Saturday, September 18, 2010

Migraine intensity

My last migraine started Wednesday night @ 11:00 pm. It has grown and lessened in intensity, but has remained quite constant. I am hoping that this one is based on barometric pressure. It's downright kicking my butt. Thursday it became quite intense to the point I was contemplating contacting one of my doctors for an infusion on Friday. However, I thought I'd wait.... so wait I did. It subsided enough to not need it on Friday, but I sure could use it today. So, I may be calling on Monday just to get it taken care of before I go on my trip.

The good thing, I've not had many of the previous symptoms; word loss, numbness/tingling on left side. This is really good, because I know I'm not having any new TIAs.

Preparing for Vipassana Retreat

It's now only 5 days before I leave for the research study with Johns Hopkins. In many ways I am really excited, but since yesterday started feeling a wee bit anxious. Probably the most difficult is making sure I've done enough cleaning, got keys made, made preparations for the critters. I haven't left for more than a week in so long it's kinda scary.
So, what have I done toward preparation?

1)Let's see, I've been fairly religious with completing and returning my daily headache diary. This started back in June. I haven't missed any days, just have been a little late. Things I've learned with this diary include the frequency really is greater than originally thought. It seems that I may go 1-2 days per week without any head pain.

2) I have been trying to acclimate myself to "Indian" foods, though it looks like I haven't been too greatly successful. What I have had is a little more spicy than what may be served.

3) I was hoping to give up coffee, but alas, this has not happened. I checked into Starbucks decaf only to find that they do not use natural decaffeination. Only their Somalia coffee is done naturally.

4) Getting enough snuggles in with the critters... but are any really enough?

5) Practicing some of the techniques. Much easier said than done. Vipassana is all about mindfulness and intention. Mindful eating will take a lot of practice, there is so much that is done unconsiously. I've also been attempting to keep non-essential talking down. It's not so bad, but because now is voluntary it is not such a difficult task.

6) Turning non-essential noises off. This mostly means sleeping without the tube on. Much harder than it seems. I could get used to it though.

7) Reducing my sleep meds, especially when I'm not working. I've reduced it to a 1/2 tab whenever possible.

8) Getting my Band loosened. I'm not concerned about "getting enough," but am concerned about food getting stuck. I know I have difficulty eating raw foods and some types just don't go down well.

9) Making sure I have all my meds in place and packed. I wasn't going to carry them in a carry-on, but in case things get should get lost, it would be best to have them with me.

10) Maybe I'm over-concerned about what to wear, but the rules say no tight clothing so I've picked up mostly sleepwear that is quite loose and comfy.

11) I'm trying to go in without specific expectation. I know I will not "cure" my migraines, but if I can learn some new techniques to handle the pain or even reduce the pain it will all be worth it.
12) Some overall things have happened, while not in the next few days, I have become somewhat calmer and have been able to hold my tongue a whole lot easier. It does take some discipline to control it, but it has been working.

Hopefully the nerves won't get the best of me. The biggest stressors include cleaning, packing & just plain old getting everything done in time. I will miss the critters and hope I have placed them in good hands while I'm off.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Meditation Study

I have been relatively quiet about entering a clinical trial through Johns Hopkins. It is a meditation training to see how it may benefit in the treatment of migraines. All of my paperwork has been completed, I am still awaiting approval from the institute, but all other approvals are done including FMLA. Oh yes, flight was $179. Not too shabby. Getting into the trial including a couple of initial phone and email contacts. It was only supposed to be for 4-6 weeks prior to the training, but I am to fill out a daily headache/sleep diary. It's been really helpful and given me a new aspect/respect.

If anyone knows me I insist on being an informed consumer on most things, especially when there is time. I have emailed Dr. Goyal on what I may do to "prepare" myself for this retreat. He suggested eliminating all music, tv, etc. at least the week before and to double-check my enrollment status. Upon doing that I also did a search for "Preparing" and came across some good information, Both positive and negative. I think it's good to know others' experiences whether positive or negative. My plan is to go with no expectations, but perhaps a new tool to assist me. I did a lot of reading today and continue to get more and more excited. It has worn me out.

It's been a while, so time to get back to posting

I am once again in status migrainus. This has been pretty consistent since late May. I had been doing fairly well where I didn't require much treatment other than pain meds, but in May some things changed. I remember going into the OR when I had the port to my Lap-Band replaced. It had been going on a few days, but up until a couple of weesks ago, it really didn't stop. I went to see Dr. Chapman and asked him about magnesium infusions... he's not familiar with them and doesn't understand why an oral supplement isn't good enough. After 30 years, he also questioned whether or not I was actually having migraines. I got really ticked, so when I got home, I got my hands on Dr. Purath's number, called and set up a consultation. The unfortunate thing, wasn't until 2 monhs away, now it is this coming Friday. I talked to Dr. Sweeney and he does magnesium infusion and actually has them done in his office. My migraine was so bad on July 1 that I left work early... later going in for an infusion. Unfortunately for some reason I got really dehydrated and he had trouble finding a vein. We got the magnesium in, but did not get any saline or vitamin C. The migraine was abated briefly, though not completely. I experienced far fewer side effects than when infused with steroids.

With my port replacement I have gone from 202-176. Another theory of Dr. Sweeney's is that perhaps my estrogen levels have gone wonky because of it being stored in the fat cells. My levels are 300% of my progesterone. He has placed me on prometrium as Dr Chapman has also increased my Topamax. One or the other or both have helped to the point that for about two weeks I was nearly completely migraine free. It was only last Sunday that I started getting twinges again, then they have hit!...

So, it is now 1 week to my consultation with Dr. Purath... I've actually heard mixed results, while she is an awesome doc, it's very difficult to get in when you really need to. I will reserve judgment.

Monday, November 9, 2009

So Far So Good

At the doc a week or so ago I was reminded that I have a homeopathic remedy for my migraines, Gelsemium. Historically, it's always been easiest to reach for the allopathic meds than the alternatives. Well, I've been giving it a try... and my use of other drugs especially the narcotics has gone way down. Usually within 5-15 minutes the headache has subsided.

I also incurred a minor head injury in the past week which caused a nasty headache. To make sure it was not a migraine I took the homeopathic remedy and sure enough it did not work for that. However, Arnica Montana both the pellets and gel have been helping tremendously with the major bruising. I was attacked by a patient at work. Word came from the DA that they are charging her with battery, due to the extent of the injuries.

All in all, I seem to be doing pretty well both with the headaches and memory.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

9.24.9 Other ponderings

Last week I had my lap-band filled as well as a gall bladder ultrasound. The restriction has not changed and I can eat most anything, but the abdominal pain I'm experiencing is increasing. The ultrasound came back that there is nothing wrong with my gall bladder. This issue came up when I went on a couple of Z-packs for an ear infection & later bronchitis and seems to be increasing.

Tomorrow I go in for an "unfill" where the saline that keeps the band around my stomach tight is removed. This will only be the 2nd time I will have had this done in the nearly 4 years 10 months I've had the Band.

Saturday, I have a date, someone from work who has found me "cute." We will be going to a group session with Susan Anderson while she and her daughter, Christine are here for their Introduction to Bridging Two Worlds.

9/23/9 Why on days off

I've been fine for a week and a half, and I seem to be maintaining part of my 3rd shift sleep schedule, falling asleep late afternoon or early evening. I woke up about 1:30 with what I thought was a headache related to not taking my sleep meds, since I've had these before. So, I took a 1/2 dose. I woke up this morning with a full-blown migraine. I know that these single days off do cause me to sleep much more. I do tend to do what the body requests especially regarding sleep. The better quality sleep, the less fibro flairs I will have. The weather probably didn't help yesterday with all the rain, though "they" say there wasn't that much, it was downright torrential. I will see how today goes before 3 to see if I will need to call in using FMLA time.