Friday, October 24, 2008

Leaving the valley of the dolls

I'm going off the junk, y'all. This is Serious Business.

After just getting out of a migraine spiral that lasted the better part of a week, I woke up in the middle of the night last night with -- ta da! -- another migraine. After a couple of Vicodin, I woke up again two hours later, still in pain and completely frustrated by my inability to get my headaches under control. In the wee hours, I decided I needed to go back to the doctor, something I've been postponing because I don't want to go onto another medication and I don't want to get locked into another MRI machine and it just sort of seemed like all my options were generally pretty crummy.

Well, irony of ironies, I'm not going to be going on another medication, at least not right now. The doctor isn't quite sure what's going on. But after he learned how much analgesic medication I take on a daily basis (which when I told him, he said, "Impressive"), he threw me a complete curve ball -- he wondered if my cycling pain is actually being fed by all the medication, if in fact I was having cluster/rebound headaches.

The amount of medication, over the counter and otherwise, that I take for my headaches is the stuff of legend. Well, legend in my own little world, anyway. My entry-level dose of ibuprofen is 800 milligrams, or four pills, whenever I have pain. Which is every day. I have a prescription for another drug, Midrin, that is acetominophen-based and that I either take with the ibuprofen or alone, depending on my pain level. Then there's Vicodin, Maxalt, Zomig... the list goes on and on. I carry a container in my purse with me every where filled with various capsules and pills. It's like a security blanket.

But however reassuring carrying those medications with me everywhere might be, they just aren't working any more. Between that and the fact that cluster/rebound headaches can be triggered by the overuse of analgesics, it's time to try something else.

The (new) doctor suggested I go off everything except one, targeted intervention drug, Relpax, which I haven't tried before (which also means we don't even know if it will work). When he suggested it, I laughed -- I actually thought he was kidding.

He wasn't.

I tried to understand: "You can't mean all drugs -- do you know what you're suggesting? What about Vicodin? I mean, really? All?"

Really. All.

So, armed with a newly-filled prescription for Relpax and a fair amount of ambivalence (and still battling that migraine from the middle of the night), I will face the next three weeks essentially drug free, for the first time in I don't even know how long.

This is going to be a whole new world.


Unknown said...

praying that it works!

Christina said...

Wow! Definitely praying for you!

Sharon said...

you mean there's one you haven't tried before? No way... and one med at a time? how odd. :-)

Stacy said...

Man alive, Nora! I'm lucky if I can find a Midol on Sunday morning...I had no idea you were packing a pharmacy in your always fashionable handbag. We'll be praying this one makes some difference!