My challenge with chronic pain is that I never get a break — my pain is relentless. Every day, I need to find the strength to continue living my life and push through my pain.
To give you a better understanding of what a normal week is like when you’re living with chronic migraine, I’ve decided to share a week’s worth of my journal entries with you.
Some weeks I spend in bed, other weeks I venture out, despite my pain. During this specific week, I pushed myself as far as I could possibly go.
I hope this will give you a look into the mind of someone living with chronic migraine and what it’s like to live life in constant pain.
I planned to start writing this piece on Monday. However, my pain and my heavy workload forced me to push back my start date.
Getting out of bed this morning was hard. The pain in my head felt sharp and heavy and did not stop all day. The pain stabbed both of my temples, and the left side of my face felt slightly numb for most of the workday.
I pushed through pain a lot yesterday so that I could get my work done. As a result, today I had a hard time focusing and processing things.
By 2:45 p.m. I felt a new migraine starting. I sat with a cup of coffee by my side, hopeful that caffeine would combat my pain.
I sipped from the cup, hopeful the caffeine would soon kick in.
At the end of the day, I was glad that I made it to work and was somehow able to cross things off my to-do list. Another work week in pain, another week of accomplishment. I did it.
I tried to watch television on my computer, but most of my day consisted of lying silently in bed. My blackout shade hid most of the sunlight from my room. I love the darkness.
I spent the day exactly as I wanted — resting. Knowing that I have a busy week of travel ahead, I aimed to conserve as much energy as possible. I also made sure to stay adequately hydrated to avoid getting a migraine on my upcoming flight.
Around 6 p.m., I pushed myself to take a shower. I then met up with some friends for dinner at one of their apartments on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It turned out to be a fun, low-key night that lifted my spirits but didn’t drain me too much.
I took a 9:15 a.m. flight to Los Angeles for a business trip. This is a rare occurrence. I intentionally got on an early morning flight so that I could spend Sunday afternoon relaxing and easing into the hot temperatures.
Building in time to rest is essential. It helps me avoid the risk of getting another migraine. Once I was settled in and had rested, I grabbed dinner with an old friend. This made me feel so happy. Connecting with friends, even when I am in pain, is invaluable to me and my psyche.
I made sure to grab breakfast before heading to work for the day. When traveling, I need to eat regularly so as not to trigger any migraine symptoms. I made an effort to take things slowly, but still be productive. The night ended with a casual dinner and an early bedtime.
Today was nonstop. I knew that it would be a busy week, but I didn’t anticipate how busy. I wish that I had more time to myself, but that’s OK. Sometimes, I need to push through and not look back.
Today I had to meet a lot of new people, which meant I needed to be “on” all day. Normal, “pain-free me” can be sociable and alert. However, “migraine me” has a hard time with building up the energy for these types of situations.
On days like this, I tend to drink a little more coffee. It’s a balancing act of drinking enough coffee to manage the pain, yet not so much that I risk another migraine.
Before I knew it, I was returning to the hotel late in the evening.
Like Tuesday’s schedule, I was busy from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. I felt exhausted, but somehow, I got through it all. My brain transitioned in and out of a foggy state all day. But I stayed positive and made the most of my time.
The day started with an early morning presentation that I gave to a packed room. It went well, but once I finished, my brain was in a severe fog. I struggled to concentrate on my extensive to-do list, including an inbox full of emails.
During the afternoon, my left arm and the left side of my face went completely numb for around an hour. I am familiar with that kind of discomfort, but it threw me off because I was in the process of meeting new people.
I rarely travel or push myself too hard, but given that I was on the west coast for work, I decided to fly to San Francisco to spend some time with my family.
I drank a lot of water and made sure I was eating enough food throughout the day. I tried to stay as calm and collected as possible.
That said, my instincts (and exhaustion) told me that a migraine attack was brewing. I anticipated one would hit soon.
After Friday night dinner with my family, I took a step back, feeling lucky to have that time with them. It’s rare that we can all be together. Having that time, despite being exhausted, puts me in good spirits.
A week in review
Now you’ve seen a glimpse of a week in my life. In this particular week, I accomplished a lot. I rarely am that fortunate, migraine-wise. I was able to, somehow, keep my migraine at bay and get through my hectic week without hitting a breaking point.
Now, at the start of a new week, I’m stuck in my bed, “punished” for the week before, as expected.
The pain has constant power over my life. I am always thinking about how I can fight the pain, prevent more migraines, and find the strength to get through each day.
That said, it helps to take one day at a time and celebrate each milestone I’m able to achieve.
The information presented is solely for educational purposes, not as specific advice for caregivers or the evaluation, management, or treatment of any condition.
MIG-US-NP-00080 JUNE 2018