I’m prone to headaches. I’m more likely to notice if I don’t have a headache than if I do have one. I am also prone to migraines. So, when I get a headache, my main concern is that the headache doesn’t turn into a migraine. If you have never had a migraine, imagine what it would feel like to experience one or more of the following for days or weeks at a time: your brain is going to break through your skull, you are nauseous, you are dizzy, you see bright lights, you cannot see anything, light is going to burst through your brain and skull, light is going to burst through your eye, you cannot think straight, or the center of all the pain in the universe is concentrated somewhere in your brain, and if you so much as breathe, it will make things worse.
If you have never had a migraine, consider yourself lucky and pray to Jesus, Allah, Buddah, and Cookie Monster that you never get one.
I try to avoid things that can cause headaches and migraines, but the list is long and random. There are some things like red wine and cheese that seem to trigger migraines for most sufferers. (“Sufferer” just doesn’t seem like a real word. Is it? I dunno.) I don’t consume much of either. Some of the things that are most likely to trigger my migraines include the sun, heat, extreme cold, stress, overeating, not eating enough, strong scents, anything that stinks, eating too many sweets, not getting enough sugar, moving around too much, laying down too much, computer screens, 3-D movies, using contacts, bright lights, seeing bright lights against a dark background, seeing headlights when I have glasses on while I’m driving at night, drinking too much water, not drinking enough water, white paper, and chewing. This is, by no means, a comprehensive list, but it should give you a general idea about what a pain in the ass it is to try to avoid getting a headache or migraine. I only even make an effort to avoid these things because migraines are an even bigger pain in the ass than avoiding the things that cause them.
That being said, I realize that there are worse chronic conditions and illnesses to have. I don’t know what I would do if I had something like cancer or lupus or herpes.
Migraines are what I know. I’ve been dealing with them since I was a kid, so I know what to do when I get one. The thing is, I know other people who are prone to stomach problems, and I don’t know how they deal with it, especially the pukers. I know people who need props in order to function in daily life – oxygen tanks, fake limbs, walkers, etc. I know people who cannot get through the day without taking thousands of dollars of prescription medication in order for their hearts to beat or lungs to work. When my brain feels like it’s going to burst through my skull, I am so thankful that I don’t have to deal with any of that. Then again, when I talk to these people, I sometimes hear, “God, I’d hate to have a migraine. They sound terrible.”
What the what?! Seriously, you’d rather have your second knee surgery than have to deal with my migraines? You’d rather deal with diabetes than deal with migraines? You’d rather deal with your heart condition than deal with migraines? The only thing I can figure is that we are all comforted by the familiar and frightened of the unknown. Like I said, I know my migraine routine. I don’t have a heart condition routine, but other people do. That’s not to say that there is no emphysema patient in the world who would trade me for my migraines or that I wouldn’t love to just be rid of migraines altogether. However, if I have to choose between what I have and what I could have, I will choose what I have because it comes with familiarity and routines, which are less scary than the new and the unknown.