Thursday, 9 January 2014

Chronic migraine and a gluten and dairy free diet

Drum roll........ladies, gentlemen and people who suffer from a unilateral, throbbing headache, nausea, sickness, aversion to light, noise and movement......migraine mum is baaaaaccckkkk!

What a blog-break! I only popped out to the chemist to get my lorry load of drugs and suddenly it's 2014! Just over a year without writing........

My blog has never been completely out of my mind as the ongoing life journey of living with migraine continues. Despite my absence, migraine mum has continued to be read by you fellow migraineurs from the UK, Russia, New Zealand, America and countries in Europe. It really is a widespread illness and people need support. Clearly there are loads of us literally searching all over the world for answers.

So why did I stop writing? I got a job! I know! I never thought I'd be able to even look for a job, let alone get one!

When I last wrote, I had been on a gluten and dairy free diet for 6 months. Those 6 months were frustrating as I found no great changes in my pattern but I couldn't seem to eat any gluten or dairy without being ill (stomach and migraines). Then, in September 2012 my migraine pattern gradually started to change for the better. The first sign of this was me getting side effects from a drug I'd been taking everyday for a year! only explanation was that my stomach was beginning to absorb the drug better.......May be my stomach was healing?

I think it was. I noticed the very mild stomach problems I had been having we're lessening too. And my head seemed to be the next part of my body to heal. Apparently, people with coeliac disease have inflammation in their bodies......could a gluten intolerance create inflammation in a person's head?
Anyway, I felt great and suddenly felt loads more energy to do things I hadn't felt like doing for years!

You all know this.....Migraine puts you into an awful vicious cycle.....the migraine makes you ill (sick, intense pain, unable to move, unable to tolerate life), you get exhausted trying to cope with it at the same time as all the demands made on migraine mums and dads (children still need company, bottoms wiped, food cooked, tantrums handled etc whether you are ill or not). The drugs themselves can make you feel low and tired, you don't eat because you feel sick, and the food you do eat sits in your stomach like a brick or ends up vomited down the toilet!

CHRONIC migraine in my experience does all of the above repeatedly through the weeks,  PLUS it affects mental health, confidence and self esteem. So I surprised myself how quickly I wanted to get back into employment. I started very cautiously and I am now doing 14.5 hrs a week, working with a child in mainstream school.

Am I cured? I still get 2-4 migraines a month and I think they have got slightly worse again since doing more hours. I still need to monitor how I sit, how much sleep I have, when I sleep, when I eat, what I drink and how much, how I relax and how I handle stress and hormones just add a multitude of problems. No I am not cured.

Can I manage work, children, and a busy household? Well, it's taken me over a year to tell you lot about it which suggests that life has been rather busy! I am enjoying the demands more and able to say yes to more things (I even had a vodka without a migraine the other day!). So I do feel like I am now in the world of the living!

I am not saying everyone with migraine should do the same as me. We will all have different tools to help us. I would love to hear what has worked to lessen your pattern or severity.

PS my only regret re the diet is that I didn't get tested for coeliac disease. I feel I should've done.

Tools may be required for diet, sleep, drink (water, caffeine, alcohol), posture, fitness, relaxation, drugs, managing time for doing and eating. What tools do you have in your kit? Do you need to find any more? We will all have different solutions as we are all unique but I really hope that somehow my story can help with yours.

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