Week 3

So it’s Wednesday, heading into week 4, so here is my report from last week. In the past week, I have had 4 days with Frova and 3 days without. That is a great ratio.

This is how the week looked:

2 double frova days with level 3 migraine

2 single frova days but with a lingering ache for most of the day. That is new to me.

But the frova free days were 100% pain free. I still stop and try to feel inside my head to see if anything is coming along to blindside me but the days have truly been pain free.

What I especially love is the waking up without a migraine. That is a real treat. Now whether that is the Aimovig, the pillow or the ginger tea, I really don’t care. I am just thrilled that I am waking up pain-free. For too long I was waking with mild to severe migraine pain.

I am getting my next delivery of Aimovig on Friday but won’t inject util the 31st as I am taking it on the last day of the month.

I am also getting my Botox injections on Friday. I am not 100% convinced that they are necessary or helpful as I had daily migraine after the last set of injections but the neurologist wanted me to continue so I will this time. I’ll chat with her on Friday about the possibility of stopping the Botox if the Aimovig is proving helpful.

I am also considering returning to get more acupuncture to see if that helps. I was having it done last summer but there was so much smoke and my migraines were so severe that I felt like I was throwing an ant at an elephant with the acupuncture. Now that things have calmed a bit, maybe my body will be more receptive to it.

I wish you a good week.

Photo credit: Image by André Santana from Pixabay

Week 2 – Small Successes

Well, I haven’t managed a day without frova this second week so that is not such a positive thing. I didn’t take frova Tuesday but then I took 2 on Wednesday, 1 in the middle of the night between Thursday and Friday (so technically I guess one of those days was “frova-free”), 1 Saturday morning, 1 Sunday lunch, 1 Monday morning, and 2 today.

So where are the small successes you might ask? First, I made it through a full week of work last week because I did not wake with a migraine once. Second, in 7 days, I only woke with a migraine 4 times. Third, despite having such a bad migraine on Wednesday that I was home in bed by 5pm and missed my family dinner, the rest of the time the migraines have been relatively short-lived and managed with only one frova.

It may not seem like a big deal when I have still had to take so many but to me, these small steps are positive. I was especially enthusiastic about my full week of work. I was starting to wonder if I’d ever have one of those again. I explained to my students about my frequent absences because we were talking about mental health and it being stigmatized since it is an invisible disease and I explained that having migraine is also an invisible disease that can be stigmatized. I was in no way saying that mental health issues and migraine are the same (thought they are co-morbid but more on that at a later date) but I wanted them to understand the idea about stigma and invisible illnesses.

“I thought you were just taking extended weekends and more holidays,” one of my students said. No my dear, there is nothing holiday-like about a migraine day.

So now I am half way through my first dose. Not a huge improvement but maybe a slight one to start with. No side-effects (touch wood) so that is positive too. Next week I will have botox injections again as my neurologist feels that I should continue with those for now. My last set of injections did NOTHING for me which was unusual but maybe with the Aimovig there will be more success.

I’ll check back in next week. For now I will sip my ginger tea and read my amazing book – The Wolf in the Whale. I highly recommend it.

T+7 – Day 3 frova-free

It’s almost 8pm and I feel like today is the first day where I have been pain-free. It is hard to believe as I kept pausing and “feeling” inside my head to see if there was anything going on but so far, so good.

Yesterday did remain frova-free but I woke up at around midnight with a band of pain below and above my eyes so I took my 2 Tylenol and 1 Ibuprofen concoction which worked as I woke up this morning with no pain.

I do want to share another “must-have” in my migraine bag of tricks which is what I call my dragon juice. I discovered it when I was living in Uganda and now I always buy several tubes to bring home. It’s a roller ball with a strong methol/mint liquid that I spread over my forehead, along my nose, under my nose, and on the back of my neck. The smell is wonderful and it is potent! Last October, when I had such a terrible migraine that I actually had to go for a shot of painkillers at the clinic, I used so much of my dragon juice that it actually burned my skin. I don’t usually use that much though and the cool and tingly sensation, added to the smell, almost masks the pain long enough for me to fall asleep. The list of ingredients on the back only adds up to 70% so I’m not sure what else is in there but sometimes not knowing is better!

Apparently Aimovig does have some side effects, the most common being tremors and constipation. I haven’t experienced any side effects so far which is awesome. There is a forum on Migraine.com where people who are using Aimovig can share their experiences and while some people have had great results, some people have had terrible side-effects. I hope that the side effects are few to none for me. You can follow that forum here.

This is the end of week 1 since my first Aimovig injection and I have had one truly pain-free day and two other days with pain but not triptan worthy pain. I would be happy with three days out of 7 being pain-free. It would be a huge improvement.

See you tomorrow.

T+6 – Day 2 Frova Free – So Far

It’s only 7:30pm and I have slight pain under my eyes but I have been dealing with that since about 1:30 and it comes and goes so I am hoping that this means that I will have a second frova-free day in the past week. How amazing would that be. Wish my head was completely pain-free as I wonder and worry about the pain increasing and then having to take a frova but this is a small success.

I was thrilled to wake up pain-free this morning! I felt better than I had in ages. I slept well and I woke up well (although I always feel like I could sleep another 2 hours.)

So what do I attribute the pain-free morning to? Is it the Aimovig? Is it my awesome buckwheat pillow (which still feels quite hard and makes my ears physically ache a little) or do I attribute it to GINGER???

I came across and article yesterday (read it here) that says that research was done on the efficacy of ginger in stopping a migraine attack. It was found to be as effective as Imitrex to relieve migraine. A quarter of a tsp of ground ginger mixed in a small amount of warm water was supposed to be effective. I would have liked to read the whole scientific article but I had to pay $7.00 for 48 hours of access so I just used the Coles notes version from Migraine Again.

I decided to give it a try and had an inch of fresh ginger grated into a cup of hot water to make a strong tea. Maybe the ginger works as a preventative or lasts long enough in the body to abort a migraine as it begins while I am sleeping. Who knows. Who cares? If it works, I will take it.

So my experiment with Aimovig is not very scientific as there are too many variables: injection, pillow, and ginger. But if the combination of the three works, or if one of the three works and I’m not sure which one it is, I really don’t care as long as something works.

So if you don’t take Aimovig but you haven’t tried ginger, give it a try and let me know in the comments if it works for you. Or if you have tried it, let me know that as well. I am interested to know what the community of migraineurs has to say about it.

Imagine if after all these years, all I had to do was gnaw on a piece of ginger every night.

Image credit: Image by siala from Pixabay

T+1 – Human Again

At about 5pm this evening, I said to my husband, “I almost feel human again.” This is no small statement as I have been battling a persistent migraine since Thursday (beyond chronic – just all the time there) but now, if I dare say it, it almost feels gone. I have been taking triptans every six hours or so since Thursday and knew that I needed to break the cycle but when you feel that your head is going to explode, it’s hard to just grin and bear it and not take anything.

I had my first Aimovig injection yesterday at 12:30 and took my last frovatriptan yesterday at 1:30pm. Since then, I have taken 4 extra strength Tylenols, 3 extra strength ibuprofens, and 1 decongestant so not drug-free but the combination of drugs and the addition of time seem to have worked.

When I woke this morning, the migraine was different. Usually it feels as though a watermelon is being pushed through my right eye socket but today it was general pain under both eyes and above both eyes, almost like sinus pain (hence the decongestant). I know migraine can present as sinus (see this article in Migraine Again) but I wanted to try anything that wasn’t a triptan.

I truly just wanted one day to be triptan free.

I have been off work this week and plan to return tomorrow to the mayhem that is Middle School. It is not an easy environment to be in with chronic migraine and I have missed so many days this year that I start to wonder if I shouldn’t consider moving to something else. But I love my job and want to try anything to make it work. So now I try Aimovig.

I’ll let you know what tomorrow brings.

** photo credit: Image by Pexels from Pixabay **

T-0 Injection Day

So this is what I looked like last night (thanks to my husband who thought these made great photos):

While I had intended to remain triptan free, by 9:30pm, I was in agony and couldn’t sleep so reached into my drawer of goodies and tried a naratriptan which was new to me. I also had to take an anti-nauseant to keep it down. This morning I woke with pain around my eyes, like I had been punched, which gradually moved into another migraine that was treated with a frova. I don’t feel like I’ll ever get away from those.

However, at 10am, my giant box of Aimovig arrived. I have decided to name my injection Bach as I prefer the soothingness of Bach to the fiery heat of habanero (although it did burn a little as it was injected…). I’ll need to make alternate arrangements for the delivery of Bach next month as I plan on being at work because this is going to work SO WELL that I will never have to miss work again.

After unpacking the box and letting the injection come to room temperature, I decided to inject it into my thigh. The white cap did not gently slide off as the video shows, I had to pull quite hard to get it off. The injection itself was easy but I could feel some pressure and stinging as it went in. My injector clicked twice as it started and ended. The video shows the window becoming a light yellow, almost liquid filled, but in actual fact it’s a yellow plastic plunger that fills the window. There is no mistaking that the medication has been pushed in.

The injection site hurt for a while if I touched it accidentally and my leg felt like there was a light line of pain going down to my foot but that only lasted a minute or two after the injection. Overall, it was quite easy and fairly painless.

I did the injection at 12:30 and took a frova at 1:30 to clear the remaining migraine from yesterday (and the four days previous). So now I wait to see what happens. Some people say “Miracle!” and see an improvement immediately. Others see no improvement. Others still see a worsening of symptoms and a resistance to triptans. Best case scenario? My migraines are gone. But I would be happy with a reduction of 50%.

I’ll keep you posted.

Here is a video my husband did of my first injection.

T-1

My name is Erika.

Today is one day before I get my first Aimovig injection. I wanted to blog about the experience because the drug is new and not many people are necessarily using it yet so I thought maybe someone might be interested in learning how it goes. So here it is. Or at least, here it will be tomorrow.

For now, a bit of background if you are interested.

Why habanerobach? Two reasons:

  1. my husband picked it
  2. Somewhere, at some time, some poor migraineur has disclosed that she has migraines and the response has been, “Oh! My sister’s friend’s aunt has migraines and she eats three habanero peppers as soon as she feels the migraine and they go away. Have you tried that?” or “I get headaches too but I find that listening to soothing music like Bach really helps my headaches go away.” We’ve all heard something like that.

Today, I am on day 5 of a migraine that keeps coming back every 6 hours, once my Frovatriptan starts to wear off. Working on a computer is not ideal at the moment but I wanted to get this up and running to be able to blog the journey as I start my trip down Aimovig lane tomorrow. So this page needed to be built and content needed to be added.

To be fair, the migraine is a level 1 at the moment (on a scale of 1-3: still functioning, slowed down, unable to do anything) but it is there and threatening to get worse if I push it too far. I am home from work because being in an environment with 780 pre-pubescent teenagers is not very conducive to getting rid of a migraine.

I want to be drug-free before I get my first injection so the Frova that I took sometime in the middle of last night is the last one I intend to take before my injection. I know this could mean a very painful 36 hours but I want to feel the effect of the Aimovig, not the possible Aimovig + something else effect.

It is my goal to blog almost daily about the Aimovig and how it is working for me but at the same time, life happens and I may fall behind. I am also planning to share about my migraine journey from the past 35 years so that you can see how I got to where I am.

Aimovig doesn’t come easy. It’s been a long road full of failures to get to this point and I am excited and nervous about the unknown journey ahead. My biggest fear? What if it doesn’t work? But I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. For now, I am hopeful.

Thanks for joining me on this journey!