Rolling Out

Tomeka Cherry and Dr. Juan Lacayo discuss the impact of migraines

Tomeka Cherry and Dr. Juan Lacayo discuss the impact of migraines
Photo courtesy of Alcovy Neurology PC

Tomeka Cherry is a social media influencer and travel enthusiast who has a history of suffering from migraine headaches that have disrupted her daily activities.

Dr. Juan C. Lacayo is a board-certified neurologist trained in Georgia, who founded Alcovy Neurology in Atlanta in 2011. Dr. Lacayo treats patients with all types of neurological issues and diseases, including migraines. Cherry and Dr. Lacayo spoke with rolling out about migraines, how they affect people, and what can be done to manage them.

What was your first experience with a migraine?

Tomeka Cherry: I knew it was different from a regular headache because I had headaches, but this was a pain that literally stops you in your tracks. I could not do anything. For me, I can certainly empathize with being in that dark room, but I like to stay in my bed. When I would get [a] migraine, I would just get in my bed, turn all the lights off, curl up in a ball and just stay there until it went away. Sometimes it could last for hours, or it could be a day, but it was just too much for me to bear. … I started getting migraines about 15 to 16 years ago. I literally just thought it was something that I was going to have to live with because I couldn’t find anything to help me get rid of this awful, debilitating pain.

How can migraines be managed?

Dr. Juan Lacayo: When it comes to eating and drinking, you want to avoid the things that are highly processed, high preservatives, and things that are aged too much. I’m not a red wine drinker, but red wine is [aged] to the point that it causes migraines in a lot of people. Aged cheese or aged meats can do the same thing. Make sure that what you’re taking in is fresher and takes the least amount of preparation required before you put it in your mouth. Also, make sure that you stay well-hydrated.

How have migraines affected your daily life?

TC: It’s impacted me negatively to where I’ve missed out on kids’ activities when they were younger. Soccer games, swim meets and track meets. Also being a part of events where I am the person in charge, and I have to call in and say a couple of hours before, I’m not going to be able to make it because I absolutely cannot move out of my bed. It has been a horribly negative impact on my day-to-day [life] because I never know when a migraine is going to strike, and when it does, I don’t know what I have planned. So for me, I get nervous about planning things because I don’t want to be that person who you can’t depend on to show up.

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