Sunday, 29 July 2012

What's Been Happening .. Nuthin' Much!

Well for the past two or three weeks I haven't done an awful lot of riding, or anything else for that matter. I've been suffering from migraines for the last couple of weeks so I've kept off the computer and off the bike for the most part. The migraines started with no warning and kept up with one every two days for about a week and a half until last weekend I had one a day for three days. My migraines usually last at least 24 hours and then I get what I call my Migraine hangover for at least a day or so after that. So it meant I felt like I was being put through a meat grinder all the time.

This isn't the first time I've suffered from Migraines, I usually get one every couple of months or so. I have even suffered with serial ones like this before, about 10 years ago when I was doing my nursing training. I put it down then, to a combination of stress and needing new glasses, I got the new glasses then finished my training and they went away.

The difference is that this time the migraines were so bad that they would put me in bed for the first couple of hours. I was sleeping so much I felt like I was in hibernation, only getting up to crawl around looking for food then sneaking back into to bed empty handed when it was all to much for me and hoping that Terry would take pity on me and bring me something. Then I'd start to feel better and I'd head off the work, only to start seeing the aura's again a couple of hours later and steel myself to driving home practically blind. It was getting so that I was dreading it when I started to feel better as I knew I'd end up with another one soon and those first few painful hours are always the worst. Along with the auras and blind spots I'd also have a shaky brain. No kidding my brain just wouldn't work and my boss said there were some interesting things entered into the computer I'd been working on a couple of times. Lucky she caught them.

Two weekends ago I got up on Saturday morning and felt great, yay! Terry and I decided to go for lunch and as I often do I wanted to ride the bike. It's not much of a ride but I don't get much experience riding in town really, so I grab what I can. Thank heavens it was only about a 6 minute ride because the minute I pulled out of the driveway, I started getting another damn migraine!! Yes I was getting really fed up with this, it's bad enough it interrupts my work but when it interrupts my rides as well then ... well enough's enough!! I rode to the cafe with auras and blind spots, guessing that the reason the taxi in front of my was slowing down was because he was turning and I just couldn't see his indicator. Kinda scary riding like that but I made it and I even managed to park the bike even though I had to back and forth about 50 times to get her in the right spot. That was the start of the evil weekend where I would get a migraine every day, no sooner would the pain start to subside and I'd get into that feeling of just being drained with a vague ache then the next one would start up.

Something needed to be done, I couldn't live like this. I tried to work out why I was getting them, migraines are normally brought on by a trigger, things like eyestrain, stress and caffeine (namely dark chocolate in my case) are things that I know are triggers for me. Months ago at work I had organised with my boss to go do a training course in workplace training, and the big day for that was a couple of weeks ago, the day before I was due to go for that course was the first big migraine. I didn't really connect that course with the migraine though, I didn't think it was that stressful. I was also working on the computer a lot that day, and one of the other ones I got later on was while I was working all day on the computers. So I put it down to eyestrain, asked not to be put on the computers for the next week and went to the optometrist with the hopes that he would say 'yep you need new glasses' and my problem would be fixed. He didn't find anything wrong with my eyes and my glasses are perfect for me. He even did a peripheral vision test that checks for neurological issues .. I passed with full marks. All this was done while I was on the tail end of a migraine. Not eyestrain. I started to stress more .... lo and behold I got another migraine.

Ugh now I knew I'd have to visit the doctor. I'm a bit naughty bout the doctor, I know they can help and I really should just go but they make me nervous. Which is kinda funny considering what I do, yes I used to hate doing rounds with the doctors when I worked in the hospital and would do anything to get out of it, and I would page them with what I needed if I could, instead of phoning them, I worked out all those little things I could do just to not talk to them. Funny eh. Anyway enough of that little side track. I went to the doctor, I was thinking it might be my neck, that maybe I was straining it somehow. I remember when I got the migraine on the bike it started just when I was turning my head to look up the street, at an odd angle because of the crappy peripheral vision you get with a full face helmet on, and maybe I was sitting with my neck at an angle when I was working on the computer.

The other thing I wanted to rule out was blood pressure. I'd checked my blood pressure a couple of times at home while I was right in the middle of a migraine and it was fine, I wanted to rule that out because every time I go the doctors she insists on checking my blood pressure even though she and I both know it's going to be sky high. One of the side effects of not liking to visit the doctor, it's even got a name 'white coat syndrome'. My blood pressure was fine at home and yes amazingly high when she checked it. She went through a few things with me then gave me drugs. Now I don't like drugs either, I guess it's a sign of how bad this was all getting that I took the prescription and got it filled within an hour of seeing her. I couldn't start til that night, but if I could have taken one there and then I would have. It's an easy fix, she didn't really find out what was causing the headaches but she did ask a few times about stress. I insisted that, no I'm not under any stress, no more than usual anyway. Now that I think about it though .. there was the new role at work after the training course, hmm am I worrying too much about that? Then with each migraine I think I was just getting more and more stressed. I'm starting to wonder about it all and think that it's like a vicious circle that was just coming round and biting me harder each time I got a migraine, I would stress more and that would cause a new onset of pretty lights and pain.

I took the drugs gladly. I haven't had a migraine since the first tablet on Tuesday night. I have felt weird though. I put that down to being in my 'hangover' phase, I usually feel a bit weird afterwards for a couple of days, with headaches and a touch of nausea and just feeling drained. After a couple of days this didn't go away, and I also felt just weird. Like I was floating almost, kinda spaced out, I almost felt stoned sometimes and my brain still felt fuzzy. This isn't normal I thought, so I looked up the side effects of the drug. I know I shouldn't do that, I'm like a hypochondriac that gets a symptom just because I hear that it's the symptom I might get, but I was wondering if this weirdness is from the drug. Yep, headaches is one of the side effects, (thought that was funny for a preventative for migraines to cause headaches, but it's not uncommon for drugs to do interesting stuff like that), also dry mouth (yeah that's normal nearly every drug in the world causes dry mouth apparently), but here's an interesting one ... low blood pressure. Now every time I go to the doc's she tells me to check my blood pressure twice a day for two weeks and come back and see her with it all written down, so I have been religiously doing it night and day, my blood pressure has been a little high. Well it's not lowering my blood pressure. Two side effects did catch my attention though, dizziness and depression. That's my weirdness!! I'm sure of it I guess that fuzzy head was dizziness, it was just hard for me to work out because it's not something I've really had before. And the depression .. really after taking only four tablets, no way I hear you say ... yes. I went and sat in the toilet one day, after one of the girls at work said something to me that wasn't any different to anything she would normally say, and balled my eyes out. Came back out to work and didn't make eye contact with anyone for at least half an hour so they wouldn't see my red eyes. For the rest of last week I found myself battling tears a few times and I broke down a couple of times at home. Crazy. If I can have crying jags for no reason  after just a couple of days of taking this stuff, what am I going to be like after a couple of weeks?

Ok I like not having migraines, but that kind of side effect is just a bit too much. I haven't had a tablet for the last two days. And I haven't had a migraine. I also don't feel weird anymore. My blood pressure has gone down to normal today too. I'm kinda wondering if it's a combination of stress and high blood pressure that's been causing them. If the drug lowers blood pressure and it was still higher than normal on the drug, does that mean that there were times when my blood pressure was high enough to bring on a migraine? Self diagnosis here I come!!

Who knows? All I know is that now, today, I feel like a normal person for the first time in weeks. It feels so good!! I'm not going to take the drug for the rest of this week and when I go back to the doctor I'm going to see if there's a drug that I don't have to take all the time, just one for when I feel a migraine coming on. I kinda feel that she maybe over reacted a bit because I was getting them so often, but to tell the truth it's only been two weeks. I really think that if I can get stress levels under control maybe I can get the migraines to subside. I also have a feeling she may want to start me on medication for my blood pressure. It's something I've resisted for a while now, I know when I have high blood pressure, it goes up sometimes and I know a high BP headache when I have one. I haven't had one recently so I think it's been fine, looking at my numbers for the last week I'm starting to feel I might be wrong. But before I succumb to the drugs I will try one other thing. Give up smoking. I know that's a big cause of my high blood pressure, I've checked it after a smoke and wow, that's some awesome numbers.

Anyway that's what I've been doing, nuthin' much eh. Laying round wishing my head would feel normal then not doing anything any other time cause I'm scared my head will start doing weird things again. I did go for one ride before all this nonsense started, Terry and I headed to Wellington for lunch at a cafe I'd been told about, The Cactus Cafe. It's a lovely setting for a cafe with a history, I love old buildings with history. The site started life as a church in 1865 but then was turned into a school in 1929 and it seems to have had a redesign then in a Spanish Mission style, which it still has today. The school closed it's doors in 1995 and was turned into a cafe and gallery in 1998 by the Spanish ambassador Senor Rapheal Steger. Fascinating stuff and I was dying to see it. It was sadly disappointing. The building was as lovely as I thought it would be but the food in the cafe was ordinary to say the least (I've talked to others since and been told I'm being too nice about the food!). And the gallery .. well I didn't see a gallery, there was a lot of things for sale, local things like soaps and hand creams ... and handbags, the place is literally a handbag shop. Yes I love handbags and loved poking through them and the shoes!!! But it wasn't what I was expecting or hoping.

I didn't get any good pics of the place so I've linked a couple from their web site....

I think this is as it was as a school.
From Cactus Cafe and Gallery Website

And being transformed into a Cafe and Gallery.

From Cactus Cafe and Gallery Website
And how it is today.

It really does have some lovely architecture and I should have taken more photos of that, but I guess my disappointment showed in that I didn't bother.

I did get this cool pic of the school across the road with it's residents at home.

I've never seen so many pigeons in one place out here. They tend to prefer to gather in the bright lights of the city rather than the easy going country towns in outback Australia.
The ride out to Wellington was good, nothing new, nothing bad and nothing particularly great either. It was just a ride and as such I enjoyed it. But the ride home was something else. I hadn't realised that there was a wind, it must have been behind us when we went to Wellington, coming home it was a head wind. Ugh I'll never like riding in wind, and I'm very unhappy with BOM, they told me that there was only going to be a light breeze that day, it felt like a gale!!

We haven't really got any rides planned for the near future, I'm not even riding to work much (only when Terry needs the car) because of the fear of getting a migraine and not being able to get home. But I'm hoping that the weather and migraines will both ease enough that we will get a decent ride in the next month or so. The other thing that I'm planning is trying to organise a Charity Ride for work. Not to raise funds as such but to raise awareness of the importance and need for donated blood. That's all still very much in the planning stages though so I'm sure I'll write more about it as it gets closer to happening. It is very exciting though!!


  1. Sorry to hear about the migrains. My wife suffers from them so i kind of know what your going through. Good to see you made it out for a ride though so its not all bad.

    1. Thanks Chiller, I feel for your wife, I've only had these this bad for two weeks and it's sending me crazy. That ride was the weekend before all this started so yeah good I got a ride but sheesh sending me a bit nuts cause I really wanna go for another :(

  2. Wow, you have really been through the wringer. Sure hope that is all behind you now and you are feeling better. Hope no more migraines. I've only ever had one that lasted a few days (years ago). I too finally went to the doctor and the pill he gave me had nasty side effects.

    Hope you get some more riding in. That should help lower the blood pressure.

    1. When they last for a few days they suck big time .. serial ones like these are, well yeah like I may have mentioned a few times, sending me crazy. I got another one last night after being so smart and not taking tablets ... first thing I did was run for the drugs which didnt work of course, they are a prophylactic not a cure :(

      More riding is just the ticket, and I'm sitting here this morning feeling kinda normal so I think a ride is gonna be on the agenda!!

  3. Brenda, migraines suck! I have suffered from them for the better part of my life, and since doctors didn't find the cause, they happily and continuously treated the symptoms with a variety of drugs that caused a lot of other issues. Just be careful what you trade your migraines for. I suffer from a damaged liver thanks to migraine pills.

    If you haven't done it already get an ergonomic assessment of your workplace, it might come from your neck or spine. If you decide to go for the holistic approach... many meridians are going through the brain. So your pain might come from something unexpected other part of your body...
    It could even be a trigger in the food such as chocolate, bananas or coffee. It is a long way to discovery. Good luck!

    1. Thanks for your suggestions Sonja. Yes I would prefer to find out the cause of the migrains than to just take some pills, so I'm already thinking along your lines with work ergonomics. As I already have a bad back I adjust chair hights at work to suit that, but I'm now wondering if it is after all my neck. Anyway I'll work on it and see my doctor again .. I'm not loving these pills.

      Oh and the foods, yeah I've been along those roads and have discovered an overindulgence in dark chocolate tends to bring them on, but milk chocolate seems to be ok, which is lucky cause I am the ultimate choco-holic!

  4. Brenda - I'm sorry you are feeling so terrible! I get migraines too, mine are usually in my left eye & it fels as if oem one is running a cheese grater back & forth on the surface & my face feels like its made of plastic. Usually they are worse in fall & winter. I hate the hangover feeling too. I have actually tried Botox headache protocol & it helped & I wasn't having to take triptans and it cut my migraine downtime in half. I seem to only need that during the late fall. Have they done an MRI or CT scan? Stress, poor sleep, food, etc all f it can trigger them & make them worse. Feel better, please don't ride with your migraine aura, the thought of his scars the dickens out of me. Take care!

    1. Funny how they seem to affect just your left eye, I tend to get them in varying areas but the right eye for me seems to be the favourite with this bout.

      Dont worry riding with the aura is the last thing I ever want to do again, I dont know what I was thinking when I did that unless it was just my brain not working properly and I wasnt really aware of the risk I was taking at the time. Since this has happened I've only ridden once to work when I couldnt avoid it and I had a backup lift home if I couldn't ride by the end of the day.

      Thanks for your concern Dar :)

  5. I was thinking of you today as I dealt with the thump thump in my left eye and felt icky. Had to down an Axert and I must have gotten it in quick enough because it almost took it all away,

    1. Oh that sucks Dar, I've come to dread that feeling and I think its the worst part. Glad you got on top of it early. :)