My Migraine Cycle and Steroids
Migraine and chronic pain are part of my life. While I may
not have migraine pain every day, I do have some sort of head and neck pain to
contend with on a daily basis. It is what it is, and some days are easier to
deal with than others.
When I get a migraine attack there is a very specific protocol I follow that together with my doctor we have developed. This protocol starts by taking a Midrin equivalent (my abortive) to stop the migraine process. Some of my attacks require multiple doses, others do not. Keeping my fingers crossed, the migraine will have been aborted. If the attack lingers for another day, I repeat the Midrin. However, if I have taken two days of migraine abortive medication and the migraine persists, it's time for rescue
medication, dilaudid. It's important that I follow this plan because I am very
susceptible to medication overuse headache. Three treatment days and if my
protocol doesn't work, I'm to contact the doctor.
Recently, that's just what happened; my three day protocol
didn't work and I knew this migraine wasn't going aware without some additional
help. I contacted my doctor's office (who have always been very accommodating)
to try and schedule an infusion to break this cycle. A staff member took my message
and said she would talk to the doctor and get right back to me. She did as
promised, but the answer wasn't one I expected. The doctor wanted me to try a
three day Medrol dose pack. WHAT? In the past steroids have not worked to break
a migraine for me and in fact have made other conditions I have, idiopathic intracranial
hypertension worse. I calmly said that wasn't going to work and what about that infusion? Again, she would contact me right after she spoke with the doctor.
Time was ticking, my head was hurting and I'd been sick to my stomach for days.
And now I was starting to get a feeling that there wasn't going to be an
infusion that day. As I was waiting for my phone call, I glanced at the clock I
saw it was 1:30 p.m. and immediately knew there was an issue. From previous
experience at my doctor's office I remembered they like to have their infusions completely
set up by 1p.m. It takes a few hours to complete an infusion and I had missed their "deadline" by a half hour!
When the woman called me back, who by the way was very pleasant, the new plan was to try
Decadron, a steroid for three days. As I groaned, she went on to explain the doctor wanted to make sure I took
two pills that day and then follow the prescription as written. Plus if I didn't feel any better
in the morning, I was to call first thing and schedule an infusion. Even though I was less
than pleased, I decided to give it a try, besides I just didn't have it in me
to be a power patient at that point. I believe it's been well over 10 years since I've tried this steroid so I had my son get the prescription, and I followed the doctors orders.
Imagine my surprise when I woke up the next morning with less migraine pain! It wasn't completely gone, but was definitely on its way out. Needless to say I was shocked and pleasantly pleased by this. This would be the first time I'd been
able to break a migraine cycle with steroids. I still felt crappy I continued
to finish the prescription and the migraine did go away. Yes, I can say Decadron was a success and will
try it again.
Have you ever tried something to no avail then tried it again and
it worked? Let me know and we can compare notes!
Thanks for reading,
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© Nancy Harris Bonk, 2013.
Last updated July 6, 2013.