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Coming Back Up from Rock Bottom!!
After Doc’s visit to the emergency room three weeks ago, his migraine has gradually been getting less intense, one little baby step at a time. Actually it’s been more like 3 steps forward, one step back. Monday night he still had his buddy Mr. Migraine hanging out with him, and then their asshole next door neighbor Mr. Cluster came by for a drop-in visit, and surely overstayed his welcome, partying all night with Mr. Migraine and refusing to go home.
Tuesday afternoon, Doc went to see a neurologist, Dr. Maureen Watts of the Dallas Headache Association. She works in the same clinic as Dr. Stuart Black, who is supposed to be one of the world’s leading specialists in headaches. He couldn’t get in to see Dr. Black, of course, as he seems to be booked up through the summer of 2008.
From what Doc told me about his visit, Dr. Watts seemed to actually take an interest in helping him feel better long-term, rather than acting dismissive and throwing drugs at him. He’s had so many bad experiences with doctors who don’t seem interested in getting to the bottom of what is causing his many and varied problems, and who don’t seem to want to deal with him because he’s not an “easy” patient.
Doc wrote up several pages of history, detailing his health issues, that he gave to Dr. Watts. She read it while he sat there, and then asked him specific questions about things in his report. (I think that doctors love it when you come to them with a well-thought-out detailed list like that.)
She said that from what he described, he definitely has both cluster headaches and migraine headaches (which is rare, but it can happen), and although she’s not a sleep specialist, probably some form of narcolepsy as well.
And this was really the most important thing, I think, to me at least: She believed him. She understands what he is going through. She doesn’t think he’s crazy or making it up. She is on his side, a partner in helping him get well again.
He now has some anti-seizure medication (I believe it’s called Depakote) to try. Theoretically it can break the headache cycle, although will be more effective on clusters than the migraines. If it works, he’ll be on it daily for the rest of his life. And that kind of sucks, but if that’s the trade off for not getting headaches, so be it.
Next steps include another visit with Dr. Becker, the sleep doctor, some bloodwork, possibly an MRI, and some additional follow up visits to check progress.
I generally hate to feel optimistic about this kind of thing, because invariably that eventually leads to disappointment… but I can’t help it. I have hope that this doctor is going to be the one that’s finally going to help pull him out of his pain.