Most of my regular readers know that I’ve been suffering from migraines over the last year. In particular, my migraines and extra migraine symptoms have worsened over the last 6 months or so.
This past March when I happened to be seeing a Neurologist for a different problem (numbness and burning in left thigh) I happened to mention that I’d been having more and more migraines and that I’d had a new symptom – zig zag visual disturbances a few times since the previous July. We discussed my medical history (including migraines since the age of 12) and he though that since the auras were new I had an increased change of stroke so he wanted me to get an MRI.
I finally had that MRI near the end of July and between my original appointment with the neurologist and the follow up appointment that I had with him on August 19th to discuss the MRI results I started having constant 24/7 dizziness and balance problems, blurred vision, began feeling confused, occasionally had hearing problems and ringing or buzzing in my ears and I just had this overwhelming feeling that things were getting worse and worse. I couldn’t think, I was having trouble talking – mixing up words, losing my train of though … never mind attempting to write blog posts! I’d click on Add New Post and then sit and stare at my computer for an hour at times.
I’m sure I could add a few other symptoms to the list above, but the overwhelming constant pain (one migraine lasted 24 days in a row!), lack of sleep, dizziness and “brain fog” were my main complaints and concerns.
Back to August 19th when I saw my Neurologist … I had learned through my family doctor that my MRI wasn’t normal. I had white spots in my white matter. As it turns out pretty much everybody gets white spots in their brain matter as they age and my Neurologist said that I actually have less than most people my age … so that’s good.
Then we discussed what to do about the migraines and the other symptoms. He believes the dizziness, vision and hearing problems are all related to the migraines. I had already come to that conclusion as well.
When I was in my teens and twenties I suffered badly from migraines and I think I’ve tried most of the mainstream migraine treatments. None really did much to help me. I just suffered along with my migraines and then, sometime around the time I turned 25 my migraines started to die down and they gave me a break for a few years, came back for a year or two, then went away for a decade and now they seem to be back with a vengeance.
I had tried Imitrix in the past but it made my heart race – like 200 beats per minute and that’s NOT good. Now that I’ve had an extended visual aura with my migraine (squiggly lines that lasted more than an hour) I can’t ever use Imitrix or any of the related drugs (Triptans) again as the risk of stroke is very high.
So … after discussing all my options, including the fact that I don’t have a drug plan right now to cover the cost of my medications we decided that I should try an anti-convulsive drug called Topamax.
The new drug isn’t cheap, but considering how much pain and misery I was in I thought it was worth giving it a shot.
Now I tend to react oddly to most medications. Half or more of the new medications I try I tend to end up having an allergic reaction to or an adverse reaction to … or end up being severely sensitive to … Of the other half of new medications I try … well, only about 25% of those seem to do whatever they’re supposed to do.
So I was hopefully starting this new medication, but fearful that I’d have either a bad reaction or that it wouldn’t help at all.
I took my first pill on the evening of August 19th and by the morning of August 20th I realized that I didn’t have a migraine any more. In fact, two weeks in to taking this new medication I can say that I’ve been migraine free the whole two weeks!
I do seem to have low grade headaches a few times a day and what feels like the start of a migraine on occasion but if I take a Tylenol that migraine feeling just goes away.
It’s a miracle!
This is the first migraine (well epilepsy) medication that has ever worked for me!
It’s not without it’s side effects of course. There are tons. I feel kind of buzzy (like I’ve had a couple of drinks) most of the time, and my hands and feet tingle like they’ve gone to sleep or go numb. My tongue tingles or buzzes too and sometimes everything seems to just tilt sideways … it’s one of the weirdest medications (that’s working) that I’ve ever been on. I’ll talk more about the odd side effects in another post – ’cause they’re weird!
Anyway .. since my Crohn’s has actually been doing well for the last several months (dare I say most of this past year?) … and now these darn migraines might actually be under control (knock on wood) there’s a real chance that I might get back to work sometime soon … maybe I’ll be coming through the jobs in healthcare sometime in the very near future if things keep working out for me!
Has anyone else tried Topamax for their migraines? If you have, what was your experience? Did it take away your migraines? Did you get them less frequently or not at all?