Sunday, January 30, 2011

January Peaks

I have a chart that shows all of my Migraines going back at least four years. According to this chart, January is one of my peak Migraine months. Although January is typically a high month, this January has been in line with my last two month even with all of the weather triggers we've had in my area.

I think my Migraines are different right now probably because of the elimination diet. Although they are still in double digits, in some ways I'm kind of surprised my Migraine count is as low as it was so I have been reflecting back on the month trying to figure out what has been different. My total Migraine count is lower this January, but I know I didn't feel right many more days than my chart reflected for January. I realized that I don't record my Migraine symptom only days especially when it doesn't result in Migraine pain. This month, I seem to have had a few acephalgic or silent Migraine attacks as many days I have experienced Migraines without the headache phase of an attack.

I'm not sure that I've ever really experienced acephalgic Migraines before, but I'm starting to think that this is related to some of the foods I'm adding back in too. I'm considering the possibility that some of these foods might be stackable or cumulative triggers. We can have triggers of different strengths. Some can be strong enough to trigger a Migraine by themselves while others can be weaker and only trigger a Migraine when we're stressed or when we encounter them in combination with one or more other triggers.

If these foods are stackable or cumulative triggers, this adds a whole new dimension to the elimination diet that I really hadn't considered before. In general, these types of triggers could be tough to find, but while doing the elimination diet, it can put in different monkey wrenches that we have to be aware of so we can consider everything when determining if a new food is a trigger or to what extent it could be a trigger. Even taking this into account, I know that the elimination diet is still the best way, at least for me, to find my food triggers. I think we would be better off knowing all of our triggers and to what degree they would trigger us rather than not knowing about them at all or waiting to trying to discover them on their own.

I am also surprised my Migraine count is as low as it is because this January has been a very tough month given the record breaking amount of snow we have been hit with. We have had some 'nice' storms almost every week. It is to the point where we don't have any place to put the snow anymore and we may be getting another big storm this week. One thing my records show during this time is that the snow is a definite trigger for me. Some days I can even tell the day before that it is going to snow without even watching the weather reports.

Historically, I believe one reason January is a peak month is because it is one of the busiest times for my company. Everyone’s stress level is super elevated. There is so much that needs to be done in this short period of time and has to be completed to perfection. My group consists of very talented people who can figure out a whole array of things and can work through almost any type of obstacle which puts us at a premium for other groups to want to use our expertise especially during this time.

I've also been having additional stress around one of my sons lately. He's fine. Let's just say the momma bear in me wants to keep coming out where it's very tough to sit back and not do much except give him a little advice that I hope is right for him. It'll be a little while before we know how things go for him, but I will be ready to pounce until things are in a better standing. I'm also concerned about his Migraines throughout all of this. They were under such great control last semester that I would not like to see him go backwards because of his situation.

As you can see, with all of the weather, stress and other triggers going on right now, I am surprised that my Migraines are relatively the same as the last two months and not as elevated as history would predict they should be at this time. I do believe a large part of it is because of the elimination diet and becoming aware of many of the things I need to look out for with my food triggers.

Along with this is that I have been making many more of my own foods. Can you believe I never made my own spaghetti sauce before this? It's really not hard, but I use a very simple, bland recipe that I can add a little something more to every week. It’s really worked out great.

I know I am on the right track by doing the elimination diet. It gets real tough at times, especially in the beginning right before I could add back in new foods, but it has been so worth it for me the both times I have done this diet. When it gets tough is when it's nice to have friends and family to help you get through it with their encouragement while keeping your goal in mind - less Migraines!



Jessica said...

Sometimes the migraine symptoms can be just as debilitating for me as the pain itself! I'd definately count those on your charts!

You are one strong women going through that elimination diet! I could'nt even avoid gluten for one week!

WinnyNinny PooPoo said...

So glad they are better!!! It's good you had he resolve to do the elimination diet...

MigrainePuppet said...

Jessica - I agree that the Migraine symptoms can be just as bad to deal with especially if you have an unsettled stomach. My chart automatically counts my Migraines based on having a level. I just tested it and it will count a 0 level acephalgic Migraine as a Migraine.

I haven't tried avoiding gluten yet; it's always been in my base diet. I would imagine that would be a real tough one to avoid especially since I have to stay away from soy. I have kept it in the back of my mind in case that is something I need to try. I give you a lot of credit for trying it.

MigrainePuppet said...

Winny - I would not have been as strong on the diet without my internet friends. You guys keep me going and keep me stronger than I think I can be through everything. Thank you for all of your support!