Tuesday, May 6, 2008

eye of the storm

Tonight marks one week since I reduced my dosage of Topamax to 50 mg from 75 mg. This past weekend I actually felt decent. Not "good", really, I never feel "good". But decent. I can live with that.

My moods have leveled out. The depression has lifted. It's not gone, and I don't expect it to be until my migraines are under better control. But I can live with this more mild depression, rather than the severe and suffocating version I had been feeling more often up until last week. Luckily the weird anxiety I had settled down after a few days. Some of the other side effects from the Topa are still sticking around, but I don't expect them to disappear magically.

The other good news is that my head pain has been noticeably better the past few days. Aside of yesterday, when it reached a 7 out of 10 - which was directly attributable to the hours I spent under buzzy fluorescent lights at two doctors' offices - my pain has largely stayed in the 4-6 range. It's normal for me to wake up with pain around a 4, which then progresses throughout the day, maxing out around a 6-7 and topping out at 8 or more about once a week or so. Last month I had a whole string of pain days that hit an 8 and I was miserable. Compared to that, I'm almost carefree.

I have to be very careful not to overdo it though, or I'll just end up doing my head in with some worse pain.

I'm wondering if the Topa might be kicking in a little bit. I don't want to jinx myself and end up with bad pain again, but I'm going to pursue this line of thinking for a minute. I've been taking the Topa since the end of February. I was on the 75 mg dose for six weeks before I had to cut it back. It can take up to three months for a preventive to start working. At this point, I don't think it's possible for a medication, any medication, to break this long migraine cycle I've been in since November. I do believe I need much more aggressive treatment, whether in the form of IVs or steroids or something else, before my pain will actually stop. But that doesn't mean the Topa might not reduce my pain some in the meantime. Hey, I'll take it.

I still plan to have a discussion with my new doctor about the Topa, and whether I should stay on it or not. The side effects I had at the higher dosages were really awful. Hopefully when I see the doc on May 21, I'll have a better idea of if my body can tolerate the lower dose of Topa and if it is doing anything for me.

It's also entirely possible this is just one of those "normal" cycles this migraine seems to go through, and in another week or so I'll be in absolute misery, curled up on my couch, whimpering. Hey, it's happened before. I'll hope for the best while I prepare for the worst - that's all we migraineurs can do sometimes.

Whatever the reason, I'm trying to enjoy this relative reduction in my pain without questioning the why. I've learned that the best thing I can do is keep good daily records of how I'm feeling, and do the interpretation with my doctor's help later.

For now, though, it's nice not to have an icepack tied to my head. I may have to get one out in another hour or so, but that's an hour later than I did last week.


Diana Lee said...

That's really great! All you can do it take it one day at a time and hope for the best. I really do hope your migraines and depression continue to improve.

MaxJerz said...

Thanks, Diana! Of course, after I wrote this post I started feeling pretty cruddy, but it is what it is. Overall I'm doing much better than I was in the past few weeks, so I'll take it.


Anonymous said...

MJ - This is the exact cycle I'm in. I've had the same migraine since early March. I'm on Topamax and now my doctor has just added an anti-depressant to the mix as well. We've tried Naproxen, and IV of Depacon - nothing breaks the cycle. I awaken in the morning with pain around a three or so which progresses as the day goes on from anywhere between a 5 to an 8.5. Have you found anything that helps yet? I'm the same age as you and I'll tell you - I'm quite tired of working in my office with my doors shut and the lights off - squinting at my computer screen in the dark - doing the best I can do avoid any and all possible triggers.

MaxJerz said...

Hi Kate, and thanks for commenting. So sorry to hear you seem to be in the same place as me.

I still haven't broken this migraine, no. I just went in for my first Botox treatment on Monday. It's too soon to tell how much it's going to help, but the past two days have been two of the lowest pain days I've had in months. So I'm keeping my fingers firmly crossed that the Botox helps. I'll be posting about the treatment in the next day or two, so do check back for that.

I saw your intro post on the MMC forums, too, so I'll drop a hello to you there as well.

In the meantime, I hope you come visit here often. Unfortunately I can sympathize all too well with what you're going through. I hope reading my story helps you know that you're not alone in this.

Be well,