Friday, June 6, 2014

Migraines Suck!

Prior to getting pregnant and having Alexa, I suffered from chronic migraine. For years, my life was a living hell. I took more preventative medications than I care to remember (15 pills every day) and had a 3-tiered migraine attack plan. I took morphine based drugs regularly to manage the pain. I was not okay.

When I first moved to Austria, as an au pair, the family doctor I saw thought it was INSANE that I was on so many medications, but because I was only going to be in Austria for a year, he agreed to continue prescribing me the same medications. After the first six months, he convinced me to try and wean down on some of the medications. I agreed to give it a try. Getting hooked on all of those pills had been easy, coming off of them was a nightmare I never wish to relive again. After only six months in Austria, my migraines had substantially decreased. Coming off of the meds, as hard as it was, proved to be a good thing. I returned to the US a year later and my migraines came right back. It was clear that my migraines were not only triggered by foods I ate, beverages I drank, or the environment that I lived in. My activity level had increased in Austria. I was eating much healthier foods and I was exposed to a different variety of pollens. It was clearly better for me in Austria.

When I moved back to Austria in 2010, I was only on one migraine medication - Topamax - once a day to prevent the migraines. My neurologist and I discussed that I would have to be off of the medication for a full six months before I could even consider trying to get pregnant. The choice to come off of the medication was very scary for me. I had already weaned off of migraine meds once before and it had been terrifying. It took me two years to finally have the courage to try weaning off of them completely. This time wasn't as bad and I had the prospect of a baby to look forward to. Seven months later I was pregnant with Alexa. During my pregnancy I had three migraines. This is nothing compared to how often I would get them before. I think I maybe had one headache, not a migraine, after having Alexa while I was nursing. It was amazing!

On May 23, 2014, Alexa nursed for the last time. On May 24th, I woke up with a headache and have had a migraine ever since. The first three days were a consistent, blinding migraine. I had severe light and smell sensitivity. My ears were throbbing. I could hear my hair moving when I was sitting still. The nightmare had returned. On the fourth day, I took some Tonopan to stop the pain. It made me groggy, tired and didn't take away the pain. I didn't want to be like that. I couldn't be like that and still take care of Alexa. However, I can't have a migraine every day and take care of her either. I've taken Tonopan almost every day since the fourth day. On a lucky day, I will wake up with the headache, it will go away sometime before lunch and not come back until around dinner time. On a very lucky day it holds off until bed time. It always comes back though.

On June 1st I started a low histamine diet to try and figure out what I might be eating that could possibly be triggering my migraines. On June 3rd, I added an iron supplement to that diet. I still have a headache, but I am really, really hoping that it is going to go away soon. I do not want to be dependent on pills again.

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