Me Monday: Migraines

Disclaimer: The medications,side effects, treatments and symptoms are my experiences, I do not claim to be any medical personal. If you are experiencing migraines, please consult your doctor for the best route of treatments.
Do you suffer from headaches? Migraines?
Don’t know where to turn for help, what to take for relief?
One person says this, one says that, this worked for my friend, that didn’t work for me…
If you have any chronic illness, you will find there are tons of “doctors” out there just waiting to help solve your illness. They mean well, and if you are like me, I have tried this, that and the other. What works for me may not work for you, I get that. This is my story of analgesic detox.
When last I was in my hometown, I went to see a Neurologist; she walked in the door, sat down with a last glance at her phone and looked me straight in the eye and asked, “What do you want to take?” Um…I don’t know…Yes, I have suffered over 40 years with migraines, no I don’t know everything out there as I have been able to manage them until the last 1.5 years. So, we went through a few medications and finally settled on Sumatriptan and Indomethazine. Of course, I had to catch the bad migraine before it got bad with the Sumatriptan and instead of Ibuprofen, I was to take the Indomethazine. I shouldn’t be taking Ibuprofen at all, but it’s what I had and it would work. “Well, then…those aren’t “real” migraines, if you can take an Ibuprofen and ward off the evil migraine.” I didn’t say how MANY I took, but since I really don’t have any intestines, it was not a healthy dosage.
I learned about an amazing “cocktail” you get in the ER for migraines. Course, you have to sit in the noisy, kid screaming, bright waiting room for ever; then they look at you with the…OH you’re just here for drugs look. And don’t get me started on how they treat different insurances. They say they don’t treat people differently depending on which insurance coverage they have, but I am here to tell you, they DO!
I decided early one Saturday morning a trip to the ER sounded like great fun for everyone. Mom was NOT ecstatic about it (especially since I woke her up two hours prior and scared the begeezes out of her) and B was glad he had to go to work. I really didn’t care, I just knew it was time for the magic cocktail! We arrived about 6ish am and we were whisked right into triage, then just a short wait in an empty waiting room and finally back to my cubbie. I have to say, I have visited this ER three times in the last six years and I have never been treated with disrespect, I’ve never really had to wait over an hour, and each of the doctors and nurses are very friendly, competent and explain things. Not to me of course, each time mom got the pleasure of taking me and each time, I was highly medicated right away. Doc came in and did a through exam on my eyes (I have a migraine, why must one of the exam parts be to have a light shined in your eyes?), talked about my past episodes, my medications, my plan of attack now that I have moved over here and then silently left and sent the nurse in with my medications.
Back up just a minute…
I still stand by what I said about the doctors and nurses, however, I think this nurse was either very new or didn’t work in the ER much. I have a favorite arm and place for my IV’s, all other avenues have basically dried up over time and IF they can get a stick, it will hurt like … and bruise like… so, I TRY to talk them into my way of thinking; I am not a nurse however, therefore, they know better.  I told Mr Nurse where is the best place for the IV, he thinks it’s on a different arm in a different place… One stick, FAIL! Bruise follows, albeit a small one. He went to find another nurse, someone more used to inserting IV’s: Miss Nurse comes in (I told him he had one stick and then someone else would need to try) and nailed it, first try! Bruise follows this one too. So I walk around with IV marks and bruises, not the best way to go out in public.
Back to the medications. Call me crazy, but I like the phrase, medication is on board, just sayin. Benadryl (for inflammation), Compazine (nausea) and then Toradol (pain). Good thing the light were out cause I was gone! Until, the Compazine messed with my system and I was flailing around the bed like a fish on dry land (I can joke, it was me). It can cause side effects to include “Flailing arms and legs” intensifies Restless Leg Syndrome…I was pretty sure I was going to fly off the bed with all the arms and legs moving. Make a note of that in my chart please, we don’t need no more of that! All in all we were only there for about three hours, so not a bad day.
I found a new Neurologist
She’s a PA and I like her very much. She listened to my symptoms, the medications I’d tried, what works, what doesn’t work. She even listened to the part I have no Colon and redirected medications just because of that. She explained we first, needed to get me off all the Ibuprofen as it was causing rebound headaches and we needed it out of the system in order to take control. She didn’t sugar coat it either! She said, this will get worse before it gets better, I was to take nothing, no Tylenol, no Ibuprofen, no Indomethazine, no Exedrin…nothing. She gave me some preventative medication, Depakote and renewed my Sumatripan. I was sent for blood work for a baseline and because the Depakote can affect the liver, but she “didn’t expect it to be an issue.” But, in my normal fashion, my ASL (aspartate aminotransferase *) and ATL (alanine aminotransferase**) where above normal and a little concerning. UGH!
But we have a plan
And for the next two days I slept most of the day. The pain from not having the Ibuprofen was awful, the nausea was bad. I am happy to say, I am almost seven days Ibuprofen free (and all other an analgesics). I will also be getting an MRI on my brain, just to make sure there’s nothing amiss up there. We are working towards managing and preventing and we may even look into Botox to see if that will help.
I have suffered for over 40 years. Many medications and natural paths help, many don’t. I was at a loss as to what to do. I wish I had tried harder to find help with these. I have some very understanding friends and family members, being on their end, I am sure is frustrating. If you think about it though, if you are a friend or family member of someone with a chronic illness, if you are tired of the cancellations, the never wanting to do anything, go anywhere, just imagine how they feel.
I think many people with a chronic illness would prefer not to have their chronic illness, simply because it’s high maintenance.
Marya Hornbacher