Sunday, November 29, 2009

New Game Plan!!!

My headaches are worse than ever. 20+ days a month now. AND I still have migraines! I can deal with the headaches, but the migraines will be the end of me. So, it's time for a new game plan. Enter Neuro #6. I've outline our plan of attack below:
  • Sleep. My sleep study results showed I woke up 10 times an hour, and Neuro #6 read the results and said it was from leg movements (which I didn't notice at all). To fix this I'm taking a med that can help with Restless Legs Syndrome called Ropinirole HCL, or Requip. It may take multiple things to help my headaches, and getting a good night's sleep is definitely one of them! 
  • Jaw. Related to sleep, I frequently grind and clench my teeth in my sleep. Sometimes my husband tells me or sometimes I know when I take that first bite of breakfast because my jaw is killing me. I tried a drugstore mouth guard but didn't notice a difference, so Neuro #6 referred me to a TMJ specialist. My dad has TMJ (it can be hereditary due to bone structure similarities), and it can be related to headaches, so this is a good move. My appointment is early next year.
  • Migraine diet. This is one I asked about because I've been wanting to do it for a while. Sometime in January I'm planning to eliminate everything but rice from my diet. The new neuro said to do it two weeks and see if I notice a difference in my headaches; if not, I can go back to eating like normal. We agreed that if I did the gluten-free diet, I can do anything. It's only two weeks! 
  • Biofeedback and meditation. The clinic I visited offers biofeedback; however, when I tried to schedule an appointment, they said they are "out of network" for my health insurance, so I need to do some research to find out how much it will cost. The Web site's undergoing maintenance but I'll look into it this week. Neuro #6 also recommended trying a mindfulness meditation class to learn stress reduction, but the ones she recommended are in the $300 range, so I'm going to hold off on that.
  • MRI. And speaking of expensive, I almost forgot the most exciting part of the appointment! I FINALLY found a neuro who wants me to get an MRI! After nine years of headaches and migraines, someone wants to look at my head, the source of my pain. What a concept! :) I'm getting a brain and cervical spine MRI next month and it's ridiculous how much I'm looking forward to it. My husband doesn't understand why I want them to find something because he said it probably wouldn't be good, but I'm sure most of you who are reading this understand. If it's something fixable, I'll do whatever it takes. 
I'm thrilled that this new game plan isn't a long list of drugs. I made it clear that I've tried most of them and wasn't interesting in trying more. I'm still taking Butalbital and Toradol for migraines, and Aleve for headaches, but I try my best to avoid them when I can. 

P.S. - Love me some Philip Rivers! :) 

Image by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Support the NHF while Christmas Shopping & Searching the Internet!!!

I've been writing constantly at work and honestly don't want to write another word. So this post is an e-mail I received from the National Headache Foundation. Thanks for understanding my need for a break from writing!!!!

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The holidays are all about the spirit of giving. That’s why the National Headache Foundation (NHF) is letting you know about an opportunity to give to your friends and family, and give back to a cause that’s important to you at the same time! The NHF is proud to be working with, a Web site that allows you to do your holiday shopping online and donates a portion of the profits to the NHF.

All you have to do is go to, register and put the National Headache Foundation as your cause of choice. From there, you can shop in the online shopping mall of over 750 stores, including big names such as, Barnes & Noble and Best Buy. A portion of the profits from everything you buy will go to the NHF, and for every search you do on the site, will donate a penny to the NHF as well!

There’s no better way to show your loved ones how much you care than with a gift that keeps on giving. The holidays are only a few weeks away, so go to to start shopping!

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Note - I created an account, made iGive's search page my home page at work and did my normal Internet searches from it instead of google. So far today I've made 36 cents for the NHF from the search feature, and that will add up pretty quickly if do this every day!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I mentioned in my last post that I think I have a stomach ulcer or ulcers. Every morning I wake up with a burning stomach which mostly goes away once I eat, and before dinnertime I start to get sharp, stabbing stomach pains. I tried a 14-day pack of Prilosec OTC and it didn't work, so I went to my internal medicine doctor. He said that I wasn't taking too much Aleve (I try to limit it to twice a week to prevent rebound headaches; plus if I take it too much it doesn't touch the headache), but he said it still might have caused an ulcer. My rescue med is Ketorolac (Toradol), and that's an NSAID as well but I have to limit it to twice a month. In my opinion it's probably stress, because I have a lot of non-headache things stressing me out, in addition to the daily headaches. The doctor didn't do an X-ray or anything but did listen to and feel my stomach and said there was inflammation.

He put me on 40 mg of Pantoprazole Sodium which I assume is the generic for Protonix, a gastroesophageal reflux med. It was only $10 (with my insurance) for a month's supply, which is awesome because I'm supposed to take it for 2-3 months. Then if my stomach isn't better, I'll have to go back to the doc.

A side effect is headaches, so does that mean it'll cancel out my current headaches? Let's go with that.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Counseling Session #2

Had my 2nd counseling session today, and my counselor did some guided imagery with me. I've done it once before online. You pretty much visualize a relaxing scene in order to take your mind off of your pain and lower your stress. The counselor also let me borrow a book, Creative Imagery, by William Fezler, Ph.D., which has a chapter on pain.

I've been super stressed lately for very good reasons, so I'm praying that this will help. I'm also trying really hard to work out more because exercise is vital to good health. Realistically, I'm always tired and headachey, which makes it hard to work out, but I've been doing a workout at least once or twice a week which is an improvement for me.

Oh and FYI, last month I had 24 headaches, and I haven't had a headache-free day since Oct. 15. I also had a horrible migraine last Friday night/Saturday but after three doses of Butalbital, I was well enough to party for Halloween! However, I went back to two Aleves today, and although my ulcer seems to be under control (if I even had one - maybe Prilosec is working), the Aleves didn't do a thing. This cycle has GOT to end.