Coping, Patient Education, Society

Migraine is to Headache as Godzilla is to Lizard

Really. You think migraine is just a headache? And I suppose Godzilla is just a lizard?

This is brilliant!

I really feel like I’ve been facing Godzilla the last couple months. The occipital nerve blocks worsened my migraines for a month. As soon as I recovered, I started on Lyrica for migraine prevention and wound up with massive fatigue and severe depression. I’m still a little depressed, but am coming out of it gradually. Hope to see you again soon!

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!

Coping, Treatment

Spinal Tap Equals Spinal Headache

On Monday I finally got the spinal tap my doctor requested. The procedure wasn’t bad. I felt bad yesterday, but thought I might escape another spinal headache (and the associated dizziness and nausea). Silly me. I feel horrendous. Even having my head on a small pillow is making me dizzy.

I’m flat on my back in bed, holding my laptop in the air with one hand and typing with the other. Will likely spend the day watching Ugly Betty in a similar position. I plan to give updates through my Twitter account, TDHblog.

First I need to call the doctor to schedule a blood patch.

Coping, Exercise, Treatment

A Joyous Return to Yoga

Last week I went to my first yoga class in more than a year. It was amazing.

My body felt better. My mind felt better. My head even felt a little better. At home, my practice is always half-hearted and rushed. It is more about getting through what I need to do. What I’ve always loved about yoga is focusing on the good my body can do instead of how my health drags me down. I feel strong and whole. I haven’t found that in my home practice, but I felt it in class.

Maybe because I felt safe with the teacher walking me through everything I had to do. I pushed myself, but gently. My neck and shoulders, already loosened up after a massage on Monday, felt better than they have in a year. Seriously.

Having only a few good hours most days, usually in the morning, has kept me from class. If I devote that time to class, then I don’t get anything else done. Tuesday I went to class, then had a great rest of the day. More energy and strength followed. I got my good hours and then some.

Maybe it was a fluke, but Monday and Tuesday were great days. I felt good physically and mentally. I’d like to attribute it to massage and yoga. Or maybe it was the return to exercise, as not exercising contributes to headaches. (Although I doubt one day made much difference!)

In any case, I’ve planned a new routine. Such plans aren’t usually successful for me, but I think I can do this. Massage at 9:30 a.m. Monday and yoga in that time slot on Tuesday and Thursday.

Just like that I swung from despair to hopefulness. I’m trying to temper my excitement, but it is hard. Not only did I do something I love last week, I think it actually helped my head. *fingers crossed*

Coping, Mental Health, Symptoms

Classic Post: Assessing How Much Your Headaches or Migraines Affect Your Quality of Life

See a doctor for headaches and you’ll likely be asked to take the MIDAS or HIT tests to assess how your migraines or headaches affect your quality of life. You may find your results even more helpful than your doctor does.

Assessing Your Quality of Life
The Daily Headache
May 6, 2006

Whether you have them every day or every three months, headaches definitely affect your quality of life. MIDAS and HIT are two questionnaires to assess the extent of the impact.

Before I recognized how seriously I was affected, a doctor gave me the MIDAS test. The highest score on the test, which indicates severe disability, is 21+. My score was above 100. Needless to say, the results floored me.

This was what it took to see just how bad my headaches were. In the ensuing months, and years, I would recite MIDAS every time I questioned the realness of my illness. Every time I blamed myself, I repeated my mantra. This made a huge difference in how I perceived and dealt with my headaches.

If you question how real your headaches are, these tests are invaluable. They can also help you assess your pain from one time period to the next.

In addition, you can show the results to people who are close to you, but don’t really accept what you’re going through. As they remember the last one to three months, the pieces may slowly fall into place.