Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hormones update! Wheee!

A while back I posted about my migraine frustrations as related to my girly business, and am happy to say that I've yielded some splendid results. At the blessing of my girly-parts doctor, I am now on the lowest-estrogen dose pill AND (drum roll) and directed to take the pills straight through, skipping the placebos. For you non-pill takers and dudes out there, that means no periods for MG! It's, like, better than winning the lottery. And it means at least FOUR fewer migraines per month, which is like 200 times better than winning the lottery.

After charting my headaches for 6 months I noticed the migraine/ period trend, which is how I convinced my Dr. that extreme measures were required. The strange thing is that the two other times I charted my headaches in the past I found no such correlation. Apparently, hormones fluctuate once a woman passes age 30 -- and here I thought that age just began my descent into crone-dom and a signal to begin preparing to become a Crazy Cat Lady. Guess I should've paid more attention in high school health class, but I was usually too busy trying to not pass out.

While I am thrilled about the new therapy and decline of monthly migraines, I do also occasionally worry that I will end up like that great SNL commercial parody and just go batshit crazy one of these months. *Crosses fingers and hopes for best*

Of course, I found a downside. Published in the UK in August, I only stumbled upon a story in a magazine at the salon last week in which British researchers found that "Body odour plays an important part in mate selection but the Pill appears to interfere with a woman's sense of smell, undermining her capacity to make the best choice" and that "Opposites attract – in gender and in genes. But the study revealed that instead of going for genetically dissimilar mates, as human beings are instinctively inclined to do, women on the Pill tended to select men more genetically similar to themselves" (The Independent).

Oh, good. So I guess that explains why I keep dating fabulously intelligent, funny, hot, and sexy men with no desire to commit. Great. ;) Maybe I can hire some sort of bloodhound to sniff out my potential dates in the future? Maybe this is the next frontier in dating: forget online dating or matchmakers, hire a dog!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

A Very Migraine Christmas

I love Christmastime. But I have to admit that a little part of me fears it, because I am conscious that the big M might be waiting for me around any corner. Okay, maybe "fear" is too strong a word, but I certainly am aware of it and ever conscious of how frustrating a holiday migraine would be, because I would be missing out on family time and seeing people I only get to visit with once or twice a year.

Certainly I always think back to my first migraine episode, on Christmas day years ago while I was in college. I'd come home for the month-long winter break, and without taking a moment to rest after the nonstop madness of finals and countless papers written and nights spend until 4am in the library computer lab, I plunged right into Christmas decorating. Mom was still finishing up her term, Dad still at work, my brother too young to be bothered to help out. Knowing we were hosting the family at our house (three families rotated the hosting duties for a while), I went into full-on, Type-A, MArtha Stewart decorating craziness. I must say: the house looked wonderful, with garland winding up the stairway, handmade pine cone garlands (from pine cones I'd gathered myself,of course), fresh pine boughs over every doorway, springs of fresh holly in every room, candles was lovely. And then it happened: about an hour after everyone had arrived, once all were tended to with drinks and food and coats stashed away...I felt it. Suddenly my head was in a tight vise grip, my vision grew dark, my stomach began to churn, and I fled upstairs to lie down.

My mother found me, twisted in pain on my bed and brought me ice packs and drugs. I didn't know what was happening to me, but I very distinctly recall thinking about ways to knock myself unconscious -- the pain was actually that bad. I even fleetingly wondered if I should do something more serious. I couldn't think past the intense tightening, unrelenting, overpowering pain. I tried hurting myself in other ways, like pinching myself hard and knocking my head against the wall, anything to make the migraine pain seem less severe. All while trying to block out the sounds of - yes - Christmas downstairs.

Since that first migraine I've learned to sense them coming on and to know my possible triggers in order to be prepared. My migraines these days rarely make it to such a terrible level, but still even the less major ones can lay me out for a few hours or an entire day. But nothing will ever compare to that first one, on Christmas Day. Thankfully I still love Christmas, a testament to my love of holiday music and cookies, for sure!