Sunday, November 14, 2010

Don't blame Mom for Migraines

I was at my brothers house the other day. There were a few of us there including our mother who was visiting from out of state. We stopped by after work so they had ordered pizza for dinner. This was also the day after a big Migraine so I still wasn't quite myself.

I've become an expert at not eating at these impromptu dinners due to my elimination diet and will grab something as soon as I get home. These 'dinners' expose my Migraine disease and brings on the 'how's that going' or 'how are your headaches' questions. It's almost automatic to answer that second question with 'I don't have headaches, I have Migraines' which is inevitably followed by the question 'what's the difference' no matter how many times you've answered it in the past. I'm sure you know know what I'm talking about and what I said next, 'Migraine is a genetic, neurological disease'....

Migraine has become a matter of fact of my life and part of who I am. As I was talking to my brother, I told him it came from his mother's side at which our mother became upset and started asking: 'How did I know it came from her side? How come it didn't come from our father's side? Why is it always blame the mother?' I'm still in my matter of fact mode and not hearing what she is really saying. I know I have to work on this, but I still have the Migraine hangover from the day before going on too.

It didn't matter how much we talked about how it wasn't only me and some of their grandchildren, but that there are other relatives on her side of the family who also have Migraines and none that I'm aware of on his side of the family. We had also talked a while back about how she used to get 'headaches' and the accompanying symptoms she got. She mentioned this again that night, about the 'headaches' she used to get, but they 'only' lasted for about a ten year period - while she was raising us. Luckily the subject changed.

We eventually moved onto food allergies because my SIL had a really bad reaction earlier in the week. I mentioned my allergy and the reaction I get. All of a sudden, my mom blurts out 'Aha, you got that from your father!'. Apparently he has the same allergy and reaction. This is when it hit me as to what she was really saying earlier even though she had spoken the words before.

I didn't want to rehash the conversations we had just had earlier. She was going home the next day and I needed to get going shortly for the evening. I called her after she got home to talk. I let her know that I don't blame her for my Migraines and so forth. She said she was just trying to be funny. Maybe, but I don't know if that's everything. Not by all of the reactions she had and I probably don't make it easier because although I don't blame her, I do take Migraines very seriously.

I know how I feel about my son. I don't blame myself for passing Migraine down to him anymore than I blame myself for both of my boys having my brown eyes instead of their father's blue eyes. However, sometimes I do feel guilty about passing Migraine disease down to him. I am not at all happy he has Migraines and it took me some time to convince myself that he did indeed have Migraine disease even though I really knew better.

I dealt with my guilt by taking charge and giving him the power he will need to manage Migraines over the course of his life. We started off by giving him the basics around Migraine disease, first by reading the "Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches" book and then by discussing Migraines afterward. We have since identified some of his triggers and graduated to some of the basic supplements used for Migraines. He has commented that he will still lean on me if he ever needs to take the next step. So far, he has been doing awesome with his Migraines this semester at school!

Of course I will do anything for him, but I also want to make sure he is independent and knows what he needs to do just in case I am not around so he can take care of his needs on his own. I do give him little boosters here and there, but will really push after he gets out of school and let him know that as long as I am here and lucid, I will do whatever I can to help him.

This also got me to thinking about everything around my mom this week. Joking or not, she never knew anything about Migraines; even about her own Migraines until we pieced it together a couple of years ago which was way after she stopped getting attacks. She never had the opportunity to pass down the helpful hints around Migraine like I have been able to do with my son. I'm sure being able to help my son this way relieves some of my own guilt.

I think my mom understands that I don't blame her for any of this. Migraines are a part of my life and a part of who I am.



WinnyNinny PooPoo said...

I'm not sure who I inherited my headaches from, some of my Mom's seven sisters had them, but my father also had them in his late teens early 20's and I was told recently by my headache specialist that men with migraines often have that pattern. Hoping maybe your son will outgrow his.

MigrainePuppet said...

Thank you. I hope he outgrows them too. Wow, seven sisters! I grew up near two different families - one had six girls and the other had six boys.