Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Our Broken Brains

Anyone who knows me, knows that I've dealt with migraines for a long time. For awhile, I just figured they were my lot in life. And really, they were okay. I got them once a month. I would take an Excedrin Migraine and pass out, then when I'd wake up, I'd feel better. It went on that way for awhile. I tried dietary and lifestyle changes Then Luke was born and they got worse, but not too much worse. Then Tommy was born and they got worse, way worse. I was missing work, left and right. Excedrin Migraine didn't even begin to touch them. Stupidly, I still figured it was my lot in life and soldiered through. I tried chiropractic care and that really did work for awhile, but then they came back, with a vengeance.

I'm stubborn to a fault, so it took awhile before I admitted that this shouldn't be my lot in life. It took a few bad incidents this fall, where I had migraines that lasted 48 hours before I admitted that something wasn't right. I was missing too much work. More importantly, I was missing too much of my childrens' lives.

So, I finally, FINALLY shut up with all of my "lot in life" crap and called a specialist. Only the specialist I called was so very special that I had to apply to be his patient. Luckily for me my head was busted enough that he totally wanted me for a patient, but unluckily for me, there are apparently a lot of busted heads out there because although I called in January, the earliest they could get me in was... June. I know. But hey, I've been having migraines since I was 15. The wait from January to June seemed like NOTHING.

The office called last week and said they had a cancellation and could get me in a week early, if I was interested. Unbroken head a week early? Sign me up! Anyone who follows me on twitter knows that I was 800 kinds of nervous for about 800 stupid reasons, first and foremost being that I was absolutely terrified that the doctor was going to make me have an MRI. Remember a year and a half ago when I had to go in the MRI with Tommy? And I kind of alluded to the fact that, oh hey, this was awful? Well, it was AWFUL. So awful that I hope to never, ever have an MRI. In fact, if something should happen that I need an MRI, maybe just take me out back and shoot me instead. And yes, I'm aware that having an MRI done by yourself is probably very different than going into an MRI on your stomach while trying to calm down your panicked 15 month old who you really, really hope doesn't have a brain tumor. Logically, I get this. Illogically, I want nothing to do with an MRI ever again.

Luckily, the doctor put me through a series of physical tests that determined that it's not a tumah, so I don't need an MRI. EXHALE. Anyway, long story short, this neurologist was awesome. We had a great discussion on the genetic connections between migraines and epilepsy and he explained that the brain at the start of a seizure is the same as the brain at the start of a migraine, which I find very interesting. He also brought to light some connections between distance running and migraines, which explains why I've had some nasty migraines after running longer (for me) distances. This doesn't mean that I have to stop running, he just wants me to ease off the distance for awhile. He put me on a daily preventative and gave me a prescription abortive for any breakthrough migraines. There is, of course, no guarantee that it will work or that I won't have a whole slew of side effects that make it not worthwhile, but I have hope and faith that if this doesn't work, we will find something that will. I can't tell you how amazing that makes me feel. For a long time now, I've woken up every morning, every SINGLE morning, and immediately ran through the way I felt to see if I had any signs of an impending migraine looming. Do you know how awful it is to have that on your mind first thing every morning? I look forward to a day when I can just wake up and greet the day.

Don't be stubborn like me. If you're dealing with some sort of chronic issue, don't suffer. It's not worth it. If you have migraines, you don't have to deal with them. You shouldn't have to deal with them. When the doctor asked me to rate the pain of a my migraines, I went the English teacher route and told him that I've had two kids without any pain meds and would much rather go through childbirth than have a migraine. That is absolutely true--that's how bad they are for me. How ridiculous to suffer through that on a sometimes weekly basis. Here's hoping for a less painful future!

12 comments:

Cindy said...

I've had chronic daily headaches for over 6 years. I've seen 6 neurologists, had 2 spinal taps, a CAT scan and MRI and no one can tell me what is wrong. I totally sympathize. It's awful. I hope your meds work! :)

Julie said...

I'm so glad you finally got into see him and that this may be the answer!!! Plus, I'm glad your DR. is 3 blocks from my office so we can have lunch. ;-)

Bari said...

I pray, pray, pray these meds work for you without any nasty side effects.

I'm glad they got you in early.

Stephanie said...

Boo to nasty migraines - yuck and double yuck! I had migraines in college - one that lasted several days before I called my mom in tears to come get me. I did have to have an MRI and that was actually worse than the MRI I had for my heart - because it was a MOBILE MRI machine - aka: WAY noisier than usual and, when you have migraine issues, you really don't need more noise. I memorized Psalm 23 before the MRI and just repeated it over and over as He gave me a peace that surpassed understanding. Anyways, long story short, no tumor but my doctor gave me some preventative migraine meds that really worked. I took them until I was pregnant with my first and, thankfully, I've not had migraines since I had kids (just a whole slew of different problems - but that's a whole other story). I'm so, SO glad you god into your doctor and I'll be praying for some relief for you!

Lyndsay said...

Fingers crossed that your migraines are a thing of the past! I was so interested to hear about the migraine/epilepsy connection. I just told a friend at work about it - she has migraines and her 3 year old has been having febrile seizures.

Lora Lynn @ Vitafamiliae said...

I put off going to the neurologist for YEARS, too. And then suddenly, having the meds in my back pocket just in case? A life saver. A game-changer. I had to come off Kepra to have this last baby but so when I quit nursing, I will be back in the office getting back on it. I hate taking meds every day of my life but I hate having headaches more. My family needs me to be there for them and not in my bed. Good for you for going in. Don't be afraid to ask for a different med. I couldn't handle topamax, but Kepra works just fine.

Birdie said...

I really, really hope that the meds manage this for you! I know what's its like to wake up every day and have to evaluate how your head feels and its a terrible way to live. I am interested in the connection between you and your son's neuro issues, since one of the reasons I'm still waiting to have any is I worry how my health issues may effect them. Thanks for the honest post!

Candace Pelz said...

I hope the medication works for you and you're able to get some relief! And so happy that you found a neuro that you like...I haven't been able to find one around here.

Elaine A. said...

Yay for no MRI! So glad you did not have to go through that. I guess that makes sense about the migraines coming on worse while running farther. I have heard of that before.

I hope this is the solution for you, my friend. xo

Katie said...

So glad you finally broke down and decided to get something for your migraines. Getting on a daily preventative and having a break through med was one of the best things I did for myself. Hope they work for you!

Mimi's Toes said...

Oh Erin, I am so sorry you suffer from these dreaded migraines. Glad you got in early to have it checked out and hoping and praying for you to start feeling better and not dread the start of a new day.

Leah said...

I hope your new medication works wonders for you, Erin. I know how tough migraines can be. Love you.