Friday, 13 April 2018

Let this be a lesson to me

I'm writing this with my fingers crossed but here's a thing...

My ongoing struggle with what has become chronic migraine is something I've whined about quite a lot but hello...43 of them (plus the after effects and medication side effects) this year, so I don't care. I was at a point of being properly depressed and feeling hopeless. I couldn't plan anything, couldn't commit to anything, couldn't do much. I felt I was letting everyone down all the time, most of all my daughter who is very understanding but also 12 and a bit fed up with me being monosyllabic, depressed, and in a dark room. I booked yet another appointment with my doctor and prepared to sit in her office, with my migraine diary, until she gave me a referral to the specialist clinic at the local hospital (they are not keen on doing this and my request would have been my third attempt).

My migraines tend to be something I wake up with - they come on in the early hours - but lately they'd been starting at random times, quite often in the evening. "Oh", I thought. "More menopausal change." Then almost three weeks ago I sat down in the living room to watch a documentary with Evie in the morning, for 'school'. I had been fine but within 30 minutes I had a full blown migraine. 


Where am I most evenings? The living room. What was happening most evenings? Migraine. What was in the living room that could trigger migraine?

We live among fields in a wet climate. We have three dogs and all six of us like to be outdoors at least part of the day. So we do a lot of laundry. We only use our drier for emergencies (it saw a lot of school uniform back in the day) and so we have clothes drying around this tiny house almost every day (and it drives. me. crazy. But anyway...) Our water here is insanely hard - line-dried clothes will be crunchy - so we use fabric conditioner.

I? Am a skinflint. While Charlie will buy something as expensive as he can, because quality (he thinks, I don't), I will go for a bargain and I'm very fussy about smell. While he buys some ridiculous "Oriental Jasmine and Lily of the Valley" style Comfort for a million pounds, I prefer a massive bottle of Asda's Fresh Cotton for 2.99. Not so smelly and dude, it lasts way longer. That's what we'd been using on and off, most days, since forever.

Oh. Oooohhhhhhh.

We immediately stopped using it (and any other conditioner). In those 18 or so days I have had to use my medication three times and two of those were,"I think maybe...perhaps...feels a bit off...sod it I'm taking it". I am a migraineur after all. I get them. But what if I only have to get them three or four times a month? 

WTaF? I used to think I was quite bright but now...meh. I won't get in a car that has any kind of air freshener in it but I'll fill my tiny home with cheap fabric conditioner? I'm all "Essential oils and plant medicine" but I do this? And put it down to my poor, tired, much maligned hormones? Crazy. It is accepted that sensitivities - should you have them - tend to be heightened at menopause, I guess because your body is already coping with so much. I've always been aware that chemical scent could trigger migraine but it had never happened at home before. Now I'm even more aware; at home, in shops, in other people's homes, and waiting rooms. At least one of the occasions I've had to take medication recently was triggered in a shop that was very smelly. BUT OH MY GOD WHAT A RELIEF. I'm doing a little dance every day that I'm clear. It's a Springtime miracle! Suddenly I have a life again, which means the rest of my family does too.

This has been a Public Service Announcement. Go easy with your laundry, folks. 


  1. Excellent news! On the subject of fabric conditioner, I've been using Ecover laundry liquid and conditioner for years and am enraged they've recently changed all the scents on the whole range. I used to love the smell of my clean laundry but now, it's just not the same. ENRAGED.

  2. oh frabjous day!! LOVE that you've sorted it out and you get to be human again. I know a woman who has had chronic migraine for over a decade (like, almost constant and it's been investigated out the wazoo with no answers) and I know how it has affected her life. :(

    Me? Also a skinflint -- have never forked out for the 'extras'...I use soapnuts now (only because I'm too lazy to measure out the ingredients and grate the bar soap for 'homemade' detergent). Girl-child was super-sensitive to scent as a little one (major eczema) so I've long since sworn off all chemical concoctions for our washing. Granted, it means we have crispy clothes much of the time and our towels are very exfoliating but hey, we got used to it! :D super happy for you!! xoxoxo