Too many triptans

Month long migraines and too many triptans. I use Axert, but try not to use it too much, because it causes shortness of breath, which aggravates my asthma and then I get asthma attacks. So it can't be my regular triptan, even though it works better. Instead I use an ergotomine for my regular triptan, because so far it is the only one that does not cause me to have trouble breathing. So I have been using both, to try and trick my brain out of this migraine stretch. Use Axert for three days, off one (cause you need to wait 24hours) and just use painkillers, and then go on the ergotomine for three days, then repeat. Which means I am well over three days a week of triptans, which you should not do. But you should also not use painkillers like T3s for more than three days. Point being, using too much of everything just to battle these things.

And when you take too many, in my case, you get tired, short of breath and chest pains and heart flutters. Then vertigo and dizzy spells. Loads of fun. Which means somehow I have to manage three or four days without triptans. I am not sure how, but somehow. Sucks to be me right now. So I think it is time to see my doctor. And maybe he has gotten those sleep study test results and just maybe the little bit of time I managed to sleep will help with that. I am so sleep deprived I am forgetting to take my meds, or forgetting if I had already.

I have a love hate relationship with spring

Honestly, out of the whole month there were maybe two days without a pre-migraine, migraine or post-migraine. Two days without a headache or migraine related symptoms. Two days of awesome clarity, clear and sharp thinking, where I got things done. On those days the world seems so intenely sharp and vivid. And you are so very aware it is not a good thing that this is a rare occurance rather than the norm. It is hard for me to keep a balance since chronic migraines three days out of the week can easily lead into much more. One bad week of say five migraines, takes its toll and might then lead to anothing bad week or into a status migraine.

The rest has been migraine hell really. The weather unpredicatable, combined with lack of sleep, more light and, of course, the predictable hormonal migraine. It is becoming quite the drain. When you get a status migraine, a migraine that lasts continually for three days, it is killer on the body over all. Hard to break and takes some time to recover from. Unfortunately, these migraines are very hard to break. As a result you try damn near everything once, then again and then in different combinations in order to do so, because the pain is maddening. A person simply needs to have some migraine free days to recover and to dampen the triggers, otherwise it is just one migraine leading into another.

Anyway, the pain is driving me to distraction. I tried taking some holiday days from work to break the pain pattern, but it did not work. I got some sleep and did not need to expose myself to daylight, but the migraine stuck with me. It has been an extremely long month. In which, I have used too many triptans in order to combat these enduring migraines, such that they do not seem to be doing the trick now. So at this point I am pretty screwed, as there is nothing else I am capable of doing to get rid of the pain, asside from a trip to the ER (where the chances of success only increase by maybe 10%). Sometimes when I get fustrated enough, or desperate enough, I go to the ER because I like to think they can help, are there to help, but that is not always the case... actually, it is rarely the case. They pretty much do the same thing as you can do at home, somehow under the impression you have not already tried everything. Which is how I get into these situations with drawn out status migraines because while I know it is not good and I know it is recommended to seek medical attention, I also know the ER staff know less about these than I do and all I will get for my effort is more fustration and a lingering sense of disapointment. That being said, about the only thing to do when migraine frequency increases exponentially is set up an appointment with my neuro and hope the situation does not get out of control.

Still, I do love spring. It is brutal and bright, but when I feel the sun shine, the wind losing its bite and the snow melting it makes me feel like I have more energy. Makes me damn happy to see the snow retreating.

Painful Art?

"What pain looks like
Research shows that unnatural patterns, stripes and contrasts in some paintings are uncomfortable to view, and can literally be a pain. Professor Arnold Wilkins, who led the research at Essex University, says: "We have shown for the first time that the discomfort from looking at complex images like paintings can be predicted, and our test could be used to avoid putting stressful images in public places where they could cause problems for some people."

This is so true. When people wear striped shirts it makes me dizzy because my eyes waver on the pattern making all warpy. That is the case with any complex patterns, or contrastiny patterms.

Study volunteers were asked to rate a number of paintings using a seven-point scale for both artistic merit and visual comfort, and the images were then analysed. This showed revealed factors unique to the uncomfortable images. In particular, there were strong contrasts between light and dark, combined at specific points where vision is most sensitive. Simple patterns of stripes with a specific spatial frequency induce headaches.

The researchers then developed computer software primed with the features they detected. They took images of works, analysed them with the software, and found that they were able to predict which would be the most uncomfortable to view. The more unnatural the structure of the paintings, the greater the discomfort.

Just why these images are uncomfortable isn't clear. One theory is that the brain has evolved to process natural images rapidly, and that it is confused or disturbed by some unnatural patterns. That results in a feeling of discomfort that can trigger headaches, migraines or epileptic seizures in people vulnerable to such attacks.

The researchers also compared photographic images of urban and rural scenes and found that the latter caused less discomfort, possibly because urban areas have more man-made structures with more unnatural patterns. The finding could explain other visual triggers, such as flickering and bright lights.

Wilkins and his team have looked at other stimuli and found the same kind of effects in photographs, typefaces and other images. One of the most uncomfortable images of all, they say, was found to be the lines on the treads on the London Underground escalators.

However, the research is not conclusive. "There is a huge number of myths and old wives' tales, and a huge amount that is still not known which helps to allow people to have those myths," says Dr Andrew Dowson, the chairman of Migraine Action's medical advisory board and head of headache services at King's College Hospital, London. "Is it, for example, a myth or a truth that food always causes migraine? A study in the US found that chocolate made no difference at all to migraine. It may be that people in the early stages crave and eat convenience foods such as chocolate and cheese. So it may be part of the migraine to want to eat those things rather than that they actually cause it."

He adds: "Many have realised that the sensory system is 'sensitised' within, and also often between, attacks. It has proved more difficult to confirm the suspicion that red and blue wavelengths of light, for example, are actual triggers, and I guess this work is of a similar nature. It would be interesting to see if exposure to one type of image had a different resultant migraine rate, but it is hard to design such a study."

Sleep study

I am not sure how effective a sleep study is on an insomniac, when the study itself insures it is near impossible to get to sleep. In an unfamiliar place, an uncomfortable bed, with a thin blanket and wrapped in cords. It is crazy uncomfortable with sensors taped all over. I did not really sleep much at all, since it was not my normal bed time to begin with. I tried to be carefully comfortable, as to not wrap myself in cords or unplug things. When I finally dozed off, it was not a deep sleep. I know that I woke up four times to carefully change position, but more times than that. The last time, since I had no idea what time it was, felt like it had to be near the end, but I had a few hours of just laying there before it was finished.

So I am not sure if they recorded any useful information. I really hope so, since that lack of breathing thing that wakes me up sometimes, seriously freaks me out. But the sleeping test is for sleep apnea, which I don't think I have. It had to be done and I am glad to have had the test. I just hope they get the information they need.

The never ending migraine

Or so it feels like. This migraine has been attacking me for weeks now. Every single day. Some days worse than others, but when it comes down to it, you have to start juggling how you treat them at that point. I am not sure if it the weather that has been dramatically changing every day, or just a killer migraine that is hard to treat. It means I have been useless. Can't do anything when I come home from work. I just want to sleep if I can. At work it has been off and on. Those days when you are just so hazy nothing seems to stick and you eratically forget simple things. Other days that sort of hopmania and shakes. And other days just cranky from the pain. I use up my reserves to get through, and then when work is done, I have already taken my meds and they are not working, and I am out ta lunch then. Even when it is not full blown, it is there, that lingering sharp pain and then the throbbing pain when you lie down. Lovely. Have not been sleeping well as it is and now it is worse.

I would love to just redirect you to the new site...

But sadly the redirect function doesn't function. I will continue to persist hitting it and see if it will eventually do something. Or s...