupts the entire function of the brain and body, causes violent mood swings that cannot be corrected with medication (yet), and disrupts function in some of our most basic functions like the ability to form words. A headache will not cause half your body to become paralyzed, or make the muscles in your face contort so much that your own father can't recognize you. A true story, which I'll tell you now...

The migraine that left me so disfigured that my own father couldn't recognize me was a doozy of I migraine I had as a result of plane travel. Changes in atmospheric pressure is a big trigger for me. Usually, the change in weather is enough of a shift in atmospheric pressure to trigger a migraine. A ride in an airplane is a guaranteed trip to migraine hell. This plane trip was even worse, because it wasn't a non-stop flight. My head would get pressurized and depressurized, twice. To get the weather equivalent, I would have to go through the eye of a hurricane. The migraine that erupted in my head felt like a hurricane in my skull. The pain hit me after the first depressurization, and I had to be transported by wheel chair to my next flight.

When I reached my final destination, they had a wheelchair waiting for me. Apparently I was bad off enough that the flight called ahead. I was grateful for that kindness. They wheeled me to baggage claim, where I was able to crack my eyes, long enough to catch sight of my father. He was looking all around for me. I waved to him. He didn't see me. I turned to the gentleman who was pushing the wheelchair and pointed at my father. He wheeled me over. I saw the horror on my father's face as he realized it was his daughter in the wheelchair. The double-take he did when I looked up at him told me it was bad. "I couldn't even recognize you, your face was so twisted up," he told me later. I wasn't doing the twisting. It wasn't contortions of agony that had changed my appearance... No... The migraine itself had changed my face.

To this day, I have what my father refers to as my "pain wrinkle." It's an old scar on my forehead that starts to pucker up and become more noticeable, every time I start to get a migraine. He can tell, sometime before me, when a migraine is going to show up, based on that wrinkle appearing.

"Just a headache" won't do that.

"National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation. The Blogger's Challenge is initiated by"

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