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A woman is laying in bed looking exhausted and annoyed. Behind her is a starry night sky and many passing calendar months.

Changing Migraine Attacks: How Do I Manage My Care?

I've been dealing with migraine for as long as I can remember. In fact, I have some vivid memories of childhood being curled up in the fetal position, laying on the cold bathroom tile floor, waiting for the pain in my head to subside.

For years, I've had no choice but to advocate for my own care - whether that be medication to prevent migraine attacks, migraine treatment, or anything in between, it's been on my shoulders as the patient to bring that information to my provider and ask for help.

How did my experiences change 2 years ago?

About two years ago I switched from a neurologist to a migraine specialist/a center that deals only with headaches, and within two visits, I got my migraine under control. I have been so grateful for the support of the clinic, their accessibility and getting the care I both needed and desired.

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How did my recent migraine attack change that?

A few weeks ago, I had surgery. When I came out of anesthesia, I had a brutal migraine that lasted several days. In case you haven't experienced it - its very hard to have a migraine in the hospital. The lights and sounds alone are impossible to stop/block out. Anyway, since this specific migraine lifted, I've had daily headaches - something that has not happened in a long time, and something that I have been left very frustrated by.

They've caused me to miss days of work, to be forced to retreat into a dark and silent room for days at a time, to use my abortive medications more often than ideal, and even to run out of abortive medications.

How have I worked with my healthcare providers?

This is when I reached out to my doctor. I explained that things weren't right, that this wasn't part of my normal pattern or routine. At first, the nurse replied agreeing to refill my abortive medications early. I thought this would take care of the problem, and in a way, it did help. My abortive medications still took the edge off the miserable pain that is a migraine, but they didn't last as long as they should've, or even as long as they used to. My migraines kept coming back.

So, I reached out to my doctors office again to schedule an appointment.

How have I been preparing for my appointment?

As I wait for that date, I have been remembering ways in which advocating for myself is both hard and critical. Here's how I've been preparing for this appointment:

  • Summary: I've been looking at the notes I've been keeping on this series of migraines so I can provide a summary to the doctor on when it started, how long it's been going on for, how severe it gets, what medications I've tried, and the results of said medications.
  • Medications: What is my current regimen? How has it been/not been working? What other choices do I have?
  • Questions: Obviously what I'm doing isn't working fully. What can I do differently or what can I add to my routine to prevent these continual rebound migraines? Also, what are my options for changing my preventative medication because obviously what I am doing isn't working.

I'm really hopeful that meeting with the doctor will give me some new ideas and a way to break this cycle.

I'd love to know - when you prepare for a migraine appointment, what else do you write down/gather to share with or ask your doctor? Did I miss anything?

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.

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