Sunday, January 15, 2012

2011 The Year Of The ER Visit

    I  was talking today on Facebook to my friend. He asked what I was doing. To which i replied, "blogging. sort of". Of course this prompted the response: "sort of?". So I explained, when I say I'm going to blog it takes, 30 minutes to actually type out what I want to say, and 2-3 hours of doing everything but blogging to build up the courage to actually blog.

So, here I am, laying in bed with approximately an hour left on my laptop battery, still at a loss on how to start this blog post. Yet, it seems by not 'starting' I have already gotten it started. talk about a mind fuck. haha

I titled this blog post "2011 The Year Of The ER Visit", because that's really how I feel about the year.

January - May are a blur. Its hard for me to put into words exactly how hard these 5 months were for me.

My headaches/migraine journey started in January 2011. I've always had headaches. My mother and grandma get them, so I always thought of them as hereditary. When I got them before I could take a couple Excedrin, take a nap, and I would be good to go. These new headaches were so different. This was a new pain I had never felt before. This pain was all encompassing. It takes over your body like a climbing vine takes over a brick wall.

I can remember in early Jan during one of my first battles with the pain, I was sitting on the floor of my husbands office. I can't tell you why I was in the room, just that I wanted to be near him. I was sitting on the floor, with my back against the wall, with my head on my knees, I was in so much pain. I couldn't eat, because chewing was to painful. I couldn't drink because the sound of swallowing was to much. Not to mention the constant nausea that was created by the pain.

It was very weird when they first started. Because I didn't know (and still don't know) what causes them. Sometimes the migraines didn't follow the same 'path' per-say. When the first started I felt so useless. I didn't have the medication to stop them, I couldn't function with them, and I felt like no one understood just how bad they really were. I felt like no one would take me seriously and understand just how badly I hurt.

The pain was different. Most of the time the pain starts at my right temple and spreads from there. Its like a forest fire, it just spreads until it has consumed everything in its path. It spreads across the top of my head, down behind my eyes, across my jaw and down my body. Other times it starts behind my eye balls and feels like someone is constantly pushing on the back of my eye ball, and the pain spreads from there. Sometimes I can feel the pain creeping, or feel it sort of starting, and then I can catch it with a pill and stop it before it even starts.

Other times, i'm not so lucky. These are the worst. The 'other' is when it feels like someone took a 2x4 to the side of my head and the migraine hits me out of no where. Its like some set weights on both shoulders and on the top of my head. The constant pressure and pain takes the wind right out of your sails. These are the worst of the worst.

Between January - May, I was in the ER 5 times. I was in the ER 2times in Jan and 1 time in Feb, Mar, and May. These months were such a blur of pain, needles, pills, doctors, ER visits, ice packs, and more pain. I had my blood drawn every 6 weeks, (and still do) because they found my thyroid was "significantly under active". I was bounced from doctor to doctor. Every time I called to make an appointment, I was assigned to a new doctor. I lost track of how many doctors I have seen after the 12th new face.

This is me during the sleep study
I finally got to see the doctor who was my "assigned" primary care physician. He prescribed several medications and several tests.

I went in and had a sleep study conducted. They found I had a slight snore, but that was it. No sleep apnea, no weird findings.

I had an MRI done. Again no findings nothing wrong.

I completed food journal after food journal after food journal. Its to the point now that I just write down everything I ate, did, didn't do, took, drank, etc in a journal before I go to bed. Because I know its just a matter of time before I get assigned another doctor and they make me start all over again.

During this constant battle with the pain and trying to keep that under control, I was also back in school. So September I moved 600 miles away from my family, was re-united with my husband, had to find a place to live, started school again, and was fighting a constant battle with my head. To say I was stressed was an understatement. I thank god for the classes I had during this battle. I broke down on my last day of my Materials & Techniques class. I told them that if it wasn't for them and their unquestioning support during this hard time, I wouldn't have passed. And it was so true. I struggled so hard to stay afloat during that term.

During spring term '11 I was either in debilitating pain, or fairly drugged up and between those 2 options it made school work/going to school a lot harder for me. I was seeing so many doctors and having my medication tweaked each time. I now take more pills than my 87 year old grandmother. Its slightly insane the amount of medication I take.

These are the medications that I take. I'm currently trying to get off of some of them. But at this point I need all of them. 
I take:
Maxalt ( or 'before' I get a headache)
Ultram (for 'after' the headache starts)
Synthroid (for my thyroid)
Percocets (for when the ultram doesn't work) 
Phenogren (anti-nausea pill)
Periactin (at night its half for allergies and half for migraines)
Nasonex (nose spray for allergies) 
and of course my birth control. 
So in 1 day I can take up to 7 different pills. This is more than slightly insane.

So now you know most of the back story about my migraine battle. I'll try and go into more depth about what the doctors have said, what I am doing, and what I have tried. 

It has been a long year. Its hard to talk about all the details of the year because the details are so blurry. The dates and times are all blurred in a drugged up pain ridden mess in my head. 

Its amazing how many people have reached out to me through out this last year to me. I want to reach out to anyone else who had had headaches, migraines, tension headaches, sinus headaches, etc. I want you all to know, I know how it feels and I am here for you.