Sketch of a Saturday baseball game

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The Adventures of Miss Migraine is an ongoing column about my life with chronic migraine. A version of this post appeared first on July 28, 2012, on my blog of the same name.

Some things at baseball games are awesome, and some make my head hurt even more. Sketch by Kelly Lynn Thomas, July 27, 2012. Click the image for full size.

Sunset walk in the rain

Banner that says "The Adventures of Miss Migraine"

The Adventures of Miss Migraine is an ongoing column about my life with chronic migraine. A version of this post appeared first on July 76, 2012, on my blog of the same name.

The city always seems quieter in the rain, except for the cars splashing down the streets. Everything is hushed, subdued, like the rain is pushing it down, dampening it.

Last night we had no choice but to walk in a steady, post-thunderstorm shower. Our dogs needed to go out and we have no yard. Normally on our evening walks my husband, D.J., and I talk about our days, our plans, books we’re reading, New Yorker articles. Last night we walked in a comfortable silence. After a rough week migraine-wise for both of us, being together was enough; we didn’t have to say anything.

I listened to the soft, erratic plat, plat, plat, of heavy rain drops on the hood of my jacket. Through breaks in the clouds I could see the sky, still glowing with the last bits of sunlight, a smokey blue. Reflected light from downtown skyscrapers and street lamps illuminated the low-hanging clouds in a golden yellow. As we entered the park, I caught a glimpse of the sunset in the distance: deep orange and red on the western horizon, beyond the rain.

My 18-month-old German shepherd puppy bounded along the path, pouncing on a stick and carrying it proudly for awhile before abandoning it for another one. My Welsh corgi scampered in a straight line ahead of me, intent on walking, smelling, and marking her territory as much as possible.

Here was beauty — in the rain, the sunset, lights reflected in puddles — and here was love — my husband and dogs beside me. My head hurt, yes, but it didn’t matter. Like the city, the rain made my headache seem quieter, subdued. So I let the rain soak into me, pick up my worries and my fears, and carry them away.

 

A misunderstanding

Banner that says "The Adventures of Miss Migraine"

The Adventures of Miss Migraine is an ongoing column about my life with chronic migraine. A version of this post appeared first on July 26, 2012, on my blog of the same name.

I began experiencing constant, crippling migraines in 2008. But it wasn’t until four years later that I realized the extent of my problem.

I was reading stories online about other people’s pain, thankful I rarely have to deal with the nausea that affects so many. It struck me that nausea wasn’t the only other commonly-reported migraine symptom aside from head pain, aura, and sensitivity to light, sound, and smell. Well, it at least felt like it struck me, because my head was throbbing a little.

Sometimes my world looks like this. Photo by Kelly Lynn Thomas (Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, PA, January 2006)

I thought my neck pain might be caused by sleeping on my stomach, though I’ve slept that way all my life. Nope. Neck pain is a symptom of migraine.

I thought my constant fatigue might be caused by stress, or possibly sleeping too much, or possibly just pain. Nope. Fatigue is a symptom of migraine.

I thought my eyesight might be deteriorating from too much reading in too little light, like my mother always said. Nope. Blurry vision is a symptom of migraine (and okay, yes, I also found out a few years later I have mild astigmatism—thanks, Dad!).

I thought I might be bipolar. Nope. Mood swings are a symptom of migraine.

I thought I was messed up for sleeping too much. Nope. Not sleeping well is a symptom of migraine.

I thought I must be dehydrated, despite all the water I drink. Nope. Light headedness is a symptom of migraine.

I thought my problems concentrating, my foggy head, might be from the fatigue. Nope, just another symptom.

On one hand, I felt like an idiot for not putting the pieces together sooner. On the other hand, not thinking clearly is yet another symptom of migraine.

Maybe I should cut myself a break.