Addicted To Quality Of Life

I suffer from an intractable headache and chronic migraines. And by ‘chronic migraines,’ I pretty much mean daily. To you skeptics out there- yes, that is in fact possible!

The pain can get to the point where I can do nothing else but curl up in a shaking ball and cry, praying for someone to just shoot me. I realize that sounds a bit melodramatic, but unfortunately, most migraine sufferers can relate.

I have tried so, so many migraine medications: Sumatriptan, Maxalt, Cambia, Frova, Fioricet, Nortriptyline, Neurontin, Topamax, Prednisone, Zyprexa– oy vey.

As it stands right now, I do not have an effective preventative medicine. However, I do have a rescue medication: Stadol nasal spray (or, Butorphanol Tartrate).

Stadol has kept me out of the ER more times than I can count…stopped the pounding, squeezing, shooting pain…the nausea, vomiting, vertigo, blindness– or at least decreased it to a survivable level.

But every time I use it, I feel a twinge of fear.

Stadol is a narcotic, and I have heard so many horror stories of people getting terribly addicted, whether physically or psychologically. I have ‘tested’ myself several times, to the best of my ability, to ensure I am not becoming one of those people…and I am 98% sure that I am not (I have gone 29 days without it with no withdrawal symptoms, etc). But I cannot help but be a little nervous using it, especially when thus far, it is the ONLY thing I have tried that has actually helped, aside from Botox injections every three months.

And I do use it often. Do I want to be on narcotics? Of course not. Goodness, if it were up to me, I wouldn’t take any medication at all! But I need it, especially with school starting…I need the relief it brings. The pain just gets to be too much…

I am not addicted to Stadol; I am addicted to quality of life.

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E.R. Trip

So, in case you did not read my last post, last night Mrs. K took me to the E.R. because my pupils were acting freaky and migraine was out of this world.

And the conclusion is…drum roll please!

…we don’t know.

The doctor ordered a head CT and shined a bunch of annoying lights in my eyes and a team of neurologists was consulted. CT came back normal (praise God!), but my pupil was still blown and unresponsive. Hmm…

I must say, I went to the hospital kicking and screaming (not literally or they probably would have sent me to a different ward entirely), but it was the absolute best E.R. experience I have ever had. The nurse was super sweet yet mega sarcastic- a perfect combination if I do say so myself. 😉 She talked to us about the woes and joys of nursing school and her IV stick was almost painless. The tech who wheeled me to the CT was hilarious. She kept crashing my gurney into the doors and walls (this with vertigo made for one crazy ride) and told me all about how she passed out on her first day on the job and got admitted. While waiting for the scan, she danced for me…making her own theme music, of course. And the doctor, Dr. McShane? Wow. He was nothing short of a godsend. From the very moment he walked through the door of my hospital room, he had me smiling and laughing. He was incredibly thorough, got a complete history and listened to what I had to say. He also called my neurologist, Dr. Matthews, to let him know what was happening. He wrote a prescription for Stadol to get me through the week. He even googled my conditions!!! (anyone out there with a chronic illness knows just how HUGE this seemingly small act truly is). Just…wow. Thank you, Lord, for Dr. McShane. What a blessing he was!

So, anyway…they gave me Stadol for the pain, told me to follow up with Dr. Matthews (I have an appointment with him on the 19th), and “come back if it gets worse.”

My pupils are still fifty shades of crazy and my head is back to killing me, but the fact that the CT scan came back normal puts my mind at ease. I guess I’ll know more after my appointment Thursday.

Haven’t told my parents about this yet (they are out of town) because I do not want to worry them unnecessarily. They’re coming home tonight…if I still look the way I do now, I won’t have to say much…

-Cassidy

PS- Here are some ER selfies. It’s kind of our tradition… 😉

Valentines ER 1 Valentines ER 3Valentines ER 2

Headed To The E.R.

So…slight issue. Let’s see if you can figure out what I mean:

Pupils

For anyone otherwise unsure, I’ll tell you: this is NOT normal.

My left pupil is small and reactive, but my right is immensely dilated and completely unresponsive. My pupils will often do this, “let’s get all huge and ignore the laws of science” thing, whether it be from a bad migraine or a malfunctioning autonomic nervous system…but never one without the other. This is new.

Other less visible symptoms include a 10+ migraine, vertigo, nausea, ringing in my ears, blurry vision and significant issues with depth perception (the last two come as no big surprise, ha ha).

This crazy eye trick could be due to a number of different things from super scary to laughable…will let you know as soon as I do!

Off to my home away from home,

Cassidy

PS- Oh, and Happy Valentines Day ❤