30 Bee Stings

My head was stung by 30 bees.  I asked, “Do other people think it hurts this bad?”  My neurologist, who has little affect and less personality, said in his dry drawl, “Some of them think it doesn’t hurt at all; and some of them think it’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to them and they have to be almost sedated.”  “Well, I’m somewhere in the middle,” I told him.  He was holding the bee stings in his hand at the time and was administering them with a long needle as he spoke.  They were actually 30 shots of Botox in my forehead, temples, back of my head, and back of my neck, meant to alleviate the pain, and perhaps prevent future migraine headaches.

I started having headaches as a teenager.  I’ve had all kinds of headaches.  But it was only 3 years ago that anyone ever called them migraines, and only then did I ever get any kind of real relief from them.  For years I thought I had chronic sinus problems. Since I have been taking migraine prevention medication I’ve rarely have any sinus problems.  That kind of makes me laugh because I thought I was allergic to pretty much everything out of doors. Twice a year I would get deathly ill in the spring and in the fall.  Not so much anymore.  I used to take Allegra, or Benedryl, or Azelastine, or something everyday.  I rarely take any of it any more.

I used to drink diet Coke by the boat load.  About the same time my migraines were diagnosed I quit drinking it.  I quit having daily afternoon headaches.  It’s just so weird how you go almost your whole life doing something but you don’t know that you are allergic to aspartame.

I remember the first time my doctor said the word migraine.  I told him that one night I ate too much watermelon.  I mean I really ate a lot of watermelon.  I knew it almost immediately.  It was about 3 summers ago.  I threw up all night until every teeny piece of watermelon was gone, then I stayed in bed with a headache for 3 days.  That same thing happened to be three months in a row.  Except it wasn’t always watermelon!!  That, as we say in research, is what is called a pattern.   It happened in June, July, and August.  When I told my doctor about it in September, he said, in his effusive way, “sounds like migraines to me.”

Ever since then I have been treated with prevention meds, nausea meds, and migraine meds for when I do get a headache, and now bee stings (as another form of prevention).  Somewhere along the way I started thinking that I could be cured.  The other day I finally came the realization that I’m never going to be cured.   But, my life is much better now than it was before I was diagnosed.  I have it a lot better than most people who have migraines and way better than people who have other disabling illnesses.  For the most part, I am a very healthy person.

So, I’m not complaining.  I guess every now and then, as long as it’s working, I’ll just go in to see my doc and let him sting me with bees.  Better living through bee stings.  And maybe, just maybe, I’ll have 2 or 3 fewer wrinkles in my forehead!


symptoms of migraines


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