I Think I Am Getting Better
My migraines began when I was 17. Not knowing they were migraines, I "ate" a lot of aspirin and Advil. By the time I was in my late thirties, my stomach was shot and I needed help. First, I went to my internist who was unable to help me. She referred me to a neurologist who prescribed Prozac and told me to come back in three months. Three months is a long time when you are having several migraines a week.
When the neurologist didn't help me, I went to Cedar's Sinai Pain Clinic in Los Angeles. The pain doctor put me on Neurontin which worked great for three months and the headaches came back. Then he put me on Beta Blockers. This worked extremely well for 25 years. I had a few break-through migraines, but overall, my packet of Maxalt would last for six months! I was thrilled and forgot how terrible migraines were.
Fast forward twenty five years. The beta blockers stopped working. I went to my internist who increased the dosage with no success. Then she tried Elavil, another Beta Blocker, a calcium channel blocker, and Topamax. Nothing worked and she sent me to a neurologist.
I have to say that I am not impressed with the two neurologists that I have gone to. They may be competent doctors, but migraines are "beneath their pay grade". If I said stroke, MS, or Parkinsons, maybe they would have taken me seriously. But I said Migraines. He increased the Topamax. I hated the side effects and it only worked for a week after each increase. Then, he prescribed massage, acupuncture and going to a health food store for Magnesium and other over-the-counter stuff. He told me he couldn't see me for three months. I decided I was done with him.
So, back to my pain clinic which I had been avoiding because the commute was awful and my insurance didn't cover the doctor. Oh, well. He suggested Botox. I told him that the neurologist wouldn't let me have it because I was only having 11 headaches a month, not 15. He asked me if I stopped taking my Maxalt, would my headaches last two days or more. Of course they would. So, in essence, I was having more than 20 days of headaches had I not been taking abortives. He also put me on a preventative to assist the bottom.
After, the Botox, I had only 6 headaches that needed Maxalt but had many minor migraines that just didn't need to be medicated. I went back to the pain clinic and he put me on Namenda which is an Alzheimers drug. This drug has only one study so far and it was a small number of people, so I wasn't too encouraged, but it seems to be working. I just went eleven days without a migraine! I am getting fewer headaches that are less severe. Today I had my second series of Botox. The doctor told me that the second set works more effectively than the first and the third is optimum.
So, I can't yet say I am cured, but I know I am on my way. I highly recommend the pain clinic at Cedar Sinai in Los Angeles. I like that they take migraines seriously even if you don't die from it. I like that I was seen weekly until things progressed. I like that this doctor has a whole bag of tricks and doesn't give up because the easier drugs haven't worked. I really believe that I will get back to where I was two years ago before the beta blockers stopped working. I no longer feel that the migraines are controlling my life.
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