Sunday, 23 December 2012

Christmas Migraines Past, Present but not Future.

At around 4am on Christmas morning I felt that oh so familiar heavy feeling. No, I’m not talking about the present filled stocking at the end of my bed (though rest assured I had been a good girl so Father Christmas did indeed visit), rather Mr migraine had decided to descend. At 4am, on Christmas.

Aren’t migraines rude? Now, I am officially a Christmas-ophile so nothing was going to ruin my Christmas day. As soon as that dull pain at the back of my head and shoulder woke me up I grabbed my ZOMIG nasal spray triptan (that I already had by my bed side) and shoved that sucker up my nose! I put my Migraine Ritual Care Plan into action pronto! I was somewhat disorientated to find that my bed was covered in a bright pink sparkly bed spread, and that there was a picture of Hannah Montanna hanging above my head. I’d forgotten that I was in my 10 year old niece's bedroom. Indeed, in that middle of night haze, I’d totally forgotten I was staying in my sister’s house. In Kent.

The nieces & nephew...a little taster of what awaits!
I actually blame the journey to Kent for the rude migraine. I’d fallen asleep in the back of the car (without my neck collar on) and my head had lolled forward and I’d essentially given myself mini whiplash. I’d jerked awake and immediately knew I’d be in trouble later. Also, a house full of 3 over excited kids (under the age of 11), who clamber all over you, while lovely, is never good  for those of us with dodgy necks. Also, sleeping in different beds, even when I bring my own pillows, is often enough to trigger a migraine if I’m in a vulnerable state.

Yet, this being Christmas I didn’t want to miss any of the day – 
especially not going to Church to see the Archbishop of Canterbury being lead into the Cathedral by my little nieces and nephew. Mum took one look at me when I made it down to breakfast and said “Happy Christmas. You’ve had to take a Zomig haven’t you?”Although migraines may be invisible to many, mothers have special powers of perception. I also had an especially bad case of migraine hangover. So Mum drove me to Church separately, and in short I got to wink at my nephew and try to make him laugh in Church (what are Aunties for?) but I didn’t last the whole service. I spent a good chunk of the day in bed with a migraine hangover, missing going for a walk to the local pub but made it down for lunch and some vital present opening!

I did feel a bit glum missing bits of Christmas, but it’s not the first time it’s happened and I’m sure many migrianeurs have much worse stories to relate. This year, as I’m getting ready to go down to Kent again I’m feeling very optimistic and totally confident that I will not be getting a Christmas migraine visit. Why? Well I’ve spent the year focusing on my migraine health, plus I will not be falling asleep in the back of the car (I will have a neck collar strapped on even though I don’t really need it) and I will be taking several pillow options with me! I’m also now on the mighty Topamax, I’ve now been having bi-monthly nerve blocks, I’ve finished two courses of Prolotherapy and my Physio re-hab is coming along nicely. So I feel pretty damn confident I must say! Go me. 

Avoiding Christmas Migraines Future:
But Christmas is rife with triggers and many of my fellow migraine bloggers have been posting fabulous tips and tricks on how to avoid the many pitfalls that await – which I have linked to below – including some advice from the fabulous National Migraine Centre. My main advice is to make like a Girl Scout and "be prepared" (I was never actually in the Brownies/Scouts etc so don’t really know what I’m talking about but…) if you’re going away take your own food if that’s easier, own pillows, any and every migraine comforts, don’t forget take more of your medications than you might normally need etc and also don’t be afraid to make a fuss if you need to – it’s Christmas we’re allowed to look after ourselves. Meanwhile, I'll be trying to avoid the temptation of one too many Christmas Champagne Cocktails....

Top Tips:

I so wish you all migraine free Christmas Holidays!

And so does Chipster!

See you all in 2013 - well probably before....


  1. Unlike my usual quiet Christmas this one will involve children - one of my triggera. So I am taking ear plugs along with the essientials.

    I also have a rule that I cannot get my drink on until christmas day so that my headache comes once christmas is over haha.

    On the upside, the new meds seem to be working! Not perfectly but they are certainly helping.

    Are you not finding any side effects with the topamax?

    1. Hey Maggie! Good plan - ear plugs with brats around is a good idea! Well I've been on Topamax nearly a year now so all the side effects (touch wood) have basically faded, I occasionally have trouble with the odd word but I've lowered my dose and seem to be okish! I'm one of the lucky ones...never got the weight loss side effect which was the only one I'd have been keen on but....

    2. Haha ya don't want it trust me. It's not just weight loss, it's total loss of apetite and food just doesn't taste good anymore, that's why you lose the weight! Do fizzy drinks taste flat to you? That was one i got too. It just totally zombified me.

      P.S. You have mail! :p

    3. I was really lucky as my Neuro gave me a sprinkle formula so I could increase my dose at my own speed in a very, very small dose/ammount and I think I was just lucky - I got other really bizarre side effects - one day I'll write up my Topamax part II blog post! I had slight anger/totally tired and forgot names/words things more...

      Yay for mail x

    4. Got inspired. You now have my post too... though I bet your friend at the NMC cant check it till after christmas now huh?

  2. Christmas Eve - every year :-( Either I wake up with it in full throes, or I crawl into bed at some point during the day with it. Either way, my husband gets left to leave out the mince pies with the small people and take care of the essential jobs later on. It's rubbish :-( And it means I spend Christmas Day with totally the wrong kind of hangover :-S

  3. Oh, and on topiramate - that's how I found you, as I just started last week and was googling for some info. My migraines started when I was 6; they plagued my childhood and never went away. I've had phases when I've gone weeks, even months with very few problems, and phases where they've interfered with everything. The past couple of years have been beyond ridiculous... 3/4 days completely out of it every fortnight, regular as clockwork. I'm pinning all my hopes on the topiramate - I was a total zombie at work today which was somewhat awkward, but I'm hoping that will pass... Very keen to read your update when you get round to it ;-)

    1. Wow I don't evny you having to be at work and starting topamax! I don't think I could have worked full time while I got used to it - sorry probably really unhelpful!! Quite surpised your Doc didn't sign you off actually while you're getting on it - but hopefully you'll have minimal side effects and all will be well! My side effects have nearly all gone now - and I know that those who can tolerate it do also find that they do go too. So my fingers are firmly crossed for you!!! And I promise to try and get around to that update one day!!! It's a good conclusion though, I'm still on topmax and really think it's helped a lot, combined with other stuff x

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