Trial and Error

I went to school in Pittsburgh, one of the greatest cities to live in. . . really, though it was actually voted the number one best place to live in 2011. I had the greatest 4 years there and thanks to my mom’s research and their top-notch Headache Center, I became the patient of the one and only Dr. Soso. After much trial and error, we found a regimen that worked for me and I went  from having migraines daily to only getting 2-3 per month.

. . . But then I graduated.

Everything pretty much went downhill from there. Not only did I have to deal with the debbie downer of facing the real world and finding a job. . . but I also had to find a new doctor.

It took me a little longer than expected. Having a stomach ulcer that ruptured set me back a bit. It ended up really messing with my head (no pun intended), and my migraines that I worked so hard to get under control suddenly became all out of whack.

I finally began seeing a new doctor in New York City recently and after explaining my situation to him, we decided to switch out one of my preventative medicines (taken daily to prevent a migraine) for a new one. Anytime I try a new medication I always immediately look up the side effects. I have been taking some powerful medications from a young age, and I think it’s important to educate myself with the product and how it will affect my body. There are pros and cons to each pill, and while some may reduce the effects of migraines, they could in turn end up causing other problems such as dizziness, fatigue, weight gain, dry mouth, numbness or tingling, brain zaps, mental or physical slowness, kidney stones, and the list goes on. You have to weigh the pros against the cons and decide if the juice if worth the squeeze, so to speak.

Most of the medications out there that are used to treat migraines are actually used for something else, such as depression or epilepsy. I was on Cymbalta for a long time and I constantly see their commercials, where the drug is advertised as an anti-depressant. I know you’ve all seen it too, “Depression Hurts. Cymbalta Helps.” This always made me wary of being on the drug, worrying how it effected my mood. However, it’s very commonly used to treat migraines.

Under the supervision of my new doctor, I am also trying a new triptan (medication you take immediately when you feel a migraine coming on). I have been taking Zomig nasal spray for a while and it works so well for me, but my insurance only lets me have 6 per month and lately I have been getting 10-15 migraines per month. I’m no mathematician but I know that isn’t good!

I found out I can get 12 Maxalt per month so I am trying those but so far they don’t seem to be working as fast. My doctor thinks I am a victim of Zomig’s marketing campaign, because I told him I think the nasal spray must work faster since you sniff it, and then it should go straight to the brain. Maxalt  is a pill and doesn’t look like it would work as fast, but my doctor said it really all goes into the bloodstream at the same rate. I guess I should trust him since he’s the doctor . . . but I’m not so sure. I really like my Zomig.

So you see it’s all a game of trial and error and it’s frustrating at times, especially when you have side effects also coming into play. But it is important to stay informed on the latest news in migraines and their treatments, so you know the right questions to ask your doctor and the right way to treat yourself. Remember to take it one day at a time and hopefully you will have more good days then bad.

I am going to leave you with a song that I love to listen to when I am feeling a little down. It reminds me to shake it off and keep going.

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