Sunday, December 28, 2008

From Hell to Hope

Well, it has been quite a difficult four months. These months have been nothing short of Hell on earth. But, I survived them. And, I am here.

In August, I decided to stop taking Lyrica (an anti-convulsant) because we were unable to increase the dose to a helpful level without also increasing undesirable side effects. As I stopped the Lyrica, I started Zonegran, another anti-convulsant. This medication gave me severe anxiety and panic attacks. It took three weeks to realize the anxiety and panic were medication-induced.

I decided to take a medication holiday because of the awful fear Zonegran gave me of trying a new medication. Even though I was still taking Verapamil (which helps my NDPH), the Migraines came back with greater intensity and greater frequency: daily. In late September, I started a very low-dose of Keppra, an anti-convulsant with a low-side effect profile. For other conditions, I have found that very low doses of medications can help resolve my condition, whereas higher dose make it worse or create other unwanted horrid side effects.

However, it seems that my medication holiday was too long, and I ended up hosptialized in mid October for seven days due to the intensity of my Migraines. (More to come on my hospitalization.) Both the Verapamil and Keppra doses were increased. Rescue medciations were changed.

Another month went by, I still had daily Migraines, so the Keppra dose was again increased. Meanwhile, at the beginning of December, I had another round of Cervical Facet Blocks, Occipital Nerve Blocks and C2 root nerve block mainly for my neck, but also a hope they might affect my Migraines as well. (More to come on these blocks.)

Finally, two weeks before Christmas, the intensity started to decrease enough so I can leave my bed and start gradually increasing my stamina. I forced myself to start walking on the treadmill despite my level of pain. If I could get out of bed, I would walk.

My husband and I spent five days over Christmas in Iowa visiting his parents. For a few days, my daily NDPH pain was down to 1 out of 10! Hurrah! And Migraine frequency has significantly decreased from daily to a third of that.

Today, December 28th, 2008, I look back at the last four months and wonder how I got through. Many days, I wanted to end the pain by any means possible. I was done. I was past done. I was burnt to a crisp. I had no will. I had no endurance.

But, I can now look back and say, if it gets that bad again, I got through it before and I can do it again. During the severe parts, I thought I didn't care to live until when it got better. Now, I am so glad I was sustained.

I will enjoy every moment that is a pain-decreased day. And when the pain-filled ones come back, I will remember today.


  1. Oh Kelly, the pain sounds horrific! I am so glad that it has eased up. Sounds like you may have found the right combination of medications.

    We see patients with migraines in the ER, but until this post I had never heard of the need for a week of hospitalization.

    Hang in there. You are strong, and it is good to see that you give yourself credit for that! : )

  2. Kelly, I am SO sorry to hear you were having such a terribly rough time. I'm so very glad to see that you're doing better now.

    Like Kim said, so many people don't understand the severity Migraine can reach. As Migraineurs we often try to cover that part up until it's just too much to bear. Hopefully your post will touch others with understanding they may not have had before.

    Oh, I hope you are having better luck with the new meds...

    Here's to hanging on with fingernails...

    visit me at my WEGO Health Migraine blog

  3. Thanks Kim and Ellen for your comments.

    Kim, as for my hospitalization, I was hospitalized in a hospital that has a headache unit where the whole floor was devoted to headache/Migraine sufferers. I hope to write more about it soon. Keep your eyes peeled. :)