on a migraine watch

a migraine watch is not a fun thing to be doing but it’s necessary for those of us who suffer with those beasts. People who have “headaches” really don’t understand the difference between a bad headache and a migraine – and they are very different. I get both, so I know.

I got my first migraine at 16 years old while I was working at a little bagel shop at the beach. I didn’t know what was happening. I couldn’t see correctly and had this strange light passing through my vision field, making it impossible to see the register. At first, nothing hurt, just this strange thing in my vision. But within an hour I was slumped over in pain. The Lutheran pastor who regularly got bagel and coffee at the shop walked me back to the boarding house where I lived and I slept…till the next day.

When I met Jesus in college, people began to pray for me to be healed. I appreciated every prayer. I still pray to be healed.

But I have had Christians accuse me that my migraines are my fault – not enough faith, my own sin, a sign of spiritual immaturity, or that my great-great grandfather did something that opened a door to satan.


I’ve pretty much heard it all.

And I’ve heard it all when it comes to advice. For some reason, well-meaning people will tell me things or suggest things that they think I don’t already know. I do whatever I can to keep them from happening, but that doesn’t mean I’m always successful. I can’t drink aspartame at all (which includes pretty much every diet cola). When I get a migraine, the first thing I do is look over the last few days to see if anything has changed. Sometimes nothing has. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason to why I got one. But as a migraine-sufferer, I at least try to figure it out.

I had a run-in with the Sobe drinks last fall. I grabbed one at a convenience store one day and scanned the list of ingredients. No aspartame. But a bunch of  other ingredients I didn’t recognize. It was a yummy drink and found a case at the wholesale club and was thrilled to find something new to drink. Then the first migraine hit. A few days later another…then another. the only change had been those sobe drinks so I stopped drinking them and the migraines disappeared. No more Sobe for me.

On Saturday afternoon, I drank something new and yesterday afternoon, I got a migraine while driving home (terrible time to get one btw). So because I introduced something new to my diet, I have to wonder if it’s the cause. There was a lot of glare on the road and since that can also trigger migraines, I don’t know what’s to blame — yet.

The only way to know for sure is to drink another one. And see what happens. That is SUCH a scary thing to do. Drink or eat the possible trigger to learn whether or not it’s a trigger — by setting myself up for a migraine. That’s what I call a migraine watch. But it’s the only way to know…

I figured there were a bunch of you who know exactly what I’m talking about…so I thought I’d share:-)

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2 thoughts on “on a migraine watch”

  1. No fun! My migraines are triggered by lingering whiplash. It’s not good. They can be triggered by doing anything that puts a strain on my neck – sleeping wrong, shoveling snow, playing with my kids, etc. I don’t know what I would do if they were diet related. 🙁 I’ll be praying for you. But I also wanted to add something encouraging to the list of things that people say to people who suffer from migraines. When mine first started, before I found out the cause, a very kind woman suggested that it was Satan trying to discourage me or prevent me from doing God’s work (because I was leading a Bible study and according to her, doing a great job). I could see that with you too 😉

  2. Hi Sarah. I can relate to your struggle as I have walked the same migraine road for about 15 yrs. Ugh. Pains me to admit that. God is good. Last year He showed me the connection btwn msg, a neuro-excitor & all the names food manufacturers hide it under. You sound careful with your diet, as I am. Knowing I am not alone in the weariness of reading food labels provides some comfort, but I’m sorry to see others like me out there. I will pray for you. I like your writing. I invite you to visit my site to see if I can encourage you in your daily faith. Blessings!

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