A woman walks out of a large pill bottle onto a beach with a sunset.

Take the Trip

In the days leading up to the first vacation I’ve taken since 2016, I really wondered what I had gotten myself into and hoped I was not making a huge mistake! Being an over preparer runs in my DNA so I used it to my advantage. I began processing the vacation a month in advance. Stepping out of my comfort zone, my home, felt super scary. However, spoiler alert, I had an amazing trip. Here’s how I did it.

What did I want to discuss with my doctor?

A month before my planned vacation, I had a flare up of my trigeminal neuralgia. My stress levels had been higher and the month was full of events including two graduations for my oldest daughter as well as our first vacation in years. I approached my headache specialist’s appointment with two major things on my list - how to manage the current flare and how to survive this trip I planned over 6 months ago.

How did my doctor help me prepare?

My doctor prescribed two bridge treatments. Bridge treatments are meant to help me manage my current symptoms and to only be used in the short term. We also reviewed all the treatments I had at my disposal and how to use them to manage things better. I felt more confident in what I have and know how to best use it to help myself with my symptoms.

How did I prepare?

With the graduations behind us I put all my focus on preparing for the trip. I had to focus on the basics - food, sleep, and managing my pain.

How did I plan my meals?

Food can be tricky for me and keeping on a regular schedule helps me manage my pain better. I was diagnosed with Celiac disease in September 2021. Eating healthy food is critical but I also need things to transport easily. For breakfast I went with gluten-free muffins. I made several flavors. For lunches and even a couple of dinners I made a bagel recipe that was the texture of a biscuit, but it made a great bun.

How did I plan to get restful sleep?

For sleep I took my acupressure mat, my medications and tried to keep somewhat to my routine. We also did lots of walking which helped me fall asleep quickly and stay asleep most of the night. However seeing the sun rise at 6 am meant my body would be waking me up at 6 am! However I was still dealing with a lot of fatigue. I was able to use a vagus nerve stimulation device and it did help me gain some alertness when I was struggling.

How did I plan to manage my pain?

To manage my pain I began pre-medicating. Before taking that walk on the beach, I went ahead and took my abortive medications. I actually forgot to the first morning and a flare ensued. Catching up to the pain was tough and took up most of my day. Thankfully I had some meetings I needed to keep so I could rest while I listened. Beginning the next day, I pre-medicated and it worked very well.

What did I learn?

Take the trip! Thankfully my migraine disease, chronic cluster headache & SUNCT remained well managed by my preventives. My trigeminal neuralgia remained managed with it's flares being short. I'm so grateful my medications work when I need them. I'm also beyond thrilled I could spend the few days with my kids and my dad's family. We kept things relaxing and light. We walked along the beach, watched the waves, and laid in the sun. My youngest got really good at taking group selfies too.

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