Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer
How a Doctor I Saw a Decade Ago Is Still Helping Me Today

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 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.

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.

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.

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! 

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


  • stacysillen
    4 months ago

    What’s in the smoothie!!! 😀 Seriously. And I agree, I needed to find smart people who listened. One of them is myself. I know when I’m getting into situations that create the wrong kinds of stress for me.

  • Joanna Bodner moderator
    4 months ago

    Hi there! Here is the recipe for the smoothie @stacysillen

    Thanks for reaching out & wishing you a gentle day!

  • stacysillen
    4 months ago

    Thanks Joanna! I realized later that you did include a link to the recipe in your article. I’m planning to try it, form another new habit. 🙂

  • Macbeck
    5 months ago

    Massage has been the single most helpful treatment. Now that I’m living only on SSDI tho, I can only afford to go once a month, and even that can be tough some months. But I go, because it adds so much to my quality of life. It helps that I have a really great LMT who can read my body even before I get up on the table. Yes, I am on many Rx’s, and I wouldn’t be able to make it without some of them, but the single most effective treatment is massage.

  • mrst53
    5 months ago

    Physical Therapy on my neck, including massage on my neck. From the first day, I started PT, the migraines started to go away. For 12 weeks, I had no migraines. I needed a new referral, and by that time, I had such muscle cramps all over my body, I couldn’t drive myself and I hate to be a pain for my husband. so my migraines are back in full force. But this therapy was great. Ask for a referral, if you get a chance.

  • Cappucinno
    5 months ago

    My breakthrough treatment is Aimovig 70 mg. every 28 days. I started on Sept.11, 2018 and have taken the shot every 28 days consistently since then. I was a bit disappointed for the first 3 – 3 1/2 months. Then I started to realize that my headaches were so much further apart and much less severe when I did get one. I can also say that I would go through about 4 to 5 Imitrex 100 mg. every week and now I take maybe 1 per week and the wait time for it to work is quicker. I want to also let you know that here in the northeast, we just a quite a few days of extremely cold and windy weather and my head was not feeling too good. I know that it was just an interruption in my progress as I was always at the mercy of the weather changes and barometric pressure.

  • waclements7
    5 months ago

    Thank you so much for posting the smoothie recipe. I’m going to try it out!

  • Astrithr
    5 months ago

    Amazing story. So wonderful that it works! Would have loved to have that recipe on smoothie. Your story gives hope that it can stay episodic over longer time. Have thankfully gone from chronic to episodic the last 6 months. Hoping it will stay that way…..

  • reliefnow
    5 months ago

    Astrithr. I am 4 weeks into a triptan withdrawal in hopes of going from my current chronic headaches back to episodic. I’ve read it takes 6-8 weeks for complete withdrawal. Could u please tell me how the process of getting back to episodic went for you. Thank you.

  • 746gem
    5 months ago

    Good to hear that something helps ease your chronic migraines. Can I ask what is in your smoothie please?

  • pam bitterman
    5 months ago

    Can I recommend a book here? My friends long grueling journey with his auto immune disease can help us all! It is just released.

    PRIMAL PANCREAS: Pancreas Damage Survival Guide by Aisso Toxopeus

  • Poll