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  • The Lyme Museum

Status Migrainosus

“I hope your headache feels better!”

“You can handle it, it can’t be that bad.”

“Yeah, I get bad headaches too.”

“Have you taken Tylenol?”

“I have some Tylenol for you in my car.”


A common misconception with chronic migraine is that they are a headache.

If only they were that simple.

A headache is manageable.

Usually a headache is not an indication of a greater underlying problem.

A headache is not altered vision.

A headache is not severe photo-and phonophobia.

A headache does not trigger nausea.

Or dizziness.

The most frustrating thing about living with chronic migraines is cancelling plans because I cannot get out of bed; open my curtains; eat; watch tv to distract me from the pain; speak in coherent sentences.

But

“it’s just a headache”

But

It’s not.

As of right now there is no set cure for migraines. Dealing with the pain some days is easier than others. Some days start off seemingly "normal" but then a migraine can be triggered and I can be bed bound for the next two days.

Migraine is a neurological disease with extremely incapacitating neurological symptoms. It’s typically a severe throbbing recurring pain, usually on one side of the head. But in about 1/3 of attacks, both sides are affected. In some cases, other disabling symptoms are present without head pain. Attacks are often accompanied by one or more of the following disabling symptoms: visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, extreme sensitivity to sound, light, touch and smell, and tingling or numbness in the extremities or face. About 25% of migraine sufferers also have a visual disturbance called an aura, which usually lasts less than an hour. In 15-20% of attacks, other neurological symptoms occur before the actual head pain. Attacks usually last between 4 and 72 hours.

Having Migraine puts me at a larger risk of strokes, seizures, heart complications, depression and GAD.

I wish they were just headaches



Words and artwork by Artist in Residence Caitling Smits.

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