Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Helping others with headaches

Last night I was at the grocery store when the lady bagging my food commented to the cashier that she had a bad headache and she hardly ever gets headaches. Another lady who works there heard her and told her she was lucky because she always gets headaches. I desperately wanted to give them both advice. "I get headaches all the time - abc works wonders, and if that doesn't work, try xyz."

Obviously, if it were that easy, if one or two headache solutions worked for everyone, lots of pharmaceutical companies would not be making as much money as they do now, and this blog would have stopped at my first post.

I feel helpless not only when I get headaches but also when I hear of others struggling with them. There are worse things - brain tumors, starvation, fibromyalgia (which my dad has) to name a few. But living with headaches is tough and sometimes depressing.

So I was very relieved tonight at the end of Bible study, when everyone lifts up prayer requests. The older lady who was leading our study had been dealing with vertigo and eye pain. After getting an MRI, her doctor recommended that she see a neurologist, which she did. She told me she had been looking forward to tonight because she knew I saw a neurologist, and she wanted to ask me about the medication her neuro wanted her to try.

"It starts with an 'A' and ends in 'taline,'" she told me.

"Amitriptyline!" I said, proudly knowing what she was referring to. She was concerned that it was for depression, and the potential side effects scared her.

I told her that when I was on Amitriptyline, I was seeing a bad neurologist who did not check my vitals to make sure my body was handling my medication. She upped my dose of Amitriptalyne, and the morning after I took it, I felt so bad I went to the urgent care. At the urgent care's reception area, I fainted.

Where does my relief come in?

I am thrilled that I was able to warn her and tell her that although she can give it a try, she needs to be very careful.

Finally these years of experiencing headaches and migraines have some meaning. I can help others who are going through this, because I went through it.

I wish I could do more and offer a secret remedy that beats headaches every time, but I can't. At least I can help a little, or at least listen and empathize.