Monday, 18 February 2013

Meet Miss February Migraineur Of The Month!

Well I'm just bursting with excitement to introduce you to Miss February, my migraine buddy, Fran. In fact, she probably needs no introduction. You may already know her as the author of the mega blog Skullsandponies, you may have already read and even watched her various entries on this very blog, here & here! Seeing as it's February, the supposed month of lurv, I asked Fran some questions about relationships and migraines. And seeing as my longest relationship thus far is with a furry four legged chap called Chipster, I decided the wise lady Fran could probably offer more advice than moi. Enjoy. 

The incredible Fran

Can you remember and describe your first migraine?
It was in my final year of University and I was sat outside my experiment rooms (I was doing a Psychology experiment and busy experimenting on willing students!). I’d been there for hours and my head was just pounding and I felt so sick. It was the worst headache I had ever had and Ibuprofen just wouldn’t touch it. Back then I thought it was just a bad headache but it was definitely the start of my migraines.

Best migraine top tip anyone’s ever given you?
I think discovering triptans and feeling like the GP had been keeping an amazing secret!! But also – aspirin in coke. That’s been a life saver – especially when I had medication overuse headache.

Worst Trigger?
Stress. Even the smallest bit of stress is likely to trigger a migraine – and as a fairly anxious person this doesn’t make life easy.

Favourite migraine comfort?
Chocolate – and being bought chocolate when I’ve had one!

What’s the worst assumption that’s been made about you and your migraines?
That there is a cure and it’s somehow my fault that I haven’t found it yet. People seem to get very cross if they suggest something and you don’t do it – which often means you have to try out a whole bunch of crap that you know won’t work just to prove people wrong! Everyone seems to know someone who had migraine and was magically cured by acupuncture/not eating chocolate/eating magical unicorn hearts – and they get so annoyed when they can’t cure you on the spot! The idea that a condition might not have a direct cause and could be chronic is not a good enough answer to most.

What are you most proud of doing despite living with migraines?
Managing to set up my own business and make it successful (even though migraine was the reason I did this as I couldn’t handle a full time job!)

If you could be the Queen of England for a Year what would you do!?
Well I’d start by getting the Tories out of government…..

What's the most helpful thing that your partner has ever done for you during a migraine? 
This might sound cheesy but just being supportive. He never moans or complains when, yet again, he comes home from work and I’ve got a migraine. He never makes me feel like it’s my fault – he is unrelenting in his support and that makes my life so much easier. He is just consistently supportive and really – you have no idea how much of a difference that makes. Plus this one time I had a migraine I was hungry but really sensitive to light, so had to eat in the dark, and he came and ate his dinner in the dark with me. That’s true love.

Fran with her handsome fella! 

What advice do you have for other migraineurs in relationship?
Be open and honest and talk about everything. Understand that it’s hard for them too when you have to cancel plans last minute or lie in a dark room. They are often the ones that get the brunt of it too, as often you’ll push through wherever else you can but expect them to be ok with you cancelling on them, or being too ill to just hang out. Make time to prioritise them – after all they are the ones that put up with us migraneurs day in day out! It can’t be easy.

My name is Fran. I am a 28 year old freelance digital marketing consultant. I live by the sea with my lovely boyfriend and little ginger and white kitten. When I’m not having migraines you can find me reading, crafting and getting lost in my imagination. 

Thank you so much Fran for agreeing to be Miss February, and for your top relationship tips. I shall be more considerate of Chipster's needs. Kidding. I know many readers will be able to relate to what you've said and be extremely grateful for the nudge to see life from their partners view. I also think it's incredible that you've managed to set up your own thriving company, despite all the obstacles that these buggery migraines throw in your path. I just know it's going to be a huge success. 

If you would like to nominate someone to be Migraineur of the Month
all you have to do is email me!

Coming up:
Unhelpful Helpfulness
Nerve Blocks; all sorts
Child Birth v Migraines! 


  1. A great migraineur of the month as ever! I actually find being in a relationship the hardest thing about having chronic migraines. When I went to the NMC and the Dr asked if it was affecting my relationship I burst into tears like a loony (I was mid migraine so very emotional anyway).

    Fran is lucky to have such solid support. I think it is difficult for a partner to understand entirely what we go through and this is something we are still working on. My partner is extremely busy with his job and it is hard not to feel like a burden when you are never 100% and constantly poorly. It takes a lot of time and patience to understand one's migraines and it's even harder to get someone else to really 'get it' and respond accordingly.

    Sorry, just off loaded there!

    Claire x

    1. Oh god don't apologise, it's really interesting to hear another perspective. I always seem to cry, or want to when I go to the NMC too (that's for those who were wondering) and the relationships I have been in - the whole migraine thing has always been an issue for me. I think one guy basically dumped me because of it - his Mum had them badly and was very depressed with it so he lumped us together in his mind... although he'd been very understanding at the beginning, as I find most are before the reality sets in! And it is totally impossible to 'get it' - even when my Mum has a migraine I sometimes find myself thinking 'shouldn't it have passed now' - then obviously I lash myself on the back and make her copious amounts of tea and toast and hot water bottles and pray I'm not going to hell. p.s I bet you're not a burden at all, even if you may feel like it. xx

    2. p.s I meant it's impossible to get it if you've never had one yourself...that's why Fran's point of trying to explain what it feels like and talk about it is such a good one I think. I'm going to be quiet now.

    3. Thanks for sharing lovely. I want to get my busy boy to read the Frith book as I really think that will help his understanding. He read my latest NMC report so that is a start.

      I think it must be dull for him too having someone constantly crying (I'm a wimpy migraineur) and feeling sorry for themselves. I'm sorry to hear you had a boyfriend who wasn't understanding!

      Sometimes I wish I was nearer my Mum and cousins (who are like brothers to me) as they all suffer and whenever we meet we just talk about out treatment plans and progress. How bored the rest of our family must be hehe!


    4. Out of interest does the crying make the migraines worse? I deff went through a stage when I deff NEEDED to cry when I felt one coming on, then I could kind of relax, and get on with having the migraine, if that makes any sense at all - but I know loads of people who feel crying makes it much worse. I'm often most tearful in the migraine hangover stages.

      Such a shame more of your family don't live closer, but I guess nice that they must totally understand. I'd love to hear more about the cousins - as everyone always thinks migraines are exclusive to women. Really need to have a male migraineur of the month soon! xxx
      p.s I totally adore the Firth book too - I try to insist everyone buys it at their first appointment at the NMC!

    5. I think the crying helps because it's almost like a relief and the pain feels less afterwards. I also feel tearful in the hangover stage. So basically in all phases haha!

      The boys are also on preventatives and one has seen a difference in the frequency of his migraines which is great. The other cousin travels a lot for work and he always gets them on the flight so takes an allergy tablet which knocks him out!

  2. Awesome post and great to see you have such good support. My better half is a fantastic caregiver also, it helps reduce the stress of migraine if you know there's someone there to help.

    1. Totally, someone it's just lovely to have someone just to bring you some food/drink if you can manage that!

  3. Interesting about the aspirin and coke as I had not heard about that before. But a quick search on-line make me a little wary. As always, DYOR.

    1. Fran and I, and several others were taught about the dissolvable aspirin, or ibropfen in a fizzy sugary drink at the National Migraine centre - it helps gets the pain killers into your system much quicker, raises sugar levels - as I'm sure you know the body is starting to shut down (specifically the gut) during a migraine which is why this can be a good idea. It's explained really nicely in Alison Frith's book "Coping with Headaches and Migraine" Alison worked for over a decade at the centre so is a mega expert.
      you can also buy it on Amazon. It's also generally a brilliant book about migraines, one of my fav's!

  4. The aspirin and coke combination was put forward in the mail a few years ago and recommended by Migraine Action but met with a hail of protests after some migraineurs who felt it almost an insult to suggest an aspirin would relieve a migraine.

    My point was that if it works what the hell does it matter whats on the packet and if youre too embarrassed to say to people that all you need to get relief from your migraine is an aspirin, then dont tell them!!

    1. Meant to say we asked the NMC to comment about the coke/aspirin combination as an effective treatment but never got a reply.

    2. Hey, sorry you've lost me. I was taught to also take Donperidone, anti-emitic, plus the fizzy drink, soluble painkiller + if it didn't work within half an hour then take a triptan. i.e it's a step one - which, brilliantly, enables some people to stop a migraine progressing if they take it at the very, very, very first sign and means they might not have to take as many triptans. So taht's a good thing. I don't think anyone is suggesting that aspirin or ibropfuen alone would work, they don't touch mine. And actually this step one doens't work for me. I was also told if you find this step one doesn't work for you, then just go to step 2. I also wouldn't really want to speak for the NMC as they like to tailor each treatment plan according to the individual though this is a good trick? Hope your'e well today!


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