Friday, 6 April 2012

Migraine Buddy

One of the main reasons I started this blog was to dispel the plethora of myths and misconceptions surrounding migraine. I’ve ranted twice on this subject. A common misconception is that a person with migraine must be a middle-aged spinster who spends all her time with 12 cats.  Before you read any further remember this is not true. It is not true I tell you. People with migraine can be under 35, cool, married, polygamous, and like dogs too. Just because they like cats and may be single and have migraines does not automatically um….

The point is I just got a kitten!

Meet Chipster.

(If you’re vaguely interested he’s called Chipster after my favourite brand of French Crisps (for American readers that’s chips not French Fries) and my sister has a kitten called Scampi…)

A week ago today I had the second round of injections on my neck, which I’ll describe properly at some point. I’ve been building up to these injections for over 6 months now, they’re the main reason I’m on Topamax as we knew they were going to increase the migraines, even though the hope is they’ll decrease them in the long run. Anyway, this past weekend was pretty miserable and I cried so much I could tell Mum was feeling rather sorry for me. I seized the opportunity. Mum was sitting with me, trying to comfort me and between sobs I stammered, “Please… Mummy…please…can…I get…a kitten now, it will help”. Without even pausing she replied: “Of course you can my darling.”

Mwah ha ha ha. Can’t believe she fell for that! Anyway, I have discovered that cats are basically vibrating hot water bottles that you don’t need to reheat and are ideal when you feel unwell. I’m also pretty sure there is scientific evidence stating that people who have pets are less likely to die of hearts attacks. I read it in the Daily Mail once so it must be true. In all seriousness, when you have to spend hours alone in pain with a migraine I thought it just might be nice to have the company of a soothing pet.

I also had high hopes that my Migraine Buddy (the kitten) might be like those epilepsy dogs that alert their owners to attacks by barking. Maybe my new Migraine Buddy would meow, or fetch my Triptans a couple of hours before a migraine was coming? Would it even know the day before? Would it somehow usher me to bed knowing I needed rest to avert an attack? Cats are very intelligent creatures.

So, on Tuesday night Dad and I drove off to a dodgy suburb by Heathrow and got lost trying to find the house of a ‘breeder’ he’d heard about at a supermarket. I feared for our safety but by now I was getting an over-excited Tension Headache. I could tell it wasn’t a migraine as the pain was all over my head and radiating from both shoulders - migraines are characterized by their one sidedness  (educational fact for you). However, seasoned migraineurs will know that any headache: sinus, hangovers, ice cream headaches, will most likely turn into a migraine if you’re prone to them. I knew the clock was ticking.

To cut a long story short, we found the ‘breeder’ (a guy with a pregnant cat) and I had to choose between two very cute fluffy ginger kittens. It was like Sophie’s Choice. I got a migraine. 

And my dreams of a super intelligent Migraine Buddy who would magically fetch Triptans and sugary snacks from my handbag, and bring comfort and calm, have been replaced with sleepless nights and a complete state of anxiety. I don’t know how people have real life babies. I’ve had two left sided migraines and two right sided migraines since getting Chipster four night ago, mainly because he wants to sleep on my head, which is bad for my neck. My neck that is undergoing treatment which I’ve been preparing for over half a year! 

However, I adore him and am obviously obsessed and these are the happiest migraines I’ve had in ages. Mum suppressed her inner Mrs Bennett (see the Face of Migraine) and took this picture of us when I was sleeping in a migraine haze.  

Her photography skills are not renowned but don’t my nostrils look lovely?

I also paid for Chipster with my Virgin Atlantic American Express Credit Card, so now he will also have given me the gift of Airmiles.

Do you have a Migraine Buddy? Maybe a human one? I know migraineurs who have friends or relatives who can tell before they can when they’re going to get a migraine. 


  1. Just adopted two Dutch rabbit babies; Saskia and Hugo. When their babies come, and they will, you can try out a rabbit as a migraine buddy - if Chipster doesn't eat it that is.

    1. Bunny Buddy I meant to say...

  2. Migraine cuddles! I love your kitty!!

  3. Had a migraine on Sunday whilst fun throwing up in a shop's bathroom...albeit mine are NOWHERE near as frequent or severe as yours Miss V, I think I may have discovered (finally) why they are happening. I was recently diagnosed with TMJ and have been undergoing steroid shot treatment every 6 weeks or so. Well when I feel my jaw start to hurt and it travels all through my forehead and then starts the evil plunge down the back of my head to my neck...I know I'm done for. I try to take pills and things when the jaw pain begins, but I lost the battle this past Sunday. My TMJ is apparently "on the road" to being taken care of with all of these shots and things but I guess time will tell after that to see if it alleviates the migraines as well. I want a kitty. But for now, my 4 ft stuffed Giraffe will have to do.

  4. Hey! Oh that's sounds awful. Out of interest where do you get your steroid shot? And do you have a very attract night brace for the TMJ? I used to have one as left sided migraines meant I crunched teeth out! Nice. You know a really good physio will also do wonders for the TMJ as your neck, back and shoulders will also be contributing to the jaw - it won't be enough just to get the 'bite' jaw muscle stuff sorted (how bossy and annoying do I sound but it comes from a place of LURV)!!!! But maybe your magic steroid injections will help and be enough, fingers crossed!!!! Interesting that TMJ as they think the Trigeminal Nerve plays a big role in Migraines......And also you do know that you can get nasal spray and melt in the mouth triptans that might help get into your system super fast before you throw up and stay in your system? And I also presume you have anti-emitic (sick pills???) meds. Which Triptans do you take? Anyway, SO pleased that you think you've found a trigger! Did I tell you about quite a cool online migraine diary thing I just found, am telling everyone as think it just looks quite clever and you can do it on Blackberry/Iphone and may help notice patterns/triggers etc and you can do a beautiful print out and then send to your doc and everything - it's free I think here's the link Do let me know how it goes!!!!! xxxx p.s my kitten is giving me more migraines than ever as just told by the vet that he has a hart murmur and seriously bad ear termites!!!! p.p.s You have Dan to hug!

  5. I think Chipster is cleverer than you think , because he is sleeping on your neck to warm it and take away the pain because he knows you are having injections there!

  6. Maybe....he is very warm....x

  7. He's adorable. It's nice to have a cuddly cat who you can snuggle up to when you have a migraine. Sometimes my migraines don't fit into my cats diaries though and the only thing they want is for me to get up and show them a selection of food! At other times they are quite happy for me to stay in bed and share the heat.

  8. Hello, as promised I'm stopping by.

    Cool kitty :-) I wouldn't be able to use my iguana for that. I'm determined to not have another migraine, IF it was a migraine I had. Still puzzled how it happened. Started with a headache on Saturday. All was normal, annoying re the headache, but I ate, felt fine. Woke up on Sunday and was sick. Throwing up and all the shebang.

    I've got half-sided facial pain and it became more frequent, so I knew I was stressed, but to actually trigger a migraine? That's just...

    By the way my conception of people with migraine has always been: whiny women who just need someone to fuss over them. No matter their age or pets :-)

    It's been three days since it was over and I still have a light 'aftershocks'. For someone who never really had a 'real' headache, that's somewhat annoying.

  9. Hey Stella, you never know an iguana could come in handy somehow...??? Does sound suspiciously like a migraine but you never know! Does anyone in your family get them? They're usually a genetic thing, my granny, mum and sister get them, for example - yes we're all terrible whiny old women! ha! But your symptoms could be a lot of things, my I wish I was House brain is working over time, but obviously your lovely GP is probably who you should be seeing on Monday morning first thing! Really hope doesn't become regular occurrence but you know where I am if it is...also I now know you'll just love reading about migraines from now on...ha!


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