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Traveling with Migraines

If you follow me on Instagram (@lizabeths_travel_journey) then you know on Wednesday the 22nd I had a migraine and shared on my stories the next day how headaches and migraines are different. I also shared how migraines have impacted my life and hope people understand how severe migraines can be. The amount of love from the messages I received was truly touching as some people offered advice on how they handle them to people just simply saying feel better.


Captain Matt in the background

I often meet people who know people who suffer from migraines and how they don't wish it on anyone. And I would have to agree. Migraines run in my family and something I hope Leylah doesn't experience in her life. This is my first time speaking so openly about my migraines besides on Thursday and something I have decided to talk about. Well, blog about really.


I am a more private person when it comes to certain things, but I am no longer wanting to stay quiet about this. My hope is that anyone reading this learns how I "manage" them and it helps them in some way. I couldn't imagine migraines holding me back from seeing the world. And for anyone who doesn't know what a migraine feels like, imagine having a brick smashed perfectly in the center of your eyes and the corner piece of the brick being used. Either it's a throbbing pain that comes and goes or the pain just hangs around.


I am by no means a doctor and can only speak from personal experience in this blog.


To this day there is little research done on migraines and something I have heard from every doctor including neurologists. You would think each time of hearing the same message of "not really a medicine just for migraines" or "there isn't much research or studies on migraines", that I would be okay with it by now. To be honest, every time I hear those statements, its a punch to the face. A quick Google search shows that 1 out of 4 US households have someone in it that is suffering from migraines. How can so many people be impacted by my migraines and there is little known about them?


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I am more often compelled to not tell anyone I have a migraine when traveling because now I feel like I will be holding them back. Sometimes Matt can tell something is wrong because when the pain is really bad, I stop in my tracks to just focus on breathing. That's how bad the pain can be to where I forget to breathe. I just close my eyes and pray the pain passes very very soon.


The worst migraine I got while traveling was last year (2019) when we went to Florida for our yearly family trip. It happened during the night and woke me up which is actually quite hard to do. Since it was 3 am and I didn't want to wake anyone up, I just sat up and cried. Laying down made my head throb even more. The brick smashing between the eyes seems to intensify and feels like my head is going to explode from the pressure.


Our view from the Airbnb

That migraine was not predicted and one that caught me by surprise. I never know what day I will get a migraine and could happen at any point during the day. Since I have been getting migraines for over a decade now, I have adjusted my ways to ensure if I get one when out, I am prepared as possible. I am providing my little list of items I usually carry on me or pack in my bags just in case one strikes.


--I stopped taking "migraine" medicine because of all the side effects I would experience while taking medicine prescribed by a doctor. I recently heard that mixing Tylenol and Motrin can be an extremely effective combo and what some hospitals are using now vs. reverting to pain pills. When I travel, I keep these bottles in my bookbag which I have easy access too. The only downfall is if I go to the beach or run into town and leave the medicine at the Airbnb right when one starts.


In that case, I resort to drinking a soda. Icey cold coke cola to be exact. There has been little research on how caffeine affects migraines, shocker, however from what has been done it has been identified that caffeine can provide relief. Plus it does relieve some of the pressure a migraine can cause. This is usually a key active ingredient in over the counter medicines like Excedrin, Midol, and many more. So if I am unable to find soda, I would purchase Excedrin.


--The next item I always have on me and have learned to include in my daily life is what I and Leylah call "migraine hairbows". To be clear, there is no such thing as a migraine hairbow, that I know of, and something I taught Leylah so she wouldn't use my hairbows. Once she takes something, I somehow never see it again.