We sat down with Marina from Parenting With Migraine to learn more about her journey with chronic migraine and how she manages her household. Between her career as a lawyer, blogger, migraine advocate, and a mother of two, Marina keeps busy while suffering from a disease that affects 28 million women in America. Check out the interview below to learn a few tips on how you can be present with your family while managing a chronic condition.
Q: How long have you suffered from chronic migraine? Walk us through your diagnosis.
A: I was first diagnosed with migraine when I was about 13. I navigated life with episodic migraine and successfully graduated from college, law school, and embarked on my career as an Attorney.
Once I got married and became pregnant, the hormone fluctuations significantly changed my migraine pattern. My attacks gradually became more severe in both frequency and severity. My migraine quickly morphed into chronic migraine complicated by rebound headaches. Unfortunately, I developed daily migraine attacks which lasted for years. Thankfully, I was able to break my rebound cycle and get migraine under control to stop my daily attacks. Although I still regularly experience migraine attacks I feel more in control of this disease. I feel passionate about raising migraine awareness and helping others feel less alone.
Q: Being a mom never stops, so how do you spend time with your family when a migraine attack strikes?
A: Ear plugs are a must! So are the rest of the items in my migraine toolkit.
There are times when I have to push through the pain and times when I can take it easy and rest. My husband is an incredible support to me and offers a lot of help.
There are so many quiet activities the kids and I can do together when I’m having a migraine attack. Our favorites are: board games, drawing, reading, watching movies on the couch, and building legos.
The rest of the time, I utilize my toolkit to continue parenting. I homeschool with my Koldtec ice halo. I read books with a Hugaroo neck wrap on my shoulders. I read bedtime stories to a green glow of the Allay Lamp. We watch TV while wearing my Migraine Shields.
Q: Have you discussed with your children what you experience with chronic migraine?
A: I believe it’s important to talk with our kids about migraine in an open and age-appropriate way. American Migraine Foundation has great resources about communicating with kids about migraine. I talk to my kids about migraine all the time. They know when I have migraine attacks and when I am in pain. I am honest with them because I feel like it’s better that they hear it from me than use their imagination.
Q: When you experience an attack, what are your symptoms?
A: When I have a migraine attack, I experience strong pain in my head, face, and neck. I also feel incredibly tired for days before and after the attack. Therefore, it is very important to me that migraine is recognized as more than a headache. To me it feels like an assault on my entire body which leaves me debilitated for days.
Q: What’s in your migraine attack toolkit?
A: Some of my favorite items in my migraine toolkit are:
- Migraine Shields;
- Ear plugs;
- Heating pad;
- Koldtec Halo;
- Huggaroo neck wrap;
- Rollerballs with essential oils;
- Supplements: magnesium and ginger;
- Allay Lamp;
Q: When do you wear your Migraine Shields? Do you use them to help during an attack or prevent?
A: Both! I like to use Migraine Shields when I am watching TV or using my laptop, especially in the evening when my eyes are already tired. I love knowing that these lenses protect my eyes from the danger of the blue light. I also use Migraine Shields during a migraine attack to ease light sensitivity symptoms. The lenses coat everything around me in soft light making me feel comfortable, yet without distorting color around me.
Q: What is your advice to moms who were just diagnosed with migraine?
- Find your community so you do not feel alone. Motherhood can feel very lonely. So can living with migraine. When I developed chronic daily migraine I truly thought I was the only person in the world who was experiencing the horrific never ending daily symptoms. I felt lonely and misunderstood. Finally, I discovered the migraine community on the social media and it felt comforting to know that I was not alone.
Build your support team. To successfully live with migraine disease you need not only a headache specialist and/or neurologist but also supportive family/friends. Educate your family and friends by inviting them to your doctor appointments and sharing articles about migraine.
- You must take care of yourself before you can take care of your loved ones. Yes, that means make yourself a priority.