An interesting essay and rather reminds me of me, except I have tried many more drugs and concoctions. It is a good thing to see though, an article written by someone who actually has chronic migraines. It helps with awareness of this disease and so people can comprehend it can be something that is chronic, difficult to treat, life altering and not just a ‘headache’.
Earlier this week, I went to see my neurologist, who for months has been trying to get me to increase my dosage of amitriptyline or go on topamax, an anti-seizure drug that also prevents migraines.
“Are you enjoying your suffering?” he asked me.
Eagerly pocketing my topamax script, I asked him if he thought that food elimination could hold out any last hope.
Maybe, he said, smirking down into his notes; you never know. “You could always go up to Baltimore and ask Dr. Buchholz.”
Many people who take daily medications come at some point to hate them. Teenagers with ADHD routinely rebel against their meds. Long-term users of anti-depressants risk relapse because they can no longer stand the way the drugs make them feel.
Some people do manage, through diet and exercise, or by protecting themselves from their worst “triggers,” to free themselves from their drugs. But many can’t do it. Many find they can’t accept living in the compromised condition that drug-free existence requires.
A smart high school girl I know switched a few years ago from a mainstream school, where she was struggling with dyslexia and ADHD, to a school that specializes in teaching kids with severe learning disabilities. Being there has permitted her to function without her ADHD meds. But now she’s bored. She’s dispirited by the lack of academic challenge and she wants out, because she’s afraid that, without academic challenges, she won’t be able to get into a mainstream college.
That’s the tradeoff: taking daily drugs, or living a life that feels not quite worth living.
Halloween is coming, and Emilie and I have a ritual: While trick or treating, we eat exactly one piece of candy after every house. She gives me the Snickers bars. She keeps the Hershey’s Kisses and the M&Ms. We split the caramel creams and the Starbursts and pawn the dark chocolate off on her sister, Julia.
It’s from routines such as this, I am convinced, that the childhood roots of adult happiness are formed.
This year she’s anxious. I’m not eating chocolate. Or peanuts. This week, with her babysitter, she baked me a cake, white with white frosting, sprinkles, multi-colored flowers and candy corn. But, she asked me, what will happen on Halloween?
I told her not to worry; I’d eat my Snickers bars.
In fact, I think that I’ll sanctify Halloween by eating every single forbidden food on the migraine diet, all in the space of a couple of hours.
Somehow, I doubt that I’ll end up in the emergency room.