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How can I forget so easily?

Even though I have found that prednisone works like a miracle drug for me and takes away my migraines and headaches for the number of days, the aftermath is not so much fun.  It is as if the week of freedom makes me completely forget about what it’s like to have migraines, what the symptoms are leading up to the migraine, what happens to me during the migraine and especially the day following the migraine.  This week came as if it was a complete surprise to me.  Every time I have gone on prednisone I have had a really bad week following, so should have known, but it was nowhere in my memory as I drudged through the week.IMG_7959

Luckily I had enough medication to get me through Monday, which was spent all day in the Pediatric ER at Sparrow.  8 hours of sitting, waiting, trying to make Gideon comfortable, dealing with fever, puking, pain.  It was a good reminder of what my friends and family have done for me over the past year.  And I was very thankful that my migraine had not returned yet.  But it was the last day of the prednisone…so now I just had to wait for the head pain and migraine to come again.
12742637_1745763652304281_8267423894534451792_nI didn’t have to wait long.  Tuesday morning I awoke with the beginnings of a migraine and the regular head pain had returned.  By the end of the day the migraine had kicked in full gear, so I took a triptan, which helped me get through the day…but I was woken up at various points in the night with the pain and then remained in bed all of Wed and Thurs. The pain was almost unbearable at times.  This happens when both the migraine and the new daily persistent headache are both competing for top spot on my pain scale.  I got a lot of use out of my IceKap and I even brought out the eye patch I bough in case it might help with the severe light sensitivity I get during the bad migraines.  I spent a good deal of time sleeping, but I also watched a good deal of NCIS on my right side with my right eye close and one ear plug in my left ear.  This minimized sound, brightness and business and allows me to block out the pain for periods of time.  This migraine also brought on a great deal of jaw pain and so I pulled out my bite guard…it was as if I had to pull everything out of my aresanol to deal with this big whopping migraine.

I had already decided I would take meds on Friday morning to help with the pain if it remained and it did.  So I took my migraine cocktail (Toradol, Zofran and Benedryl) and a triptan for good measure and went back to sleep for 4 more hours.  The rest of the day I thought I was feeling drugged and then remembered the postdrome symptoms and I was smack dab in the middle of them.  How could one week of relief make me forget how all of this works.

When I woke up Saturday (today) I felt great and I took Gideon to swim, went to CVS and to QD to get our after swim donuts (and milk and orange juice).  When I got home I asked if everyone wanted to go into town later because I was feeling great, but I just needed a nap).  Again how could I forget what 4 days of solitude, tucked away in my dark and quiet room does to me…It makes me fatigue easily and makes dealing with chaotic situations not so well.  But I had forgotten all of that and we headed into town.  After doing a return at Kohl’s and doing some shopping, I was whipped and couldn’t figure out why.  By the time we left the store I was so irritable because the boys were being boys (not even being bad, just noisy and busy: chaotic).  We had planned on going out to eat and just going inside the restaurant kicked up my anxiety a notch that when I came back to the car I had to put ear plugs in and ended up having to keep them in the entire evening.  By the time we were done eating, there was no way I was going to be able to go grocery shopping too.  How could I forget all of this during a one week of reprieve??  It is beyond me!  But thankfully I am on the flip side of that migraine and I will take it easy tomorrow in the hopes that it will keep another migraine from coming on so quickly as it tends to do these days.

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Postdrome and the ER again

1/24/16 Sunday was a day of feeling nauseous, feeling groggy and just an overall day of feeling gross.  Head pain was dull all day, but that’s because it was overshadowed by everything else.  I couldn’t sleep the night before due to feeling so well from the shot of Nubain.  So that didn’t help.  Trying to get myself re-hydrated and eating again was my main goal of the day.  And then to get some sleep.  I went to bed at 10:30 pm.

1/25/16 I woke today feeling refreshed was a wonderful way to wake up, since I had woken with severe head pain for the previous week.  I had a couple of hours this morning when I felt relatively good, but then fatigue came on quickly so I decided to take a nap.  But before my nap I decided to turn the vibrate on my phone off, so that when I have it in silent mode it doesn’t vibrate either.  Of all days to do this!  I got 4 phone calls that I really should have gotten.

The calls were about Josiah…he had injured his thumb and needed to go the ER.  Luckily Dan answered the phone.  And then he had the brilliant idea of using “Find my iPhone” which makes a sound no matter what setting you have it on.  Which finally woke me up and heading in to the ER to find out what the verdict was on Josiah’s thumb.  Broken!  My boys…just can’t keep themselves safe!

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What is a Migraine, What are the 4 stages, My Experience

Definitions and Stage descriptions from the Mayo Clinic Website

What is a MIGRAINE

A migraine headache can cause intense throbbing or a pulsing sensation in one area of the head and is commonly accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.  Migraine attacks can cause significant pain for hours to days and be so severe that all you can think about is finding a dark, quiet place to lie down.  Some migraines are preceded or accompanied by sensory warning symptoms (aura), such as flashes of light, blind spots, or tingling in your arm or leg.  Medications can help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. If treatment hasn’t worked for you in the past, talk to your doctor about trying a different migraine headache medication. The right medicines, combined with self-help remedies and lifestyle changes, may make a big difference.

Symptoms: migraine headaches often begin in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood. Migraines may progress through four stages, including prodrome, aura, headache and postdrome, though you may not experience all the stages.

Stages of a Migraine

1. Prodrome: One or two days before a migraine, you may notice subtle changes that signify an oncoming migraine, including:

  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Food cravings
  • Hyperactivity
  • Irritability
  • Neck stiffness
  • Uncontrollable yawning

2. Aura: Aura may occur before or during migraine headaches. Auras are nervous system symptoms that are usually visual disturbances, such as flashes of light. Sometimes auras can also be touching sensations (sensory), movement (motor) or speech (verbal) disturbances. Most people experience migraine headaches without aura. Each of these symptoms usually begins gradually, builds up over several minutes, and then commonly lasts for 20 to 60 minutes. Examples of aura include:

  • Visual phenomena, such as seeing various shapes, bright spots or flashes of light
  • Vision loss
  • Pins and needles sensations in an arm or leg
  • Speech or language problems (aphasia)

Less commonly, an aura may be associated with limb weakness (hemiplegic migraine).

3. Attack: When untreated, a migraine usually lasts from four to 72 hours, but the frequency with which headaches occur varies from person to person. You may have migraines several times a month or much less often. During a migraine, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Pain on one side or both sides of your head
  • Pain that has a pulsating, throbbing quality
  • Sensitivity to light, sounds and sometimes smells
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Lightheadedness, sometimes followed by fainting

4. Postdrome: The final phase, known as postdrome, occurs after a migraine attack. During this time you may feel drained and washed out, though some people report feeling mildly euphoric.

My Experience

Stage one (prodome): Symptoms that I have come to relate to an oncoming migraine include: Hyperactivity, Irritability, Neck stiffness and Uncontrollable yawning.  And now that I think about it I think that constipation  might also happen, but will have to track that maybe.  Any indicator that I need to prepare for a migraine are helpful for both my mental status and for my family.  It helps them prepare for the days ahead if I can tell them I believe a migraine is coming.

Stage two (Aura): I only experience the aura (flashing lights for me) once in a while and it is usually during a really bad migraine.

Stage three (Attack): My migraines last 72 hours and can occur as many as 20 days or more a month (making them chronic migraines).  In general I have stabbing pain behind my right eye brow…but sometimes can occur on my left or both sides at the same time.  During a migraine I always experience, sensitivity to light (photophobia), sensitivity to sound (phonophobia) and a crazy heightened sense of smell.  I often experience nausea (luckily I don’t have vomitting, blurred vision once in a while and lightheadedness.

April 11th

Stage four (postdrome): I am extremely fatigued but have very little head pain.  Although, because I also suffer from New Daily Persistant Headaches (see the next post), I usually have head pain across my forehead, but it tends to be mild.  I also feel a sense of heavy fog that effects me cognitively (or a mild case of aphasia: Aphasia is a condition that robs you of the ability to communicate. It can affect your ability to speak, write and understand language, both verbal and written.) ; for me I can’t find words, get right and left mixed up, use wrong words…have trouble communicating.  It can last a full 24 hours or just for a few hours in the morning before I really get up and around and moving.

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Migraine Hangover/Postdrome

The day following a severe or even a  mild migraine attack can be just as debilitating as the attack itself.

“The postdrome phase is the last phase of a migraine headache. It is usually preceded by the prodromal phase, the aura phase and the headache phase. The postdrome phase comes after the pain of a migraine has worn off. It leaves the individual with a feeling a little like a hangover.

People often don’t realize that the hangover is an official phase of a migraine, called the postdrome. Many migraine sufferers, especially women, do experience a postdrome after the headache, and it can last for around 24 hours.”

This is the period I am in now.  The fog!  And because I also suffer from NPDH, so I don’t get the full pain relief that others will feel.  Just hoping that a migraine doesn’t decide to take hold again tomorrow.  Sometimes that happens…back to back!  These times are the hardest on my family and on me of course. But I can always hope that I get a day or two of “relief” at least from migraine pain.

Oct 12th