Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Book Review: The Migraine Brain

A while ago I read The Migraine Brain by Carolyn Bernstein, M.D.

The book was a great overview of migraine and had some neat information, such prodrome symptoms to look out for that I hadn't thought of before. I've paid more attention and noticed that before I get a migraine, my writing is off. Like when I am at work and I write myself a reminder on a post-it note, I'll cross my l's like they're t's, add extra humps on m's, completely misspell obvious words, etc. Sometimes if I think I'm getting a migraine, I write song lyrics on paper (so I can write fast without thinking) to see if I slip up any.

Another thing the book said to do is to take a picture of yourself when you have a migraine and then take one when you're migraine-free so you can see if you have facial changes. I did this, hoping I could show my husband the migraine one and say, "Be nice to me when I look like this." The scary thing is, I noticed my right eye drooped in the migraine picture, but when I took a picture when I didn't have a migraine or even a noticeable headache, my eye still drooped. Perhaps my face is permanently disfigured? Scary thought. I now use my eyelash curler a few extra seconds longer on my right eye no matter how I'm feeling. :)

Overall, The Migraine Brain is a typical migraine book, but it's definitely easier to read than others because the author is a neurologist, woman, AND migraine sufferer.

Quick update on flu thing is still hanging around and now I have ear/nose/throat issues too, which of course triggered a migraine. I'm on antibiotics and am hoping they'll make a difference. I've been missing way too much work and am nervous about that, but so far my boss has been really understanding and has even let me work from home some. My husband and I are taking a week-long vacation to the mountains soon, so I'm praying I'll have some headache/migraine-free days during that time. I need a time out from these health issues before I go crazy (or crazier)!

By the way, I've been getting a lot of e-mails and blog comments lately from people going through the same thing as me. Thank you so much for writing!! There are too many of us out there, but if we all keep fighting and praying, we'll eventually find something that will get rid of our headaches/migraines. And if we don't, at least we're still living our lives as best as we can - and we have each other! :)


bdhstl said...

Got this book few years ago. Cried reading it cause meant I wasn't crazy. Also good written by woman, cause experience is so different.

Parin Stormlaughter said...

Haven't read the book but what you got from it sounds spot-on.

One of my co-workers (before STUPID MIGRAINE and Meniere's retired me before I was ready) told me that she could tell when an attack was fixing to hit by the look around my eyes.

Sure enough, my whole face DOES look completely different when I'm in an attack (or prodrome or postdrome).

We're all in this together for real, aren't we? *hugs*

Ghost said...

I just got that book! I haven't read it yet-- just finishing up the Keeler Migraine Method book, which is pretty good-- but the Migraine Brain is next in the heap.

A FIGHTER said...

I dear friend gave me this book as a gift, I too thought it was well written and I did leanr a lot.

Hilary Russell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hilary Russell said...

Hi Heather:
I've been told that my facial expressions drastically change, but something really interesting happened a few days ago. I felt well enough to call a close friend and about 20 minutes into the conversation, she asked me if a migraine was starting. It was! She said that my voice had completely changed in a matter of seconds. She couldn't explain it when I pressed for details, but I've never been told that before or maybe no one around me noticed it, but she did. I wonder if anyone else has been told that their voice changes (not from happy to big time grouchess, but in the tonal range). Just wanted to post the latest development since you have actual migraine people reading your blog and I have much-loved sympathizers. Perfect time to go to the mountains. Take care.

Heather said...

Prodrome/postdrome symptoms can be downright creepy!

Thanks for sharing!

Mrs. JayMay said...

Very interesting! I have suffered from migraines since I was 13 and I hate them so much because I always hear things like: "she's not feeling well again?". I hate it because people think that I make this stuff up but why would I not want to feel well?

Great blog!

Ghost said...

Just a quick update: have now read both The Migraine Brain and the Keeler Migraine Method, and they're both well worth reading. They cover a lot of the same info... the importance of keeping a regular schedule, reducing stress, identifying triggers, etc. But I think the Keeler book is slightly more up to date so if you haven't read that one yet, you may want to pick up a copy.

Heather said...

Ghost - I hadn't even heard of that one. I'll add it to my "must read" list. Thanks for the suggestion!