My Migraines - Chronic to Episodic and Back Again
Chronic Migraines to episodic and back again. It's been a while since I shared with you about my Migraines, so I guess it's time for an update.
A bit of background first... Thirteen years ago, my Migraines were chronic, keeping me in bed five or six days a week. Getting to a true Migraine specialist was one of the best things I ever did for myself. It wasn't quick or simple, but over a period of a few years, we got my Migraines so well managed that I sometimes got eight weeks or more between Migraines.
Verapamil, a calcium channel blocker, has been one of my primary Migraine preventive medications during this period of time. Monopril, an ACE inhibitor, has also been helpful. Last summer, I went to my doctor because I just didn't feel right. My diastolic (lower) blood pressure was only 35, and he sent me straight to the hospital, where they admitted me for testing and observation. It turned out that the problem was that I'd lost quite a bit of weight, and instead of my blood pressure adjusting to it gradually, it just dropped suddenly. We had to cut the verapamil dosage by half and discontinue the Monopril completely to get my blood pressure stable.
My Migraines have been increasing in frequency since then, and now I find myself with chronic Migraines again. I'm having eight to 12 Migraines a month with tension-type headaches on other days. It's now back to the point where I have some kind of head pain pretty much daily.
My Migraine specialist, Dr. David Watson at West Virginia University, has been wonderful. Adjusting my preventive regimen has been challenging. Antihypertensive medications have been the building blocks of my preventive regimen, but now they're off-limits. I'd used zonisamide (Zonegran) before and discontinued it when a beta blocker was added to the medications for my heart because the beta blocker helps with Migraine prevention. So, we started zonisamide again, but once I went over 300 mg per day, I started having cognitive side effects. That can be a problem with medications - you can have side effects when taking them a second time even though you didn't have those side effects the first time. Butterbur, petasites as found in Petadolex, did nothing for me after trying it for four months.
So, what's next? Next week, I'm going to see Dr. Watson, and we're going to try Botox. I'm hopeful that it will work. I'm praying it will work. Of course, I always knew that the great success I was having with my preventive regimen - eight weeks between Migraines -- wouldn't last forever. Still, it's discouraging to be sliding backwards. We'll find a way to get this disease back under better management. I just have to be patient, which isn't something I do especially well.
That's my update for now. I'll let you know how the Botox does. How are you doing? Please feel free to post a comment and share.
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