Migraine Journey Wednesdays (Vol.17 181017 Natalie Banathy-Kennel)

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 Hi, my name is Natalie and 35 this year. I’m a mom and artist and I’m from Atlanta, GA, USA. 

My Migraine History

My Migraines came with early puberty when I was just nine. Fatigue, neck pain and severe head pain have been my chronic nemesis for the past 26 years. In the past decade, nausea vomiting and diarrhoea have entered into my most severe attacks. If it's really bad, I have to keep going up and down making trips to the bathroom just like when you have a stomach bug. It's insane. My doctors and I know that hormones play a role (I get an attack without fail before my period each month), however, almost 2/3 of my attacks happen independently of my cycle. After faithfully using Migraine Buddy for a few months, I've found that I have many triggers: hormones, heat, dehydration, alcohol,  fighting with my husband or mom, insufficient sleep, processed foods, weather changes... BUT, it takes about 4-5 of those triggers happening at once for an attack to occur. 

The People Around Me

My stepfather, mother and closest aunt all have migraines. They are always conciliatory and encouraging. My husband who doesn't get them is so incredibly helpful with taking over. His support is everything. We have three children and a busy work schedule. His helpfulness during my attacks keeps us going. 

The Effect of Migraines on My Life

I’ve had to become self-employed because I cannot function during a major attack. I’m fortunate that this is working well for me and that I’m professionally fulfilled. I understand it’s not an option for everyone.

What I’ve Tried 

I’ve tried so many things! Stretching, self-massage, magnesium, meditation, prayer, electrolytes… Ibuprofen or acetaminophen and caffeine are in my bag of tricks. Just like my attacks evolve from multiple triggers, the greatest relief is achieved from a combination of approaches. If I sense it early enough, I can usually quash it was a cocktail of hydration, caffeine, ibuprofen and stretching. I don’t consider the mainstream prescription drugs.. I mean have you seen the side effects to those things??? :-O

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Days Things Get Unbearable

I just pray because days like these are still so scary, even after all this time. I focus on self-acceptance and looking forward to when it’s over. I remind myself it’s temporary and making me stronger. When I finally get to the postdrome stage,I draw a picture about it and revel in the fact that’s it’s over for now. 

Some Advice for My Fellow Migraineurs 

Don’t look at it as your defect. We’re all perfectly imperfectly. Accept that your nervous system won the genetic lottery for this condition and take control. Journalize your attacks and study their patterns; it will help you minimize the suffering. Hang in there, don’t give up.

Thank you, Natalie, for stepping forward to share your migraine journey with everyone. If you would like to share your story and let your voice be heard like Natalie, you may do so here: bit.ly/2rJcpMR

With love, the Migraine Buddy team 💜 

Healint Singapore