CGRP Treatment #4
The morning of Wednesday the 28th dawned rainy and chilly. My appointment was earlier this time, which meant that I had to be completely ready to go before taking Zo to school at 8:40 am, because I’d need to head straight to the clinic from there. That was not going to happen; the cold I’d had was just tapering off and I hadn’t slept well; I was groggy and irritable. I dropped Zo off and came back home to quickly change and gather some things I would need, including the headache diary device. I got on the rainy road north about a half hour late. I sent H a text apologizing, and she told me not to worry, and that I should drive carefully. Thunderstorms had just passed but rain was still falling hard.
Driving in the rain on a straight boring highway when you’re drowsy is no fun at all. I haven’t had to slap myself to stay awake on the road for years, but I did that morning. Several times. I played the music on my iPhone loud. I wished I felt like singing, because singing would help me stay awake, but I was too grouchy. I arrived, parked in the tiny parking lot and went in to the office, which reminds me of a maze with its narrow slanting hallways and low ceilings. It seems small and unassuming for a place that houses such a well-known migraine researcher.
Seeing H’s calm pretty face put me in a better mood immediately, plus getting the treatment is always exciting. At this visit, I would again be receiving three injections, like the first time. Two of the injections could be placebo, or I could be getting another giant dose, with all three containing the CGRP medicine which seems to be working for me so well in this study. We stopped at the lab for some blood work, and then went down to H’s office, where I answered questionnaires on the study tablet and handed over my diary device, which I was delighted to hear I wouldn’t be getting back, as I was getting a month off from having to record my daily headache information. The diary is very simple to use, but it has an obnoxious alarm that goes off every morning at 8 am, and again every hour until you record your headache information for the previous day. The alarm is extremely loud and long and wakes up everyone in the house. I won’t miss it.
H and I decided on my upper arm and both thighs for the injection sites. As she prepared the syringes, she told me that in this study she notices slight swelling and irritation after every shot, for every patient, so she had come to the conclusion that the saline for the placebo is being treated with something to make the body respond the same way as it would to the actual medication. It just seems too statistically unlikely that none of her patients are receiving the placebo, she said, though she was surprised the drug company would go to such lengths. In the Amgen 334 study, it was very rare for any of the patients’ injection sites to react.
Even though I felt fatigued and moody that day, I didn’t have a migraine. During the previous three treatments, I’d had headaches at the time of the injections and so could feel right away that the medicine was working; the pain would be relieved even though the drug is meant to be prophylactic. Since I wasn’t in pain this time, it was harder to feel the medicine. H had decided to try to push the solution a little faster to see if it would burn less, or at least hurt for a shorter amount of time; she said that the pain of the shots really seems to bother some of the study participants. All three injections did sting, and there was a lump right under the skin on each site that went away in about a half hour. Eventually I did feel a sort of buzzing sensation in my neck and head, which was vaguely pleasant, or at least not unpleasant.
I got back on the highway and drove south, the rain now lighter and intermittent. I had been concerned that I would be even more drowsy after the treatment, but instead I felt more awake, happier, almost euphoric. I really would not be surprised at all if it is discovered that CGRP meds are also effective in treating mental illness. I just know that like many chronic migraine sufferers I also deal with depression, and that since I started the studies, that depression has been far less frequent and severe.
During the hour-long drive my iPhone’s shuffle seemed to select songs that fit together perfectly; audio synchronicity. And I sang.