GUEST BLOGGER: RED ALERT! I have a cold! Migraines Aren’t Headaches
Actually, let’s back up a week or two. First, I had a bit of a sore neck. Must have been a little muscle strain or something. Couldn’t turn my neck very well.
Then, this week, I started to get congested. Not much. But there’s no doubt I have a cold.
Why am I wasting your time with such little things? What do you mean, little things? They’re disasters! Don’t you have any idea how – - oh, I’m sorry. You don’t know, do you? I have migraine.
No, no. Not just a headache – migraine. It’s been called a genetically based neurological disease. Fact of the matter is, no one really knows the exact cause, though it looks like the secret lies deep in the brain stem. But it’s not just a headache – I don’t even always get a headache during an attack. There are other symptoms – nausea, stiffness, sensitivity to light or sound, visual problems… the list goes on. And trust me – it can totally incapacitate you. It’s a serious chronic illness.
You thought I was talking about a runny nose? Well, I was. You see now, don’t you? When I get a “little” cold, and “a bit” of a sore neck, it makes me more susceptible to an attack. Maybe a severe attack – one that takes me away from my work, my friends, my family, and leaves me hardly able to move in a dark room.
I’m not even really complaining – I’m just letting you know that when I get a stuffy nose, I need to pay attention. I can’t just “deal with it” and keep going. I need to be extra careful.
It’s like an athlete who strains a muscle. Yes, there are times to keep going. But she needs to pay close attention, get rest, use ice – whatever it may be – so that a small strain doesn’t get worse and end her career.
It’s not the sore neck I’m really worried about, or the cold symptoms. It’s the extra danger of going over the edge, and ending up with a day – maybe a few days – when I end up in painful solitary confinement.
So don’t misunderstand when I take that small thing so seriously – what I eat, or how late I stay up, or that runny nose. I just don’t want to lose more time to migraine.
Oh, you have an “invisible illness” too? Well, of course then, you already understand.
National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week is a fantastic way to keep the discussion going on how to overcome the great challenge of invisible illness. I know it will continue to raise awareness and promote research, dialogue, and understanding.
It was many months after he realized he “just felt sick” at times that James was finally diagnosed with migraine (as a young teenager). He received many varied treatments, and finally ended up being a “guinea pig” in a research program at the University of Calgary. Frustrated with the complicated information (and lack of information) on migraine, he started doing research on migraine and various types of headaches. In 2003 he became a health writer, starting Relieve-Migraine-Headache.com, and the following year he started the Headache and Migraine News Blog.