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Archive for the ‘migraines’ Category

No Zen This Week

This week I went alone to our parenting class because our babysitter couldn't make it and I wasn't able to find a back up in time.  So I was driving along to the class and I was nearing my exit on the highway when the exit signs started to get blurry.  Then the license plates on the cars in front of me got blurry.  I could still see well enough to distinguish cars and lanes and such, but things weren't clear enough to read.  I got off the highway and my vision cleared up.  I called Seth and he suggested that it was probably a migraine aura, indicating I was about to get a migraine.  He was right, of course, but this was a very unusual aura for me.  I was only a few blocks from the class, so I got to the building and parked, got out of the car, and everything went completely blurry again.  If things had been this blurry while I'd been driving, I absolutely would not have been able to continue driving.  I got into the lobby of the building and the doctor teaching the class was standing there and he asked how I was and I said, "You know?  Not so great; I've got this funny vision thing going on and I really can't see anything."  I explained that I was fairly certain it was a migraine coming on and I needed to take medicine and see if that stopped the migraine from coming on, but that there wasn't much else to be done.

We got up to the board room, and I dug through my purse for pain medication.  I handed the bottle to Dr. S. and asked him what it said (I really couldn't read it) and he confirmed it was what I was looking for, so I took two, and sat down and class started.  I must say, I have absolutely no idea what was said in that class.  I know some questions were asked.  I know I answered some of them.  I was sitting right next to Dr. S.  I interacted.  I listened.  I didn't read my handout, because it hurt my eyes to try.  And I retained absolutely nothing from the entire class. 

Halfway through the class, I called Seth and told him that although my vision was clearing up, I was in excrutiating pain and wasn't sure whether I'd be able to drive by the time class was over.  I was afraid if I waited until the end to decide, I would find myself stranded there.  Fortunately, his mother had just come back with J, so she was able to stay at the house with all the kidderoonies, while he came to pick me up.  I sat through most of the rest of class trying to absorb some of the details of the class, but not really able to focus through the pain.

Finally, just as Dr. S was finishing up his portion and right before we broke into the parent discussion session (the last half hour is just parent discussion facilitated by a social worker, without Dr. S.), Seth arrived.  Seth handed me two tylenol with codeine, and then we went outside to assess whether I could drive home with him following me.  Dr. S. came out and suggested that this would be a very bad idea.  I didn't want to leave my car out there because it would make things very difficult for me the next day, but I also knew that driving probably wasn't really wise in case my vision went all wonky again.  Fortunately, Dr. S. doesn't have an advanced degree for nothing, and he was smart enough to suggest that another couple in the class might live near us and probably drove together. 

Indeed, they did drive together, and they were kind enough to drive my van home after class had finished, so Seth and I went home in his car. 

Later I read the handouts from class and realized that the topic of discussion was "Motivation through Positive Attention" – giving lots of positive attention and praise to your child for positive behaviours.  Fortunately, this happens to be one of my strong suits as a parent already, so I think I'm good.  Plus, I'm seeing Dr. S. tomorrow, so I can always ask him any questions I need to. 

In other annoying medical news, today I had to get a steroid shot in my hand because it has really hurt to bend my pinky for about 2 months.  Now it really, REALLY hurts to bend my pinky.  Thanks a lot, Doc.  (I'm hoping that the LONG term effect is an overall positive effect and that the pain from the shot is temporary)

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So yesterday, my husband said to me, "Ugh!  Do you have any idea how aggravating it is when you've got a really bad headache and you take medicine for it, and it STILL doesn't get any better? Um.  Wait.  Did I just sound like a total idiot?"  Um, yes dear, I DO have a tiny little bit of experience in that department.  If it weren't so hilarious watching your shoe being shoved so far down your esophagous, I might be slightly irritated at your insensitivity. 

Duh.

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Migraines Still

Migraines haven’t gone away.  Am still on hefty doses of prednisone.  As it is almost shabbos, I can’t elaborate too much, but the neurologist’s current strategy is to try adding a new drug.  So we’re trying nortryptiline.  It’s a tricyclic antidepressant, commonly used to treat chronic migraines.  I’ve used it before, and other drugs related to it.  I haven’t had great success with it as a standalone drug, but perhaps it’ll work in combination with the Topamax and the rest of the prednisone regimen.  Can’t hurt, right? 

The side effects are bound to suck, though.  Here’s hoping the migraines go away.

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I had gotten my migraine level down to a manageable 1-2 migraines per week, which I could totally handle, thanks to 150mg of Topamax per day and a little bit of sleep each day, Biofeedback, and decent (if not completely adequate) painkillers for the migraines that did sneak through.  But for the last 3 weeks solid, I have had a migraine every single day. It might just be one solid migraine.  I can’t even tell anymore.  It never quits.  I wake up with a migraine.  I go to sleep with a migraine.  I spend much of my day cringing in pain with the migraine.  I can barely function most nights because of the migraines.

I know if I could just break the cycle, I could probably get free of it for a while.  But how?

On my way down to Richmond yesterday, I called my neurologist out of desperation.  Normally, I’d wait until I was due to go in and see him, but I’ve been doing so well, I’m actually not due to see him again until January.  He called me right back (thank heavens for cell phones, right?) and suggested that I raise my Topamax dosage to 200mg per day for a couple of days and hope that it doesn’t make me too loopy (Topamax is not called Dopamax for nothing).  If that doesn’t help within a couple of days, I should come into the office and we’ll consider putting me on a course of Prednisone for a few days to try to break the cycle.  For some reason a steroid course often breaks these cycles. 

We’ll see what happens.  I’m betting I’ll be in his office on Friday afternoon.  I just need some relief.  I’m not sure I can make it through another weekend of this, and that’s saying a LOT.  I’ve been getting migraines since I was two years old and I have been dealing with this kind of cycle forever.  You would think I could with this by now.  But this time, with my reserves so low, I’m just not prepared to deal with it.

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I’m exhausted, having been kept out way past my bedtime tonight, but I noticed a keyword search in my statcounter I didn’t want to ignore…

heart surgery for treatment of migaines: For those of you who are relatively new to my blog, you probaby have no idea why this would have popped up my blog in a google search. But whoever did this keyword search should know that yes, there ARE currently three concurrent studies going on that involve heart surgery for the treatment of migraines. It seems that a large percentage of migraine sufferers have a “patent foramen ovale” which is a condition in which a small valve which normally closes at or near birth didn’t close, so you’ve essentially got a small hole in your heart. This is generally not considered a huge deal and most people who have one never know it, but it is beginning to be associated with early stroke and with migraines. A recent couple of studies involving closing the PFO for stroke patients showed a surprising number of patients who had the lucky side effect of total or significant resolution of migraine symptoms after having the PFO closed. Thus, some new studies have been started and are currently in progress and recruiting patients.

I almost participated in one such study but was disqualified because I get too many migraines. Truth be told, I didn’t try all that hard to qualify. There was a qualifying month in which I had to keep an electronic headache diary that I transmitted to the clinic every night. If during that month I had been extremely cautious about every single migraine trigger I have, and if I’d worked harder to sleep more and work less, I probably could have stayed under 14 migraines in that qualifying period, though it would have been challenging since I was just weeks post-miscarriage and in a very busy period at work. But I also knew that qualifying for and participating in the study would have meant taking a year off of the whole fertility treatment thing and I just wasn’t sure I was willing to make that sacrifice, even if the payoff was the possibility of a life without migraines. Even the debilitating, life-altering migraines I get on a regular basis. It wasn’t an easy decision to make, so obviously, my sub-conscious made the decision for me.

If you want to read more specifics about my experience with trying to decide what to do about the study, look at my posts from November 4-15, 2006. If you want to talk in greater detail about the studies themselves or what I know about them, please feel free to email me directly.

Edited to Add: I was just re-reading my posts about the migraine study and my decision-making process. I waffled a lot about whether to participate. It was a really hard process for me, because the bottom line was that if I’d qualified and decided to participate, that would have meant going on birth control for a year, which was a huge thing for me, shockingly enough. This post in particular, highlighted the conflict of emotion I was feeling through the process, but one line stood out above all:

And yet… I would gladly suffer migraines forever in exchange for a baby.

It’s still true, you know. As much as I complain about the migraines… as insufferable as they are… I worked so hard, cried so many tears, suffered so much (and yet, not nearly as much as many of my fellow stirrup queens)… these babies are what I wanted. They are what I want. I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Not even a life free of migraines. I’ll take the heartburn and the sciatica and the nausea and the round ligament pain and the oxygen deprivation and the sleep deprivation and the anxiety and the contractions and the baby punching my cervix and yes, even the migraines. I’ll take it all with a smile on my face when I can, because I want these babies so badly I can taste it. I love them already and I’m already terrified that I’m failing them as a parent by even thinking about the negative parts about this whole pregnancy thing.

The one thing that my children… all our children… will always know is that they were, above everything else… wanted. And THAT is what makes all this infertility bullshit worth it.

Read Full Post »

I'm exhausted, having been kept out way past my bedtime tonight, but I noticed a keyword search in my statcounter I didn't want to ignore…

heart surgery for treatment of migaines: For those of you who are relatively new to my blog, you probaby have no idea why this would have popped up my blog in a google search. But whoever did this keyword search should know that yes, there ARE currently three concurrent studies going on that involve heart surgery for the treatment of migraines. It seems that a large percentage of migraine sufferers have a "patent foramen ovale" which is a condition in which a small valve which normally closes at or near birth didn't close, so you've essentially got a small hole in your heart. This is generally not considered a huge deal and most people who have one never know it, but it is beginning to be associated with early stroke and with migraines. A recent couple of studies involving closing the PFO for stroke patients showed a surprising number of patients who had the lucky side effect of total or significant resolution of migraine symptoms after having the PFO closed. Thus, some new studies have been started and are currently in progress and recruiting patients.

I almost participated in one such study but was disqualified because I get too many migraines. Truth be told, I didn't try all that hard to qualify. There was a qualifying month in which I had to keep an electronic headache diary that I transmitted to the clinic every night. If during that month I had been extremely cautious about every single migraine trigger I have, and if I'd worked harder to sleep more and work less, I probably could have stayed under 14 migraines in that qualifying period, though it would have been challenging since I was just weeks post-miscarriage and in a very busy period at work. But I also knew that qualifying for and participating in the study would have meant taking a year off of the whole fertility treatment thing and I just wasn't sure I was willing to make that sacrifice, even if the payoff was the possibility of a life without migraines. Even the debilitating, life-altering migraines I get on a regular basis. It wasn't an easy decision to make, so obviously, my sub-conscious made the decision for me.

If you want to read more specifics about my experience with trying to decide what to do about the study, look at my posts from November 4-15, 2006. If you want to talk in greater detail about the studies themselves or what I know about them, please feel free to email me directly.

Edited to Add: I was just re-reading my posts about the migraine study and my decision-making process. I waffled a lot about whether to participate. It was a really hard process for me, because the bottom line was that if I'd qualified and decided to participate, that would have meant going on birth control for a year, which was a huge thing for me, shockingly enough. This post in particular, highlighted the conflict of emotion I was feeling through the process, but one line stood out above all:

And yet… I would gladly suffer migraines forever in exchange for a baby.

It's still true, you know. As much as I complain about the migraines… as insufferable as they are… I worked so hard, cried so many tears, suffered so much (and yet, not nearly as much as many of my fellow stirrup queens)… these babies are what I wanted. They are what I want. I wouldn't trade them for anything. Not even a life free of migraines. I'll take the heartburn and the sciatica and the nausea and the round ligament pain and the oxygen deprivation and the sleep deprivation and the anxiety and the contractions and the baby punching my cervix and yes, even the migraines. I'll take it all with a smile on my face when I can, because I want these babies so badly I can taste it. I love them already and I'm already terrified that I'm failing them as a parent by even thinking about the negative parts about this whole pregnancy thing.

The one thing that my children… all our children… will always know is that they were, above everything else… wanted. And THAT is what makes all this infertility bullshit worth it.

Read Full Post »

I'm exhausted, having been kept out way past my bedtime tonight, but I noticed a keyword search in my statcounter I didn't want to ignore…

heart surgery for treatment of migaines: For those of you who are relatively new to my blog, you probaby have no idea why this would have popped up my blog in a google search. But whoever did this keyword search should know that yes, there ARE currently three concurrent studies going on that involve heart surgery for the treatment of migraines. It seems that a large percentage of migraine sufferers have a "patent foramen ovale" which is a condition in which a small valve which normally closes at or near birth didn't close, so you've essentially got a small hole in your heart. This is generally not considered a huge deal and most people who have one never know it, but it is beginning to be associated with early stroke and with migraines. A recent couple of studies involving closing the PFO for stroke patients showed a surprising number of patients who had the lucky side effect of total or significant resolution of migraine symptoms after having the PFO closed. Thus, some new studies have been started and are currently in progress and recruiting patients.

I almost participated in one such study but was disqualified because I get too many migraines. Truth be told, I didn't try all that hard to qualify. There was a qualifying month in which I had to keep an electronic headache diary that I transmitted to the clinic every night. If during that month I had been extremely cautious about every single migraine trigger I have, and if I'd worked harder to sleep more and work less, I probably could have stayed under 14 migraines in that qualifying period, though it would have been challenging since I was just weeks post-miscarriage and in a very busy period at work. But I also knew that qualifying for and participating in the study would have meant taking a year off of the whole fertility treatment thing and I just wasn't sure I was willing to make that sacrifice, even if the payoff was the possibility of a life without migraines. Even the debilitating, life-altering migraines I get on a regular basis. It wasn't an easy decision to make, so obviously, my sub-conscious made the decision for me.

If you want to read more specifics about my experience with trying to decide what to do about the study, look at my posts from November 4-15, 2006. If you want to talk in greater detail about the studies themselves or what I know about them, please feel free to email me directly.

Edited to Add: I was just re-reading my posts about the migraine study and my decision-making process. I waffled a lot about whether to participate. It was a really hard process for me, because the bottom line was that if I'd qualified and decided to participate, that would have meant going on birth control for a year, which was a huge thing for me, shockingly enough. This post in particular, highlighted the conflict of emotion I was feeling through the process, but one line stood out above all:

And yet… I would gladly suffer migraines forever in exchange for a baby.

It's still true, you know. As much as I complain about the migraines… as insufferable as they are… I worked so hard, cried so many tears, suffered so much (and yet, not nearly as much as many of my fellow stirrup queens)… these babies are what I wanted. They are what I want. I wouldn't trade them for anything. Not even a life free of migraines. I'll take the heartburn and the sciatica and the nausea and the round ligament pain and the oxygen deprivation and the sleep deprivation and the anxiety and the contractions and the baby punching my cervix and yes, even the migraines. I'll take it all with a smile on my face when I can, because I want these babies so badly I can taste it. I love them already and I'm already terrified that I'm failing them as a parent by even thinking about the negative parts about this whole pregnancy thing.

The one thing that my children… all our children… will always know is that they were, above everything else… wanted. And THAT is what makes all this infertility bullshit worth it.

Read Full Post »

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