I have found that starting a blog like this is a little more difficult than I expected. Mostly because I feel the need to share the background story of how I came to this point and not just what is going on right now. So this post is going to be a little bit more of a background story, and then I will share all the things I have been experiencing lately.
So I have had headaches for as long as I can remember, but my very first migraine was on my thirteenth birthday. For many years my migraines were once in a blue moon until about three years ago they started to become more frequent, like one or two a month. However over the years things began to get worse, and I had about 6-10 migraines every month, but I was having headaches nearly every day. I was usually able to control the headaches with Ibuprofen and occasionally Excedrin, and when they got really bad, I would take Cambia. For those that do not know what Cambia is, it is a powder form of Diclofenac ( a type of NSAID) that you mix into a little bit of water. It may taste like horrible black licorice, but it was a life-saver when I was having a migraine or even just a really bad headache day. Starting two years ago I began receiving Botox every three months. Did it work? Well, kind of. I still had headaches, so it felt like the Botox wasn’t working, until all the sudden, towards the end of the three months, I could feel it wearing off and my headaches got worse. I did try a round of Dysport, which many say works the same as Botox, but for me, it did not work at all.
Not everyone has the same migraine symptoms, and sometimes it is hard to describe what a migraine feels like, especially to those who have never had one. My migraines do not always present with aura, but rather a considerable increase in pain, sound, light, and smell sensitivity. They were not always debilitating, they may have affected my concentration and the amount of time I could be functional, but I would still be able to attend classes, go to work and be present at other activities.
I began seeing a neurologist when I was about sixteen. I was not the best patient in the beginning because I refused most of the medications that were recommended to me because I was scared of the side effects. I did not want to feel groggy, tired, experience weight gain, or any of the other bad side effects that came along with these medications. I agreed to take a muscle relaxer because I had body aches all over, especially behind my jaw, neck, and shoulders. Here is the other thing, I have to be very careful about what medications I use, and the level of risk of becoming addicted would be because my father became addicted to pain medication and there is a possible chance that I could become an addicted as well. Addiction is a huge fear of mine. So because I refused so many medications, I was a difficult patient, but at the same time my migraines were not very frequent so, I was in no rush to find a preventative. However, looking back on it now, I wish I would have started a preventative a long time ago. Instead, I was popping ibuprofen like it was candy, and was warned many times about rebound headaches (like I said I was not a very good patient).
So there is not to much background to share, but it is a place to start, and how I ended up where I am today. I will share my story in greater detail in my next post, but let me just say that on June 16th, 2018, life made a dramatic change. I would not be writing this blog if my migraines and headaches were still the way they were before June 16th, 2018, but if you follow along you will see why I started this and why it is vital for me to share my story.
- Ibuprofen: Commonly known as Motrin, is an NSAID used to treat fever and pain. “It works by stopping the body’s production of a substance that causes pain, fever, and inflammation.” https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682159.html
- Excedrin: Combination of Aspirin, Paracetamol (Tylenol), and Caffeine.” Excedrin is used to treat pain caused by tension headaches, migraine headaches, muscle aches, menstrual cram[s, arthritis, toothaches, the common cold, or nasal congestion.” https://www.drugs.com/excedrin.html
- Cambia (diclofenac): An NSAID, used as an abortive. “Cambia is used to treat a migraine headache attacks, with or without aura, in adults 18 years of age and older. It is not used to prevent migraine headaches. Do not use Cambia to treat a cluster headache. Cambia will only treat a headache that has already begun. It will not prevent headaches or reduct the number of attacks.” https://www.drugs.com/cambia.html
- Botox: Botulinum toxin type A, a toxin made from the bacteria Clostridium botulinum works by “weakening or paralyzing certain muscles or by blocking certain nerves.” It is commonly known for the use in cosmetics, but they are finding it to have many medical benefits as well. https://medlineplus.gov/botox.html
- Dysport: abobotulinumtoxinA (Botulinum toxin type A) Almost identical to Botox.