For any of my fellow migraine sufferers out there that are reading this, you will understand when I say that I have the day after fog today. I woke up with a migraine yesterday and suffered through it all day long. Thankfully, the migraine is gone this morning, but I have the after effects of having one. It is hard to describe what I mean by the day after fog unless you have ever suffered through a migraine yourself. You feel like your brain is kind of foggy. You have a hard time concentrating Although the real pain is gone and your head doesn’t really hurt, it’s almost like there’s a phantom pain there and that it is on the verge of coming back full force at any moment. It is almost like there is pressure on my brain squeezing it. It is really weird and it always happens after I have had a really bad migraine. I have heard some people call it a migraine hangover. I don’t know if that all makes sense, but it is the best way I can describe it. I have been a migraine sufferer for a very long time. When I was younger, high school and college age, I got regular headaches. They were not extreme and I wouldn’t say they were migraines but they were frequent enough to be annoying. After I had my second daughter, I started having pretty severe headaches. I would have to leave work early. I would vomit, and I had light and noise sensitivity. I would get a throbbing pain on one side of my head. I basically had all of the typical migraine symptoms. It had gotten so bad that I finally decided to go to the doctor. Of course, she initially said that it sounded like migraines but that she wanted to do an MRI just to make sure that there wasn’t something else going on. In the meantime, she started me on a medication that is typically used by migraine sufferers. Well, I ended up being allergic to it and the second and third one she put me on. For some weird reason, I am allergic to a lot of medications, including penicillin. It was really frustrating to say the least. A few days after I had the MRI done, my doctor actually called me at work and told me over the phone that they had found a 3mm mass near my pituitary gland. She said that it could be an aneurysm. She told me that if I got another severe headache that I should go straight to an emergency room. Talk about scary! Of course that immediately freaked me out and I started thinking that I had I was going to die. My doctor got me in pretty quickly after that to see a neurosurgeon. When she mentioned the word neurosurgeon to me, I was convinced that I was going to have to have some crazy brain surgery. He was very kind and reassuring, though. He reviewed the MRI scans and decided to perform a couple of other tests. Praise to God, that neurosurgeon was able to rule out anything serious. It is kind of funny now to look back on because it actually turns out that I had a crooked vein in my head that appeared to be a mass on the MRI but it wasn’t a mass at all. It was just the weird shaped vein. I swear, nothing about me is normal! LOL! That was a very scary few weeks as we just sat worrying about what was going to happen and a huge relief when we found out it was just an odd shaped vein.
Unfortunately, though, I was still suffering from the migraines. The neurosurgeon referred me to a neurologist to try to get the migraines under control. The neurologist turned out to be my hero. He seemed to think that my migraines were hormone related and that I had too much estrogen. He recommended that I get an IUD instead taking regular birth control because the IUD did not have high does of estrogen. Thankfully my insurance covered it since it was deemed medically necessary. <Side note…that IUD was/is the best thing ever! No more periods! Amazing!> My neurologist also decided to try me on a medication that was an older medicine designed as an antidepressant but that wasn’t used a whole lot anymore. He said some people had success with this medication for treating migraines. The thing that actually made him think of this medication at all was my sweaty hands. I believe that I have mentioned before that I have a condition called hyperhidrosis. It causes me to sweat excessively in my hands and feet. One of the common side effects of the medication he wanted to try is that it dries you out. He thought it might help with the sweating and the migraines. At this point I was willing to try anything. Not only did the medicine, in conjunction with the IUD, help decrease the intensity and number of migraines I was having, but it also completely controlled the sweating. It was like a miracle drug to me. I don’t think I will ever not take this medication in my lifetime. I’m serious! The benefits of it completely outweigh the negatives. The one complaint I have about it is that it also causes me to have a super dry mouth, but I will take that any day over the sweaty hands. I did have a period of time a couple of years ago when the migraines seemed to increase again in frequency and intensity. My doctor at that time decided to add in a second medication. Thankfully, she agreed with me that I shouldn’t go off my miracle medication and thought adding this other medicine might help. Now I take the miracle drug at night and the new one in the morning. So far, that seems to be the perfect cocktail for me. Obviously, since I said I had one yesterday, my migraines aren’t completely gone. I don’t think they will ever be gone. The good news is that I don’t get them as often and they don’t last nearly as long. The one yesterday is the worst one I have had in a while. For some reason, if I wake up with one like I did yesterday, it is not going to respond to the third medication I take if I get a migraine. I don’t know why, but when I wake up with it, it seems to be worse and last longer than if I were to start to get one during the day. It’s weird. I’m weird, I know!
To make a long story short, migraines suck! They do! I feel for every one of you that has suffered or is suffering through them. I would say to you not to give up. It took me a long time to find the right medications for me. Make sure you are truthful with your doctors about what you are experiencing. Give all the different medications and alternative solutions a chance. I know that what works for me is not likely going to work for you. I have tons of friends that suffer from migraines as well. They take completely different medications than I do. Some don’t take medications at all and get Botox injections instead. Some use acupuncture. Some use essential oils (I do use these and they help). Some have gotten a daith piercing (piercing the innermost cartilage fold in the ear). All of these things have helped them, but it took them trial and error just like it did for me to find what works. Relief is possible. You just have to figure out what it takes to get it for you. Hang in there! I know it sucks!
Anchored in a Fog,