After my hospital discharge, I had to move back in with my parents. I had no choice; I couldn’t care for myself. I was so weak that I could only be on my feet long enough to take a shower or walk to the kitchen and back. I laid in bed most all day. I continued to suffer from horribly painful migraines.
The migraines would vary in strength, duration, and the so-called “hangover” of the headache could be just as paralyzing as the initial headache. To try and reduce the eye pain, I would close the windows and blinds in my room and lay flat on the floor, as far away from the natural light as possible. Later, I learned the eye pain I was experiencing is referred to as photophobia. I began to hope that if I had to tackle another headache it would at least be in the evening when my room would be completely dark. I would lay there for hours. Laying on the bed during a headache made me feel sea sick.
The opiate painkillers were a never-ending cycle of stomach upset on top of not really helping the migraines.
I was getting migraine after migraine. Even after a week or two, and my employer saying I could work from home as I tried to get back on my feet, I couldn’t stand to look at the laptop computer screen. Photophobia kept rearing its head.
Small environmental effects and noises would trigger or increase the pain of these atrocious headaches. Sounds from machinery or repetitive noises that included clicking, dinging, tapping, scratching, or pounding would make me increasingly ill.
What I learned shortly thereafter, implemented in my life, and to this day swear by, is that you, the patient, have to be your own best advocate. This can be applied in many facets of our lives. I desperately wanted a successful remedy. I wanted to know about any treatments available. I was determined.
I changed medical groups as soon as I could. I researched and found a primary doctor that had sound qualifications and a mission statement that I valued and respected. Once I met her, I knew I was in the right place. We went through my medical history in depth, discussed the recent hospital stay, meningitis diagnosis, and the headaches I was experiencing after being discharged. My new doctor jumped into action, disappointed that my previous medical group did not have a neurology evaluation performed during my hospital stay, and recommended me to a highly-respected neurologist. It was obvious to everyone involved that the meningitis had left me with significant, recurring migraines. Could earlier intervention by a neurologist in the hospital helped mitigate this? It is too hurtful to even think about.
My new priority was medical appointments. I had to prioritize my health. I did my best to navigate each day as best I could, while being mindful of taking the time to heal.
I recalled my new doctor saying something along the lines of there being a really unique treatment out there for migraine sufferers, but said we needed to start by trying a few medications that I’d take daily to see if they would give me relief from my headaches. Following the protocol path is crucial to receiving more advanced treatments. I was optimistic! I would do whatever it took to reach success.
The World Health Organization (WHO) ranks migraines highly as a disabling illness. I can attest to the devastating effects migraines can have on one’s life.
The reality was that I did not have success with the initial medications, but my doctor wasn’t giving up. I appreciated her attitude! She kept telling me there are more options. My next visit was to the neurologist.
Coming next: The miracle of neurology and Botox®