July 16, 2007

The (hopeful) End of My Migraines

Filed under: General — Cory @ 10:16 pm

Anyone who has spent time with me in the past 22 years should know that I suffer from migraine headaches. I’ve been getting them since I was 5 years old, typically 1-2 per week, sometimes more and sometimes less. It is quite an understatement to say that migraines have been the bane of my existence.

To make things worse, almost nobody (except my parents) understood how awful these headaches were. People who simply didn’t know any better were always suggesting that I try some new over the counter headache medicine that had worked for them. What they couldn’t understand is that the worst headache that they had ever had was still better than anything I could hope for. In my opinion, these people didn’t really even have headaches, because I could see them continuing to function. When I had a headache, I simply could not function.

Until I was 14 or thereabouts there wasn’t even any medicine that I could take to relieve the pain. The only thing I could do is lie down in a dark, quiet room and try very hard to go to sleep, which was difficult because I would almost always be nauseated. My condition was the worst during my fifth grade year of school, when I missed several days each week from these headaches. Also, I seemed to get headaches any time there was a school field trip that I was excited about (I would get all worked up and anxious and give myself headaches).

Finally, a medicine became available that actually could stop a headache cold. It was unbelievable, and seemed like a miracle drug. When Imitrex was first introduced it was only available as an injection, and from the local doctor’s office. Whenever the headache seemed bad enough, my parents would take me to the doctor and I would get an injection in my arm of Imitrex, and immediately I would feel better. Not “immediately” as in 10 minutes later, “immediately” as in 30-60 seconds later. And then I would always want McDonald’s french fries. I wasn’t 100% better, as physically I would be really weak, but mentally I felt much, much better and could actually stand to be awake. As great as it was, it was still really inconvenient to have to drive to the doctor’s office.

A year or two later, a tablet form of Imitrex was introduced, and I could finally take a pill if I got a headache. The pills were incredibly expensive, and insurance would only pay for 9 per month, but they worked. Not as fast as the injection of course, but in about 20-30 minutes the pill would take affect and soon thereafter I would begin feeling better. At least now I had something I could take with me on trips, or to school, for when I got a headache (not if, but when). At some point they also introduced prescription Imitrex injections, which I also have for emergencies when I can’t keep the pills down.

So, for the past 10-12 years this is how it has been. I have been taking a preventative medicine all this time, but I couldn’t really tell whether it worked or not. When I moved to Houston in September I started having more headaches, and it was becoming a real nuisance. I needed to focus more on work, but the more I focused the more headaches I would get. At the urging of a friend I finally made an appointment with a neurologist here in Houston. On a somewhat related note, I also scheduled an appointment with an oral surgeon to have my wisdom teeth finally removed 4 days before my appointment with the neurologist.

Where am I going with this? Well, it has now been two months since I saw the neurologist (who prescribed new preventative medication for me), and also had my wisdom teeth removed, and I have not had any normal migraines. I have had 3 headaches that I caused myself (being out in the Texas heat in the middle of the day, etc), but not a single headache like I used to get. For the past 22 years I have been getting 1-2 of these crippling headaches a week, and in the past 2 months I have not had any! I can’t even begin to say how thrilled I am about this!

And it couldn’t have happened at a better time. The week before my appointment with the neurologist I was informed that my insurance company had changed it’s policy and would now only pay for 4 Imitrex pills per month. The other irony is that the patent on Imitrex just expired 3 weeks ago, which hopefully means that there will be cheaper generic versions of it. (Imitrex is around $25-$30 per pill).

At any rate, life has never been better for me now that I am headache free. :)

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  1. w00t!

    Comment by Richard Yoo — July 16, 2007 @ 10:58 pm
  2. I’ve had migraines for 25+ years. I remember those Imitrex injections. They were like a miracle, but I could only get 2 at a time from the Pharmacy. I take Amerge now. Fortunately my insurance pays for 18 a month. I have taken many preventives but none have helped. What preventive are your taking that works for you??? Oh, how I’d love to be free from these things.

    Comment by Ginny — July 17, 2007 @ 12:52 am
  3. What a great story – I cannot imagine what that must feel like in the big scheme of things. An expected, weekly, debilitating condition magically gone.. at least for a while.. one hopes.. not today.. (grin) one more day, pain free.. That is so cool! :)

    Comment by Michael Shuler — July 17, 2007 @ 8:45 am
  4. Very cool Cory. Although i will miss the occasional stop and vomit on the side of the road. Ha ha. Just kidding. Great news. I hope it keeps working.

    Comment by Tate — July 17, 2007 @ 8:48 am
  5. MMMMM…French Fries :)

    Comment by Nathan Eror — July 17, 2007 @ 9:15 am
  6. Very cool. I’ve had like 4 migraines in my life and wouldn’t wish that pain on anyone. Let’s hope the preventative keeps working for you.

    Comment by Anton — July 17, 2007 @ 9:02 pm
  7. Pshaw! I just quit Spire and my migraines stopped!

    Comment by Ex Employee — July 18, 2007 @ 9:54 pm
  8. Glad to hear you found a cure!

    Comment by Curtis — July 19, 2007 @ 8:23 pm

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