So do holidays bring any reprieve for the chronic migraineur?
I had my obligatory 3 migraines! 2 of them were packed into my first weekend! I am convinced they arose because of a combination of travelling with 3 young children, 4 unwieldy suitcases and 100's of other people doing the same.....the stress of getting on a plane without allocated seats with 100's of others!! Oh my! (yes, Fifty Shades of Grey was my holiday read!)I also found that even though eating and drinking were possible, they were not always possible when I needed to. And I hadn't packed enough food so ended up eating rubbish. I'm sure my blood sugar levels were low. I was also travelling on the back end of 3-4 incredibly busy weeks and I know I was feeling stretched. Oh and poor child no 3 was sick during the first night.......good start!!
The third migraine came on after playing tennis in the heat (it was only 9am!) I know that sudden exercise is one of my triggers, plus I forgot to eat a snack, then went shopping on an empty stomach with child no 3 in tow who enjoyed raising my blood pressure by picking up champagne bottles, repeatedly saying " I want this!" "I want that!" and trying to eat the biscuits before we had paid. All very explainable really.
All the migraines responded well to medication and the impact of these migraines on my holiday was minimal. I wasn't surprised to get the migraines I got which I think helped me to take my medication early. I also think by not spending emotional energy wondering why I got this migraine and feeling angry etc etc, made the whole experience lighter and shorter. I didn't get another one travelling home at the weekend.
It feels really good to feel well. Since I've been back I've had a few 'heads' which felt like they were going to be migraines. I ate, drank and the head pain went. So no medication since last Wednesday...that's good news.
What does this tell us about living with migraine? I should move to Spain?!May be a bit drastic! Now the Olympics has started, I have seen many parallels between the top athletes and living with migraines or any long term illness for that matter. There are times when living with migraine can feel like a bit of a marathon. I have been inspired by the althetes, looking at them stretching themselves but within their own capabilities....it got me thinking......
Top 10 Olympic Ways of Living with Migraine:
- Pace yourself: you can't sprint a long distance race.
- Create a network of support around you and be honest with those who can lighten your load a bit. They need to know when you're not operating at full pace so they can compensate for you and understand why you need to rest. Olympians need rest, support and coaching, so why shouldn't we?
- Eat regularly (every 4 hours)
- Drink at least 1.5 litres of water a day (more in Spain!)
- Rest your bodies well inbetween exertion!
- Listen to your body and thought patterns in order to respond appropriately and quickly. That's what any good sportsman has to do....
- Take your medication as early as you can (as long as it's not growth hormone!)
- Distract yourself from the pain by focusing on other things, do things that make you feel good and alive. There is a lot of psychology in handling pain. Sportsmen are trained to respond to pain appropriately. how do you respond to it? Me? Relaxation, sleeping, reading and really really laughing (you know the kind, when there are tears streaming down your face)....
- In the spirit of the Olympics, we have to keep practising to get better at handling our migraines. Don't give up!
- But when we do get a migraine, give into it..like an Olympian would do if he injured himself. Let the people around you help. Then you are more likely to be able to pick yourself up for the next round of living........