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By Cheryl Bac

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About this blog: I'm a wife, stay-at-home mom, home cook, marathon runner, and PhD. I recently moved to the Silicon Valley after completing my PhD in Social Psychology and becoming a mother one month apart. Before that, I ran seven marathons incl...  (More)

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Migraines and motherhood

Uploaded: Apr 15, 2019
I recently started experiencing migraines. I’ve had a lot of headaches over the years but nothing prepared me for the intensity of an actual migraine.

When my migraines started I was very unprepared and nervous about how it would impact my ability to parent. What would I do if a migraine hit and I needed to pick up a kid from school or a class? What if I experienced a migraine when one of my kids was sick? How would I navigate tantrums and sibling squabbles? How would I even do simple tasks like cook dinner?

I’m now in the process of figuring out what triggers my migraines and when the optimal time is to take my medication. It’s been a process of trail and error, but my migraines are becoming more manageable.

Migraines are terrible. And you can’t simply power through them. As much as I wish I could, I must stop what I’m doing, take my medication, and rest.

Dealing with these migraines has reminded me of my first two marathons. During my first marathon, like most first-time marathoners, I started out too fast and hit the wall. I couldn’t power through. I had to lie down on the side of the road, sip water, and simply rest. I was determined to finish the race, but, for awhile, my body just wouldn’t let me run or even walk. After an extended period of time I started slowly making my way toward the finish line. I did finish that race, but my time was much slower than I had planned.

For my second marathon I was determined not to hit the wall again. I made an effort to stay hydrated. I started out much slower and I paced myself. I fueled up with jelly beans throughout the race, as I had practiced, rather than trying the free GU samples. And rather than being swept up in the excitement, I took a step back and monitored how I was feeling throughout the race. And I ended up running that marathon an hour faster than my first. What a difference!

Managing my migraines has been a similar experience. My first couple migraines hit me just like I hit the wall in my first marathon. But now, I’m taking steps to reduce my migraine triggers. I’m starting to prioritize sleep and exercise again. I started doing yoga more and taking time to relax. I make an effort to stay hydrated. And I talked with my doctor about medication to take. And now, like my second marathon, I’m not hitting a wall anymore. I’m starting to reduce the amount and the severity of migraines in my life.

With young kids it’s easy to put yourself at the end of your priority list. But, these migraines have reminded me to spend a bit more time and energy on reducing and even eliminating migraine triggers so I can have fewer migraines each month and more time with my family.
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