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Stroke Diary

Decaff Looks Like a Bust

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Anyone who knows me well knows that I drink a lot of tea, probably half a gallon or more a day, plus I drink Pepsi Max as my soft drink of choice. For a while I've been suspicious that it might be at least part of what's causing my migraines as they typically kick off properly shortly after my first mug of the day.

Back in June, while idly reading the migraine sub on reddit I noticed several people saying that going caffeine free helped reduce their migs (although others said it helped relieve the symptoms - and indeed lots of OTC painkillers include caffeine, typically the "Max" branded type).

Anyway when I got back from the south at the start of July I went caffeine free. The plan was to stick to this for six months, until Christmas, as my migs are very sporadic, and normally I have a lot less in the summer (although not this year up until then) so if it did work I wanted to be sure I wasn't just being lucky.

I should also be clear that this wasn't 100%: all "decaff" tea and coffee still contains some caffeine, but it's typically less than 10% of the usual dose. Plus I switched to diet 7Up as my soft drink of choice.

And this all went pretty well. Until the trip south I'd been having a crap summer with a lot more migs than usual. How much of this was down to the stress of selling our old house I don't know, but anyway since I've significantly reduced the level of caffeine I'm ingesting I think I've only had three or four migs. One of those was minor, one of the others was after significant provocation (two meetings on successive days).

So, after fifteen years, I was hopeful that I'd found something that really helped.

Then we come to yesterday when I had one of the worst migs I've had in a long time. The headache itself was intermittent, but the other effects were particularly strong: patches of strong neuralgia, dizziness to the point where I kept wanting to hold on to things, strongly single threaded, and strangely detached from my surroundings. At 9pm I finally weakened and took a triptan but by bed time I still had a headache and it took me a fair while to get to sleep.

Today I'm sitting here typing and although I don't feel anywhere near as bad I've still got a headache and feel out of sorts and I fear it's going to get worse so another day of sitting on the sofa idly surfing the Web beckons.

All of which deeply frustrates me as I've got so much I want to be getting on with. But that's what probably triggered this in the first place1. Ho hum.

  1. If it wasn't the heavily hopped bottle of Brewdog Nanny State I had on Tuesday night. Only 330ml and 0.5% ABV and I threw about a third of it away as it was far too hoppy but it does make me wonder.

Written 28/09/17

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