Is It Working?
When my loving, good-natured friends and family ask me about my healthcare regimen, I try to remain energetic as I list the things I ingest each day and the activities I try to do to keep the migraine attacks at bay.
Vitamin B2 and magnesium
I take 400 mg of vitamin B2 each day - that's about 23,000 times the recommended daily allowance. Ha! I read a study online linking that daily intake over a long period of time to an overall decrease in migraine frequency. I started taking the vitamins each day not because of this Googled study but because of my neurologist's very strong suggestion - the search is what came after his suggestion.
Along with the B2 is a capsule of magnesium — 500 mg of it, to be exact.
Other oral regimens
Added to that daily list of fun things to swallow?
- 300 mg of Zonegran/zonisamide (which is now finally generic, I suppose, for the price went down from $100 for a month's supply to about $40 at my local grocery store pharmacy)
- Omega-3 (fish oil)
- 20 mg amitriptyline (Elavil), which I was on long ago, got off, and just recently re-started
Cranial sacral therapist
I go to my massage therapist/cranial sacral therapist whenever I can afford it. Unfortunately, this hasn't been too frequent of late. For my last few appointments, she hasn't done much cranial-sacral therapy because my visits have been right after a migraine headache, and she is unwilling to manipulate my cranium at all and possibly trigger another attack. (Thank you, wonderful woman.)
Of course, exercise is always recommended, as long as I don't overexert or overheat myself and get a migraine that way. I definitely don't get as much exercise as I should; this I know.
Minimizing exposure to triggers is something I've gotten quite deft at; managing stress is another lifelong issue I'll never master, but I am coping pretty well (for me).
So, is my migraine regimen working?
So back to the subject of this entry. Back to the question that I am always faced with as soon as I tell my friends and family about my lifestyle changes, my new (or old) medications, that new trick I read about in a medical journal:
"So, is it working?"
How can I tell what's working?
I feel like I don't know what it is that's doing the trick - or not doing the trick - anymore. I have so many elements in my life, so many chemicals running through my system. How am I to tell which one is the one that's working? Is it their complicated, complex relationship with one another that does the trick, at least most of the time? If I removed just one of the pills each day, would the whole system come grinding to a halt and leave me in pain, or would I feel even better than I do now?
Have I gotten better on my own?
I am not in a well-controlled scientific study. I cannot aptly determine which medication is the one that's working best for me. Part of me thinks that my body has gotten a bit better on its own over the years and that I could cut out all this expensive treatment and get just as many awful migraines as I do now - and have just as many gloriously pain-free days as I do now.
What am I sure of?
But most of me is pretty sure the medication's helping, that I need the neurologist's words, reassurance, and comfort, that this disease is certainly way bigger than me, and that I may never know what it is, exactly that's working - or how well it's working at all.
I don't know
So my answer to family and friends remains the same. I don't know. I just don't know.
Were this a personal essay, one with sparks of humor and hints of charming self-deprecation, my answer would provide you with an amazing conclusion that would make sense of it all.
But it's just not the case here. I just don't know what's helping, and I'm too scared to take something away to find out if it hurts.
When was your last migraine check-up?