It’s been a difficult couple of weeks for me. I’ve had a migraine that will not go away…it comes and goes at different intensities, but it’s never gone. It makes living with Fibromyalgia even harder – as we Spoonies know, pain brings even more pain.
I decided last year to change my general physician. My reasons weren’t because of poor service, etc. It was more like…there’s a lot more going on than the ‘reason’ you’re putting down in the system on why I’m here. You’re never seeing the whole picture. That’s why I chose to find an Internist.
An Internist is not an intern. An Internist actually goes to school longer to learn how to diagnose adults. Yes…their specialty is to dig deeper and not just treat the symptoms, but find the real cause and see the big picture.
I found a very smart, patient, empathetic, brilliant Internist. (Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for the name of this doctor. Note: This doctor is in Connecticut.) My Internist is thinking holistically and at the same time, knows too much at once will overwhelm me. She explains why she thinks a certain medication or treatment may or may not help my situation. She tells me a couple of times when she has a feeling I did’t process what she said and she writes it down for me – – Fibro Fog Fantastic! Folks…she spends TIME with me. How many of you can say that your doctor dedicates as long as it takes to treat you when you visit?
Turning to my latest life altering ailment, my migraine. My Internist sent me to a headache center (I didn’t know these existed until now.) The APRN that’s treating me is called a ‘Headache Specialist’ – I have to admit the first time I heard this term, I thought it was cheesy and I was ready to turn and run thinking it was some kind of clinic they sent people to when they had no idea how to get rid of a persistent migraine. I was wrong.
My first visit lasted about an hour with the APRN (this is not counting the short wait time in the dimly lit waiting room (thank goodness for dim lighting!) She asked me a lot of questions and my speech was not the best, but she was very patient. After looking though the records sent her way and having me do a few neuro-physical things like holding my arms out and pushing and pulling against her, walking toe-to-toe, etc., she mentioned a fever with my migraine is unusual, unless there’s something autoimmune to go with it. She requested I get my ANA and double-strand DNA checked again (in process).
She also suggested that I get injections in my scalp – to start. Okay….now I’m thinking WTF!!!!!!! I have an exacerbated reaction to injections (I literally feel like an injection is a steak knife and sometimes bleed afterward). I was very concerned. Was this woman crazy?!?!
After gathering myself together, I explained my reaction to injections. She listened patiently then mentioned a shot of Toradol in my gluteus maximus with the warning Toradol would not provide the same level of relief as the injections in my scalp. Toradol was used as an add-on to the scalp injections as support for pain. Somehow she talked me into scalp injections.
I’m not going to lie folks – it was painful! I felt every millimeter of the needle and when she started injecting the serum, there was a searing pain that sent me straight to yelling “Owwwwww” and crying. I felt embarrassed but was more pissed off that the injection hurt even more than I was imagining. She pulled the needle out, reached for some tissue, told me it was going to be okay. I eventually stopped sobbing. I looked over at her as I was wiping my eyes and asked, “Are you done?”
She looked at me surprised, held the needle up and said, “I barely got in a third of the medicine.” To lighten the moment, I mumbled, “This is definitely a four letter word day.” She giggled and asked if I wanted her to continue. I had to take ten seconds before I responded with something that would upset the both of us, and I agreed to continue. I was willing to endure this torture for the end game: relief.
Repeat the insert of the needle, me screaming and crying and her pulling the needle out two more times on the left and two times on the right. It was quite the experience for both of us.
After about a day and a half, the shots in my scalp relieved my migraines by about 40%, about 40% of the time. It was still hanging around like a lion waiting to jump on its prey. Still living in dimly lit rooms, avoiding the sun like a vampire, and miserable with my fibromyalgia pain.
Second visit about 4 days later, she mentioned the scalp shots again. We looked eye-to-eye for a moment, like two gunfighters in a duel…
The air suddenly got very thick and my throat tightened. I tried to hide the tears on their way, but before one tear dropped, she said, “maybe next visit”. Let’s do the Toradol shot. I won…I think.
So, here we are, one day after the shot and my butt is sore but I do feel some tension relief. I can still feel that lion moving around…me and that lion are going to have to have a talk…seriously!