Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Migraine Update

I am currently up in the middle of the night with a bad storm. We have severe thunderstorm warnings and watches, as well as flash flood warnings and watches. I actually don't know what the difference between a "warning" and a "watch" is, but according to, we have both anyway. Our power has gone out twice, and our schitzy dogs are absolutely freaking out. I'm waiting for one or more kids to wake up and do the same.

I, however, do NOT have a migraine.

Since I did not manage to get in my blog for yesterday yet, this seemed like as good of a time as any to sit down and give an update on my migraine situation. As I talked about before, and also here, my migraines seem to have been largely weather-related since the birth of Liam. I had an appointment with a neurologist earlier this month, and although I meant to post about it, I never quite seemed to get around to that.

He was very helpful. Perhaps the most interesting thing about the appointment was that he was surprised to hear that in all of my other doctor's appointments, no one had ever explained to me before that migraines are very clearly linked to thyroid problems. Much like EVERY OTHER MEDICAL PROBLEM I HAVE EVER HAD. Excessive exhaustion? It's the thyroid. Depression issues? It's the thyroid levels changing. Migraines? Thyroid again. Miscarry a baby? Hey, that pesky thyroid. I truly, truly hate my thyroid.

At any rate, thyroid bitterness aside, because of the frequency of both my migraines and my regular headaches, the neurologist put me on Topomax as a headache preventative. Since starting it, I have heard a lot of things, both good and bad, about this drug. On the good side, I've heard that it can be very effective. On the bad side, I've heard about crazy side effects. So far, I have experienced none. I have not become "stupid" (other people who have taken it will know what I mean), and although I do occassionally forget things, I'm thinking that may be more the result of the three small children in my life. Or maybe, hey, they thyroid.

The vast majority of people I know who have taken Topomax tell war stories about losing large amounts of weight while on it. My own sister was quite ill and lost 10 pounds, which reduced her to a rather skeletal state. I, frankly, could get on board with losing 10 pounds, as that would bring me to Level 2 of my long-term weight-loss goals, although of course I'd prefer to do it without the illness. I've even heard stories of people losing 50 or 60 pounds on Topomax, although no one has been very clear as to how that has happened, if there has been nasty head-spinning Exorcist-type illness involved or if the Topomax has just acted as an appetite suppressant (which it actually says in the side effects, but hasn't happened for me at all yet).

In any case, the Topomax as worked beautifully for its intended purpose so far. My headaches have virtually disappeared. A couple of times when we've had storms, I've gotten what I would call "a regular headache," one that one dose of Advil has cleared right up. Beautiful. Once and only once, I got a migraine, and that was so early on in the process that the Topomax might not have kicked in yet. That one time, it came on in the middle of the night and in my sleepy headache stupor, I stupidly reached for my ineffective old pills, rather than trying out the strong new Imitrex that the neurologist also prescribed me. So I haven't gotten a chance to try that yet, which is certainly not a problem.

The neurologist also commented on the fact that I take an awful lot of prescriptions for a young person, then reviewed my thyroid history and was like, "Oh, that explains it," and then added the Topomax as a daily prescription. And if you want to get technical, since the migraines can be traced back to the thyroid, that can also be chalked up to the same source. I find all of this to be pretty ironic, since even back in the college days, I didn't drink because I didn't like the idea of a foreign substance acting on my body. Not that I'd be able to drink today even if I wanted to, as alcohol would interact with way too many of those prescriptions. I really wish I could just be healthy. My endocrinologist says that my thyroid is slowly dying inside me; I wish it would just hurry up and finish that process.

But really, I'm only 31 years old. Shouldn't I just have a doctor and a dentist? But no, I have a neurologist, an endocrinologist, a reproductive specialist, and a dermatologist specializing in Mohs surgery. Recent years have also seen a chiropractor and a physical therapist thanks to pregnancy problems. Geez, I'm a mess.

But, on the up side, I do NOT have a migraine right now. And tonight's storm has passed, my dogs have calmed down, and I'm going back to bed.


Amy said...

I was feeling that same way about all the doctors not to long ago and just look at it as a blessing now that I that many people trying to keep me heathly. Glad you haven't had many migranes lately. I feel like I've had a lot of headaches lately but just a couple of migranes in the past few months. I wonder if it's the weather, allergies, ect.

Anonymous said...

Imitrex is possibly the greatest pill I have ever taken! :)
I'm glad your headaches and migraines are getting better

Jenn said...

Topomax made me stupid, I mean, I couldn't talk without stuttering, lost things, etc. Justin wrote me lists of things that I needed to do and spreadsheets for girls about diapers and feeding and meds.

Anyway, after a few months my neuro took pity on me and had me try magnesium (400 mg once per day) and it was great. No more stupidity and no more migraines.

Tina said...

I am SO glad to hear the medicine is helping you!! =)