Migraine Journey


Since the brain injury, migraines are a major problem. For the first year, I suffered a constant headache, with attacks of migraines 3-4 times a week. The neurologist started me on Topomax to reduce the frequency of the migraines, after I failed the trial with the medications that lower blood pressure. Passing out at work was not a good idea. My blood pressure dropped too low. Next up: Topamax. It helped reduce migraines to 1-2 a week but at a price. I had significant neuropsychological side effects. My processing slowed, I started losing language, my hands and feet tingled. At one point, a friend was concerned I had early dementia. Let’s try something else.

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The next medication is Verapamil. I started at 120 mg without much improvement. I am now taking 180mg with moderate improvement. Last time, we added a natural supplement: Petradolex. It is butterbur root. Supposedly, it helps maintain the firmness of the blood vessels in the brain. On the third week of the trial, I went an entire week without a migraine! Woot!

The neurologist also wrote a prescription to return me to Maxalt, as he did not think the Immitrex was managing the migraine pain. I began the process of getting the VA to approve a non-formulary medication (Maxalt). Well, it’s not as easy as a letter from the neurologist. I haven’t tried Zoamig yet. So, the VA started me on a trial of Zomig.

Too early to celebrate not getting migraines. On the eight day, I was visited by ghosts of migraines past. Very angry and painful ghosts, they were. I went home, took the new migraine medicine, anti nausea medication, Aleve, and crawled into bed with a cold pack on my head and a warm cat curled in my back. Four hours later, I wake up. Dizzy, nauseous, but no pain.

I feed and medicate Tosca, then clean all the litter boxes. Kaliyah and Bobby come out to play. I laid on the couch and watched the chaos. About 9:00, I go to bed.

Tuesday, I wake up feeling disconnected, woozy, and extremely sensitive to any sensory stimulation. I go to work. Thankfully, I have a graduate intern who is assisting in one of my groups. I was so sick, I had trouble comprehending the lesson up for discussion. J led much of the discussion that day. I went home at 11:30. Took medication, and crawled into bed with a comforting kitten. I wake up at 5:00 and follow the routine of caring for the ferrets and playing with them for a few hours. I crawl back to bed at 9:00.

Today, I woke up feeling good, although a bit drained. Good! Maybe the migraine is finally gone. I do well all morning. About 1:00 pm, I get an aura. Flashing lights, gray areas in my vision. Not good. By 1:30, I was medicated, curled into bed with a cold pack and warm cat.

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So, it’s now 8:30. The ferrets have played, litters boxes cleaned, Tosca fed and medicated. No pain right now, just a feeling of absolute exhaustion.

I’m not sure the new migraine medication is working. I think this has been the same migraine, returning from the prodromal stage to cause pain.

I just hope tomorrow I am totally migraine free. This has been an exhausting three days.

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Keeping hope.

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