I have found some things that help with migraines and I haven’t mentioned them here because they are just not things I am comfortable talking about. But if I can help one person have one less migraine it really feels like I should, despite my discomfort.
I can’t imagine there is anyone who knows migraines more intimately. I have had migraines that last four weeks without a break, ones that leave me laying on cold tile for days not being able to function at all, more commonly weeks, that turn into years where I have 3-5 migraines, with meds that work part way or temporarily, so I can function some but am just miserable while I function.
I have actually found something that works for me, or at least I think it does, its only been a couple of months, but so far great results. Its called CBD pills. Its a form of medical marijuana that doesn’t have any THC in it so it doesn’t get you high. This is important to me as people in my family have problems throwing their life way and I have always blamed the pot and I have very negative ideas about pot, so I personally would never want to smoke it. Its also important because I hate to be out of control of my body, my illness makes me out of control enough, so the idea of my mind or body out of control intentionally doesn’t sound like fun. I took the pills for a month, and within a week I went to just one migraine a week and a rather mild one. After the first month it went to less than a migraine a week and I went two months without any severe migraines. That hasn’t happened in well over a decade. Then I ran out of money and couldn’t afford the pills for a week (they are pricey at over $10 a pill that needs to be taken daily). I wound up with a four day migraine, that was responsive to medication but only for a few hours at a time. I know that isn’t enough time to conduct a scientific study but it certainly looks like its working to me. The doctor who prescribed it to me says its a preventative medication and doesn’t work for a current migraine but taken every night will lesson the occurrence of migraines. According to him you can take it any way so if you don’t mind the effects of marijuana or if you go to sleep right after you take it you can choose to take another form. I have also started using Indicream, which is a cream with medical marijuana in it, either with or without the thc, topically for my arthritis with good results.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention another migraine treatment that I found over the year that helps. I found this out from my 90 year old great aunt of all people. This is often just temporary relieve, but when you are feeling miserable temporary is good enough. I am sure that I don’t need to go into this in detail, (or at least I hope I don’t) but its an orgasm. I know you don’t want to have sex when in a lot of pain so go ahead and just make it about the orgasm and pain relief.
(thank you Chris, for encouraging me to share with your post)
Today I woke with one of the worst migraines of my life. I did try some st johns wort for the first time last night and started some herbal hormone balances two days ago but since it was my third day waking with a migraine I not ready to blame either of those. It’s currently red which is not quite drivable but will follow my doctors advice of chasing the Meds down with lots of coffee and see I I can get it down to an ugly orange so I can get to work. Down with migraines everywhere.
A few days ago I said I had to blog about how good I was feeling. The problem is, when I am feeling really good I am too busy to blog. I am working, planning parties and events and hosting them, going out with friends, taking morning walks, going to meetings. That is how the majority of my last few weeks have been. A few migraines thrown in, a night of over doing it so I could hardly walk, but mostly its been great.
Its only when my pain gets really bad that I actually take the time to blog. I woke at 3ish am with a mean red migraine that bordered on violet. After two excedrine and a few hours its now just red. I recently took an imetrix and can feel the poison of it coursing through my body. I absolutely hate imitrex but will take it when I have to teach on a mean red day. Got to be 100% for the babies. I can’t take the imitrex shots at all but even the pill hurts. I can literally feel in as pain going through my veins, in every finger and limb, across my cheeks. I suppose I should welcome that pain as it means the meds are probably going to work, but I don’t. I dread it. I don’t know if this is a common reaction to Imitrex of if just my sensitivity to absolutely everything makes me feel the pain that more intensely.
I am going to try to focus on how well I will be feeling for my class this afternoon, and think about how tomorrow I am going to wake up feeling perfect and ready for a walk with my new friend in Fallbrook.
Well it seems like the remicade is working, but I have been having such a flare up its leaving me a bit beat up and depressed. I am dreaming of the days I used to hike a few times a week. Just small hikes, under three miles all, but manageable, even on pain days. These days, driving to work, and walking out the door seem almost more pain wise than a person should be able to handle. At the same time the migraines are also hitting me nearly daily again, giving more credence to the theory that they are both related.
I know my weight isn’t helping the pain, no one in pain needs to carry around an extra 50 lbs, but pain doesn’t help me manage a compulsive eating disorder either. It was easy to hide an eating disorder when my days consisted of 5 to 7 hours of physical activity every day, but now when getting dressed in the morning takes half my energy for the day, exercise seems like a luxury I may never have again. I actually feel like I am mostly in control of the eating issues lately, as many meals out I split, and I have mostly avoided mindless empty calorie snacking, and make better dietary choices for the most part. I bring up the eating disorder because I know I am at risk from just moving from one to the other. When I see myself in the mirror lately, my first thought is I have to start purging. How else can I get this weight off? I have tried expensive diet plans in the past, and just self control and they just leave me depressed and any weight I lose gets put right back on as soon as I have to take steroids. The dietary lifestyle choices I have made obviously aren’t enough. I know bulimia isn’t an answer to anything, but its something I have struggled on and off with when I get very stressed out in the past. Maybe its just a way to have control somehow over something. Amazingly enough I seem to have lost my appetite for the first time in my life these past few days, so maybe that will all take care of itself with some luck.
I have been trying to manage the pain and depression productively. Painting it out like I do migraines, and oddly enough losing myself in data entry with the books for work seems to give me someplace to focus except for the pain. I have been taking Aleve daily, and I am grateful my doctor doesn’t through pain pills at the arthritis because I would be tempted to numb my mind and take them. I have some friends who smoke or eat pot for pain who have been trying to convince me. But I don’t think I can every get over my issues with pot. I have seen it ruin too many peoples lives and destroy all their ambition. I know taking it for pain is different,and I am all for legalizing it for any purpose, but I have have a repulsion towards it I don’t think I can get over.
On the plus side my paintings have taken a more creative expressive turn. Are they any good? It’s nearly impossible for an artist to see these things objectively, especially when they are new borns. But they are good for me, pure expression and something to focus on besides pain.
Tuesday I stayed in bed until late afternoon with a migraine. Took Maxalt, Excedrine Migraine, and topped it off with an almost illegal amount of caffeine. Since then I have been drinking a mild but constant amount of caffeine to keep it at bay. It started to hit hard about bedtime last night, and by almost 3 am I was wandering the house for a quiet place to sleep, and wound up with the pain keeping me awake anyways. I try not to take meds or caffeine at night because they both tend to keep me awake, but after an hour I took a Maxalt anyways.
I have read that many women stop getting their migraines during or after menopause. That will give me a hopeful reason to not mind the early signs of it I have been experiencing the last few months. I would rather be awaken by night sweats than stabbing pain any day. My great aunt though, who is 90 I believe, still suffers almost daily migraines to this day. I am sure she wishes menopause had taken care of her migraines.
Still it seems I have less these days. There is a chance the migraines are made worse by the arthritis, and in that case the Remicade could be helping.
Some non-medical things I have found to help migraines if they aren’t full blown red yet…eating, coffee, distractions such as some boring tv show on low, (I think the low sound helps keep other sounds like my own breathing, or the dog walking down the hall from making me want to hurt someone), and forgive me for saying so grandma, but it might help someone else, orgasms. (thanks cousins for sharing that family secret with me) IF they are fullblown, completely silence and darkness are about all I can survive. My house being almost always bustling, I find many of those things rare if not impossible, as alone time is at a premium, and quiet is not something that happens, but I almost always have someone who will bring me a cup of coffee in bed and who will turn off sesame street for me when I fall asleep to it.
After a few days of feeling recovered from my surgery and not feeling too bad other wise I woke up yesterday morning feeling tired but ready for my full day at Robert Burridge’s workshop. So focus on the workshop I don’t recall feeling tired or achy, although after about 1 pm, I started getting really clumsy. I kept tripping on nothing, and even falling down here and there, dropping paint brushes and other things. By the time four o’clock came around I was shaky and oh so tired. Driving home I realized how much my body was aching head to toe. When I was a few miles from home I just felt like giving up. I felt like pulling over on the side of the road and crying. It was effort to keep my focus on the road and keep my hands working on the steering wheel.
When I got home I knew I had work to do and no energy left to do it with. I felt that if I laid down for a moment that would be it and I wouldn’t get back up, at least for the night. So I rallied my energy and strength and worked as hard as I could to finish packing my work bag for tonight, as well as some additional stuff for Burridges workshop. Luckily Tim came home and finished the packing for me and loaded the car. By that time I couldn’t make it upstairs myself and actually needed help getting into bed. I can’t remember the last time my psoriatic arthritis hurt so badly. I took some medication and got a massage, and just lay there half asleep for a couple of hours. My family all then joined me for dinner in bed, which was a real sweet gesture. I feel asleep shortly after dinner and woke up with a migraine but feeling a world better.
Today is going to be busier than yesterday, I will be leaving the workshop early to go teach my own art classes. I must remember to drink plenty of coffee today to assist the adrenaline I will have from the excitement of seeing some of my favorite little ones in class today.
It will be a hard busy week physically, but I am sure once I get through it, it will be great for my spirit, knowing I can do what feels to be absolutely impossible; And yet, its less than most people do everyday. Its very clear to me that if I had to depend on my own income I wouldn’t have the luxury of working part time, nor the health for a full time job, but I would be one of those people some of my friends look down on, who must live on a monthly disability welfare payment. I would say to those people who judge others as weak or lazy or parasites that it is hard enough to live a life with a chronic illness but being judged by others can increase the depression and feelings of worthlessness and shame that we always deal with daily.
Third day now waking up with a migraine but one dose of meds seems to clear them right away. Getting around now after the gallbladder surgery and most the pain from that is gone. I have been going through a lot of stress on a personal level and I noticed a spike in arthritic pain twice after talking to a stressful person yesterday. I have never noticed this correlation before and maybe its just a coincidence, but something non-the-less to pay attention to. It was also a raining day and I am certain that contributes to my pain.
Raining today but feeling just fine this morning, which is good, I have work to do before I go visit my grandmother.