Kim's Life as a Migrainer: Strong!

The meaning of strong is

  • Having the power to move heavy weights or perform other physically demanding tasks.

  • Able to withstand great force or pressure.

Fun Fact: According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the heaviest weight lifted by a person's pinky fingers is 232lbs 15oz. It was done by Canadian Driusz Stowik. Then there is Australian strongman Jordan Steffens who has the world record for hauling a class 520 class locomotive weighing 184.97 tons across 16 feet. Then there is my favorite record which is for the oldest weight lifter, Edith Murway-Traina who at the age of 98 power lifted 60lbs. She started lifting weights at the age of 91 showing it is never to late to try something new.


But I want to talk about a different kind of strength. It is amazing how much pain a person can tolerate and still get through the day. It was when I hit 40 that my migraines became chronic. I have suffered from them since the age of 16 but they were not that often. When I hit 40 the doctor put me on a new medication for birth control. It was an injection done once a month but unknown to me and the doctor, the main side effect was headache. So I have spent my entire 40's trying to get them under control. When the pain is low to almost not there it is possible to trick the mind to not notice the pain by distraction. By doing something to occupy my mind I do not focus on the pain and I can go about my life in a regular way and you would not know I am in pain. You would even see me smiling. Then there are the times when the pain is to the point I am climbing the walls. I can't sleep, I can't eat and I go through the day in a fog, sipping on chamomile tea and rubbing my neck and head. But still my day goes on and I manage to get things done. Finally there are the days when I need my strongest pain killers and a very dark and quiet room So over the years I can truly say I am a strong person.

Now every migraineur has a personalized kit they turn to when in pain. Mine consists of a prescription for a preventative, currently Aimovig, Tylenol #1 and #3, my migraine cap (which is essentially an icepack for the head), soothing bath bombs, oils and soaps that contain menthol, essential oils and calming teas. These help to cope with the pain and even give me a break from it for a bit of time.


Then of course there are the remedies and gadgets that have not worked. I have a drawer full of them and a list the length of my arm of crazy remedies that have been offered to "cure" my migraines. It is funny how the person who is cured is always the daughter of a second cousin of an aunt of a friend they met at some event. While I do appreciate the fact that the person is trying to help I like to leave it to the team of healthcare professionals that I have working with me.


I think a lot of us who suffer from chronic pain/illness do not give ourselves enough credit. The fact that we get out of bed and put on a brave face in those dark times, going about your day even though you just want to curl up in bed and fade away, shows just how strong you are.

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