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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

New Migraine Infographic.

The American Migraine Foundation published this infographic 1/11/17.

Care and Empathy at a Cardiologist's Office

I see a cardiologist every year.  In addition to having a family history of heart disease, I have high blood pressure. I also have some mitral valve thickening, possibly a consequence of taking a migraine preventive, Methergine, for a year. It can cause the formation of fibrotic changes in the body.   

I had my yearly echocardiogram a week ago to make sure the valve issue had not progressed. I had an appointment with my cardiologist yesterday to review the results.  

I woke feeling hung-over, like I was in the post-drome or prodrome phase of migraine. I used my Cefaly and my Spring TMS to see if I could stop whatever was happening without using my NSAID, diclofenac.  I am very careful about Medication Overuse Headache (MOH), which can happen with regular use of NSAIDS, Triptans, and other analgesic meds used by people with head pain disorders. I keep track of its use, and my usage was getting into the danger zone of more than twice a week.

By the time I got to the clinic, I knew i was in trouble. I was dizzy and nauseated. I checked in and sat down, right next to a guy who smelled of cigarettes. I got up, moved to an empty area of the waiting room and tried to get in my "Zen Zone." I put my earplugs in, rubbed some essential oils under my nose, positioned my hand and neck scarf over my eyes to shut out as much fluorescent lighting as possible, and tried to concentrate on my breathing. I was miserable.  

Here is where the amazing part begins.

After what seemed like forever, the medical assistant called my name. I stumbled toward her and she asked how I was doing. "Migraine." I muttered.  She took me into the exam room and shut off the light. "My boyfriend gets migraines," she said." "I can see fine from the light of my laptop."  She took my vitals, and began to ask me about my med list. I handed her my (very long) list. She took it, and told me she could type everything in at her desk, and to feel free to lay down to wait for the doctor.  

It felt great to lay down. I went into my Zen Zone again, and started to feel somewhat better. An EKG tech knocked on the door.  I told her she could turn the light back on because I was feeling better.  She told me that she also gets migraines, and was having lasik surgery on Friday to make sure that her vision problems were not a migraine trigger. She did the EKG and turned out the light as she left.  

A short while later, Dr. James, my cardiologist, knocked on the door. In addition to being his patient, we have been friends for a long time. "Migraine?" "Yes," I said.  "But you can turn the light on. I am feeling a lot better."  He flipped the light on, got a big grin on his face and said, "You got an A on your test."  Then handed me my results. 

I was very grateful for the respect and compassion shown to me by the staff and my physician at the Thoracic and Cardiovascular Institute. To most people, this event would seem inconsequential. To a migraineur who faces the stigma of her disease on a regular basis, this was a breakthrough. 

Thank you, Dr. James.  Make sure you show this to your staff.  I want you all to know how much your kindness meant to me.