Migraines Are a Serious Problem. Employers Can Help

https://hbr.org/2021/02/migraines-are-a-serious-problem-employers-can-help

Even with a solid treatment plan that’s been in place for a few years, my migraines still plague me at times. I should be okay right now, but I’m coming off of nearly three straight weeks of intense pain and lack of sleep, so I’m in the state of waiting for the pain to return. Usually, my treatment nips long-term migraines in the bud, but this time, it didn’t. I am also on a new CGRP drug that I’m not especially happy with.

Brief Moments Of Joy

I’m having one of those days where I’m upset, angry, hurt, depressed, extremely sad, trapped inside myself, and trying to process each emotion individually. It’s easier said than done. Silent migraines have attacked a lot these past few days. They involve little or no head pain, but everything else makes you wish you could treat it without getting sicker. I’ve used everything from caffeine to try and break it, but now it’s anti-nausea medicine and hydration. I’ve never been so happy to have Lime Cucumber Gatorade in my life. Sounds like a bizarre flavor, I know. When you’re sick like this, it’s heavenly. If you’ve never found this flavor, look for it in a store that sells a lot of cultural foods.

Today, the lyrics from, “Soon You’ll Get Better” made me cry. As someone who doesn’t cry often, maybe I needed to? Maybe I connected too much. 🤷 And sadly, the reason why I connected are for two separate reasons.

facebook_1566587835624-1

Thank you Target (who originally posted a delivery date of next week), FedEx, and Taylor Swift for the brief joy of #ReleaseDay. #Lover #DeluxeVersions 🎉

Tuesday Thoughts

Hello one and all. I hope you’re having a great start to the week.

My procedure yesterday afternoon went okay. I think I’ve just gotten used to it, though my anxiety was still pretty awful. Usually there’s an epic migraine and so much physical pain after this treatment that I come back, feed my cats, and drag myself straight to bed. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel as horrible as I normally do. Completely different side effects this time around. I wasn’t quite prepared to be slammed with nausea late last night into the early morning hours, but that’s what Promethazine is for. It helped quite a bit, and I did sleep, but today, I feel physically, mentally, and emotionally numb and exhausted as hell. I’m supposed to rest, not push myself too hard physically, etc. I felt overwhelmingly exhausted by 1:00 PM, and spiked a fever around two. 😔 Hopefully it’ll be gone soon, otherwise I’ll call tomorrow since this has NEVER happened before. Is it a potential side effect? Yes. I’ve just never experienced it before. A few other rare side effects have popped up, too. I’m erring on the side of caution.

Traffic was mostly avoided yesterday, which was awesome. 🎉 Boston’s tunnels make me feel like I’m in a James Bond movie and about to be shot at. Plus, they definitely mess with my head in the “sensory deprivation” sense. I was able to avoid returning with a migraine. My headache specialist is REALLY pleased with my progress. It’s helping my cervical spine tremendously, and since I was the first person to report remarkable results, she said, “Isn’t it amazing how, we don’t always know if something new will work, but we try it and we end up feeling so much better?” It nearly eliminated my daily neck pain and helped me reduce how many muscle relaxers I take. It has reduced my migraines by about 30-40%. I still get migraines, and there’s still pain to contend with, but they don’t attach themselves to my skull for 3+ weeks anymore. Going 21 days without a major migraine was shocking. Sadly, it takes a while to realize you’re not in agony every single day. Bear in mind, I still have Fibromyalgia to contend with, but help is help, and I feel relieved that this is something I might be able to stick with. 🤞

I chose, from day one, not to disclose the treatment method because I was already being judged by friends and a handful of family members, and because, from a public standpoint, I wanted to see how I’d do before talking about it. No one wants to discuss another failed effort. The fact that it’s successful doesn’t mean it will remain so. My doctor has a backup plan should this fail at any time, and I am confident in both options. Until I’m ready to discuss it, I think it’s perfectly okay to keep it private. Thus far, I highly doubt I’ve run into a subscriber in the building, but you never know. 🤷

I definitely feel blue today. I feel isolated, unsupported, stressed, and exhausted, but I’m trying to look forward towards better days. I KNOW they’re on their way.

like.a.lotus_.flower-1560269193927

 

 

 

The Value of a Headache Specialist

https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/understanding-migraine/value-headache-specialist/

I waited nearly six months to see my new neurologist, who is one of the top headache specialists on the East Coast. People drive from other states just to come and see her, and they do so out-of-pocket. For someone to say “I drive to Boston from Northern Maine four times a year to see her and she is worth every minute of those trips.” is an immense commitment. Not the first person to say they travel a long distance to remain under her care, either. Some people fly in just to see her! She shrugs it off, because to her, she’s just doing her job.

I liked her right away, which does not happen often for me. She’s tough, no-nonsense, and instead of playing the “Let’s try this.” game with me (which last year’s neurologist did, all while telling me my insurance wouldn’t pay for the treatment method he wanted to go with, when I said “They absolutely do. You just have to put in for prior authorization.” he behaved as though he didn’t understand English. I’m glad he was a flake because his douche-baggery led me to a really gifted physician, and ultimately, the day I returned, I was put back on a path to health, so ultimately, he did me a favor.), she got straight to the point, declared the best possible treatment option for me, and assured me it should work. Why? Because she, too, suffers from migraines and undergoes the same treatment. Her assistant is an angel who took care of all of the legwork with my insurance company. The day I met her, she said it might be a few months because she knows she’s “very backed up”. For once in my life, the stars aligned; I got into my treatment plan in three weeks, all because someone cancelled and I called at the best possible moment to find out if my insurance company had come through. They did.

I actually saw the bill for this treatment today and was really surprised at how inexpensive it was, overall. When I consider all of the doctors I’ve seen for migraines, all the different medications I’ve been on (one of which costs $400 a month.), the MRIs and CT scans, and supplements I’ve taken from day one as a migraine patient, I am certain the total cost amounted to one year attending an Ivy League school while living on campus. I wish this particular treatment option had been covered all along. I am grateful for the chance to A) Have a solid doctor on my side overseeing my care, and B) Have insurance that covered the full cost.

If anyone needs a headache specialist in Massachusetts, I am happy to refer you.