Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Three yays, two bleahs

#1 YAY - Thank you for your comments! I am so thrilled and excited to be read. I'll try to be more consistent with my posts for you. Yay!

#2 YAY - I met with the doctor who is going to evaluate me for the medical school. He is trained as a psychiatrist and a neurologist, and he has very cool shoes. I was expecting the Inquisition, but his approach was, "let's make a plan to keep you healthy." Yay! Let's! He seemed relatively understanding of all my lapses in judgment and shirked responsibilities last year as I struggled with Migraines 101.

#3 YAY - I am back at my "grown-up" home with my boyfriend. We are going to counseling (with a therapist who wears curiously short skirts) and trying to talk about how we feel a lot more. I know that things aren't going to be magically better overnight, but I am glad that we are still trying.

#1 BLEAH - I have not heard from my neurologist again, so no Topamax trial yet. In addition, his assistant called and teased me with the possibility of seeing a new neurologist who is joining the headache clinic, but she (despite daily, polite-yet-firm phone calls on my end) has yet to get back to me with a fixed date or time. (I've heard those are called "appointments.")

#2 BLEAH - I feel like the weather. Muggy. Smoggy. Moggy. No real headache, but more of a Dead Girl Walking hangover from too many days of too many migraines and too many meds. As my boyfriend got ready for work and I stumbled around the house, I could feel the apprehension creeping in around the edges of our interaction. I explain that it's a not-so-good day, and he looks worried. I feel worried. Are we going back to our old routine?

To end on a happy note, I am currently obsessed with drinking tall glasses of ice water. So obsessed that I went out and bought a set of new glasses expressly for this purpose. Does cold have a flavor? It's delicious.

Thanks again for your comments. I will write, even when it's moggy out.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

New day, new drug

I just got an e-mail (a rare and wondrous thing) from my neurologist. He wants to go ahead and switch my Namenda to Topamax. So much for cutting-edge cures! I poked around the Topamax web site and experienced that warm and fuzzy feeling created by pharmaceutical PR. Sort of not holding my breath regarding outcomes, but who can help it? I like the "sprinkle capsule." Are they rainbow colors, like on donuts?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

To-Do list at the Mom & Dad Day Spa

Day two of my sabbatical, and I'm making plans to stay healthy ...
  • Go to the awesome yoga center and actually take a class.
  • See the acupuncturist that the yoga center recommends.
  • Set a sleep schedule and stick to it.
  • Eat small, healthy meals.
  • Take my medicine all the time.
  • Swim.
  • Ride my bike.
  • Ride my bike.
  • Ride my bike.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The brain takes a sabbatical

Le Migraineuse hasn't written much lately. My boyfriend and I are having serious problems, a lot of them stemming from my migraines.

I understand his perspective -- It's hard to be the partner of someone who never knows if they're going to feel up to going out to dinner, going on bike rides, even going to the grocery store. I've left to stay at my parents' house for a while.

The silver lining is that I think I have established that stress is not a trigger for my migraines. Through several days of talking, crying, and packing up, I was pretty much migraine free. I am, however, a stress let-down migraineur -- the morning I woke up in my comfy bed in my childhood bedroom, I was throwing up within an hour.

I think my house should be a therapeutic place to stay. My dad suffers from his share of health problems, so the house is scent- and alcohol-free. We jokingly compare how many pills we take each morning. My mom is a huge believer in multiple small meals, so that should help, too.

I hope this time will be an opportunity to start healing myself and hopefully, by extension, my relationship.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A short history of my headache

In June 2007, life was good. I was doing research on HIV testing in a busy, urban emergency room. I had a spot waiting for me at a medical school that I had never dreamed would accept me.

One night, I woke up with the worst headache of my life. Working in emergency medicine, I knew that The Worst Headache of Your Life meant something terrible was occurring in my brain. I went to the ER, got a CT scan and a spinal tap. Normal, normal. Diagnosis: migraine.

They started out as an occasional hassle, turned into a weekly problem, began to affect me academically. I got referred to a migraine specialist through the medical school. The best. He has knock-out mice who get migraines.

Started on Namenda for prevention. Imitrex for symptoms. Then Maxalt. Now Relpax. The Namenda helped for a while ... but now I get a migraine every day.

The medical school wants me to be evaluated to make sure I am physically able to continue my training. I am waiting for a phone call to set up this appointment. I wait.

I realize that I have not been suffering nearly as long or as badly as some of my fellow bloggers. I am lucky. I just wanted to orient you to my brain.

PS - I apologize, that wasn't as short as I wanted it to be. But I really had to get the mice in there.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Yet another migraine blog

The other day, after leaving the nth phone message with my neurologist's secretary, I thought, "maybe it would be therapeutic to start a migraine blog!" Well, many migraineurs have come to the same realization, as I found by Googling "migraine blog."

It was amazing ... a network of fellow migraine sufferers comparing notes from day to day: ginger ale or sparkling water? Flashing lights or tingling limbs? Ice pack or sleep mask? I couldn't stop reading. Even with a pounding head and queasy stomach, the more I read, the more sane I felt. I wasn't crazy. These happen to other people. They deal. We deal. I can deal.

Really the only reason that I feel that I can contribute to the migraine blogosphere is that I have a unique perspective on our disease. It is often a double-edged sword. For better or for worse, I am training to become a doctor, with an MD looming after my last name.

So I study neurology, praying that my Relpax kicks in as I am literally dissecting a brain. I read everything I can about headaches -- neurology textbooks, research, clinical trials. I desperately search for a cure, somewhere, hidden in the literature. Sometimes the knowledge helps. But more often it reminds me how little we know about that mysterious organ in the skull, and how many times medicine has failed us.

I must go toy with some widgets to make this blog more fun to play with. I am also trying to design a blog that would be the easiest for a migrainous reader to use. Please let me know if my blog is too sunny, too noisy, or smells weird.