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Migraine Preventive Wins & Losses

When I write, the words often flow from my fingertips before I consciously assemble them in my mind. I type and suddenly thoughts I didn’t know I had are splayed across the computer screen. This can be an exciting, almost magical experience. It can also force me to face truths I don’t want to acknowledge.

Even though I felt pretty good migraine-wise last week, something else always seemed more important than writing. It wasn’t until Saturday when I read a novel in which a teenager who was taking a creative writing class was continually surprised by what her writing revealed that I realized I was avoiding something. That truth I didn’t want to see? Ritalin is not the amazing get-your-life-back pill that it was the first week I was on it.

My migraine brain is not impervious to cloudy days. The mental fog has returned. I still have a migraine attack nearly every day. Sometimes I’m so fatigued it feels like sandbags are weighing down my body. I do not pop out of bed raring to go after seven or eight hours of sleep, nor do I go nonstop all day like the Energizer bunny.

While I mourn that lost energy and mental clarity, I also feel like an ungrateful brat. After a month on Ritalin, the pain tops out at a level 4 and I’m fairly productive even though I have to push myself hard to get going. Reducing my highest pain level by a full point and being able to get out of the house more? That’s a migraine preventive triumph.

Except that the losses continue to obscure the wins.

10 Responses to Migraine Preventive Wins & Losses

  1. Nilofer says:

    I thought that I would share this link with migraine success stories using a ketogenic diet approach. I did not need to use this approach myself since strict gluten-free has worked for me very well. Last month I had one mishap with gluten – a friend brought over some Trader Joe’s salads and I ended up eating less than a teaspoon of couscous. I knew in the of my mind that it was a danger food but I was distracted and hungry. Lo and behold, I got a migraine a few hours later. I have read that the amount of gluten that can create a domino effect is very little – parts per million territory. Anyway, I hope that some of the stories in the above link are helpful in some way or other.

  2. Nilofer says:

    I also like the Migraine Association of Ireland’s article: “First Genetic Link to Migraine Exposed” http://www.migraine.ie/index.php?id=312

  3. Sarah says:

    I also thought I would share the thing that has helped me tremendously with my migraines – I’ve gone from constant daily headaches and weekly flares of more intense migraines to pretty much nothing (and expect to get even more improvement as I come off my medication). I have energy, and my brain back, and have even been eating foods that I haven’t been able to in years because of IBS (which I no longer have trouble with either). It’s called the Lightning Process (This is the link to the guy who designed the course http://www.lightningprocess.com/live-a-life-you-love/, and this is the link to the only practitioner in the US http://www.living-a-life-you-love.com/living-a-life-you-love.com/Home.html). I don’t have the words for how much better I’m doing since I did the course, and how awesome it is that I’m doing it without meds or dietary restrictions.

  4. William says:

    Your second-to-last paragraph really says it all. People who have never had a migraine don’t realize how significant a “full point” on the pain scale can be. It’s like the Richter Scale, one digit makes a huge difference.
    I’ve known these small victories and they do indeed add up to a triumph.

  5. J Hattori says:

    THE ABOVE 2 POSTS SOUND AWESOME AND I WILL CERTAINLY EXPLORE THE SITES. THANKS FOR POSTING. KERRIE: ARE YOU STILL ON CYPROHEPTADINE? OR ARE YOU JUST ON THE RITALIN NOW?
    I WAS ON CYPROHEP FOR A WHILE AND IT DID REDUCE THE INTENSITY OF HEADACHES BUT I WAS LOSING MY BALANCE. APPARENTLY THAT IS A SIDE EFFECT OF THIS DRUG.

  6. Chance says:

    Awesome? I think they sound like complete BS.

    ANYWAY, I always tell my neuro when some new med seems to be helping my migraines, “I’ll know if it’s working after 6 months. I’ll REALLY know after a year.”

    Naturally all kinds of ups and downs are going to happen in the first week, month, etc.

  7. Nilofer says:

    Thanks for sharing the link Sarah. Everyone has different triggers and stress is definitely a common one (it sounds like this program might help with stress). I went out for dinner the other night with a group of newish friends. One asked me why I was gluten-free, I gave the abbreviated answer. She then shared that she too gets migraines – albeit very infrequently. She said a few times a year. From her description, they sounded like text-book migraines. I asked her if they were hormonally-triggered or possibly food-triggered and she said stress, extreme stress. Her frequency is so little that she said she might try Maxalt or some other triptan.

  8. J Hattori says:

    NILOFER
    THANKS FOR LINK TO IRISH SITE. IT IS VERY INFORMATIVE
    JULIS

  9. Thanks for all the comments and information. I’m still noticing improvement and assume it is from the Ritalin, though I’ve also stopped taking Midrin (that’s the topic of tomorrow’s post), which could also be helping. I’m still on cyproheptadine (12 mg) and magnesium (1,000 mg) in addition to the Ritalin.

    Kerrie

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