Thursday, September 29, 2011

Migraine Update

I had my MRI a few weeks ago.  It was super fun...being in an enclosed space with jack-hammering sounds coming from every direction.  I survived.  Later that week I went in for my follow-up appointment with the nurse practitioner.  She had a preliminary report of the MRI, which showed very tiny white matter lesions on my left frontal lobe.  Sounds scary, right?  The lesions were so small, they were unmeasurable, and I'm told this is very common of migraineurs.  That's what they call us...migraineurs.  So I have brain lesions, whatev!  No seriously though, it's not a big deal, there's nothing that has to be done about it, my brain is fine.  Well, except for the migraines.  And the voices.  But I digress...

My medications remain the same, except for increasing the gabapentin to 600mg.  I was also given a sample of Treximet, which is just my normal Imitrex combined with Aleeve.  I tried it when I had a migraine last week, and it worked nicely.  To save on costs, the nurse practitioner said they can prescribe generic Imitrex (sumitriptan) and generic Aleeve (naproxin sodium.) 

I am supposed to call tomorrow, two weeks since I was last in the office, and then I go back in again in another 2 weeks.  I like the fact that I see or talk to someone every few weeks, rather than every 6 months, like it was with my previous neurologist.

A great site for migraine sufferers is, which is where I found this article about MRIs and white matter lesions.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ella turns 5!

 5 years ago today, my first child was born.  5 years ago.  How is that possible?  I've been thinking a lot about the day Ella was born...don't worry, I won't get into her birth story this year.  But wow, do I remember the pure love I felt when I saw her for the first time.  It's hard to put into words the way I feel about my first born, other than what I just said about the first time I saw her...pure love. 

I so enjoy the time we can spend one-on-one together, and I think she's realizing how much better it is for her when Nathan isn't around. Haha!  Boy, do they get into it with each other!  She's starting to say to me, "I just want to spend some time with you."  It breaks my heart when I can't give her my full attention, especially when I can tell she needs it. 

Ella knows exactly how to push her brother's buttons, and she always has to get in the last word.  But she's also very protective of Nathan and tries to make him feel better when he cries.  Nathan usually screams at her and tries to bite her, but hey, at least she's making the effort! 

Ella started 4K two weeks ago and seems to be adjusting well.  She started swimming lessons this past Monday and can now go in the pool without a parent.  In fact, parents aren't even allowed in the pool area.   Ella also started piano lessons!  She was so excited to go to her first lesson last week, and so was I.  She's been playing the one song she learned, "Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater," over and over and over...and she is SO PROUD.  I hope she really loves it and sticks with it...just like her momma!

I look at Ella sometimes and think, "Wow, that's my daughter."  My daughter.  I am one lucky woman.  I've been given this amazing opportunity to be a mother to this beautiful child.  I can only hope she knows and feels the amazing amounts of love I have for her.

Happy Birthday, my sweet Ella!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A New Subtitle

You may have noticed 2 things: 1.) I'm actually writing a post. 2.) I changed the subtitle to include "all while living with chronic migraines."  I did this because migraines are a huge part of my life right now and they affect every aspect of my life. 

I started seeing a neurologist in May, 2010.  At that point, I began my never-ending search for a migraine preventative, a medication taken every day to decrease or eliminate migraines.  The first medication I tried was Topamax.  I had such high hopes that it was going to work.  It didn't.  The second medication I tried was nortriptyline.  At first, I thought it was working.  My migraines seemed to be less frequent, but then they started right back up as usual.  Then it was time to try a beta-blocker, normally used for high blood pressure.  My blood pressure runs low at baseline, so I was a little nervous that taking this medication, called propranolol, was going to cause me to pass out! I didn't pass out, but it didn't help my migraines either.  Apparently, this drug is used for stage-fright or public speaking anxiety, so if anyone is in a talent show in the near future, get in touch with me...I have a left-over supply.  Next on the list was a calcium-channel blocker called verapamil.  Again, I thought maybe this was "the one."  It seemed to help at first, but again, the migraines came back with the same frequency.  That was a few weeks ago, when I decided to switch doctors.

Last Friday, I saw a new neurologist through Wheaton Franciscan Comprehensive Headache Center.  From my own research, I discovered that there is a difference between a regular neurologist and a migraine specialist.  Not only did I see the migraine specialist, but I also saw a physical therapist, a dietician, and a psychologist.  The neurologist, Dr. Purath, scheduled me to get an MRI this Monday, the 12th, started me on yet another preventative, this time gabapentin, and gave me samples of a needle-less injection called Sumavel.  Check out this crazy contraption!
Somehow the medication gets pushed through the skin by forced air.  It still hurts, and I was still freaked out to administer it to myself.  And for 3 of these puppies, I'll have to shell out over $500.  And guess what?  It didn't work any better than any of the other abortive medications I've tried.  To stop a migraine, you normally take some form of a triptan.  That's what Sumavel is.  But, there are 2 triptans that have a generic form.  Generic=less expensive. Notice I didn't write generic=cheap, as in other types of medications.  For some reason, triptans just cost a lot of money.

I do not get an aura with my migraines.  I usually feel nauseous, I am bothered by loud noises and bright lights, and it feels like someone is stabbing me with a hot poker behind my right eye.  Normally, one dose of a triptan does the trick.  Sometimes an ice-pack and a dark room, plus a little sleep, helps in addition to the triptan.  Other times, like the past two migraines, even two doses of the triptan hasn't knocked it out completely.  So, starting last night, to try and break the migraine cycle, the office called in a prescription of ketorolac, which is an NSAID, like Tylenol, but much stronger, and also prochlorperazine, an anti-nausea medication.  The combination of the two is supposed to break a migaine cycle, or otherwise known as "status migrainosus."

At this present moment, I feel like I have a dull ache where my migraines usually are.  I have one more dose of the combo med, and I really hope I can be pain free...because for those of you who know my children, they haven't changed one bit!  They are still super active, seem to have lost their listening ears, and have a really bad case of sibling rivalry!