Thursday, February 17, 2011

Change Change Change

As I mentioned in my last post What Happened to Me in 2010?, for 8 months in 2010, I had incredible improvement in the frequency and severity of my Migraines and additionally the daily headache I had had since October 2005 had ceased. Unfortunately all that has changed.

From October to mid-November 2010, I had a 3 week spell without one Migraine! This had been the longest I had gone without a Migraine since they started in 2005. So, when I got my menstrual Migraines mid-November, I expected that once they were over, I would be Migraine-free again. But that ended up not being the case. Triggers that had not bothered me for months were triggering Migraines almost daily. At first I thought it was just a fluke. But come early December, when I was not improving. I called my headache specialist, Dr. Robbins, and he increased the dosage of my Migraine preventative, Gabitril. A week later after no improvement, he had me come into the office for a round of Botox and further increased my Gabitril dosage. Gabitril had quit on me in 2009 after 5 months of moderate improvement and  Dr. Robbins had warned me that this may be happening again. Despite the Botox and the significant increase in my Gabitril dosage, I did not see any improvement.  My Migraines quickly became constant and severe.

When I saw Dr. Robbins mid-January 2011, we tried another round of Botox. However, we discontinued the Gabitril. The plan was that after a few weeks break, my body would "forget" the medication and I would be able to retry it with the same results. At my February 7th appointment, I received more Botox and we decided to restart the Gabitril. Currently I am taking the dose that I had so much success with last year, but I have only been at this dose for a week. I have a lot of hope that I will find success with the Gabitril again. Last year when someone asked me what had caused such significant improvement, I would say that I thought it was a combination of all I was doing: medications, supplements, Botox, food changes and exercise. I still believe that all those things were important puzzle pieces in my improvement, but obviously Gabitril was the glue.
The decline of my Migraine status has been quite disheartening. However, I have been diagnosed with another chronic illness that has been wrecking just as much if not more havoc than the Migraines have. I will share about this new adventure in my next post.

From what I have experienced this last year, I want to share with you, dear readers, a valuable lesson I learned. When I had such success with my Migraines for eight months in 2010, I thought I had turned a corner and was home free. I finally had a new life with better Migraine management. My life was not Migraine free and did not resemble my life pre-disabling Migraines in the least. However, my life was finally not driven by Migraine. It was a life I had dreamed of when my Migraines were debilitating. Even though I knew it was a possibility that the Gabitril would quit again, I felt as though I had all those other things in place that would keep me from falling back to the debilitating/disabling place that I was in for so many years prior. I believed that dealing with disabling Migraines would be part of my past and never my future. The shock and grief of being here again is quite difficult. Last night, in Migraine Chat , which occurs every Wednesday at 6pm CST hosted by Diana Lee at Somebody Heal Me, the word acceptance was brought up. Before I had the eight months of improvement in 2010, I had come to a place of acceptance of the role Migraines had in my life, but now I am realizing that I have to do it all over again. I have to accept that they will be something I will always have to deal with at some level. I will never get away from them. Sometimes I will have less limitations and sometimes I will have more.. And I believe once I am finally able to accept this, I will be able to move through the grief and fully embrace what God has placed before me.

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