As we get so close to the end of the year, I want to share some good migraine news with you. Today is December 30, and I’ve had only two migraine attacks this month That’s true progress for me, and I’m calling it my migraine miracle. There’s no cure for migraine disease at this time, but this is definitely the next best thing.
It’s been a long haul, but I’m hoping this will last. In November of 2012, I had 25 migraine and headache days. My migraine specialist, Dr. David Watson, and I discussed what we’d tried for migraine prevention and what options I had. We decided to try Botox that December. The first treatment helped; the second and third helped even more. I’d also been taking Effexor XR for both major depressive disorder and migraine prevention. Dr. Watson suggested that it might be “pooping out” and suggested changing to Cymbalta. When we did that, I realized that the Effexor had also stopped working well for depression, and that it had crept up on me again. (See Migraines, Clutter, and Medications - I Was a Mess.)
By January of this year, my migraines were down to six to eight per month. In June, the Spring TMS device, which was approved by the FDA for the acute treatment of migraine with aura in June of 2014, became available to patients without having to be enrolled in their trials of the device for migraine prevention. In July, I started using the Spring to abort my migraines and twice a day to see if it would help me with migraine prevention. Below is a graph of how many migraines I’ve had each month since then. The purple indicates the number of migraines; green indicates migraines aborted by the Spring TMS; red indicates migraines for which I had to take meds.
There are many elements in my having been able to go from chronic migraine back to episodic. Obviously, the changes in my treatment regimen were hugely successful. Botox and the change from Effexor to Cymbalta made a huge difference, taking my migraine and headache days down from 25 per month to six to eight per month. As you can see from the graph, the Spring TMS may have been responsible for reducing the number of days even more. Another significant change is a reduction in triptan use when I get migraines. Without the Spring, I would have used Axert for all of the migraines during this period, 28 of them. Thanks to the Spring, I needed Axert for only seven migraines.
There are two additional elements in this progress that have been vitally important:
- A solid partnership with my migraine specialist, Dr. David Watson. (Please see Managing Migraine - Teri Robert and Dr. David Watson.) Dr. Dave never gives up. He encouraged me and helped me not to give up. Add that to his knowledge and skill, and it’s a winning partnership.
- Hope and a positive attitude. (Please see Hope Is an Essential Element of Migraine Management.)
As 2015 comes to a close, my fondest wish for each and every one of you is better migraine management and the higher quality of life that comes with it.
Teri Robert is a leading patient educator and advocate and the author of Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches. A co-founder of the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy and the American Headache and Migraine Association, she received the National Headache Foundation’s Patient Partners Award and a Distinguished Service Award from the American Headache Society. Teri can be found on her website, and blog, Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.