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Migraine Update


Pictured - me with my Cefaly, a transcutaneous nerve stimulation device that I use in the morning and then again when I have a migraine.

Ah, 2020, the year that will live in infamy! Impeachment, Covid-19, multiple storms in the Gulf, economic collapse, schools open/closed/virtual/combination! What a crazy year!

And my body has responded with its characteristic aplomb. In the spring, I had a bit of trouble with anxiety that was taken care of by three days of lorazepam. Seriously, it's like I told my body that I was going to give it some meds and the symptoms went away.

About 6 or 8 weeks ago, I developed the feeling that there was a golf ball in my throat. In the medical world, that's known as globus. Quite often, globus hystericus, once you've shown that there's no mass causing the problem. Nice to be know as a hysterical person. Let's just call it globus. And, since I could still swallow well, there didn't appear to be a structural issue. I saw a physician who did an exam and ordered a few labs. Everything turned out OK, I increased my meditation, and in a few weeks, it gradually tapered off and I've been fine.

Then about a month ago, I developed an intermittent, but significant right sided head pain. It was different from my usual migraine, but not concerning for any kind of brain tumor or anything. In fact, I thought it might be from muscle spasm starting in my neck and going up around my ear to my forehead. I took muscle relaxers and used heating pads without any help. And things were getting bad. I was having hours of pain at 7-8/10 every day. I was taking ibuprofen and Imitrex and Phenergan up to three times a week. And I became a complete rocking chair potato (which is important later) because movement made the headache worse.

My headache specialist had me try a course of olanzapine for ten days which did nothing. We had a five day process to get approval for a sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) block which took all of 5 minutes to set up for and 20 seconds to do. And which didn't help at all.

I'm now in the middle of a course of DHE which does seem to be working. I'll spare you the bureaucratic details that drove me nuts (why can't you just walk over to the hospital and get the DHE from them???). It's a series of intramuscular injections given every 8 hours for three days. I was going to have the daytime ones given at the clinic because I didn't think I could give myself an im injection. And I was going to teach Patrick to give me the ones in the middle of the night.

Well, it turns out that giving myself im DHE is really not so hard. I've done 4 doses so far without a fuss. I have to use a Phenergan suppository immediately afterward because the DHE can cause bad nausea. I only had nausea after the 3rd injection and had to use an extra Phenergan.

But, today, I cleaned the kitchen and the head pain didn't get too bad. I also did 2 loads of laundry. We're making progress!!

Unfortunately, I also developed some ankle swelling from all that inactivity. And, also possibly from the use of ibuprofen. You see, a medication similar to ibuprofen damaged my kidneys a number of years ago so I have to be careful about using medications like that. My kidneys can get persnickety.

Lo and behold, my blood pressures are now in the 130s-140s/90s. Yikes. I've never had high blood pressure before. And my lab tests showed that my kidney test, which was just on the high end of normal, is definitely abnormal.

So, no more ibuprofen and I have to keep a log of my blood pressures and repeat everything in a couple of weeks.

But, my ankles are almost back to normal!! Not that I'm vain or anything.

So, the migraine and kidney situation are moving in the right direction. I'm a little concerned about not being able to take ibuprofen at all. My migraines usually need all three meds to break.

But, my headache specialist is doing a radiofrequency ablation of my occipital nerves in my neck in October. We're hoping that will decrease my need for medication and the fact that I can't take ibuprofen will be moot.

So, that's where my chronic illness has me right now. I'm actually optimistic. I'm planning to take a walk tomorrow, something that caused a serious increase in pain just a few days ago.

How are you doing these days? Hanging in there??

Catherine

 

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