How a Doctor I Saw a Decade Ago Is Still Helping Me Today

About a decade ago, I saved up some cash and took a big leap of faith: I decided to see a complementary care doctor in the hopes of improving my life with migraine.

Needing a change in migraine treatment

It was 2008, and I had not had great experiences getting adequate treatment for my chronic migraine diagnosis. My migraine specialist in Atlanta wasn’t a good fit for me, so I’d fired him not long before. I had started going to a fabulous general practitioner who was more up-to-date on migraine research and potential treatments than the vast majority of doctors, but I knew I needed to do something more dramatic to improve my health.

Finding a new doctor

For years, I had heard a particular doctor’s name mentioned by a variety of people who had/have chronic health conditions, including chronic pain, arthritis, migraine, and more. I was without insurance during this time, but that didn’t really matter in this case: Dr. P.’s office didn’t accept most insurance at that time (or, to be more precise, insurance companies wouldn’t cover this non-Western-medicine-oriented type of appointment).

Finally feeling like the doctor listened

My initial appointment with Dr. P. was 90 minutes long. You read that right: for $150 I got 90 uninterrputed minutes with him in his warm, welcoming office. He had already spent time looking over my medical records, recent lab results, and the lengthy survey I’d filled out in advance of the visit. He listened to me. He believed me. He told me he thought he could really help me.

Vitamins, yoga, and smoothies

Dr. P. prescribed new supplements just for my body and its needs, including magnesium glycinate, B2 (riboflavin), and a robust multivitamin. He recommended that I start therapeutic yoga practice and mindfulness meditation, and he also told me to keep up my then-new habit of walking at least five times a week. He also gave me a precise recipe for a daily smoothie he wanted me to drink.

Chronic to episodic migraine

Reader, I was so grateful to him. I did everything he suggested, and I was in the best health of my adult life. Suddenly my life opened up to me as my diagnosis changed from chronic migraine to episodic migraine. Plus my stress levels and general body aches improved due to my positive health changes. Life was better.

Rollercoaster of chronic to episodic migraine

Like many of you, I didn’t always stick with this pattern even though I was feeling so good. Changes in routine (due to workload, travel, and more) often threw me off and I would need to re-establish my Dr. P. protocol. Once my bookshop opened in 2011, all my healthcare improvements went out the window as I started working 70+ hours a week. For the next ten years, I vacillated between chronic and episodic migraine. Right now, I’m back to episodic and I’m trying to stay here.

Taking better care of myself

I’m back to taking better care of myself. Back to meditation and yoga, and I’m working on getting more gentle exercise. I drink my smoothies nearly every morning and am really good at taking my prescriptions and supplements as directed.

Any life is a journey, and life with chronic illness like migraine can make for a convoluted, complicated journey. I remind myself that it’s okay to fall off the wagon and neglect my health sometimes. I just remember to dust myself off and climb back onto the proverbial horse.

Have you ever had a breakthrough treatment? Did you stick with it? Did its effects wax or wane over the years? Share your experiences below! 

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