In Memory of Mary Elizabeth (M.E.) Woodside
You may be wondering why I’m dedicating an article about migraines to this beautiful girl who just passed away. I wish that I’d had more time to get to know M.E., but in the end, 3 hours is all I had. We volunteered at Women Grow together. During that evening I mentioned that I was working on an article for Migraine Awareness Month. Without a moment’s hesitation, M.E. offered to give up her column in this month’s High Magazine to publish my article in its place. She told me that a few of her family members have migraine and she felt that it was important to help raise awareness. Even though she must have been going through tremendous pain of her own, she still cared deeply about the well being of others and wanted to help someone she literally just met.
I will never forget her kindness and generosity. And I can tell by the outpouring of love that no one will ever fill the void she left in our community. My deepest condolences to her family and friends.
A donation has been made in M.E.’s name to the Toronto Distress Center.
Join MigraineBuds in Raising Awareness and Fighting Stigma
You probably know someone who gets them. You may have even had one yourself. Or did you? Migraine is just a really bad headache, right? A common misconception. It’s actually a neurological disease, and there are millions of us suffering every day with something completely debilitating that can’t be seen. Invisible illness can carry terrible stigma. We are often accused of faking, laziness, exaggerating our pain, and we are treated like drug seekers when desperate for relief. It’s an agonizing affliction, and despite what TV commercials would have you believe – no amount of Tylenol or Excedrin will help. In fact, those could make matters worse. Here are a few facts about migraine that you may not know:
- Migraine is the 6th most disabling illness in the world
- Overuse of pain-relief medicine can cause a vicious cycle known as Medication Overuse Headache (MOH) or, Rebound Migraine
- There are many types of migraine, such as Migraine with (and without) Aura, Vestibular Migraine, Basilar Migraine, Hemiplegic Migraine, Retinal Migraine, Chronic Migraine, Hormonal Migraine, Silent Migraine, Abdominal Migraine
- Attacks are debilitating and last approx. 4 – 72 hours; people with Chronic Migraine have over 15 attacks per month
- Co-morbid illnesses include depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue and stroke
- Headache is just one symptom of a migraine attack. There are actually 4 stages with many symptoms that patients can experience:
- Prodrome (warning phase can include difficulty speaking (aphasia), excessive yawning, strange cravings, muscle stiffness, sensitivity to light and sound)
- Aura (visual disturbances can include tunnel vision, zigzags, arcs of light, flashing lights, whiteouts. Numbness and tingling in limbs.)
- Attack phase (Excruciating pain – throbbing, sharp, drilling, ice pick in the head feeling, burning sensation, nausea, vomiting, nasal congestion, anxiety, depression, extreme sensitivity to light and sound)
- Postdrome (“migraine hangover” head feels tender and bruised. Difficult to concentrate. Fatigue. Depression)
It wasn’t far into my Chronic Migraine journey that I realized how effective cannabis was for my pain. Problem is, there was a real lack of information out there about cannabis specific to migraine. I became intent on trying different products and learning on my own. I felt like a mad scientist, conducting my own experiments – using each migraine as an opportunity to try a new strain or edible. Learning which ratios of CBD and THC worked best on my pain. I wished I had people to compare notes with. Surely I was not the only migraine warrior who had discovered the benefits of cannabis?
I saw this as a call to action. MigraineBuds was born! We are a community support group for migraine patients who use (or are interested in using) cannabis for pain relief! Our mission is to bring support, education, community and camaraderie to this under-acknowledged group of chronic pain patients. We welcome members with all levels of cannabis experience to share tips, ask questions and give honest product reviews in an open minded, non-judgemental environment. We feature migraine-related cannabis research articles and information. (The very type of information that I was searching for at the beginning of my journey.) We are also hoping to curate the ultimate list of cannabis products recommended BY migraine patients FOR migraine patients! Beyond this, sometimes it helps just to have a group of people who know what you are going through.
If you or a loved one could benefit from some support in this area, please join us on Facebook.
Thank you for helping to spread Migraine Awareness!
Jodie Epstein: Jodie@migrainebuds.com
Chronic pain and mental illness go hand in hand. If you are in distress, please reach out.
There is always help available. You are not alone.
Call 416 408-HELP (4357)
Toronto Distress Center
24/7 Distress and Crisis Line