An Ongoing Problem
I didn’t always have migraines but I’ve always had headaches. I can pinpoint the exact moment my migraines started; it was a bad trip in the tenth grade. It lasted for seven days and it was brutal. I haven’t touched acid since. The migraines continued throughout high school but with continued infrequency. I wasn’t too concerned.
My first pregnancy increased the pressure of the headaches; after I had Skas, the headaches continued but again, with infrequency. When they hit, they were damn near unbearable. I didn’t know they were turning into migraines again– I thought they were just really strong headaches. I felt nothing different pain-wise, but acquired new side effects like being blinded with my eyes closed, noises having resounding echoes in both my head and the room. Smells were heightened to stomach turning levels.
Obviously, having a stroke and learning the cause was a ruptured AVM cleared up a few of the confusing details related to my head issues. The stroke and resulting brain surgery also caused an increase in sharpness, strength in side effects, and a large bump in frequency of migraines. Lying down with the lights off no longer helps. Ibuprofen doesn’t put a dent in symptoms or side effects. Pepto doesn’t keep my stomach calm.
Treating my migraines
I rely on a mix of prescribed medication and “self-prescribed medication” to help ease my migraines. Without them, I have to go to urgent care for morphine and Reglan. I get so knotted up that it’s about more than “not being able to function.” It’s like having the flu, food poisoning, and an extended anxiety attack. I can’t function because I can’t focus. I can’t focus because there’s too much going on with my body at once while I’m in head-squeezing pain. Sometimes afterward, there’s nothing left but exhaustion.
Even with my Triptan, which I have to take at the first symptom, I still have to smoke weed. The Triptan doesn’t remove the symptoms of the migraine; it reduces the quality of the migraine, allowing a minimal level of functionality– one that allows me to help with household duties. Those symptoms though, they can be more detrimental to my capabilities as a parent than the migraine itself; hence the need for the pot. It takes care of it all:
- Stomach Discomfort
- Sensitivity to sound, light, and smell
- Anxious nerves
- and, it helps me sleep when I don’t have kids relying and depending on me
To take the meds or not to take?
Where I live in Texas the weather is so unpredictable there is no app accurate enough to help me guard my head. My head is actually probably the best app I have. It feels everything hours before the change. My problem is an inability to read the aches, tingles, and soreness radiating down the skull incision and around each fixture initially meant to hold the bone flap in place after the craniotomy. All I can do is say:
The weather must be about to change because my head is dizzy
…or something similar.
This means I’m under threat of a migraine at all times because the weather is constantly changing. The air pressure is always rising, falling; expanding or crushing the space in my skull.
I am currently about to face a large dilemma. Medicare has cut my prescription over the years down from [I think] 15 pills to 8. 8 pills, dude. Sometimes it takes 2 to dull the pain enough to give me strength to smoke a bowl– you see how the two work together? With only 8 pills, I have to guess which sensations are signs of migraine, a regular headache, or one of the many random and meaningless sensations my head experiences throughout every single day. This can be a huge, huge risk. It can mean I saved a pill for later, which is always awesome; or that I missed my very short window to treat the migraine and must now pay the hefty price of vomiting in my hair while trying not to shit my pants as my heart races like my chest needs bursting through. All the while, I’m being inundated with strong and sometimes nonexistent odors, blinding light and deafening sounds. Calling it a nightmare is like putting a bow on dung and calling it a special gift.
There’s an abundance of stress and no meds
I’ve been out of pills for almost 3 weeks and I’m rounding one stressful corner only to bump into the wall of another. We blew through two birthdays, a holiday that is stupidly more expensive every year, and kids’ vacation season has started (always added stress). I thought Thanksgiving would be survivable because we got a $40 bump in our food stamps two months ago but then it went down $80 starting next month. I’m not sure I can afford Thanksgiving, which means I’m not sure Christmas is going to be very enjoyable if I can’t afford food for one over-sized meal.
…and I still don’t get to my doctor for refills until next month, on the 19th. For some reason, the guy won’t allow refills over the phone. This wouldn’t be a problem if I could smoke a joint and sleep until I wake up feeling better. I’ve had to do this before; but, it’s very time-consuming and a hindrance to the household routine and schedule. Everyone has to be extra quiet and Kasper has to do all the parenting on his own after a full day of work– which adds stress to me because of the guilt that comes with.
In a nutshell…it’s not good timing
Because of our financial constraints, we’ve had to re-prioritize. The first thing to go? The pot. Kasper needs a better job, one that can afford us to survive without food stamps and public housing; quitting will help with that. I will quit also to help him better himself and our budget. I’m afraid what this means for my migraines, anxiety, depression, and spasticity, however. I will have to take more pills to compensate for the emotional distress and other issues I’ll no longer be able to treat with pot. How will I afford the meds to treat all of this if I lose my Medicare because of Trump? If I lose Medicaid because Kasper somehow, miraculously, comes to make too much, well, that’s a problem I’d feel more comfortable with figuring out than being medically stranded at a time when I can’t afford everything else to survive. It’s just more added to my ever-worrying mind.