Monday, October 24, 2011

What a headache

Frequent readers of my blog might not know as intimately as frequent visitors to my life that I have migraines. Back when I had my stroke, for quite a while everyone was convinced I was just having a "complex" migraine...until a later contrast MRI revealed a lesion on my brain. Ahem.

The migraines have gone all wonky since I first started getting pregnant, sometimes disappearing for months, sometimes reappearing for weeks on end, sometimes coming and going without any warning whatsoever. It's even less fun than you might imagine.

Right now, I'm in an unsatisfactory holding pattern, waiting to see the migraine specialist in November and attempting to treat myself with the help of a non-specialist neurologist right now. We decided, when last I saw her, to put me back on a medication I was using before I started trying to have kids, an oldy but goody med that was also used to treat depression (score!). I told her the dose I ended on, she said she would prescribe that medicine again, and we went our separate ways. And she did, eventually, get the prescription to the pharmacy...for half the dose I told her. And I thought, okay, perhaps she wants me to try the lower dose and see, and maybe that strategy will work, so who am I to question?

It hasn't.

Instead, my migraines have returned in all their glory for fairly regular visits, along with all their symptoms: the temporary partial blindness, the numbness in hands and face, the sensitivity to light and noise, and, of course, the headaches themselves, which now follow any one of the first symptoms within about 10 minutes. So, in preparation for my big meeting with Super Migraine Doc, I have decided to keep a record of when and where these migraines occur, with the goal of charting how frequently they occur and perhaps (fingers crossed!) determining some of the new triggers. Because what used to trigger a migraine before, stress of any kind, seems to be involved only half the time now. Yesterday, for instance, I am pretty sure I got one just because I forgot to wear my sunglasses while driving downtown to the library and then went abruptly into the parking garage and, as J says, BAM, I went blind. And then numb. It was AWESOME! Particularly given the fact that I was driving at the time...whoo hoo!

I know that some of the migraines are linked to hormones (the antics of which are a whole story unto themselves), some to exposure to light, and some still to stress. You'll note, as I have with despair, that avoiding those three things, hormones, light, and stress, is actually impossible. Unless one is dead. And that's not really a viable option for me, funnily enough. Some of it appears to be genetic as well, since I have siblings who all suffer from regular headaches of varying intensities. So there are a lot of triggers, is what I'm saying. I don't know if even Super Migraine Doc will be able parse all this out, but I am marginally hopeful. Because something has to change and right now my body chemistry seems like the best bet for that change.

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