Friday, March 30, 2012

Butterbur and the Chiropractor

Butterbur is an herbal supplement that a lot of folks use to help prevent migraines. I don't know if I mentioned this before or not...migraine brain is a little dysfunctional lately...Anyway, I was thinking about giving it a whirl after reading several posts on my migraine forum  discussing the positive results a lot of people were having with it, and, then, I called my neuro and he actually recommended it. I have been taking 150mg of it for about two weeks now. So far, I am still getting the migraines everyday. I am not giving up on it yet, since "they" say that you have to give it a good three months before you know if it will work or not. So, we shall see...

I have been seeing the chiropractor again, 3 times a week for almost three weeks. I notice that when I have a migraine and he works on me, the migraine pain usually lessens afterwards. So, that is a plus. However, the days that I don't see him my neck and shoulders hurt like hell!--even more than they did before I started treatment with him! Also, several people on the forum shared some real horror stories about chiropractors, so I'm a freaking a bit! Again, I think I will give it a few months, and, if I'm still not seeing any real results, then, I will discontinue treatment and maybe try acupuncture.. I plan on seeing an herbalist soon, as well. I have had a few people recommend one to me, my chiro actually recommended I see an herbalist in conjunction with the chiropractic care. So, I will definitely be doing that, at some point in the near future.

I have been reading about some surgical options, as well. Pretty scary. But, I will discuss with my neuro at April's visit..

Monday, March 12, 2012

From the Mouth of my Babe

Tonight my 4-year old son was playing with his trucks and Army Lego guys, and he showed me that two of the Lego guys were sick. One of them was laying flat on his back (well, as flat as a Lego guy can get) on a semi-trailer and the other guy, well, it wasn't a guy, just a guy's head, but to my son, it was a whole guy...the other "guy" was next to the one laying down and my son explained, "They are sick and they can't do anything anymore, so the truck has to take them away until they are better." "Oh, I said. What happened?" "They got a migraine." my son very seriously, very matter-of-factly stated. I think that says it all...

Boxed In

This weekend has been pretty rough. Particularly, Friday night and Saturday--all day. I think it's partly due to the change in weather. It went from cold to warm here in Indiana in the time is takes to flip a light switch! And just as quick as that, the pain took hold, and I've been fighting it ever since. The Zomig is barely taking the edge off and I have not been able to sleep much, either. And, yesterday, during the highest hours of pain, I had strangest the visual disturbance/sensation....I felt like I was literally being boxed in. That is, it began with a feeling of vertigo. No big deal, that's normal for me...but, then I felt like I was growing smaller and smaller and that the room was too until it was no longer a room but a box with a lid that I was now in! I've had auras and a few hallucinations and other visual disturbances with migraines before but this one was the strangest, I think, especially because it felt so real!...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Outta Body

The past two days have been really difficult as far as fatigue, dizziness and tingling sensations all over, particularly arms, feet and around mouth for some reason. I can barely move around without feeling like I am going to fall or lose control of my limbs. I cannot stand for too long without having to grab on to something. I do not get why this is happening. My meds have not changed. I could not make dinner last night because of this, and, tonight, is not looking very promising.. ugh..

Date Night Success

Saturday afternoon, the Hubster and I went out for a much-deserved, long-anticipated date. My girls were with their dad, and my dad had taken my son for the night, meaning all four of the kids were gone, a very rare event, indeed. Even though, I wasn't feeling the greatest, we had to seize this opportunity. I made sure I had my Zomig and Ibuprofen, slapped my sunglasses on, actually put on makeup and nice clothes, and we headed out to a movie, just the two of us. Hand in hand, we crossed the parking lot, and I ignored my tingling limbs and did my best to block out the strong smell in the foyer. Hubby bought popcorn and pop while I visited the ladies' room. I took a Zomig while in the ladies' room. Whatever the smell in the foyer was (stale popcorn? stale perfume?)  had triggered a migraine, it was a 4 already, I didn't want it to get worse. I did not tell my husband about the migraine or taking the Zomig, why ruin his fun or have him worry? Armed with our refreshments, we located our theatre and settled into our uncomfortable chairs. Luckily, the movie we had chosen was rather dark, so I didn't have to worry too much about bright lights exacerbating the migraine, and the Zomig did a good job of knocking it down. It was pretty much gone by the end of the movie. However, I was feeling really nauseous, dizzy, tingly all over and really, really tired.  Pretending not to be disappointed, Hubby hit the drive-thru on the way home rather than us going out for a nice dinner together. I felt a little guilt about that but could not wait to get home and lay down. The house was so quiet when we arrived home, it was surreal. We both enjoyed the silence immensely.  It may not have been a traditional "Date Night," but, in my book, given our challenges, I'd say it was a definite success.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Freaky Fluke?

Yesterday, midmorning, I felt a migraine coming on and my nose was really crusty and dry and stuffed up, as it has been for months it seems (TMI??). Anyway, I grabbed the ole Neti pot and, well, ya know..
I could not believe it.. that migraine I felt coming on, disappeared! Later that day, the migraine did return and Ole Neti did not take it away. Ole Zomig had to come to the rescue, but Ole Neti did buy me a few hours, so I am vowing to use it at least a few time a day every day and see if regular use may actually make a difference in my migraines. I am hoping that it will, that yesterday's experience with it was more than just a freaky fluke. Time will tell.

Interestingly enough, there are other people out there who swear by using neti pots as part of their migraine treatment or prevention regime. Check this article out from the Chicago Trib:,0,1218533.story

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Guest Blogger!!--Lisa Cheatham

I met Lisa on a migraine forum, and we soon discovered that our migraine journeys are very similar.  Lisa is a mother and a long-time migraine-sufferer, like me, like a lot of us. Talking with her on the forum, knowing that she understands exactly what I am talking about, and having the opportunity to share our struggles, experiences and stories has been a real source of inspiration and strength for me. I knew that I wanted her to share her story on my blog and was super-jazzed when she agreed. So, I'll stop blathering on now. Here is Lisa's story...

The first time I ever got a true migraine I was 12. I was with a sitter while my mother worked and all I remember was that entire day my eyes kept going a little weird. That there, was my aura.

As the day progressed, I became increasingly sensitive to light and sound, and was very nauseous. I remember the babysitter's daughter was listening to music as we rode in her van, and with every beat of the song I felt like I was going to die. It sounds dramatic, but at the point the migraine was in full force and it seemed as though the music couldn't get any louder . Eventually we arrived back to her house and I found solace at the foot of the toilet. I don't remember anything after that.

I started getting these migraines a few times a year after that. I cannot pinpoint exactly when they got worse.

A few times a year turned into a few times a month.

A few times a month turned into a few times a week.

Eleven years later, I am a 23 year old single mother and suddenly what I thought to be "my normal" has turned into one long drawn out cycle of a chronic headache. I do have pain free days, don't get me wrong, but it is short lived and I am back to being in pain and all of the other symptoms that go along with it. I am always thinking about head pain, and scheduling around it... just in case.
My migraines can last from a few hours to a few days, and since I get multiple migraines a week they tend to run together. It becomes a constant battle to break the cycle. If I don't have a migraine, there is a decent chance I have a low grade headache for the heck of it... I guess that's my body's cruel way of reminding me it has the upper hand... and that a bad one could be lurking at any time. The joke is on me at all times. 

Nowadays they start with blurry vision and a tired eye feeling. This sign could very easily be overlooked if I haven't become such a pro at this! I get flashes of light in my peripheral vision, like streaks of city lights, that would be captured in a photo from a moving car.  

Pounding pain. Every noise I hear will coincide with a severe thump inside my head, and bright lights make it feel like someone is pressing their thumbs into my eyes. I will have some numbness/tingling in my arms and legs, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. This is my normal migraine, give or take the vomiting because if I am lucky and medicate in time then I can beat the vomiting.

As if my normal migraines weren't pleasant enough to deal with I also have what I call my "monster migraines". These have trickier symptoms in addition to the above such as stumbling when walking, slurred speech, passing out, my left arm becomes VERY heavy. They are almost like stroke symptoms.

As of now I am on the preventative Topamax. I was against it for years but after seeing a neurologist I figured I would kick the tires, so far I don't feel that it has helped my headaches. 

I go through my abortive drugs in no time at the beginning of the month, and am left begging at the doorstep of my family doctor for samples. Good thing my family doctor is the most wonderful and caring doctor I have had yet, he usually helps me out no problem. I use the triptans maxalt, imitrex, or relpax as an abortive. Due to their cost, insurance companies only cover 9 pills. Nine pills are only enough typically enough for 4.5 migraines. For a chronic migraineur, it doesn't go far. Many times I take a triptan with 800-1000 mg ibuprofen.
For the migraines that stick around and do not go away, the next step is a toradol IM injection from my family doctor's office. If their office is closed, urgent care centers may be open. If urgent care centers are closed then I sit around at home until it is bad enough to go to the ER and then they give me IV fluids, toradol, and compazine.                                                  By, Lisa Cheatham


Knight T

The other day, mid-migraine, I was walking into the kitchen to pour my 4-year old some more apple juice. Very unsteady on my feet, I slowly made my way to the fridge, my son bouncing along ahead of me. He, of course, reached the fridge before me. About a step or two behind him, I stumbled, lurching forward a bit--without missing a beat, my Little Man reached out his tiny hand and grasped my hand, as if he was going to steady me or catch me (luckily, I was close enough to the counter to grab ahold of it). This event touched me deeply, in a lot of ways. I thought it was just too cute, that he thought he could catch me or hold me if I did actually fall.  I felt pride in my son for behaving in a caring, chivalrous manner.  I felt loved and valued.  My little knight.