What an intense, horrible, overwhelming, enlightening, and ultimately powerful journey it has been healing myself of chronic migraine! Chronic migraine is an expression of extremely serious and deep-seated imbalances in the body and is not easily or quickly healed – even while all the solutions are simple ones!
What is simple is not always easy, I’ve found. Healing migraine for me has required that I heal my life. This is a truly holistic approach to migraine, one made more complicated by the fact that our medical and food systems, and culture as a whole, is dysregulating, depleting, and unsustainable. It is the cause of most chronic illness today, including migraine.
Early Factors that Made me Prone to Migraine
Lucky for me, I got off to a very privileged start. I’m very grateful I was raised in a pristine natural environment with parents who ate healthy organic food and preferred natural medicine over conventional medicine. My health was great until I was twelve years old, during which time I started to get headaches and developed food sensitivities to MSG. At this time I also received my first antibiotic and first round of vaccines (glutamates are often used as stabilizers in vaccines).
I also developed TMJ and scoliosis at this time. I now know that both TMJ and scoliosis are caused by connective tissue problems due to underlying mineral deficiencies in copper and zinc.
By sixteen, I had received one more round of antibiotics but was still generally pretty healthy, until I gradually and unconsciously added to my overall state of inflammation when I started working in a coffee shop. There, I consumed a lot of wheat and caffeine. Other than having issues with acne though, I was generally resilient as we are when we are young. I didn’t know that my acne was an expression of lymphatic congestion and mineral imbalances. I believe I’ve been copper deficient for most of my life, if not from conception.
In my twenties I underwent two minor surgeries with the attendant antibiotics and painkillers. I also went on one full month of antibiotics to try to help clear my persistent acne issues.
Needless to say, pharmaceutical medications are without a doubt a huge culprit if not the primary cause of most of my lifelong health problems. However, because these effects were gradual, it was difficult to measure or realize the real impacts until they had accumulated to the point where they started to manifest as chronic disease.
Still, I didn’t develop consistent and persistent headaches until I was in my late twenties. At this time I also had another small round of antibiotics for a fungal infection. I thought I was getting an anti-fungal but it was actually an antibiotic – flagyl.
After this I started to get regular migraines about once every two months. I also had a lot of stress in my life at this time and was very sedentary. I spent hours on the computer with my neck hunched forward scanning through huge reams of data.
It all makes sense now, but it took me almost a decade to understand, much less solve the problems that I am sharing with you here.
A few years later, I was still struggling with persistent migraines and trying everything I could do to alleviate them, with varying results. Over time, I learned how to manage them but never healed them. I could consistently get rid of an oncoming migraine through various means and techniques, which included drinking tons and tons of water or going for a run.
Running and deep diaphragmatic breathing gets the lymph flowing, and migraines are a result of inflammation in the lymph and some degree of sepsis. Water is a natural antihistamine and will lower histamine levels. It also raises blood volume, making it more likely that blood can reach to the head.
The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back – and Gave Me Chronic Migraines
It was when my son was born via c-section that my health really declined. My migraines had completely disappeared in the last trimester of my pregnancy, because my placenta was releasing diamine oxidase, the enzyme that breaks down histamine. Copper levels also rise with estrogen, so I had more copper available to break down other biogenic amines like tyramine.
After the pregnancy and traumatic surgery, the migraines returned with a vengeance. Now I had them three times a week and on the days when I didn’t have them, I had a headache or brain fog. I lived in a headache.
The combination of epidural, pitocin, anesthesia, pain meds, and antibiotics did a total over-ride on all of my organ systems. As a result of this surgery and medications, I developed gallbladder spasms, thyroid problems, urinary tract infections, inflammation and pain in the liver and pancreas, bloating, nightmares, anxiety, depression, easy bruising, strange burning nerve sensations running up and down my legs and sacrum, numb hands, parasitic infestation, pain and pressure problems in my ears, muscle cramping, acidosis, joint pain, frothy saliva, . . . . etc. etc. etc. etc.
I was also sleep deprived from nursing my son all night, so my already taxed kidneys and adrenals were under even more stress than usual – for over two years. Histamine disrupts sleep cycles, and the nightmare of insomnia reinforces itself and continues. It is very hard to heal without adequate sleep.
I was a total wreck and my life was a living hell – my son and husband being the two lights in my otherwise dark tunnel.
The icing on the cake was my unresolved anger at the fact that there had been nothing whatsoever wrong with my labor that had led to the c-section. I had been pressured to induce with castor oil when my midwife’s scope of practice ran out because I was “late”, which was totally ridiculous anyway because we had not done an ultrasound to know exactly when I had conceived. Luckly, I was able to regain some of my sense of capability and integrity with my freebirth almost four years later of my second son. It still bothers me how medicalized the birth process has become and how many women and babies’ initiation into motherhood and life are needlessly disrupted by liability concerns. This has got to change. But I digress . . .
Pulling Myself Out of Hell
I have pulled myself out of this nightmare mostly on my own. I did see a naturopath early on and she prescribed me a Chinese remedy. I’m very grateful to her that she did this even though the remedy made me much sicker. I realized there was something in it that was exacerbating my symptoms. The first ingredient was cinnamon. I started googling cinnamon and found out it was high in histamine. Through a series of links I found myself on a website about Histamine Intolerance, something I had never heard about before, even from a doctor.
When I realized that I had Histamine Intolerance, everything started to make sense and fall into place. I finally had a basic framework for understanding why I got migraines and how to prevent them (however, my knowledge was incomplete as I didn’t understand the role of the gut flora, kidneys and lymph in my state of sepsis, nor did I understand the important role of minerals in enzymatic processes).
This was the beginning of me understanding what was going on enough to start to heal myself. It started with eliminating fermented and histamine-rich foods. I went through a very strict period where there was virtually nothing I could eat. I had so much histamine in my body that almost anything would trigger me. I became afraid of food.
This is a horrible place to be in (especially when you are still nursing a little one!) and it is the exact opposite of healing, because it truly is food and plants which have the nutrition we need in a depleted state to rebuild our health.
While eliminating all histamine rich foods and fermented foods did reduce my migraines, it also diminished greatly what I was able to eat, and it was always a very tenuous balance. My diet was very meager and I firmly believe we cannot heal by being afraid of most food or eliminating otherwise healthy foods. (Whereas eliminating unhealthy foods, better known as “food-like substances” – is ALWAYS an advantage).
Incidentally, during this phase of strict eating I was eating mostly carrot juice, potatoes, cabbage, apples, and other veggies. I started to dramatically improve. I would always crave potatoes after a migraine. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was the resistant starch in the potatoes that was reducing the inflammation in my colon, which my body was so keen to tell me it needed.
I was juicing carrots mostly for blood cleansing and parasite cleansing. I wasn’t aware then how important the potassium in them was for me, so I slowly petered off to juicing about once a week, and lost the benefits until I later had to rediscover them. The potassium in the carrots was helping my cellular metabolism and electrolyte balance. The sodium potassium pump in the cell requires plenty of potassium for optimal functioning.
It took me almost three whole years of hell post c-section to reach the point where I was able to determine the steps to what I now call the SimplyWell Protocol, which got me symptom free.
While healing my migraines, it was amazing to watch my body also healing from many seemingly unrelated (but apparently related!) issues that I had accepted as part of my life, such as acne and TMJ resolving on their own. I no longer have any premenstrual syndrome or pain or discomfort during my moon cycle. The cystic breast tissue that I had been told was just a hereditary trait has also completely resolved. My gums and oral health are incredible.
Minerals to the Rescue
My healing journey continued as I became a migraine relief coach (prompted by a woman in Denmark who asked me to coach her). I saw many people get relief from their migraines with my SimplyWell Protocol. But I knew that there were still missing pieces to the puzzle because whenever I (or they) went off the Protocol, the migraines would return. So, determined to find the root cause of migraine, rather than just mitigate symptoms, I went on and off the Protocol numerous times to experiment on myself.
I finally began to get somewhere when I started researching copper and migraines. I had my hair sample analyzed and confirmed I was low in copper and able to safely supplement with it.
I am convinced that bioavailable copper is essential for those with migraine because it does the following: 1) is crucial for the connective tissue elastin needed by the blood vessels and vascular tree to properly modulate blood flow to the head, 2) is needed to make the enzymes that break down many biogenic amines which normally act as food triggers in those low in bioavailable copper, and 3) is needed for hormonal balance, including the production of estrogen.
I took coursework in Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis and am now overjoyed to be able to offer this very specific and illuminating tool to help individuals from all over the world unravel the mystery of their migraines and reclaim their vital life force energy.
Copper has been the gold at the end of the rainbow, but because how people utilize copper is so individual, depending on whether you are a fast or slow oxidizer, balance can only be achieved with the help from a hair tissue mineral analysis.
I feel that these imbalances in our basic minerals point to our deeper disconnection from the element of Earth. Getting our minerals back in balance is the key.