I have been chronic-migraine-free for almost six years. It was fun, but now the fun is over. My ‘graines have come back and are more frequent, almost daily, and they have changed. I now suffer from a sensory aura: my right fingers tingle and sometimes get numb. Then, the tingling and numbness moves up my arm and sometimes to my mouth and the back of my neck. I also suffer from cognitive issues which means it’s hard to speak, remember, and concentrate, I get dizzy and lightheaded, and it takes forever to write a quick email.
Yesterday, my neurologist/migraine specialist said that my scans show a “CSF pressure component to [my] headaches.” The fluid which surrounds my brain and my spine has a little too much pressure, and the slightest change in barometric pressure makes me have a migraine. I have been given the same medicine they give Mount Everest climbers when they go through altitude sickness. This saddens me because I now know that I’ll have a difficult time on high elevations and I love the mountains. My computers’ wallpapers have K2 and Annupurna on them. I hope I’ll be okay if I ever visit Colorado to see the Broncos play the Jaguars, and visit the Rockies.
The variation of barometric pressure has been great this summer in Florida, and changes on an hourly basis. It has been a daily battle for me. One of the only things that gives me relief is my running.
Running has now become more than a hobby, it is a lifesaver. If I can catch my migraine in the prodrome period (a day or hours before the attack), I have to get outside and run to fight the oncoming episode. I even try to run if the pain isn’t too great, or if I experience a migraine without the headache, also known as a “silent migraine.” If I can get through the fatigue and the pounding for the first half-mile, I’ll be fine for the rest of the run. I don’t know why it works, but it does. The migraines still follow, but they are not so severe and I can function.
I’m not looking for pity parties. I’m writing this to inspire people about running and to let people know that running is now something MORE to me. Running is a relief.