Your First for the First. Share the story of your first Migraine, what it was like, if you knew what it was, what you did, how you felt.
A very good topic to start the migraine awareness blogging challenge but a tricky one for me to answer because there were migraines I was getting for years that I didn’t know were migraines because they didn’t present with the symptoms I associated with a migraine. I can’t honestly remember. The pain sort of blurs together over the years.
But my first memorable migraine was a migraine with aura when I was about fourteen years old which I also didn’t know was a migraine. Keep in mind from a young age I was plagued with chronic insomnia, fatigue and muscle pain and that for a very long time those symptoms, and more as time passed, went undiagnosed, so headaches for me were just added to the mix. Just another part of an unexplained puzzle. We thought I had fibromyalgia but it was possible it was lupus but there were not answers really. The migraines I didn’t know were migraines were regular as clockwork though… hormonal clockwork. I began to get very bad five day long headaches right along with PMS and I assumed it was just because those PMS symptoms were bad for me. Back then those symptoms were actually extremely bad all on their own, pretty damn violent and so all the nausea and vomiting was explained just from that. I assumed the acute headache was just part of that.
It was my first non-hormonal migraine when I was fourteen however that followed the more typical migraine with aura framework. I had some intense visual snow and felt dizzy. Sort of just hit me all of a sudden and I thought I was going to pass out (because of the sparkles I was seeing), so I sat down for a moment. Then there was a flashing, pulsing blue/black light in my left field of vision that expanded over my whole visual field. Until the whole thing was a warping purple-blue spectrum of light I could not see out of. I felt very flush and got very sick to my stomach. Soon came the migraine itself which was extremely acute. Intense throbbing pain with a sharp stabbing ache on the left side, I remember it being a very hot summer day and thinking it was from the heat. I went to my bedroom to lay down and I got one of those trippy vertigo moments I’m so familiar with now… where you feel like you are falling and spinning at the same time. I remember going to sleep and sleeping for hours after and waking up feeling all groggy and disorientated with just an ache in my head. I admit the aura was odd, but not odd enough for me to think anything of it in particular. Maybe because I was familiar with episodes of visual snow, which occurred since I was a child and perhaps were silent migraines… now I have visual snow for a prolonged aura but back then it was just a spontaneous occurrence I could not explain and so thought maybe everyone saw it (I once asked my brother about ‘the sparkles’) or thought maybe I had low blood pressure. So having my eye do that with a headache like that was easy to brush off as something similar but certainly nothing to worry about or to see a doctor about. I saw doctors regularly for my chronic pain problems and not like they were getting anywhere with that, so unless it was something deeply disturbing I was more inclined to ignore such things.
Honestly, I got the hormonal migraines regularly and still do. However, I did not recognize all the other aura symptoms I was getting at the time, or the hormonal trigger, as being migraines until a doctor told me so. Because I didn’t think a migraine could last that long and be that continuous as my migraines are during that trigger. Of course by then I was getting different sorts of visual auras with those migraines as well. With migraines during other times of the month they were so infrequent when I was younger I brushed them off as really, really bad headaches because even though I had not been diagnosed at the time it was pretty apparent I had fibromyalgia and that seemed just part of the package. It was not until I was about eighteen that the migraines outside of the hormonal ones became a regular monthly occurrence that I felt the need to bring up to my doctor… by then I looked it up and realized it was pretty typical migraine with aura symptoms, but I wasn’t going to assume given my health issues so I explained the symptoms, the aura and the type of pain and, yep, migraines. That was at the age of eighteen or nineteen. And that is when I learned about triptans. And damn, I wish I had mentioned it earlier. But, well, you get used to not mentioning such things when you have chronic pain.
So in fact the hormonal migraines were first but I had no idea they were migraines and I don’t remember the first one, or I should say three days of one. But then again, if you count the incidents of visual snow I had when I was a kid and the Alice in Wonderland I used to experience… I likely had some silent migraines back then as well. Too bad they didn’t stay silent. I could handle all the pretty sparkles without the pain.
“National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation. The Blogger’s Challenge is initiated by www.FightingHeadacheDisorders.com.”