darling_lisa: (Migraine)
So today? Sucked. Woke up feeling a little nauseated and not so great. That rapidly turned into a raging migraine. I tried to tough it out, took a cocktail of Excedrin, ibuprofin, Benadryl and large amounts of caffeine. No luck. By 11 it felt like I was dying. Literally. My head hurt so much I couldn't breathe. So I gave in and took a Zomig.

Now, normally this wouldn't be an issue, I have the Zomig specifically for this reason. They can only be used to treat migraines, and I refill my RX for them every month because I need them. But in their infinite wisdom, the Insurance companies have decreed that I am only allowed 6 tablets a month. Because that is all anyone could need, right?

Except for the part where it can take anywhere from 2-4 pills to treat ONE MIGRAINE. I get on average, anywhere from 6-10 separate and distinct migraines a month. Now not every migraine requires a Zomig, but the ones that last 5 days? Can eat up my entire month's allotment of pills pretty quickly.

So I try and manage them as best I can, saving the Zomig for the ones that are really bad. As opposed to the ones that are just moderately bad. To give you an idea of my scale I'm using here, imagine your head is in a vise that keeps tightening down with every breath you take. At the same time, your brain is expanding and pressing against the confines of your skull to the point where you swear you can feel cracks developing as your bones threaten to explode outwards. Every beat of your heart causes your veins to pulse and feel as if they are expanding so much they are going to burst out of your body. The light feels like ice picks stabbing into your eyes every time you blink, and any sound louder than a whisper feels like a stadium full of people screaming into your ear at the top of their lungs. Your skin is oversenstive, so even your softest flannel sheets feel like sandpaper rubbing you raw, and your body can't regulate your temperature so you alternate feeling as if you are locked in a freezer with feeling like you have been plunged into the heart of a volcano. And to top it all off, you have nausea worse than the worst case of food poisoning that you ever experienced. Water won't stay down, nothing will. That is a moderately bad migraine for me.

I know I am incredibly lucky to have health insurance through my job, and I thank the Universe constantly for the care that I am able to get. But there is something wrong in our health care system. My doctor thinks I should have a supply of 12 tablets a month, but my insurance carrier limits me to 6 every 30 days. And for those 6 pills, I pay 8x my usual RX co-pay. I can't get a second RX for a different brand of triptan, because the limit applies to all brands. If I wanted to I could pay for the additional 6 out of pocket, but at approx $43 a pill, well that's not going to happen. I have paid for one or two pills out of pocket when I'm having a particularly bad month, but financially I just can't afford that on a regular basis.

I had 3 pills I had been hoarding this month. I am going to England in a week and I wanted to make sure I had pills so I wouldn't miss any of my vacation to lying in bed wishing someone would come park their big rig on my head. But I had to take one of my pills, I could not endure the pain. So now I have 2 left. And if I'm very lucky, I won't need those 2 pills before I leave.

I got a migraine while I was in Canada, I spent most of the day mainlining caffeine and puking in public restrooms because I refused to let my migraine rob me of a day on vacation. I don't want to do that in London, but I will if I have to. I will take my cocktail of OTC meds and pray that I don't end up ruining my kidney and/or liver before I turn 50. I will hoarde my pills like they are the last ones on Earth. I will continue to take meds that are used to treat epilepsy off label on the chance that they are helping reduce the frequency of my migraines, and deal with the side effect. I will go to my Neurologist and ask if there is any new insight into what causes migraines or how to prevent them.

And every month I will get my 6 pills and wonder how long they will last this time.
darling_lisa: (Migraine)
So my happiness meme has been missing the past few days, mostly due to the part where a nasty migraine came in and decided to make me it's bitch. I have spent most of the past day and a half to two days either curled up in a ball praying for oblivion or hunched over the toilet throwing up anything I stupidly tried to eat or drink.

I'm at work today, my head is not happy about this, but its deadline tomorrow and the world doesn't stop just because I want to. Keeping a steady stream of caffeine in my blood stream makes things slightly more bearable, but really, I just want a quiet and dark corner where I can hide.

I will continue the meme either later today or tomorrow, depending on how the pain goes, but wanted to let everyone know I'm still alive.


Apr. 9th, 2009 10:48 pm
darling_lisa: (Migraine)
I realized something today. I need to figure out what I am going to do about my job. I have been fighting a migraine for the past few days, and today I had to call out sick from work because I was about to throw up on my keyboard 3 hours into my shift. The headset was pressing my head like a vise and the computer screen was bright enough that I had to squint to look at it through my glare guard.

75% of the year the Topamax controls my migraines wonderfully. I am down to one or two a month and they disappear easily with Zomig. But when you add in the fucked up barometric pressure and wind that we get every spring here in AZ and then factor in the 50-60 hour 6 day week work weeks during tax season and the accompanying stress... it's too much for my body to handle. I have had more migraines in the past 3 months than I do the other 9 months of the year combined. My body is trying to tell me something. Very loudly.

The thing is, I don't know how to fix it. I am going on my 4th year at a company that has been very good to me. I don't know if I can make a transition to non-phone work before next January when this all will start up again. Its all well and good for me to say that I know I need to do something, but figuring out what that is? Whole other story.

I just know that I can't keep doing this. I haven't kept solid food down for 3 days now, it all comes back up eventually. I am prolly overdosing on caffeine and ibuprofin just to try and keep things manageable. I have maxed out on my Zomig repeatedly and can't refill my RX for another 21 days anyways. My head hurts constantly. All I want to do is sleep so I can escape the pain. I've tried chiropractic, I've tried accupuncture, I've tried scary drugs that have warning packets the size of small novels. I watch what I eat and I know what foods to avoid.

Another whiney post, I know. But I needed to get it out and say it. I need a change, and this is my way of telling the universe I'm ready for it. I don't expect to have anything handed to me, but a gentle nudge in the right direction would be fantastic. Point the way, I promise I will pay attention this time.
darling_lisa: (drugs)
So I went in and talked to my doctor this week. Over the last few months my migraines have increased in both frequency and intensity. What used to be maybe one every couple of months has become 2-3 a month. And where they used to last a day, day and a half... lately they have been lasting anywhere from 3 to 5 days. THREE. TO. FIVE. DAYS. Of can't get out of bed, can't stand the light, can't stand any sounds. Of being violently ill whenever I tried to keep anything other than water down. And on the days that I don't have a migraine, chances are I have a headache, or the lingering after effects of a migraine. Its gotten to the point where I had to get FMLA so that I wouldn't lose my job. Where my life is being ruled by the headaches and the pain. I can honestly only remember 2 days in the last 3 months that I have not had head pain of some kind. 2 days.

And so, as a last ditch effort, I agreed to be put on Topamax. Which, on the one hand, has been hailed as a wonder drug for migraines. Its not a drug to get rid of them once they occur, but rather a preventative one. I'll be taking it every day, and if I am very lucky, it will lessen the frequency and severity. The sucess stories are amazing, people who were in much worse straits than I, and they haven't had migraines in months, or even years. Or if they do have them, its one every 6 months/9 months/some other long period of time. Not every day. Not every week.

But there are some serious, and not so cool side effects. Numbness and tingling in the arms and legs, increased risk for kidney stones and other kidney issues, memory issues, aphasia... apparently I will soon be swearing off of soda as it causes carbonated beverages to taste metallic and flat. And those are just the most common ones, that pretty much you are guaranteed to have.

Oh, and did I mention the part where it was originally designed as an anticonvulsant, and just recently got approved for treatment of migraines? So if it doesn't work or the side effects are too severe, I can't just stop it cold turkey because if I do, then chances are I will have a seizure?

But to not have to live with chronic, debilitating pain...

I start out at 25mg tonight, and I'll take that every night for a week. Then 50mg for a week and finally 75mg the week after that for about a month. That should give us a clear idea if it is going to make a difference or not.

So please God, let this work for me. I'll put up with the side effects and be happy if you can just give me my life back. Please.


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