The Breakthrough

The Breakthrough

Waking Up to Life in a Mind-Body-Spirit Group

By Marian Sandmaier

May/June 2000

On the day I understood that something had to change, I was sitting in a newspaper editorial meeting, feeling the slight, probing pressure behind my right eye that signaled the onset of a migraine headache. Stay cool, I firmly told myself. You can handle this.

"Handling this" meant doing what I had been doing for the past 18 years or so of persistent migraines--dosing myself with drugs and resolutely pretending to be fine. Politely, I excused myself and made my way to the women's room, where I opened my purse and extracted a syringe from a flowered makeup case. With a practiced hand, I loaded the cartridge with a cylinder of migraine medication, took a deep breath and plunged the needle into my upper leg. The shot, as always, made me gasp with pain, but was mercifully short; 10 seconds later, I was slapping on a Band-Aid to stop the bleeding, stuffing all the equipment back into my makeup bag and hustling back into the conference room--smiling.

Just your basic bathroom break, my expression conveyed as I met the questioning looks of the newspaper's Sunday magazine staff, from whom I was trying to wrest a freelance assignment. No way was I going to let on that I was in the midst of an attack--fear of being labeled a neurasthenic, crumple-under-pressure female had long kept me silent--and I wasn't about to out myself in the workplace. I'm fine .

Except that this time, I wasn't. As sometimes happened, Imitrex, the highly touted migraine "wonder drug" that…

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