A Year Ago Today

Last Memorial Day, in tears, I gave up and asked my husband to take me to the E R at one of the local hospitals. I was in Day Four of the worst migraine of my life. I’d missed a cousin’s wedding, my grandmother’s 95th birthday party, and nearly 100 hours out of my life that I could never get back. I knew that just walking through the doors of the ER was going to set us back the cost of a nice vacation, but I couldn’t take it anymore.

My blood pressure, which is usually around 110/70 (even at my weight) was through the roof. I was shaking with pain, and at that point I would have agreed to anything to make it stop. I kept picturing taking a hatchet and cleaving away the left temporal lobe of my brain. That’s how I came to spend Memorial Day of 2011 on a hospital gurney hooked up to the most strangest brew ever ingested by i.v. Toradol, an antipsychotic (save your comments), Benadryl, an antihistamine and Compazine, for nausea.

God only knows how they come with these concoctions. But it worked. It worked after making me so incredibly anxious that I had to stop myself from yanking out the feed and running from the ward. It worked after 90 minutes of steady dripping, which made me have to roll the works with me to the bathroom across the hall. It worked even though the symptoms from the drugs were so disconcerting that I didn’t notice right away that the headache had stopped. (Which would have been immediately apparent with say, morphine.)

Of course, there’d been a long wait before the I.V. Miami Valley Hospital is the area’s chief trauma hospital (and this in a city that seems to have a major hospital every mile or so) and though I’d been quickly put in a dim room with a heated blanket for the chills and ice chips, I’d had to wait nearly two hours while the ER docs patched up some people who’d been brought it from a car accident.  I suppose I understand– for the longest time, the conventional wisdom has been that people don’t die from migraines. They know better now, that people with migraine with aura (as I have) are at a hugely increased risk for stroke. But I guess I wasn’t in the immediate danger of dying as the people who drove their car into a tree.

Eventually, sheepishly I pushed the call button, and when the nurse came I told her I was sorry to bother her, but that it was getting worse. Tears were rolling down my face. She rushed out and lickety-split, there was the good doctor, Harold Guadalupe, angel of mercy, apologizing for having kept me waiting. He told me something very interesting, which was that everything they thought they understood about migraines has been de-bunked in the last couple of years, and that they are starting over from scratch. He ordered the state-of-the-art cocktail, and cautioned that it might make me feel strange.

Later, after I’d been through the wringer and come out the other side clean and new, he wrote me prescriptions for Fioricet and Zofran and sent me home. Word to the wise, Dr. G., they aren’t using Fioricet anymore — it causes rebound headaches. My neurologist was adamant about this– “throw it away,” she counseled, but keep the Zofran. Something in the use of anti-nausea meds increases the effectiveness of other anti-migraine compounds.

So that was a year ago. Since this is Monday, the accounting day, I am pleased to tell you that in the year since I’ve found a neurologist who specializes in migraine headaches, and got some treatment. I also came face to face with myself and where I am in my life and made the decision to change, and here I am now.  Since I’ve started eating better and getting more exercise and taking better care of myself, I have been free of any migraine symptoms. For nearly three months. Even though this is one of the worse times of year for migraines. Yay, me.

This year for Memorial Day, I showed my dog and was not winded, even after running a few hundred yards in 90 degree heat. I enjoyed visiting with friends, I had some lemonade in the shade of a big tree. I laughed and grinned and commiserated . We didn’t do much in terms of winning, but it was a really good day.

A note about goals. I have changed the steps goal to 35,000. It turns out that 40,000  a week was simply not realistic, I was never meeting it. (Well, until today, as it turns out.) So I’m going to try 35,000 and see if that stepping stone in the middle will help me eventually get to 40,000 a week and beyond. 

This week’s tally.

The target number for today is 55. I walked 6125 steps.

Number of pounds to lose this week: 2

Number of pounds lost this week: 5

Cumulative number to have lost by this point: 22

Actual cumulative number lost: 25

Number of steps to have walked: 35,000

Actual number of steps walked: 40,248

Cumulative number to have walked: 335,000

Cumulative number walked: 426,610  (161.2 miles!)

Breakfast yogurt with granola, banana. Lemonade. Lunch was a large chicken burrito (chicken, black beans, pico de gallo, corn salsa, a bit of sour cream and guacamole. Later: half a cup of blueberries and half of an iced coffee.

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2 thoughts on “A Year Ago Today

  1. That sounds horrible – I have a friend who has them to the point of hospital admission – she says that one of the hardest things is that no one seems to ‘get it’ when she tried to describe the pain.

    I am glad this Memorial Day was much better.

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