Sunday, 17 January 2016

The Migraine and the Spicy Meatwich

So I suffer from migraines and I have since I was six. The first one happened when I was sitting at our kitchen table talking to my Mum. I stared across the table at some bananas in the fruit bowl and they became all pixelated and out of shape. It completely freaked me out at the time, but when I described what I could see to my Mum (who also suffers from migraines) she told me what it was straight away and said not to worry. I did get a headache afterwards but I don't remember it being too bad and we went to the doctors and opticians to get me checked out (and low and behold I needed the glasses I still sport to this day) and that was that.

As time went on I developed a second type of migraine - the visual disturbances aren't as bad but the headache is an off the scale, nausea inducing, darkened room doesn't help type affair. These are hideous, and sadly nowadays a lot more common.

As far as I'm aware, my migraines are caused by stress (usually relaxing after a period of stress rather than at the time, which is helpful I suppose!!), flickering light patterns (trees flickering in the wind behind a blind on a sunny day, driving past rows of trees with the sun streaming through - both of these have set them off) - this type is more likely to cause the visual disturbance migraine than the "I want to die it's so bad" headache type, and dehydration.

So, after nearly 32 years of migraines I've more or less pinpointed what causes them!!! Now, what to do to alleviate them.... Before I was pregnant I discovered that codeine is just amazing - makes me feel weird (in a not good way) and excessively thirsty for ages (but it's good to get lots of fluids when I have a migraine so it reminds me to drink more!). Even the worst migraine is usually cleared after a couple of rounds of ibuprofen and codeine. Then I got pregnant and panicked - how on earth would I cope with a migraine if all I could take was paracetamol - it'd be as good as useless. But by some miracle (or mother nature or something if you believe that) I didn't have a single migraine during my pregnancy or when I was breastfeeding. In fact I didn't have one until I started to get stressed about returning to work...

Anyway, all this depends upon the severity as sometimes I wonder if I can keep the codeine down, and they work much much better with food. Greasy food. Hangover type food. Here comes the spicy meatwich!

Now, I have a (slightly off topic) confession to make. I love watching Man v Food. I may not strike you as the type, but I do. Portion sizes aside (I honestly think I would keel over and die if I even attempted one of those, quite frankly obscene, eating challenges) but the food itself makes my mouth water - for the most part at least. This is also the type of food, which when combined with the painkillers, really helps my migraines (if I don't feel too nauseous that is!).

So last week, inspired by Man v Food and with a migraine which just would not go, I created the sandwich above, which I have snappily named the Spicy Meatwich! It contains...

Lovely fresh crusty bread roll
Barbecued pulled pork (heap of)
4 slices of spicy pepperoni
Piri piri coleslaw (heap of) - see some veg!!

This could (possibly) be improved with a slice of melted cheese and some sliced jalapeƱos on the top to make it spicier - if you're a fan of properly spicy, it's currently not that spicy if I'm honest.

Then washed down with gallons of Diet Coke (yes I'm still thirsty). Full fat coke is probably best here as I often feel that my blood sugar is low, but I just can't drink the stuff, it's too sweet.

Anyhow, on this occasion the migraine really took some shifting but I do have a really great favourite new migraine (and almost certainly hangover) busting meal which I can look forward to the next time one strikes!

Aside from the meatwich, I need to think of other ways to handle the old migraines. Migraines and small children DO NOT MIX - it's hell. They don't understand. You have to carry on as normal no matter how ill you are. I also run my own business now - of course back when I was working for someone else, if I had to take a day off with a migraine I'd spend the whole of it panicking that it'd cost me my job, but it never did and there was always someone else around to do the urgent stuff. There isn't now...

So - I think I need to look after myself a little better - fewer late nights, less alcohol (more other fluids too), exercise and maybe attempting to take a day off once in a while (as I mentioned in last week's post I really struggle to do this so it'll be a challenge!). Oh and if I have a migraine, don't worry about the migraine. Go back to bed for a while if I can (after the school run) and don't get stressed. Easier said than done perhaps!

Do you suffer from migraines? I know that everyone gets slightly different types and finds they're own ways of dealing with them, but do share any tips you may have!


  1. yes those are exactly the kind of adjustments my husband and I are trying to make in our life. More exercise, less alcohol and a cleaner diet. It is not easy I know the feeling especially when you really like to have a fun time and go out with friends. Its what I thrive on. Very hard to let go.

    Cynthia Bowers @ Bay Area TMJ & Sleep Center

    1. I'm still not sure I'm getting there! Trying but getting to the point where the forced relaxation and healthiness translates into fewer migraines is probably going to take some time!