Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Western New York Migraine and Headache Disorder Support Group

Got a message from one of my fellow migraine sufferers just now:

Hey there,
I am finally starting the first Western New York Migraine and Headache Disorder Support Group next week.

Here are the details:
Tuesday April 19, 2011 - 7:00 pm
6095 Transit Road East Amherst NY 14051
Plenty of support and parking too

I'd go if I lived anywhere near that part of the country. So if you do live in Western New York, and want a support group, for patients, friends, and/or family, go on over to the site and learn more. 

Quantum in me fuit,


What does pain feel like?

This is what I'm thinking right now. And I'm thinking hard, because I'm confused as to what pain is right now. See, let me explain why/how I'm confused.

As you might well have read, I've just had all 4 wisdom teeth extracted yesterday. The collective "they" had all told me that this was going to hurt, probably pretty badly for the first 48 hours at least.

Well, yesterday, I was at least partially numb until well after dinner. However, I religiously took my oxycodone every 6 hours (along w/ my antibiotic) so that I would stay ahead of the pain.

Around 11:30, I woke up with some discomfort in my jaws, and so took another oxycodone and some peach frozen yogurt to forestall the pain from setting in, and went back to sleep.

Well, today's day two, and no part of my face is the tingly or complete numb that it was yesterday. I took oxycodone and my antibiotic when I woke up, thinking it would could be the last time that I took the oxycodone, as I really hadn't been feeling much pain, and I don't want to over do the taking of it.

Well, then the morning passed, and I had lunch (peach fro yo blended with strawberry yogurt!) and was talking to Beth, when all of a sudden I realized that my jaws felt uncomfortable. I was also a little more puffy in the cheeks than I had been in the morning when Marcelle had been helping me to remember to change my moist heat packs for the 20min on, 20 min off thing to prevent swelling. So I topped and evaluated what my jaws really felt like in an attempt to decide if I needed to take another oxycodone, as it was getting to be that time again.

I sent out my body scout, and he came back TOTALLY confused. My jaws were in discomfort, yes, but were they in pain? The discomfort that I felt, which my body scout labeled as fiery and stabbing, was not pleasant, no, but it wasn't the kind of pain I'm used to with my migraines. The jaw discomfort would rank, what I would imagine a 1/10 or 2/10 migraine would feel like. (I can only imagine, I have never been below a 6/10 in several years basically in migraine pain.)

However, the fiery stabbing sensation was uncomfortable, or at least not pleasant or neutral, and I was worried that it could trigger a spike 'real'(?) migraine pain. So I took any oxycodone (which has not touched my normal [head]pain levels, btw) to forestall that from happening.

But I'm really, honestly confused right now.

Is my brain so embedded in the status migranous that I don't recognize other intrusions on my head as pain?

Is my pain threshold huge and actually I am feeling a lot of 'pain' in my jaws, and it's just dwarfed by my experiences with migraines?

What does "pain" feel like?

I'm so confused and bemused (and slightly discouraged) by this conundrum.

any insight into 'pain'?

Quantum in me fuit,


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

An Anecdotal Reminder About Rebounds

I just wrote this in my journal, and I thought I'd share it with all of your.

I had all 4 wisdom teeth yanked this morning. I had expected full, black out anesthetic, when it turns out I got twilight, which was kinda cool. They kept telling me to apparently I wasn't doing too hot a job of that, but other than that it went very...calmly. I didn't feel a thing, and could only feel a bit of pressure, and the sound of the sander.

Then they put me in recovery. And I got drowsier, and drowsier, and drowsier....until I could not keep both eyes open despite my best efforts. They were starting to get concerned, and then, somehow, I'm not sure as I was getting less aware of things, the fact that I usually drink 5 cups of coffee every morning and that I'd been NPO when I came in. I had even joked with the nurses going into the procedure that I wanted my coffee. So, this is awesome, one of the nurses went a brewed a cup of coffee for me. :D I dribbled about half of it down my chin, because I couldn't feel my lips, but within a couple swallows, I started to wake up, and start 'talking', and generally act human. They were kinda amazed, and I wanted to say "I TOLD you so!" but didn't as that would have taken speaking. So I thanked them, and got the heck out of there, as I was now awake.

Then we went across the street to our pharmacy, to get my painkiller and antibiotic scripts filled. They said it would take ~20 minutes, so we went another block to McDonald's and I got a vanilla milkshake and a spoon (no straws allowed) and Mom and I had "lunch". I made a total mess, as I still couldn't feel my lips, but my body liked the milkshake, so Mom just got a stack of napkins and we dealt with it. It wasn't that that bad.

Then we went back to the pharmacy, and I waited in the car while Mom went in to pick up the meds. And I waited, and waited, and waited. Finally, Mom came out and told me that our pharmacist wouldn't even give Mom the prescribed painkiller, because guess what?


Fail. That would give me an instant rebound migraine. I love my pharmacist for catching this. I would not have been happy if I had triggered a rebound migraine while trying to treat my jaw pain. So...we came home w/ just the antibiotic and a recommendation for what painkiller to ask for. (I happen to have some of it in my med cabinet for my migraines, so it's not PANIC(!) time, but I only have something like 7 pills left...out of a one time prescription for 10 pills, so Mom just called the oral surgeon and asked for the recommended painkiller that doesn't have Tylenol, aspirin, or ibuprofen mixed into it, as all of those cause rebounds.

Then, having read my journal entry, one of my friends asked me a question in the comments:

"...So if you take any pain killers with tylenol, aspirin, or ibuprofen you get a migraine from the medication? I just want to make sure i have it clear."

This is what I replied with:

"Yeah, ever since 8th grade ('o1) I haven't been able to take Tylenol, aspirin, or ibuprofen without getting horrendous migraine, because I took so much of them in things like Excedrin Migraine, and other OTC painkillers for my increasingly severe migraines. I now get what's called a rebound migraine from any of them, even if I take, say, a Tylenol for a really bad burn I got on my hand from the stove. It's because my brain saw those chemicals, and the migraine pain together so often, that now, whenever it sees the chemical, it assumes that there is migraine pain, and will actually create it if there isn't, just to keep me what it sees as "normal." 

It stinks and is quite painful, so I take Aleve (aka Naproxen) very sparingly, because I don't want to get rebounds from it as well."

I'm going to get on my Soapbox for a moment here, now. I think a lot of people underestimate the potential potency of OTC pain meds, such as the ones that I took. I'm not saying that you should never use OTC painkillers, that's absurd. However, the rule of thumb, so to speak, is that you take no more than the recommended max dose 3 days over the course of a week, unless specified otherwise by a doc or some other medical professional. And then, for only 2 weeks or so. If your pain is so bad that you need the painkillers more than that, you need to contact your doc and get seen.

I didn't know what I was doing with the Excedrin Migraine, until it was too late. So now, I really advocate awareness about responsible use of OTC painkillers, and meds in general. I don't want others to go through what I'm living with.

So be aware, be careful, and please, never take any medication lightly.

Quantum in me fuit,


Monday, April 11, 2011

Migraines & Frustration

Here is the April blog carnival. I didn't get a chance to submit (hello marathon migraine!) but check out the link, and I'll post what would have been my entry here.

Yeah, they go together, as proved by the above: a marathon migraine spike lost me the opportunity to contribute to the April blog carnival. I got the reminder e-mail, the day before it was due, and I was heading to bed as reclining on the couch was too painful. Not a good time to start writing a coherent blog that I want published. 

In retrospect, maybe I should have gone ahead and slammed something out and emailed it off. However, it probably would have been just a depressed/angry rant on the suckage of migraines. And I don't think that that's really what I should be presenting. 

Instead, I want to talk about how to deal with the frustration that migraines bring. 

Migraines can bring tremendous inspiration for me sometimes, but they can also bring killer writer's block that lasts long after the pain's become reasonable again. Writing this is like pulling teeth right now, because I'm still recovering from the brain block that the over three week long migraine lasted. 

However, instead of getting frustrated and quitting, I'm taking this slowly, and writing one or two sentences, and then pausing to collect my thoughts again. That and I'm going to make this short.

The answer to the frustration is not to fight it. Instead, understand the frustration, and then try and resolve that frustration with diligence and patience.

Quantum in me fuit,


Monday, April 4, 2011

I am thankful for...

A  blog carnival has been posted here. I'm only one of a great many giving thanks.

So, be thankful, even in the face of adversity.

Quantum in me fuit,