Migraine Free and a Book Drunkard

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A few weeks ago I woke up with another whopper of a headache.

The pain was dreadful.

Movement was agony.

The cheerful morning sun that was strong arming its way through my closed blinds was torture.

Beth, obliviously making her morning call for "Mooo-mmmyyyyy" was anguish to both my head and my heart.

Faye, my little T-I-doubble g -er bounced into my room singing "Mommy, Mommy, I love Mommy!" and stopped short when she saw me recoil in pain and retreat, whimpering, beneath my blankets.

"What's wrong, Mom?" she asked, her voice laced with concern.

"Faye, my head is really bad today. Can you and Keith please take care of Beth for a little bit? I am going to call the doctor and see what we can do today." I whispered to her. As she began to skip out of my room I gave her instructions to get Beth a sippy cup of milk, to make sure to put the milk away and to not spill it all over the floor yet again, to make sure the fridge door was closed, to please not let Beth get hurt, and please oh please stay quiet and keep my door closed.

"I'll be a good helper, Mom. I'll take care of you!" she chirruped as she bounced out of my room, un-thinkingly slamming the door behind her. Because that is Faye. She is such a good helper, and always tries so hard to do everything just right, she just doesn't always think things through, exactly.

I lay there praying for the pain to go away, slightly romanticizing the French revolution as my head hung over the toilet bowl, sick from the pain. I lay in bed sobbing and thinking how this pain was so much worse than childbirth. I never vomited or cried when I gave birth, but this migraine had completely flattened me and at that moment I would have gladly joined Marie Antoinette, done anything, to make the pain stop.

Sometime in that haze of pain Keith had come in and had offered his assistance. I enlisted his help to get the Excedrin from the medicine cupboard and a glass of water for me. I worried I wouldn't be able to keep it down, but I was desperate.

Finally, my doctor's office opened. I called and felt silly as I explained why I needed to be seen.

"I have a headache. But it is making me vomit, and it is excruciating!" I explained as calmly as I could.

The office assistant fit me in, I found a sitter for my kids, and I set about getting ready for the day as best I could.

P.S. I love my doctor. He is our family doctor, and I wouldn't trade him for all the rice in China.

After explaining to him that I have had these migraines intermittently since I was 14, and I have basically lived with a headache every day since I was then as well, he offered me the first glimmer of hope I have ever had.

He first told me that migraines are the hardest thing to treat, but there is a medication that was not made specifically to treat them but has a 70-75% success rate with them. And then he said we are going to see if I fall into that group of people that it works on. He also took some blood and wanted to run some labs to check my thyroid, liver and other things.

Last week results came back that I am anemic (big shocker there) and that he wanted me back to draw more blood and run more tests. I went back in on Wednesday and they took more blood, got it back, called me yesterday, and said that I am anemic. I sort of laughed at the nurse on the phone. We already knew I was anemic. I knew that before the first blood draw! She said he wanted to prescribe some iron for me. I told her I had some over the counter iron from when I was pregnant with Beth, it would be more convenient if I could just use that. She asked me to check the dosage. It was 45 mg. I was then informed that I would need to pick up the prescription.

My iron dosage every day needs to be at least 385 mg, which is what the dosage of the prescription is.


I agreed to get it filled and take it and hung up the phone, dumbstruck. That is a lot of iron! But like I said, anything to make the pain go away!

So last night, I left Jeffrey with the kids at bedtime and went to get my prescription filled.

And then I went to Walmart to get some ink cartridges. Once there, I couldn't remember which ones our printer needed, so I called Jeffrey. He didn't answer. I picked up the other things that I remembered we had needed and tried calling him again. He didn't answer. I wandered a bit. He didn't answer. So, knowing that if I wandered much more, I would end up impulse buying a bunch of stuff that we didn't need, and also knowing that we were very soon going to have a lot of bills thanks to Beth's curiosity and outrageous ER bills, I decided to wander over to the book section, find something to read, and wait for Jeffrey to call me back.

Which is what I did.

I found Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.

As a child, I was always drawn to ghost stories, which this is not. I have always loved things that are slightly macabre, which this very much is, slightly. I could not put the book down. I cursed Walmart for not having a place to comfortably sit and read. I wandered over to the automotive section, vaguely remembering chairs there, but not only were the lights off, there were no chairs. I eventually saw a trolley that was empty, and though intensely uncomfortable, I barely noticed. By the time Jeffrey called me back, I was half way into the book. I realized I had been sitting there for an hour and a half and wondered that no one had come and bothered me. I checked my local library listings for the book, because I couldn't just leave off there, but there was a 10 person wait list. Figuring that each person can have the book for 6 weeks, and assuming that no one keeps it for longer than that, I was looking at more than a year before I would get to finish the book if I wanted to add my name to the wait list. When first picking up the book I had no intention of making a purchase, I decided I just needed to buy the book. Good gracious, at the rate I was going, I would finish it either that night or the next day. (I did, by the way. I finished it this morning. Very fascinating story!)

I finally made my purchases, and went home to try out the new pills (but really to finish reading the story).

And so, I have been on the not-made-for-migraines-but-works-anyway medication for three weeks now. I am now at half strength. Next week I will be up to full strength. I had to be slowly weaned onto it. I started the iron last night. I feel fantastic! I honestly feel better than I have in a long time! There were a few sketchy days there at the beginning where I wasn't sure if I would be able to make it or not, as my body was adjusting, and I was seriously skimping on sleep, but my headaches are a lot more mild than they have been for a long time. I woke up actually feeling energized this morning. And this was after I stayed up far too late reading last night!

I am really looking forward to next week when I am finally to full dosage, and I have been on iron for a week. What will my brain think, getting full oxygen for the first time since my adolescence? I am so excited at the aspect of the pain going away, and yet may not know what to do with myself. Pain free for the first time in 20 years? It is unfathomable!
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But really, I just want to do a happy dance all the time, because the very glimmer of hope has me dizzy with anticipation.


*Jess* said…
as a fellow sufferer of migraines, I feel your pain and hope your relief helps! I tried Topamax with no results. My neurologist and neurosurgeon say that my brain aneurysm are NOT related to my migraines. Well, maybe its just a coincidence that I haven't had one since my surgery??
Susan Anderson said…
So glad you are getting some relief. Migraines are awful. My husband used to get them a lot. His magic bullet was cafergot.


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