Many year's with migraines!

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CANCAN
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 12/9/2006 2:07 AM (GMT -6)   
WOW!  I finally found THE Forum that I've been seeking!  I've been on a Drug Addiction Site that has had me pretty stressed out and depressed but I sympathize with them all.
I have been pretty hard on myself for taking an opiate for 39 years, under a doctors supervision.  You see, he suffered from migraines also, so he knew how his migraine patients suffered with pain.  I was 8 years old when I had my first migraine, I am now 67 and STILL looking for answers, although I'm feeling better already!  After reading so much over the years and trying all imaginable therapies, and just after reading many of the post's here, I can finally relax and accept the fact that for the rest of my life I will just cope the best as I can.  I thought I was a heavy addict and it has had me extremely "over the edge" upset, to the extent of thinking I should be in a rehab!  Which has made the headaches even more frequent!  I know my headaches are brought on by stress, and being a caregiver and just by being too sensitive..... to everyone and everything.  (I guess you would say I've been a co-dependant also, my mother was a periodic alcoholic, starting to drink when I was about 8! What does that tell you?)  I was so fortunate to finally find a doctor at age 28 to help me...but sadly he passed away 3 years ago and this too has stressed me, he knew me so well and was always willing to listen. HE got me through so much over the years.  The doctor that took over his practice seems to understand my headaches but would like me to pull off the pain pills.  I have tried, but it is difficult, after taking them for so long. Thirty capsules used to last me 6 to 8 months, maybe even a year...now thirty lasts me 30 days.  I'm not sure if I'm supposed to name the medication in this Forum but if I can I'd like to talk with someone about weaning myself off them, if that is feasible for me and, I would like to do it safely.  Also, I have found that the sciatic nerve problem that I have often leads to a headache when it flares up.  I have done some research on the Thorasic nerve and this ties in to the sciatic and migraine as well, right to my eyebrow!  The migraine will travel from one side to the other at times but is most generally on the right side of my head.....and body.  I have been through PT and have found ways to alleviate the sciatic problem, plus I use the TENS Unit, which does help at times.  But when I need to be somewhere or have to live up to any responsibilities I must resort to meds if I have a headache, otherwise I would have no life now or for the past 40 years. I carry a pill and a bottle of water with me wherever I go.....just in case.  I'm always proud of myself when I don't have to take it though.
I sympathize with all migraine sufferers....my heart goes out to you....never, ever feel guilty about having a headache!!!  It happens to the best..or worst of us! 
I know this is long (I could write a book about my life of migraines) but I am so happy to have found this Forum, maybe I will even sleep tonight!!!  Thanks for listening and any help will be appreciated.
CAN

Annuk
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 1308
   Posted 12/9/2006 2:29 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi CanCan,

Welcome to Healing Well. Sorry that you have had to suffer for so long!!! As for weaning yourself off the opiate (name best not shared), you really need medical support to do this, which hopefully would be your own Doctor and a suggested regime from him!! Oh, and lots of support from us!!

I am glad you have found some relief from the TENS machine. The sad fact is that there are no easy answers with this disease as apart from anything else everyone has a different experience. Have you ever seen a Neurologist who is a Headache Specialist?

I hope you don't mind me saying but when we make longish posts, it is easier to read one that is broken up into short paragraphs.

I look forward to getting to know you, take care

Ann

CANCAN
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 12/9/2006 5:30 PM (GMT -6)   

Thanks, Ann, for the "heads up" regarding the separation in paragraphs.  I was experiencing a problem with the Healing Well Site, my computer kept locking up and had to get out and start over several times.  I was so excited to find Healing Well,  I just typed as fast as I could, afraid I'd lose it all again...therefore not inserting my usual paragraphs.  I apologize for that.  Today my computer is doing fine.

And yes, I would like to see a Neurologist even after so many years.  My "new" doctor doesn't seem to think it is necessary and my insurance company will only act upon referrals. 

I'm almost sure I'm having "rebound" headaches from the pain meds I take but when I start to get myself off the meds...it seems invariably, a stressful situation arises and I end up with another migraine, and so the meds again. By the way, this is the only medication I take. 

 I have taken pretty good care of myself over the years, even while raising a family, being employed and being a caregiver to many older family members and friends until their deaths, I loved them all so much.  After retiring 5 years ago, I still snow ski, and keep up with my children's and grandchildren's activities, as well as my husband of 46 years.  We have been a very active family over the years.  I could not have done this without pain medication for the migraines.

 I need to use my relaxation methods on a regular basis but time does not permit most of the time....and without the headache pills the headache doesn't go away without sleep anyway.  I suffered for so many years without ANY aids whatsoever, that finally when offered by a doctor, it was such a relief to take a pill and it was gone!  I will never forget the first day that happened, I laughed and cried...in complete disbelief!  I got a life after that day, 39 years ago.

 After having these headaches for so many years I realize I need to make some new changes in my life once again.  The doctor I had for 40 years often said to make changes when feasible, or get a change in "scenery" once in a while...this helped a great deal....even if just a walk around the block!  

Also, I think a lot of my headaches are psyco-somatic, due in part to my childhood.  I could use a good therapy group but have experienced only drug addiction/alcohol related groups.  I will continue to search for one in my area...or I may even have to get one initiated.

  In regards to pulling off the meds, the direction my "new" doctor gave me was to take a "pain pill" in the morning and Ibuprophen after that if needed.  I told him that Ibuprophen only made the headache worse, he had no answer.  I also told him I take medicine only when I need it!!!!!

As I said, I was on another WebSite for addictions and finally realized I did not fall into that category.  I didn't know about this Healing Well Site, just happened on to it and this information was/is a God send to me.  Until you hear of other's experiencing your ills, you think you are the only one.  It is amazing what I have learned here and the similarities of conditions. 

I am sorry for the lengthy reply but after so many years it feels wonderful to write to someone that understands the pain of a migraine!  I will continue to read and learn, I'm sure it will help me to overcome some of my headaches, among other things.  Maybe I can even be of some help to someone, but with a much shorter reply!!

Thank you again for your response, Ann, Bless You.

 


CRANKY 1
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 616
   Posted 12/9/2006 10:19 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey CANCAN,
 
Welcome to our board!!!  It is perfectly acceptable to mention the name of whatever medication(s) you are taking, which gives other members insight into a medication they might be taking also.  You also might benefit from their experience with the same medication.  You might also notice that some members include their diagnoses and medications under their signatures at the bottom of the posts.
 
It must be so hard to go to a new doctor, having been with the same one for so long.
 
I also began having migraine attacks at age 8.  I'm now 41, and am activily pursuing appropriate pain control.  My PCP took me off the only meds that worked for me, because they were narcotic in nature, and all the doctors are running scared about prescribing them now.
 
Wish me luck in my pursuit for pain management, and I'll do the same for you.
 
Best wishes,
Leigh Ann cool

"The weather is here, I wish you were beautiful."
                                             - Jimmy Buffett


Nicky (coquitlam55)
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 505
   Posted 12/10/2006 8:27 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Cancan,
 
Welcome to HealingWell.com. As you mentioned in your first message, there are many of us who suffer from migraines like you.
 
I have weaned off pain medication with my doctor's assistance. I started by taking the regular dosage I was used to (say 4 pills a day) and then reduced it as often as I was able to stand it. For example, I may have reduced it by 1/2 a pill every week. So, week one I would take 2 pills in the morning and 2 at night, week two, 11/2 pills in the morning and 2 pills in the evening. The key is having a medication to take when you get a headache, because you will suffer rebound headaches. You might investigate triptan medications, non-narcotic pain relievers such as Toradol or other pain relief systems your doctor may recommend.
 
I noticed that you said you don't have the time to relax. For me that has been key to my recovery. I meditate and do relaxation exercises. I used to be the family caregiver until my headaches made me stop. You are lucky that you have been able to function with your headaches. At 35 I have had to stop working and make the life changes because I couldn't function anymore.
 
I agree with the recommendation to see a neurologist, especially one who specializes in headaches. A neurologist may also be able to prescribe a preventative for your migraines to aid you in withdrawal.
 
Don't feel guilty about taking narcotics. You may find that this is the only way you get relief. In partnership with my doctors, we have decided that is the best course of medicine for me and I take them daily, with my doctors' blessing. It's the only way I am able to live without a migraine each day. If you chat with people on the Chronic Pain forum you will find that there are many people who need narcotics to make it through the day.
 
However you decide to proceed, good luck and keep in touch. We're glad you found us.
Nicky
Co-moderator Migraine Forum
 
"In life you can never be too kind or too fair; everyone you meet is carrying a heavy load. When you go through your day expressing kindness and courtesy to all you meet, you leave behind a feeling of warmth and good cheer, and you help alleviate the burdens everyone is struggling with." -- Brian Tracy
 
 


mommyto3
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 94
   Posted 12/10/2006 7:39 PM (GMT -6)   

Hi Cancan,

Just wanted to say hello and welcome! I don't have a whole lot of input on the narcotic pain medications--I have been on them for breif periods of time, but at this time only take non-narcotics and preventative type medications. Hopefully, these will be enough for me...

From reading posts and hearing everyone's stories our conditions are so indivualized and we all need different courses of treatment that work for us--whatever that may be!!! Sounds like you have a good idea of your plan of action...

Take Care!!


CANCAN
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 12/10/2006 8:59 PM (GMT -6)   
Boy!  Am I ever glad I found this Site too!!!  And many thanks for all your encouragement, Nicky.  And what a shame you had to quit your job. 
 
 I've had many jobs over the years; raised two children/seeing them both through college and two large weddings; was a caregiver to 8 people; traveled off and on with my husband during his 50 years of employment....and could not have done any of this had it not been for FIORINAL/FIORCET W/CODEINE, every 4 hours as needed..... and I have never exceeded those directions.  Although the headache used to be gone in 20 minutes, now it is about 45 mins to an hour, resistance has slowly built up.  I have only taken them for headaches though, for no other reason or other pain unless my doctor directed me to do so. As I said, I've taken this medication for 39 years.  Many days I could go without any, even weeks....taking them only when the headache would persist. 
 
 Years later, I asked my doctor if I could try something that would might help me to "catch" the headache at the onset, so I didn't have to resort to the CODEINE?  He was always so understanding.... and prescribed BUTALBITAL/APAP/CAFFEINE TB (generic for FIORICET W/O CODEINE).  It works some of the time but sometimes it takes more than one.  These are the only meds I have used for migraines, they have worked for me.  My doctor was wonderful and I miss him so, so much.
 
It has only been the last 5 years that I have had to increase the dosage, I guess my life situations have been the reason.  But I would still like to get back to less per month, I will continue to try.
 
 Within the past 5 years...I've lost my doctor; my 88 yr. old father, (who lived with us); an "old" friend (85yrs old) who was like a mother to me; and my best friend and soul mate of 25 years..to breast cancer after a 7 year battle, I was by her side all the way too!  Guess I have a good reason for headaches, eh? 
These people were so much a part of my life, I miss them something awful.  They all died in my arms, except my doctor of course.  I was the very last patient he saw before they had to carry him to the hospital (it was across the street from his office....he was so dedicated. He was my neighbor when he first took his internship, I was 22.  He would give his patients
1 1/2 to 2 hour physicals, plus a follow up appointment, he was  loved and respected by all.  Wish they made them like him now-a-days!
 
 Geez, I always seem to write so much....sorry.  You are so right on, if you find what meds help you to function then so-be-it!  I still am very active for my age and plan to continue..life is short, live it to the fullest!  If that means regulated doses of meds...then do it!!!  Thanks so much again, Nicky...and Bless You!
 

CANCAN
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 12/10/2006 10:15 PM (GMT -6)   

Thanks, Leigh Ann and Mommyto3,

Gee, I haven't had this much attention in a long time!!!  LOL

(And have patience with me, I'm learning about this Site!)

I think I can get a hold on this thing and cut back gradually.  At least I know now that I'm not so addicted that I can't get off.  Guess I've been depressed along with everything else and that more than likely is a reason for the increase in migraines too.  My "new" doctor wanted to give me meds for depression but I told him I'd rather not.  Don't like taking meds if I can work it out myself.

And there are so many things to take advantage of in life now-a-days, no one should have to go through depression.  It's needing that little push....I just got off track.  I have to direct my own way now, whereas I had so many to do for (before they all died) that I was kept pretty busy, actually on "over-load" most of the time.  Now I have to find "busy" again..it will come. 

 My dear friend/soul mate used to be my "shrink" and me, hers....that I miss!  It is so good to have a good, close friend who overlooks all your idiocyncracies (sp), gosh, I miss her something awful.    I think this is the most I've "talked" in 2 years...since her death.  HealingWell is great, even just to read.....I love it!!!  You all have been an inspiration to me...and I sure do THANK YOU!!!

 Also, someone in HealingWell wrote that orange juice is a trigger!!!  I had never heard of that...I have had orange juice every day of my life!!! AND I love it! ...but will "try" not drinking it, just to see if that could be one of MY triggers!  I love oranges....have my own orange tree to boot!

I do wish you luck in finding the right meds to take just for you, Leigh Ann.  I think if doctors would do follow-up on their patients or have the patient "report in" regarding the meds prescribed, there would be less abuse!  I was worried I was taking mine too often, my doctor wasn't that concerned but he did listen to MY concerns.  Now after reading all I have here I think my usage is minimal.  If your doctor would monitor you and have you check in, I'm sure your narcotic wouldn't get out of control.

 I was on a Drug Addiction Site before this one and some were taking up to 30+ a day!  And I was catagorizing myself with them.....!?!  If I take 5 a week I think that is too many!  Poor kids....I feel for them.  If I was able....I would help each and every one of them to over come their addictions.

Thanks again......to you both!

CAN

 

 

 


AngMichelle
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 932
   Posted 12/10/2006 11:46 PM (GMT -6)   
well, you seem to know what your doing. You know about rebounds so I won't get into that, just keep it in mind. Also, the med. you are on is a very mild narcotic, but it can cause rebounds. It will be hard after so long to get off it. I do suggest a neuro. They Deal with this stuff everyday and have better meds/combonation of meds to help prevent/treat the headache.

You told yourself everything in your post of what I would suggest. your a strong, smart woman. Just go back and read what you wrote, you'll be amazed at what comes out once you just start typing.

I'm so glad you found us here and Healingwell. Know that will always be here to share in your pain, and share in your joy.

Best to you.
AngMichelle

CANCAN
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 12/19/2006 3:26 PM (GMT -6)   

An update:

I appreciate all input, sure do thank you.  I have pulled back from the opiate I am on, down to 5 a week with no real stong headaches.  I have followed my doctors recommendations taking one pill each morning and getting through for 24 hours.  One day I had to take another but got back to one a day, then skipping a couple of days without "any"!  This is going to work for me, and eventually I will be off....only using with severe headaches!  I was using them for tension headaches also but will try to get relief another way before being too quick to reach for the opiate.

To help any others:  When I was young (8 years old) there was no medical relief, except for "Salito's"... do any of you remember those? (Probably only the older ones out there.)  I know that goes way back but they were little pink pills for children's headaches.  Of course they never touched my "sick headaches" and we had never heard of the word "migraine." 

 Since we had no explanations and no information regarding headaches, my mother and dad had to resort to home remedies. They were "vomiting" headaches as I sometimes called them.  To start off...my mother would give me a teaspoon of baking soda in a small glass of tepid water which would either make me throw up or it would settle my stomach and I could go to sleep, thus the headache would usually be gone by the time I woke up.

 They also would put me in a quiet dark room, having the house in complete silence; put a cold washcloth on my forehead and over the eye that was paining me so severely.  They changed these cold cloths continually and would very gently rub my arms and legs until I completely and totally was relaxed!!!  When they saw that I was finally drifting off to sleep, they would leave the room and keep the entire house quiet, taking the phone off the hook and making my brother stay quiet..no radio (we didn't have TV's) and you could have heard a pin drop.  After sleeping about 2 hours or so, I would wake up and almost always the headache would be gone.  My mother and dad were saints....I miss them so much, they were very sympathetic to my pain, they were my angels. One time my mother even put my head in between her hands and squeezed hard until my head cracked....it relieved the pain.  She did that when the headache was really, really severe.

Over the years, I've tried to do the quiet thing but life today just doesn't happen like it used to...not too many respect anyone enough to have a quiet home!  My husband doesn't even understand...after being married to him for 46 years, he has only had 2 headaches in his lifetime!!!  So I have had to resort to medicating myself to keep up with him, my children and grandchildren, have taken medication since I was 28. 

This family comes from a history of migraines, myy daughter, (the 4th generation) and 2 of my grand-girls (5th generation)get migraines.  The oldest girl (16) just started on Fiorinal...the only thing that helps her.  I've explained to them that if they can't do the "natural" thing in getting rid of it, then resorting to pain killers will not hurt them as long as they aren't used regularly. 

My daughter's pediatritian started her on what they called Fiorinal #2 when she was 11, they don't make that any longer so now she takes Tylenol #3,  she still isn't hooked and she is 45.  She fights the migraines as much as she can without painkillers....and she does well. Usually it is not eating that will bring on her headaches, she is just too busy to take the time to eat...a way of life today.  Stress also can bring them on.  We all have had all the MRI's, CAT SCANS, BRAIN SCANS to rule out any tumors, et al. 

Also we find that massages help, so we all massage each other or go somewhere for a massage.

I'm retired now...and still cannot relax like I'd like to, relaxation still does help me when I have a headache. If your life style is an active one then you will have stress.  Tenseness puts stress on the body's nerves, nerves cause arteries to tighten  unbelievably and can cut off blood supply to the head, among other places in the body.  After ruling out all medical x-rays, you might try the relaxation methods with massage if possible....and never forget, what works for one won't always work for another.

The body is a very complex organ and it will never be perfect.  We all have to learn to cope after having full extent of tests needed, sometimes the homeopathic way is the best bet.

Sorry I'm so long winded, just always have a lot in my mind I want to share.

Good luck to eveyone.

CAN

Migraines/Use Fiorinal/Fioricet, as needed; sciatica/TENS Unit;  2 herniated discs, T11/L7

 

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