Sunday, April 26, 2009

My Family Migraine History

When I was first diagnosed with Migraine disease, I had only heard of one family member who had been diagnosed with Migraines. That was my niece who was diagnosed ten years earlier when she was in kindergarten. At this point, we had no idea about Migraine genetics or anything like that.

After I started learning more about Migraines, I couldn't find the older connection. My parents said they didn't know anyone who had headaches, sinus issues or any of the usual things that Migraines could have been misconstrued as.

My mom loves to talk about anything and everything. I guess that's good sometimes because since two summers ago, we learned that a lot of my cousins have daughters who have been diagnosed with Migraines. All of these relations have been on my mothers side. I also suspect that one of my cousins has Migraines, but she still poo-poos them and writes them off as bad headaches. I have to talk to her a little more about them even though she knows her daughter has Migraines.

I finally got to spend some one-on-one time with my mom before she had a small medical procedure done. We got to talk about some headaches she used to get when she was younger and some of the symptoms she used to experience. Guess what? I think she used to have Migraines too. So I think I finally found one of my older connection!

I've always talked to my SIL about my niece's Migraines. However, last Thanksgiving, I was able to talk directly to my niece about them. She is a college freshman this year. Wow, time really flies! We've been a little overdue for this talk, but this was really a good time for it too. I was impressed that she has already noticed some of her triggers. She knows she can have some chocolate, but also knows that those double chocolate doodads with chocolate chunks dipped in chocolate are never good -- too much chocolate. We talked about other potential food triggers as well as general potential triggers. She wasn't aware that hormones or weather could play a big part in some peoples Migraines and will keep an eye on those. I mentioned keeping a Migraine diary especially since she indicated that she gets 'headaches' a few times a week. I know we'll have to have a few more conversations and I already started talking to her about the terminology she uses -- if she has a Migraine, she really shouldn't say she has a headache! She really seemed interested, but I didn't want to be too overbearing to her either.

So, over the last year and a half, I've been able to find more genetic links for my Migraines. I do hate to see this disease get passed down to the younger generations. I've had a couple of other nieces diagnosed in the last year. I come from a large family and so far, only one of my siblings has experienced this disease. My sister, Pam, has only had a few attacks and only after she hit middle age.

This one niece I talked about is the oldest of all of my nieces. I have twelve nieces ranging in ages from three to eighteen with a few nephews mixed in there. My son did yell at me, in a kidding way, on the way home from that Thanksgiving dinner because the other car lights were bothering him and that I gave him my light sensitivity. This was the first time he has mentioned this to me. I just pray he does not get any of this disease from me including photophobia - the sensitivity to light which I have much of the time.

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