Wednesday, April 14, 2010

When Medications Fail

My biggest fear came true last week when my "strong" medications, Butalbital (Fioricet) - for painful headaches/migraines and Ketorolac (Toradol) - for the super kill-me-now migraines, no longer worked for me. After managing to avoid these drugs for a month, sticking to Aleve instead, I couldn't stand the constant headaches anymore and finally gave in. No relief.

Last weekend, I had a horrible migraine that lasted three days. It may have been from the chocolate I added back to my diet (although I started adding it a week before I got the migraine) or just a bad sleep schedule or let-down migraine following a week of work stress. Either way, I had plans to attend the Azalea Festival in Wilmington, NC with friends Saturday, and I was not going to miss it. I took four Butalbitals (as two doses - I normally take only one or two pills), which made me dizzy and brought the migraine down a few notches. I was nauseous and in pain, and had to hold my husband's hand so I wouldn't lose my balance - particularly on the section of cobblestone streets - but I managed to survive it and have an amazing time!

My next neuro appt. wasn't until April 29, so her physician's assistant saw me today. I've been having stomach issues that have now become daily, as well as general dizziness and random rapid heart beats - flu symptoms I guess, but they've been going on for weeks if not months. The only thing I can think of that would be causing it is the Zonisamide (Zonegran generic), and since it obviously wasn't helping my headaches a bit, I'm weaning off it. My blood pressure was really high today, which could be from the Zonisamide and maybe would explain why I'm feeling so crappy. Also, the fact that it suppresses your appetite combined with my migraine diet contributed to me losing 11 pounds since Feb. 9, which is cool for most people but not good for me when there's not much to me as it is!

I asked for an "emergency" medication and the PA gave me Treximet samples. I've taken Imitrex and several other triptans with no luck and in fact bad side effects (go figure), and I shared this with the PA, but she said Treximet, which is combined with naproxen, might be different.

The next thing I'm going to try is an occipital nerve block, which I don't have any links for because I haven't had time to research it yet. I have a consultation Monday and will find out more details then. Also, I have a TMJ checkup Friday. Doctors, doctors, doctors...

Friday, April 2, 2010

Pain is Serious!!!

I'm sorry, but I'm going to be a bit of a drama queen in this post. You've been warned.

Last night, my husband did the unthinkable. I was totaling my headaches for March based on my headache calendar, which I do at the end of every month. I had 29 headaches. I shared this with my husband, which I usually do because, well, if you had more than 20 headaches each month, wouldn't you want the person closest to you to know about it?

His reaction? He automatically shook his head to the left and right, as if to say, "no, that's impossible." Then he realized what he was doing and stopped. I asked him to explain why he did that and he wouldn't talk. (He's not much of a talker to begin with.) So he started watching TV and I was sitting by him finishing some work on my laptop, but I wouldn't drop it, so I kept pressing him.

You don't believe me?!
Why the h*** would I lie about having headaches? What would that accomplish?
At the end of every day I write down whether or not I have a headache. It's not like I can make a mistake!

And on and on. Nobody seems to understand how debilitating headaches/migraines are. I told my husband how my  headaches have been maybe a 4-6 on a 1-10 pain scale where 10 is the worst, and once they get to the 7-10 range (this is just my opinion, and my own perception of my pain levels, not an official scale), I would have to stop all activities - including work - and stay at home because the pain would be too intense. I told him the pain seems to be getting higher and higher and it's getting closer to that point and that scares me. When I take medicine it's just a temporary fix for a few hours and then the pain is right back where it was before, and I've had zero luck with preventatives - make that negative luck if you count the side effects. I even said I've considered going to a hospital to see if they could keep me a few days and give me strong meds to try to break the pain cycle and see if that helps.

After all of that, I honestly feel that he still thinks I'm just being dramatic. How do I get through to him, and others I encounter on a regular basis?

(Side note - I'm aware that I care too much about what other people think, and I'm working on this with my therapist. ALSO - I should add that I have the best husband in the world. Pain is just something he doesn't have experience with, so you can't blame him for not understanding.)