What do you do when medication stops working?

 

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Several times a year my medication stops working.

To begin with, preventative medications give me terrible side effects.  I tend to stay off them except Botox.  I have been on and off Botox for years and each time it is different in results.  Sometimes it works, other times it seems to make me sick, the next time it may work but wear off early.  I never know.

I use a ton of natural therapies to treat myself and also get a variety of results

  • Massage
  • Acupuncture
  • Sauna
  • Epsom salt baths
  • Ice therapy
  • Restorative Exercise
  • Heat therapy

Depending on the trigger, pain level and situation depends on how much relief I get from natural products.

Abortive medication is taken to decrease a migraine or get rid of one that is existing.

  • Imitrex
  • Zomig
  • Frova
  • Treximet
  • Relpax
  • Amerge
  • Maxalt

Here’s the dilemma with abortive medications….I can only take them so many times per month.  When I have daily headache and migraines it is difficult to judge when to take them.  After taking my medication it usually works.

Occasionally, all of my medication stops working.  I take my abortive, I use natural therapies and products, I use everything as directed and nothing works!  I seem to get into a cycle that will not break no matter what!

Taking too many pain relievers causes rebound migraines so I am careful not to over medicate.  The problem is, I get to a point where everything stops working and I just need to suffer.  After battling for days and days and fighting every way I know how, I finally give up.  I get to a point that I give in to the constant migraine and just wait it out.  I stop poisoning my body with medications that aren’t responding with my body and I try to sleep it off till I can function again.  I run out of options and just wait it out.

Am I the only one who goes through this?

What do you do when everything stops working?

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Botox, Topomax and preventatives for Migraine and their side effects

Recently I was asked why I don’t take preventative medicine for my chronic migraines. What a loaded question! I actually do, I get Botox but the effectiveness is hit or miss and I get different side effects from the injections each time. I never know how I’m going to feel the days after, the effectiveness of the areas, and the time before it kicks in and wears off. This is the same as all preventatives with me.

Weighing the side effects and effectiveness is really what I have battled with for years. So  I took my medication vacation before I had children and  haven’t gone back to any (daily preventative) pills. Before this “vacation” and a ton of reflection, I didn’t understand the side effects that I was getting from the variety of medications that I tried. I have a hypersensitive body and brain which probably seems obvious. But growing up I didn’t understand the risks and damage that these meds were doing to me while I was under the impression that they would help.

I have taken dozens of different preventatives over the years….none of which are specifically made for migraine sufferers. They have been anti seizure, blood pressure, depression, and more. None of which I am diagnosed with. But in an attempt to curb these daily headaches and migraines I have tried it. I always trusted my doctor would steer me in the right direction but what I have learned is to trust yourself!

I was on Topomax for the longest amount of time and from what I remember was the most effective for the greatest amount of time for me. I say, from what I remember because memory loss, fuzziness and concentration issues are just a few of the many side effects I had from Topomax. I started out on a low dosage and slowly increased to keep up with my growing migraines.

Topomax didn’t make me loose weight like many have reported but it gave me all the side effects mentally. I was tired, confused, loosing words, moody, dizzy, lost hair, had altered tastes in foods and more. The crazy thing is, I didn’t understand that these were side effects of the medication until years after I was off it.

I remember reporting some of my issues to my doctor but thought it was just associated with migraine pain and everything else that comes with it. The hindsight made me realize that I wasn’t crazy. The drugs I was given to help me were hurting me! It’s beyond frustrating to think I was taking these meds and they were making me worse.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten prescriptions and read the side effects and been both horrified and terrified. But most of the time I read it once I’ve bought it and it’s too late. I don’t have the money to be throwing away something that holds hope for me. The risks now just don’t outweigh the benefit to me.   I have never felt great on anything, so why continue to take anything? Nothing has been approved for my diagnosis so why am I a human guinea pig in the mean time?

This is not to say that I don’t think they work and no one should take them. Everyone is so different which is why the battle is real for all of us. None of us are the same and don’t get the results or side effects the same. I don’t necessarily regret taking these meds that didn’t work for me. I regret not being more informed!!!!!!! I regret feeling like I was crazy, a hypochondriac, and a waste of time and money searching for relief. I regret not listening to my body and understanding the side effects of my medications.

Side effects made my condition worse, gave me other issues to deal with and have caused a lot of problems throughout my journey. I didn’t understand that my growing and changing body would require changing meds and it wasn’t a fail. I now see it as another move in my game of chess.   I can now check those things off my list and say “I tried it and no thank you right now.”

Does that mean I’ll never go back on them? Of course not. I will do whatever I can to feel better. Some days are more desperate than others but most of the time I try to be realistic and think both short and long term. I used to think my doctor was going to give me something to leave with that would cure me and make me feel normal. I didn’t understand that it’s a journey and there are no cures. It’s a combination and balance in my life that I need to look for. I think if I was going to give some advice it would be, “Understand what you are taking, both preventative and rescue. Understand how they work together and dosages. Read and understand the side effects and risks of any medication that you use. Be careful, be safe, and hopefully be well!”

Do you take a preventative medication for migraine?  What side effects have you had?

How to travel with a chronic illness

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After my Lessons your children learn or miss on vacation post, I was asked how I can travel with a chronic illness.  Not easily, is my answer.

As always, I prepare….

I saw 3 doctors the week before I left.  I was on a 20 day antibiotic, taking sinus meds, was treated by an acupuncturist, got a massage, made trips to the pharmacy and had a follow up the week I returned home.  I was able to make it until day 4 before my migraine spiked.  Typically, I get a migraine on day 2 so this was good for me.

I had a suitcase and carryon filled with natural products that I use.  I didn’t take a picture but check out my reviews and it will give you a good idea of some things in my purse.

I had a few days of migraine but only my evenings were consumed with pain.  I was able to stop a level 7/8 from going to a 10 and was able to enjoy the next day at a reasonable level.  These are all victories for me!!

As for returning home….

I have now had a migraine for 12 days straight with no relief.  My pain fluctuates between a 4 and 7 most days but mostly is a constant never ending full body fatigue and heightened stimulus sensitivity with brain pains. My cravings have been out of control and I’ve been packing on weight that makes me even more uncomfortable. 

It’s hard to describe to a non-sufferer, but I’ll just say it’s tough mentally as much as physically when I am in a cycle that isn’t being broken at all. It’s just this wet blanket over me that I really only feel in my down time.  I’m a busy teacher and mom and have been able to do these well but the second I need to do anything other than childcare, I just don’t have it in me. 

my spoons

Priorities of my spoons is the best way I can describe it.  I had to cancel plans this week, was like a rag doll this weekend and generally just felt crappy since I’ve been home.

Traveling comes at a huge cost for me but one I’m willing to pay.  When I live with a migraine daily, traveling and spiking it seems bad but I’d rather get a few days of glory than a week missed in my hole.

Here’s some good examples on how I feel this week: 

 

Oh the joys of traveling

One step forward two steps back

When everything stops working

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How do you get through traveling, before or after? 

Aromafloria, helping me relax with essential oil bath products

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I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company. This post contains affiliate links

Aromafloria delivers finely crafted, artisanal quality body care and aromatherapy products.  I was approached by Aromafloria to review their Muscle Soak collection.  This collection restores vitality with essential oils of eucalyptus, peppermint, and lemongrass. These nourishing formulas soothe sore muscles, ease tension and leave you feeling energized.  Knowing that I like eucalyptus and peppermint already, I knew this was the line for me.

This summer I have decided to cut down on my workouts and focus more on relaxation and taking care of my skin.  These products allowed me to do so.  Here is a breakdown of all the products I tried:

Aromafloria

Muscle Soak- Ocean Mineral Bath Salts

Restore a sense of well-being to ease sore muscles with an aromatic steaming bath infused with healing essential oils and muscle relaxing sea salts.

The bath salts were a real treat to me.  I never take the time to take a bath and reviewing these forced me to relax.  I found that that the salts dissolved easily and had a light pleasant aroma.  I have used over powering products in the bath before and this one is subtle and not too strong to soak in for a lengthy bath.

Muscle Soak- Foaming Bubble Bath

The Muscle Soak Bubble Bath’s essential oils of Eucalyptus, Peppermint and Lemongrass are fresh, cooling and invigorating.

My children helped me review the bubble bath.  They love bubble bath and were thrilled with  the lush foamy and pleasant smell.  I felt good about allowing them to use the eucalyptus bubble bath when my son has sensitive skin and sinus issues.  His skin was soothed and breathing was clear after soaking and playing in the bubble bath.

Muscle Soak- Sugar Salt Glow Body Scrub

Cleanse away fatigue and invigorate the body and soul with refreshing cool herbs and aromas to leave your skin softly polished and younger feeling.

This was my favorite!  I love scrubs and this one was great!  Once again, it was a lovely light aroma.  I enjoyed the fine scrub and how it was not messy.  It stuck to my skin and allowed me to exfoliate without splashing it all over the shower or it chunking up and falling to the drain.  It left my skin smooth and slightly moisturized and not dry.  It is so gentle I used it daily and concentrated on areas of bumps or imperfections on my skin.  The only problem is how quickly I have been using it!

Muscle Soak- Bath & Body Massage Oil

Relieve tired muscles from aches and pains with an icy hot massage with Muscle Soak Bath & Body Massage Oil.

This one I used on my husband.  He is at a desk job all day and gets a lot of back and shoulder pain.  I treated him with the body oil and a massage and he now requests it often.

Sinus Help- Inhalation Beads

The decongestant and cooling properties of essential oils have been shown to help clear stuffy nose and enhance breathing.

These came very in handy!  After receiving all of the Aromafloria products, I went into a migraine cycle followed by a sinus infection and pink eye.  The pressure in my face was extreme.  I helped treat myself with baths (and salts) along with breathing the inhalation beads.  The sinus beads are pretty strong.  The first time I breathed deeply with them my eyes watered from the essential oils.  I brought the beads with me when we were outside to help clear my sinuses and allow me have some relief as the allergies grew.

Sleep Ease- Inhalation Beads

The restorative properties of essential oils have been known to help quiet the mind and calm the body for healthy, natural sleep.

These beads are not as strong as the sinus beads.  They are pleasant and relaxing.  I plan on adding these to my travel bag.  The smells of airplanes and the people surrounding me often trigger migraines.  I also will use them before bed in the dry air conditioned hotel.  They are relaxing and help calm my migraine brain before bed.

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Overall, I loved trying all of the Aromafloria products.  Being under the weather and pampering myself with these soothing products allowed me to feel more energized and vibrant.  As a busy mom, quality bath products are like an escape to the spa in the comforts of my home.

 

When everything stops working

I’m having a really rough week! I traveled this weekend, last weekend & will be again next weekend. Along with this, the weather has been really tough & once again I have PMS. I have never been able to control this combination. Cycles are so hard to break and I’m feeling down. It reminded me of this post…..I just keep reminding myself, I’ve gotten through it before, I’ll do it again.

My Migraine Life

The thing about migraines is that there is no cure and there is no medicine that works for everyone.  The even crazier thing is, there is not a medicine that works every time even if you are lucky enough to find something that works for you.  It’s constantly a guess and check and experiment game.  When it comes to matters of the brain, it’s hard to keep on top of it.  My entire life I have been on dozens of medicines and sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t.  Or they work then all of a sudden my body changes and it doesn’t.  The game is never ending and I’ve been on the losing end most of the time.  Here’s the most frustrating part…..sometimes everything stops working.  I got home from vacation expecting a migraine from coming from the Caribbean to settle back into a polar vortex.  So I tried to…

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