Chronic Migraine, Coping, Meds & Supplements, Treatment

Why, Hello There!

Along with the Seattle sunshine, I’m rejoining the world after a long hibernation. It was another terrible spring for nausea, but my migraines and headaches have been relatively mild. (More on that in a moment.) Whenever I have felt decent, I’ve been getting ready to sell our house and move to Boston.

That’s right, we’re moving to Boston in August! Hart was offered a job he couldn’t refuse. As much as I love Seattle, I’m excited for an adventure. I’m also terrified, but isn’t that a part of every adventure?

I hope better health and more time to write will coincide with the move. Although a change of location is unlikely to spur the change, birth control pills might. My migraines and headaches reduced in frequency and severity after I had taken birth control pills for three months. Unfortunately, they also caused horrendous nausea.

I’ve spent the last few months drugged up and conked out. Deciding I was better equipped to handle head pain than nausea, I stopped the pills last week. Sure enough, the nausea is gone, but head pain and general wooziness are back. I’m seeing a gynecologist tomorrow to determine what to try next. I imagine it will be a brand with different synthetic hormones. I hope I won’t have to wait another three months for them to take effect.

So, that’s what’s been going on in my life. I hope you have been doing as well as possible!

22 thoughts on “Why, Hello There!”

  1. Hi Kerrie,

    Your blog is the one I always return to. It has been a lifeline to me more than a few times.

    I am currently on Keppra (for migraine prevention), Wellbutrin (depression), Trazadone (50 mg to sleep). I have just gotten off of klonopin (hated the way it made me feel) and am currently going off of baclofen (muscle relaxant).

    For abortives, I use Amerge (almost daily, according to dr. recommendation for me), skelaxin (muscle relaxant), and zofran (anti-nausea).

    My problem is that I have increasing tinnitis, so much so that last night I had a lot of trouble getting to sleep because the “static” sound in my ear is so loud.

    Do you know if this could be a side effect of the keppra? Or…???? My doctor thought it was likely a side effect of baclofen, but it’s getting worse the lower I go on baclofen.

    Any ideas would be really helpful.

    Oh, also my olfactory triggers have gotten really bad. It’s like one molecule of air freshener, Tide laundry soap, Fabreeze, etc. sends me into a tail spin. Immediately, my eyes start watering, my throat gets sore, and a headache starts. If I continue to be exposed, my thinking gets terribly confused and I see spots before my eyes.

    I’ve always been sensitive to scents/fragrances, but this has become hyper-sensitive. I hate to leave the house and have to have strict routines when anyone wants to come here.

    Do you have ANY suggestions or ideas? I’m at my wit’s end here!

    Meanwhile, good luck with your move! And thank you for your blog. I always return to it for hope, help, and comfort.

  2. Hi Kerrie, I miss you so much but I hope you’re doing well. I hope you were able to find a pill that helps minus nausea.

    I’m getting ready to see Neuro #4 next week, #3 has been so kind, but not great in knowing the latest breakthrus for migraine treatment. This clinic is over an hour away but they also treat Fibro (and MS which I’m being tested for).

    Still using depakote as a preventive, higher dose, the side effects aren’t great (losing my hair, depression) but I haven’t had a migraine in 2 weeks. very hopeful!

    Think of you often. Take care, and hope to hear from you soon! ((((Hugs))))

  3. Resting on a beaded jade pillow cover can help some people. There are two kinds, the best one is made of round beads– don’t get the flat variety. It’s a harmless way to mitigate the pain, since you aren’t taking anything. Worth a try. Some people swear by it.

  4. I feel great since my surgery (it’s been almost 2 months now) NO periods at all (I was due for it a week after my surgery) I usually have a continuous migraine for a week before but, around the time I should have had my period, I only had one and it only lasted one day!!! The Novasure can’t be done for anyone who still wants to have children, I don’t remember if I mentioned it before. When will you be moving? Fall is beautiful here!

  5. Hi there, I’ve been reading your blog off and on for a long time and want you to know there is a new headache center opening here in Boston. It’s at the Arnold Pain Center in Brookline Village, and is run by Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital. It opens Sept. 8. There will be a special focus on women’s headaches, and Dr. Carolyn Bernstein (author of The Migraine Brain and my neurologist) is spearheading all of it. She did great things at the Women’s Headache Center at Somerville Hospital, so given a larger scope it can only get better.

    Anyway, look them up while you are here — there is plenty of good care here in Boston.

  6. Hello everyone, it’s encouraging and discouraging at the same time to see everyone suffering similar problems. I have a few more suggestions to add and a question. I’ve suffered from migraines for about 10 years and as I’ve gotten closer to menopause they have gotten worse and worse and worse. Now that I’m in menopausal transition it is daily. I only found one med that ever worked completely with no side effects and that was Vioxx which as you know was taken off the market.

    I’ve replaced expensive Migraine specific pain meds with Mobic (meloxicam) which is just as effective for me at 5% of the cost. And insurance will give you 30/month. You have to watch your stomach so I also take a prilosec daily. I supplement the pain meds with a custom DHE capsule which my headache specialist has the pharmacy formulate for his patients and is also cheap. I also use aromatherapy, rosemary and/or peppermint. All this takes the edge off but never works completely. If I’m using everyone of the above and below simultaineouly I can sometimes get 2-3 hours of total relief per 8 hours of headache.

    For mild nausea I use accupressure wrist bands from the pharmacy (on the shelf by the dramamine). For intense nausea I use ondansetron which works very well without side effects for me.

    I’ve tried the Seasonale birth control last year which didn’t work at all. I’ve since stopped menstuating so now I’m on second week of HRT patch which so far has helped alot. We’ll see, in the last two years everytime I get a working regimine my headaches “shift” and I have to start all over. By the way I’m taking tons of vitamins.

    So my question is has anyone ever used epilepsy drugs on a daily basis as a preventive? My headache dr wants me to try this approach.

  7. Hi Kerrie,
    I haven’t done much on the computer in months due to so many high pain days, but I’m really glad I checked your blog today. Congrats on the move to Boston. It’s a great city though the weather can be tough on us head pain people at times. I live in the Boston area and I’m very familiar with the doctors and hospitals in the area – particularly the headache experts. If you’d like some suggestions or advice, please feel free to contact me by email.
    Best regards,

  8. I do not see any mention of headache preventatives in your post. You can find a list of some of the more common ones here I have also found that many patients are not offered prevention because their is a disconnect between their disability and their physician’s perception of their disability. To bridge this gap, I designed an iPhone App iHeadache. It tracks symptoms, medication usage, and disability. It also prepares reports to share with your physician to aide in your care. I hope you check it out at
    I know very little about blogs – forgive me if I am breaking blog etiquette by pointing you to a couple of resources.

  9. I was reading your blog and seems to be that you are using birth control as a preventative treatment for migraines. There are other preventatives that just might work. I personally dedicated myself to help individuals suffering from migraines and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to write. When using birthcontrol the best method is to use the lowest amount of estrogen continously at the same time. Migraines are trigger through the drop in estrogen level, not the level itself. There is also natural migraine preventatives that most dont know about. I will show you how to win the migriane pain game.

  10. dude, just take some ginger. half a gram twice a day, every day. it will take a few weeks to take effect but will likely improve the nausea greatly.

  11. Kerrie,
    I live in NH, about an hour from Boston, there are some amazing hospitals and Drs. in Boston. My daughter goes to the children’s headache clinic at Boston Children’s hospital in Waltham and from what I understand they do take adults as well. As far as your birth control goes, I always had trouble with birth control so, last friday I had the Novasure procedure done (day surgery), they said I have a 50/50 shot at not having a period and if I do it will be light (mine were horribly heavy and 8 days long…not a good combo with menstrual migraines.) So now I am just playing wait and see on that one. They also said I could have gotten a merana IUD which stops periods all together but, I didn’t like the IUD when I NEEDED birth control and my tubes have been tied since 96 so I said no I wanted a more permanent thing.

    When you get to Boston the North End has fabulous Italian food (some of the best in the country) and awesome seafood.

    Thanks for the suggestions — for doctors and restaurants! How do you feel so far after your surgery?


  12. I found your blog when researching daily headaches. I am 23 and have had migraines from as far back as i can remember. Birth control also made me sick and the patch made me vomit! I am on the ring now, which I love! Since it doesnt go through your digestive system its less likely to make you sick. Helps with my migraines, a lot.

  13. Kerrie: I, too, had great headache success with the birth control pills, but I had to stop them because of chronic diarrhea. In the 3 months I was on them, I even switched brands to see if that would help cure the diarrhea problem; it didn’t. So now I guess I’ll just wait for menopause (I’m 47; it may be a long wait). Please keep us posted about what your gyno says about other options. Take care!

  14. To Kerry — congratulations, and I hope you love Boston! There is so much to see and do there! My migraines were always worse while on bc pills (I was nauseous a lot too, but I thought that was from the migraines :), but we’re all so different… I know you will keep trying.

    To FreeRadicalRay — Whatever the drug is, contact the manufacturer and ask for help. Many of them have programs to help people without means to pay. I know that GlaxoSmithKline does this with Imitrex, and now they have a generic version. Can’t hurt to try!

  15. FreeRadicalRay-I assume you are speaking of Triptans specifically?

    Look for prescription assistance programs online (drug manufactuer’s and others). See if your state particularly has any programs for free meds (such as a walk in clinic with a pharmacy). Ask for samples form your doctor. Look at the manufacturer’s websites; they have huge savings coupons for trying their product (have your doctor write you a script to try a new one, or sometimes you can use the coupon just if you haven’t used it before and have a new script).

    Sometimes doctors will write you prescriptions to pick up, or call them in, without an appointment if you’ve been seen recently about the issue. Also, you can ask your doctor if an alternative treatment like opiates might be right for your wallet at this time while you aren’t covered.

    Make sure to take the Triptan at the first sign of migraine so you may end up using less pills. Some people can get away with taking half of a dose, or asking for a higher dose and cutting it in half.

    Best wishes.

  16. Is anyone else having problems paying for migraine medicine? Since losing prescription health insurance my wife and I have been struggling to pay the average $25 per pill. We’ve been doing some research to find out how we can keep the medicine coming.

  17. Hey there! I’ve been wondering how you are doing, sounds like you’ve had a lot on your plate. Glad to see you are back though 🙂

  18. i hope things work out for you. i would love to move to a new place. very exciting. take care of yourself along the way.

  19. Welcome back, Kerrie! I’m glad your headaches improved, at least for a little while. Every person is different, but birth control actually made my headaches worse, in frequency and intensity (more migraines). I tried all different forms of bc – the Pill (taking it normal and for 3 months straight), Patch, IUD, Nuva Ring.

    One of my neurologists had me read a book called “Natural Hormone Balance for Women” by Uzzi Reiss. It’s not a headache book, but it says how natural bioidentical hormones are better than synthetic ones. You can get them at a compounding pharmacy. I tried natural progesterone for a few days, but then a new neuro took me off it (long story). I’ve decided that I’m through with hormonal birth control because it uses synthetic hormones which don’t react well with my body.

    Just my experience though; like I said, every person is different.

    I hope whatever you try works for you! 🙂

  20. I went to Boston for the first time last October. I was there for 4 days. I was completely headache/pain free (Chiari) for the entire time I was there.

    Good luck on your move and hopefully your brain will like Boston as much as mine did.

  21. Kerrie,
    Great to see you posting! Wow, Boston, how exciting!
    I take Seasonale, brand name, the generic was not as effective, and take them continuously, so I don’t get a period at all. Sounds unnatural but it knocks out the menstral migraines.

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