Category Archives: Health

TGIF

So far, the injection I took for my headaches is not working very well. I’ve had a headache almost every day this month. I had one yesterday and had to come home from work. I’m going to assess how I feel this morning and if I still have a headache, I’m calling in sick. I’m not discouraged yet. The doctor said it could take a month or two before it kicks in. The good news is that the insurance finally agreed to pay for my Migranal. Instead of costing $1900, it will only cost $10.


Headache Clinic, Aftermath

As I told you on Monday, I went to the headache clinic at Dartmouth-Hitchcock to be assessed for my headaches. I loved my neurologist down there. She was very nice and very thorough, unlike the neurologist I saw here who was just an arrogant ass. This doctor is also a professor at Dartmouth Medical School. Anyway, after a full assessment, she diagnosed me with chronic migraines. She said though I had some of the symptoms of cluster headaches before, I didn’t meet the most critical of the criteria for cluster headaches and had been misdiagnosed. She also said that besides the occasional seasonal sinus headaches, all of my other headaches were actually migraines, some just acting in atypical ways. However, they were migraines nonetheless.
She stopped all previous headache treatments because they were helping but not completely doing away with the headaches. From here on out, I am not even allowed to take any over the counter medications for pain relief. She first prescribed me Emgality, a monthly injection for my migraines. For milder and moderate headaches she prescribed Anaprox and Vistaral. For major headaches, she prescribed me Migranal. This is where it became tricky. First my pharmacist was worried about interactions with my other health issues (diabetes and hypertension) and my other medications. I did discuss with the pharmacist that we had talked about all my medications, but the pharmacist still would not give me the medication without speaking to the doctor. Furthermore, they did not keep Migranal in stock and would have to order it. That’s all well and good, but the other pharmacist called me yesterday and told me that with the coupon that said it “could reduce the cost to as little as $5” it was still going to cost $1900 dollars a month. My insurance had denied the medication. So they are working with the doctor to try and get pre-authorization for the medication. Incidentally, I looked up the cost of one months supply without the discount card or insurance, and it was $16,000 dollars a month. So it is still up in the air about whether or not I will get the Migranal, because even with the coupon, I cannot afford $1900 a month. Now if one of y’all is a benevolent millionaire with money to spare, there is a donate button over there and if you’re willing to pay $1900 a month for my Migranal, I’d greatly appreciate it. Since I doubt that will happen, I will wait and see if the insurance company authorizes this new medication.
My new doctors goal is not to just make me feel better but to totally eliminate the migraines. Oh and one other little side story about Monday. I had seen the doctor which took about an hour and a half, then I saw a research assistant to be enrolled in the National migraine study which took another hour, and then I headed to the pharmacy at the main hospital to pick of my Emgality. The Dartmouth-Hitchcock Pharmacy is able to cut through the red tape of insurance companies a lot easier than my local pharmacy for this particular medication. So after another hour of paperwork, I got my first dose of Emgality which I was supposed to take when I got home. By this time, it is lunchtime and I went and had lunch then headed home, which is about an hour away from Dartmouth-Hitchcock. I get about 20 miles from home and the pharmacy calls. They had given me the wrong dosage. I was supposed to take two injections the first month and one each month after that. They had only given me one injection pen. So I had to go to the nearest exit, which was about five miles away and turn around and head back to the hospital. By the time I’d gotten the second dose and back home, I then went to my regular pharmacy to pick up my new prescriptions. By the time this was over, it was after 4 pm. I’d left the house at 7:15 am for my 8:30 appointment. It had been a long day. Add to that, I did have a massive migraines on Monday.

Headache Clinic

At long last, I am finally going for my appointment at the headache clinic. I’m not sure what to expect other than a lot of questions about my history of headaches. I know I have often mentioned having a headache on this blog, but I don’t always say when o have a headache. That’s because I have some type of headache 5-7 days per week. It is not as bad as when I had chronic cluster headaches. During those couple of years, I didn’t go a moment without a headache. Now sometimes they last a few hours, sometimes a few days. Sometimes they are debilitating and I can’t even work, at other times they are tolerable. I have learned to work through the pain. So I hope to get some answers and maybe some relief from the doctors at this special clinic.


CPAP

I went and got my CPAP yesterday. The salesman, or whatever you’d call him, told me I should have no problem getting used to the machine because I had the worst sleep apnea he had ever seen. Sigh! Just what I’d wanted to hear. Anyway, I’m writing this before I put it on and go to sleep. I’ll try to update this post in the morning after I’ve slept in this CPAP mask.

The Verdict:

I can’t say that last night was the best sleep of my life. The CPAP mask is going to take some getting used to. It woke me up several times in the middle of the night. I don’t know why, but it did. It was mostly a fitful night of sleep. I hope as I get used to wearing it, it will become more comfortable and I will sleep better. The end result, the verdict is still out.


Health Update

I just got off the phone with my doctor with the CT scan results. This is what I have:
This is what happened:
It will go away on its own in a few weeks. No surgery will be needed.

Nervous

You’re probably tired of hearing about this, but I’m tired of these abdominal pains. They continue to persist, and I have found no relief because they can’t find what’s wrong. I have my CT scan this morning. Hopefully, they’ll be able to find some answers. I leave Sunday for Pensacola to do my certified interpretive guide training. I really can’t afford to miss that. Too much money that’s non-refundable has already been spent.


Not Feeling Well

The ultrasound turned up nothing. Everything seemed to check out fine. My doctor at first wanted another ultrasound but decided to go with a CT scan instead. I don’t know when this will be as they have yet to tell me. At times the pain is pretty significant, but if I lay on my left side I feel much better. I hope we can find out what is causing this pain.


Falling Apart

I feel like I’m falling apart. First, it was my headaches that have become more frequent and severe. Then I was diagnosed with a severe case of sleep apnea. Now, and since Sunday, I have had a sharp pain in my lower right abdomen. Since this could mean any number of severe conditions, I called to see my doctor on Monday. I couldn’t get in to see him, so they had me see another doctor on staff. The good thing is after her exam, she ruled out appendicitis, but she couldn’t figure out what else was wrong. So she ordered some blood tests. The blood tests came back normal, no infection, but one enzyme was off. That enzyme often points to something is wrong with the gallbladder. It could be the pancreas or liver, but usually the gallbladder. Drinking alcohol could also mess with this enzyme, but I rarely drink alcohol. So with the thought that it might be my gallbladder, she ordered an ultrasound. I have to go to the hospital at 10:30 this morning to have that done. I’ve had to fast since midnight, so I’m not in a good mood without my coffee or breakfast. Anyway, I’ll keep you guys updated. Getting older kind of sucks sometimes. There always seems to be a new health problem.


Sleep Study

I’d been told that I would not get the results back for 5-6 weeks; however, a doctor from the clinic called urgently yesterday to tell me I had sleep apnea. Apparently, it is severe sleep apnea with events occurring over 100 times a minute. At night, my blood oxygen level drops dramatically. The good news is that it comes back to normal as soon as I start breathing again. She was going to call the medical supply company and get me set up to get a CPAP as soon as possible. People keep telling me that this could be a miracle life changer. We’ll see. However, studies have shown that obstructive sleep apnea is a cause of hypertension, headaches, memory loss, high blood glucose levels, and a myriad of other health conditions. As I said, we’ll see, and I’ll keep you informed.


My Headaches

If you’ve followed this blog for any amount of time, you probably know I suffer from headaches. I got some relief a few years ago when I got rid of my chronic cluster headaches, but since then, my migraines have come back. It’s been particularly bad the last three weeks or so. There have been times  of some relief, though brief, only an hour or two and bouts of intensive pain that would bring me to tears. I have an appointment with a headaches clinic on November 4, but this last bout of headaches has had me at my wits end. I’d had enough, so I called my doctor. After initially being told I couldn’t see him until next week, I called back and begged yesterday to see him. They finally admitted that he had an appointment at 1.
I was glad I’d finally get to see him and I didn’t have to wait another week.  We discussed the symptoms and he and I decided it was most likely an atypical migraine plus the possibility of a small viral infection. Since my medicines have only been giving me temporary relief, he gave me a shot of Toradol. If you’ve ever had to have one, the relief is almost immediate. He also gave me some anti-nausea medicine too for the almost constant nausea I’ve had with the pain.
I left his office and went to my physical therapy appointment. My physical therapist has worked on my neck pain and shoulder pain. She works wonders. I was basically pain free when I left her office. However, like everything else I’ve tried in the past few weeks, the relief was temporary. By the time I returned home, my headache was back. So I took my doctor’s advice, I took a Maxalt and the anti-nausea medicine and went to bed. I hope today will be a better day.

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