The battle of medication...
Last updated: October 2020
About a month ago I visited my headache doctor again. They asked about trying to change my medication to a triptan because midrin is currently not removing all of the pain, and the pain will last days. It had been years since I took it, and even though it didn't work in the past body chemistry can change, so I tried it again.
At first, it was amazing. Not only did it remove any threat of a migraine, but I'd experience things the next day that'd be potential triggers with no ill effects. But then I had a bad couple of weeks. A couple of times a week I'd deal with migraine triggers. That person's smell. The stress from an oncoming natural disaster. Lack of physical activity and sunlight for several days due to said natural disaster. My migraines quickly climbed out of control and I started having rebound headaches.
Having dealt with them before, I knew the first thing to do was to get off this medication. I called my doctor and asked for permission to switch back to my previous prescription. I didn't take any medication that day, despite said rebound headache, until she called me back later in the afternoon, and said I could take it. I took it and improved a lot. I'd say 90%. I'm still far from feeling good again, and I still feel awful, but it's better.
I've suffered from migraines for over a decade now, and it's always a fight to find the right medicine. Most abortive medications either cause rebound headaches or don't work at all, but I don't have migraines often enough to justify preventative (yet, with my sleep issues that could change any month). Your current medicine works enough, but it's not perfect. Your doctor wants something that'll work better, but you hold onto what has worked the best so far (just in case). You're always looking at the side-effects and potential drug interactions (did you know that some medications can interact with certain foods such as citrus?) When you experience side-effects, you're always comparing them to the migraine and wondering (are the side effects worth it?)
As more medications come out, having migraines is always a hunt for the perfect medication. You could be stuck in bed (or the ER) for several days due to rebound headaches or your medication not working. You're always looking for more holistic treatments (because I'm more susceptible to weird side effects). Even when you look better you don't always feel better. Sometimes you feel worse. You have to judge is it worse to have smaller amounts of pain more often or more pain less often? It's a constant pro/con struggle to determine what best allows you to live your life to the fullest, to hold down a job or complete school, to go out with friends, and to have a normal life. There's no one cure or treatment for migraines, and as medicine advances it's always a battle to find what medication works best for you and suffer through side-effects or medication that just doesn't work along the way.
I'm writing this because a lot of people assume you're better because you're on a medication that mostly works. They are unaware that you may switch your medication at any time to try something knew hoping it's even better and end up back in the ER. They remain unaware that just because it worked the first few times you take it doesn't mean it'll continue being a good fit for you. They're unaware that just because your medication works doesn't mean you can take it forever. Having migraines means a constant struggle with medications to have a better healthier life. It's just a fact of life, and you can't let people assume that just because you're feeling good for a moment means that you'll be feeling better forever.
Are the family and friends you will be seeing this holiday season understanding about migraine?