Saturday, August 2, 2008

I've Got A Headache

Now, now now. Get your mind out of the gutter. It's not one of those posts. Some of you know that I've been battling permanent headaches for about 9 years now. Boy aren't they fun!

Nothing like having a headache 24/7/365! After years of popping nine Tylenol and Alleve a day, I finally went and saw a neurologist. After thinking I was addicted to Tylenol and Alleve my doctor weaned me off those and lo and behold after curling up in a painful ball for 2 weeks that hmmmm....maybe it wasn't that doing the trick after all! I was diagnosed with non-aura migraines. Nothing shows up in an MRI and I don't see little black dots or things that are common with migraines. To me, they are just permanent headaches. You go to sleep with them, you wake up with them and they are there all day. Sometimes it's just a dull headache or it could be that I was just so used to it that it was like a little friend hanging out with me, chillin', letting me know they were still there! Other days it was monstrous and the only thing that would alleviate it was a cocktail of Tylenol and Alleve.

About 4 years and two months ago, my doctor put me on Topomax. It doesn't get rid of the headaches, but acts as a preventative. I wanted to take a natural route and try Feverfew, but the side effect to that is that it is also a blood thinner and I already have a problem with that. Every time I give blood, I'm told I need to lower my dosage on my blood thinning medication! :) Yeah, well, I'll just tell my body to get to work and do that for them the next time! I've tried Vitex too. I don't know what's in that herb, but for being a headache preventative that stuff just makes them worse!

My doctor joked with me and asked if I was against using regular medicine and I told him no, but if I could go the natural route, it would be great. Unfortunately, it wasn't going to happen. So, Topomax is now my best friend. It's not a bad drug. The side effects at least aren't as bad as some of the other things that are out on the market. Worst of it was the temporary memory loss. When you can't add 8+5 and have to count on your fingers, it sucks!! That was just at the beginning until my body got used to it, but it was kind of scary there for a bit! Still have problems with that every once in awhile, but most people think I'm a little off anyway, so that's okay.

Another side effect is tingling in my fingers and toes. Although that could be a good thing at times! Not so much anymore, but it still comes and goes. I associate it more now when I start to feel bad. Now everything is going in a cycle. I don't know if it's because I've been on this stuff for so long, but I'm noticing different effects the longer I've been on. Within the past four months I've been nauseous after eating. That's been a total drag. I feel like someone who's been working on a rig. Seven days on, seven days off. Some weeks will be good and then I'll have a bad week and with that, regardless of the preventative, the headaches return. The only thing I can take with this is Ibuprofen. It does help and so does Ginger. Man, that stuff works great! But, it's kind of a bummer when you want to eat, but you know what's going to happen afterwards. Tom has been wonderful through all of this as well. He just knows that I can curl up on him and he can rub my back until I fall asleep or I feel a bit better. Without him, I don't know what I'd do. Talk about being patient.

I've tried weaning myself off the Topomax thinking the headaches have gone. All is good for about a week and then they are back with a vengeance. There's no rhyme or reason why I have them or where they came from. It's just something I deal with.

Now, don't get me wrong, taking the preventative has helped immensely. I go through weeks and months without a headache at all, well except for those womanly times, but other than that, everything is fine and good with the exception of the nausea. Maybe one day, they will just finally go away.

I don't know if there is anyone out there who is or has gone through the same thing, but I know there are probably others out there just like me. At least I know I'm probably not alone going through this. I just hope this isn't passed on to my kids. This is definitely not my idea of a good time!