Estrogen, Supplements, Calcitonin and Starting Over in 2012

I try never to set myself up to fail. When you have chronic Migraine there is enough struggling and failure going on as it is. I am terrible at New Year resolutions, so I never make them.

I do give myself reachable goals however. Sometimes it’s at the New Year, sometimes it happens at the change of seasons or other milestone. This year I’m determined to make things happen!

TMI warning:

Approximately 3 years ago I was so desperate for improvement — any kind of improvement — in my chronic Migraine status, that I was literally willing to do anything to make it happen. I have had my ovaries removed, and the estrogen patch that initially helped my Migraine attacks eventually began to trigger them. Additionally, I was diagnosed with another headache disorder called Secondary (caused by something else) Intracranial Hypertension (IH) and told by a new doctor that I needed to eliminate the progesterone and the dietary supplements I had been taking. I suffer malabsorption and subsequent serious deficiencies so this made me nervous, but I wanted to be a compliant patient and did as I was told.

I continued to try to find a doctor while continuing my care with my primary care physician to get me by. I weaned myself off the Lyrica that did very little to help me, gave me kidney stones, increased aphasia attacks and had me hog-tied to a doctor every 2 months for prescriptions. I played a hunch that the Parkinson’s medicine I was taking for my Dystonia wasn’t as necessary as they had once thought and I weaned myself off that as well. Since it was known to contribute to IH too, I had hopes that I would soon be feeling better.

To my relief, the symptoms of IH vanished, and my Migraines became less frequent and severe. My severe auras became more an oddity than the rule. I started to look at life with hope again.

In the meantime, my osteoporosis began to respond to the lack of estrogen I depended on to keep my bone density where it was (which was minimal), and began to get worse despite remaining active. My Sjogren’s Syndrome resulted in severe personal dryness issues that were refractory to treatment. I began to suffer continual urinary tract and kidney infections as well as fissures, and kidney stones that required intervention — all which would respond to estrogen if I could just find a way to make it work for me instead of against me. My face aged 10 years in 2, my hair and eyelashes thinned as did my skin, and although I never considered myself an especially vain person, I felt bad that I couldn’t take the estrogen that would at least make me look better on the outside than I felt on the inside.

My vitamin D levels hit the basement again, and my inability to spend time in the sun more than 15 minutes a day only made it possible for me to bring my levels out of the danger zone for the summer.

My inflammation markers went high again (this is a serious problem in autoimmune patients like me) and my doctors urged me to consider retrying fish oil to help.

In the meantime, my Migraines slowly became more frequent again while remaining refractory to most of the few treatments I was able to try.

A discussion with my remaining doctors put us at an agreement to retry the estrogen, vitamin D and fish oil — with a couple minor changes. The fish oil would be changed to more bio-available krill oil, and the vitamin D would be changed to more bio-available D3 at much lower, more frequent doses. The estrogen would now be taken in the form of a cream that would allow direct application of doses that I could control and build on until I either reached the point where my body reacted sufficiently or I had to stop because of increased Migraine or IH.

If I begin to suffer symptoms of IH again, I have a prescription of Diamox ready to treat it.

Additionally, I was prescribed a calcitonin nasal spray in hopes that it will help my bone density improve without the problems inherent with bisphosphonates I have been on in the past. A potential side effect for this drug is “headache” so I will have to watch out for that as well.

My goal for 2012 is to get back on my estrogen therapy first, then vitamin D, then krill oil, then Calcitonin. It’s important that I try to add back each of these individually and with sufficient time between them that I know what to attribute any side effects to so it can be either adjusted or stopped.

I am a patient person. It may take me months or even a couple of years to get everything back into play. My body is very sensitive and I have many health issues to take into consideration and deal with. The trick with treating Migraine and all my other health issues is patience. In 2012 I’m going to be practicing lots of that!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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