My neurologist has become one of the most influential people in my life. I have benefited from his intelligence and experience for six years now. His advice helped me cope. I can’t believe now that my former medical group withheld this type of assistance from me. His help has been 100 percent vital. My neurologist is intelligent, proactive, and someone I put my trust in early on.
He truly understood how I was suffering from migraine after migraine, as well as those grueling “hangovers” after each episode. He knew exactly how they were sidelining me.
In charting my migraines, I found I suffered with them at least half of each month. I regularly turned down social invitations, family commitments, and had to tread carefully with nearly everything I did day-to-day because my migraines didn’t play by a pattern. They were so unpredictable. I would be up through the night in pounding pain. After conducting a variety of tests to determine exactly what the neurological health of my brain was, making sure the meningitis had not caused permanent damage, my neurologist recommended that we start doing nerve blocks and Botox treatments for my migraines. It is important to note that my medical files showed that I had previously tried two or three oral medications which failed to provide enough relief before Botox was considered.
At that time, my “new normal” was being in my neurologist’s office and him administering nerve blocks to try and provide a break in the migraines. I was so anxious to get relief each time.
I took every piece of advice he doled out. I read all the information he provided. I learned from his printed material that Botox, if approved, could be administered every 12 weeks. Typically it consists of approximately 31 injections over seven muscle regions – including the face, upper back of neck, and going down into the shoulders. I was told that the potential side effects were soreness, swelling, redness, and droopiness of the eyelid.
The nerve blocks helped! They were kind of like a lifeline, and I so badly needed it. I had always been a good sleeper. Even as a baby, my parents said I would sleep 8 to 12 hours a night without waking. The migraines were impacting my sleep. I’d lie awake for hours suffering.
After a nerve block, I could sleep well for nearly half the night, numb and pain free. I would wake up to an ultra-sensitive scalp and face. I’d try to get comfortable and position myself so I could get more sleep. I’d usually be awake anywhere from 1 to 3 a.m. – on. Over the course of time, I mastered finding the right positions and would get more sleep. A win for sure!
It became that I would have a nerve block the day before a Botox treatment. As I mentioned previously, Botox treatments for migraines are administered only every 12 weeks.
The strategies and care my neurologist employed offered me more relief than I could have ever imagined and for that I am extremely grateful.
I even became semi-comfortable with needles. Ha! I never thought I would say that! The amount of needle punctures (even though extremely quick) entering my scalp and face could make even the strongest person feel weak. My neurologist kept encouraging me to “hang in there.” Finally, I began turning the corner! Slowly but surely, I was making progress. My headaches started to lessen in frequency! The “hangovers” weren’t as earth-shattering as they used to be. I can tell you one thing, I never missed an appointment for a check-up or Botox! Nothing stood in my way!
Coming next: Exclusive interview with lifelong migraine sufferer: “I lost consciousness and almost bled out from taking ibuprofen.”