Friday, August 19, 2016

Let the Migraine Healing Begin!

I have written recently about the episode of sudden hearing loss (and prednisone treatment) that has consumed much of my summer with health challenges. Today, I learned that my original hearing loss was a migraine. And that once again, I am suffering from chronic migraines. And the best part is - I can turn this around. Let the healing journey begin!

I was fortunate enough (I still don't know how it happened) to be able to meet with one of the few headache specialists in a 6-state area. Literally, I got in the next day (most people wait months). I suppose they were concerned about my symptoms!

Here's lesson number 1: Many say that they specialize in migraines, but this woman is the ONLY doctor actually educated specifically to manage them. Here is her information:

The UW Headache Clinic engages in holistic care. Having worked in care coordination for my entire career prior to the TBI 5 years ago, I must say that I was beyond impressed. At the same time, I felt sad that I didn't know about this resource. In fact, I thought that I was seeing a headache/migraine specialist for the last few years - although he knew headaches, and he did good work for me, he wasn't specialized in headache medicine.

That's the first "aha" I wanted to write about - not all neurologists are created equal. In neurology, they have their specialties. I have one Neuro-endocrinologist, a Neurotologist, a Neurologist that is nationally recognized for Dysautonomia (the only one on the West Coast) and now a Neurologist specializing in Migraines. All of these docs know each other and work together - and it's essential that they each weigh in because all of the conditions are inter-related!

So here's Lesson #2: It turns out that the brain suffers a massive "loss of energy" after a concussion. People start to experience chronic headaches along with the symptoms of dysautonomia. I will write more about what I learn on this journey after I read the book that was suggested. Needless to say, it's complicated and I am getting a crash course in some complex neurology.

In the mean time, I will share this - migraines and dysautonomia can be turned around. The problem is that so few doctors know what to do about it! I feel compelled to write about my experience on this road so that others can learn....because not everyone has access to this information. Note that this is only my experience - it's not medical take what you like and leave the rest!

OK, here's the last Lesson from today...
Lesson #3: Feverfew! OMG this is so simple! I woke up with a migraine. Even with vicoden and valium, it didn't totally relieve the symptoms. The headache doc said I needed to start taking Feverfew and Magnesium three times a day. Within a couple of hours of taking the first dose today, the migraine was GONE. I don't mean slightly gone, I mean clarity like what I would get after taking an immitrex (which is not an option for me right now due to co-occurring heart rate issues from dysautonomia). You can purchase Feverfew on Amazon or at the local nutrition store. Amazing. Easy. Worth it.

I will write more as I discover more. But today begins a journey that feels almost like a new birth. I am swollen from the prednisone and weaning off of it. The side effects are terrible as I attempt to peel away the steroid from a system that already struggles to find balance (that's dysautonomia). But, I always come back stronger. I already do acupuncture, cranial sacral, horse therapy, art therapy, and meditation (all while studying theology) to manage all of this. Now, though, I have a new perspective...and I am thrilled to integrate it into my picture of wellness. Ultimately, everything I do is in service of God, helping those living outside, and finding my theological voice in the wake of the injury that changed my life.

Stay tuned for more information about the healing journey, along with art, theology, and all of the other things that I enjoy writing about!


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