Old Story, but Familiar to So Many
Last updated: August 2020
I will try and keep this short as possible. I suffer from chronic near-daily migraines. They have gotten worse, the older I am. I turned 60 this past June. I have had them all of my adult life. I have a picture of when my wife and I were first married, and she and her brothers and sister wanted a picture for her parents. Looking back at the picture, I was white as a ghost. I had a 9 level migraine. After that, my wife had bought us tickets to see Gallagher here in our small city, something that we always try to do, attend the various concerts, etc. I never got to, in a previous life.
Looking back at my past life
I actually must give that a caveat. I got to go to many concerts. It is just that I was playing in a band, Tradewinds, a rock, country, and oldies band, with a few top 40 hits, mixed in. I played mostly saxophones, with a little guitar. I did that for a few years, but in between marriages. After I remarried, I ended up quitting the band, and played some session work, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I was good enough to continue but the money was just not enough to justify being on call at a moment's notice.
Finding something that works
For years, the only drug regimen that worked for me, after trying nearly every drug that they had for the treatment of migraines, was an antiemetic, and an opioids, something strong, such as narcotic, or when there was still a medical center in town that would treat migraine patients with opioids, and eventually rather large dose, of Demerol. Usually 200 mg. and by the time I got home, I was sleepy enough to just hit the sack, and the migraine was gone when I woke up. Of course, it took quite some time to build up to that high of a dose of Demerol. But after trying all of the triptans, the ergotamines, the sprays in the nose, etc. when I finally found something that worked, I didn't want to stop. But of course, all things must end, and the doctor was being investigated by the DEA, for overprescribing opioids, and lost his license. He also was using some of the drugs himself and had a pretty serious drug problem. So getting treatment was part of him not going jail, plus surrendering his medical license, for life, at least here in Michigan.
The painful truth
He was willing to treat legitimate pain patients, but for active drug seekers, his staff, mostly young females, they would know the signs of drug seekers and would discharge them from the practice.
After he left, my family doctor would give me an inhaled drug, called a Stadol Inhaler, or more often, Butorphenal. Basically, it was similar to morphine or Demerol that you inhaled, via the nose, as it was in a bottle, with a mister top on it. And all went on fine for a couple of years. My wife didn't like this doctor, and so I switched to a young doctor, who gave me 30 Norco 10 pills per month. I ended up telling him that I was becoming too dependent on them, and so he took me off. If I have some reason for needing a pain reliever such as kidney stones, which I get on occasion, he will write me a script for a small amount, and then if needed, will rewrite it for more later. I don't allow any other doctor to prescribe any narcotic drugs, just to maintain the good relationship that we have built over the past few years. He always asks my opinion of things, we discuss my possible routes to head, that will accomplish whatever he wishes to accomplish. Just to have a doctor willing to listen, is a blessing. Some of them have the God principle, which is insulting and offputting.
Wishing that my headaches would stop!
I am not a doctor, but I actually am smarter than the average foundry worker, also. You see, I worked up to 60 hours a week while playing music at least 20 some hours. So since I was divorced, it was acceptable. When I remarried, it didn't take long, and I realized that my time was better spent with my wife.
I wish I didn't have these headaches. But I am reminded of the old Bible verse, I can do all things, through Christ who strengthens me. There were many days that at work in a steel foundry, the kind that I looked like one of those baked potatoes, dressed up in a shiny suit, and this while the temp on the shop floor was 150 degrees. It was one hot job, for a 53-year-old to do. I ended up leaving that job, and finally getting a job as a maintenance man in a trailer park. Just part-time, until I was able to get a better job.
I still suffer from these horrendous headaches and have already gone through Aimovig, and Ajovy, now my doctor is trying Vyepti, one more of the anti-CGRP drugs, taken by infusion. I am hoping that this gives me at least if it gives me a few days a month that I feel good. That would be enough of an improvement to say it has been successful, even though the cost is going to be very expensive. If they are too expensive, I will have to not use the drug, one more time, just due to how they give the infusion place their order.
Are the family and friends you will be seeing this holiday season understanding about migraine?