UNTAMED MIGRAINES AND RESILIENT SURVIVOR

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MIGRAINES DIARY: SUMAVEL INJECTION AND BOTOX

 

It’s been four days already. Ninety six hours of relentless pain. Although that’s a word that unfortunately, I have become ridiculously familiar with throughout my life it is not one that takes a place of honor in my vocabulary. Only exception is if followed by one of those magic words such as relief or eradicated. Love those sounds.

Ninety six hours that could have been invested in either productive, leisure, pursue of physical wellness, charitable endeavors, or blissful rest.

Rest uninterrupted by that unforgivable, throbbing pain that emulates a dangerous hurricane; it gains strength and intensity in a short span of time until it claims you as another statistic.

I tried all the usual tricks; the ones that I have learned through imposed education. I took my first line of defense out of my dressing table; my ace card, Imitrex 100 mg. I know the drill; I have to act fast, time is of the essence of if I want to gain this battle.

I follow the rules; I swallow two Advil pills right after the Imitrex. I drink plenty of water. I munch on some crackers; an empty stomach and Advil are like bases and acids. You don’t store them on the same cabinet because they explode. I don’t want to add an explosion to my splitting migraine.

I check mentally my last meals, no refined sugar, no alcohol, no chocolate. No more than four hours without a snack. My glucose levels have been kept stable. I have been sleeping adequately and stress…is being managed to the best of my abilities.

 Why then, this assault on my person? I have suffered from migraines for over two decades. It is one of my several chronic illnesses. One more for the record.

As far back as I can remember my maternal grandmother, my mother and my aunt all suffered from migraines. The torch has been passed down and to my dismay I further passed it along to my daughters. My boy has been spared in the same fashion as my maternal uncles. It’s a female trait that runs in my family. One that I wish with all my heart to be rid of forever.

After twenty four hours, I scheduled Advil to be taken every six hours. I throw a Xanax to the mix. I follow specific doctor’s orders for tough crisis that last more than one day. I look at my medical bag and I extract a small tin, Tiger balm, and I smear it all over my forehead.

The curtains are drawn. The television is off. Thermostat is closer to the seventies than the eighties. All lights are dimmed. The ice bag is pressed to my trigger point. I apply pressure against the throbbing spot when the bag needs to be replaced. The area is supposed to be numb but still hurts.

Third day. I wake up, have breakfast and decide to do my overdue laundry. By the time the clothes are in the dryer the splitting pain has come back. Another day that I have to cancel all of my plans. My leg feels heavy. I have lymphedema. I need to exercise my leg to keep those fluids moving but migraine is a tough jailer and throws me back on bed.

I call my neurologist. “Take two Benadryl pills at bedtime he says. Yes, in addition to all the other medications. Take one more Xanax. “

Fourth day. I am in dire need of groceries. I have been trapped inside the house for too long. I hate the pain and I hate more the senseless waste of hours, days, weeks and months.

My girl takes a break from her college summer schedule and goes shopping in my place. While she is gone I remember the green box in my dresser. It contains Sumavel Dose Pro, an Imitrex injection delivered by a needle – free system. It uses a burst of gas to shoot the medicine in. My girl is back from the store, she reads the instructions, snaps one end, pinch my thigh and press the tube against my skin.  A Wooosh sound  is heard  and for a brief moment it hurts. Medication is in, mission accomplished.

It might be needle- free but it still hurts. I don’t dwell on it. There are plenty of needles in my future. Fifteen minutes elapse and the miracle is palpable. Pain is gone. Completely. Finally, relief at last.

I always have this need to find out why things happen. Most often than not I don’t find the answers but it doesn’t stop me from asking. I google the injection. Sumavel  Dose Pro injection was approved by the FDA in 2009.

Most migraines attacks are accompanied by nausea making it extremely difficult to hold down oral medicines.

Sumavel is another option that has been around for a while , so it is imitrex nasal spray. It’s a cute, small spray that can enter the body bypassing the oral route. It’s a great alternative but nothing beats the faster action of medication delivered by a subcutaneous route

However, the traditional Imitrex shot is received by caution or concern by a number of patients. The Sumavel pro circumvents those qualms. It’s a needle – free system and inherently less frightening. More patients could benefit from the fast action of Sumavel , the  fact that it is an effective delivery method in spite of nausea and vomiting.

 I am groggy. My fuzzy mind can’t think straight but I still remember, I Do Not have more injections at hand because my insurance did not cover them. That’s right. Some months ago, my neurologist handed me my sample along with several prescriptions

My Medicare supplemental insurance plan didn’t cover Sumavel. It did not cover Cambia either, a potent anti -inflammatory, pain relief powder that’s supposed to be a first line defense against migraines

Oh, and lastly, Nasal inhaler Imitrex was not covered either. Leaving me with just one option, oral Imitrex

As my mind recalls these incidents I have the brilliant idea of placing a call to a local pharmacy

What’s the price of Sumavel injection please, I ask in a tentative cheerful mode “$1560.00 per shot responds the female voice in the phone. And you will have to order it from another pharmacy she adds matter of fact. Our supplier doesn’t carry it, nobody purchases it. Ever.”

Nobody does huh? Well, it’s a no brainer. Unless you are a Rockefeller direct line heir who in the world can afford to cough up a grand and a half for nine hours of relief?

Nine hours. That’s the respite time I got from Sumavel before migraine came back in revenge There’s a limit to human endurance.

 My mind is hazy but I also recall my doc mentioning a manufacturer coupon when he handed me the Sumavel sample. Once again I enlist the help of the omniscient online guru, aka Google, and yes, there ARE manufacturers coupons to help with the injection expenses but none of them coupons are available currently.

Mental note. Next Wednesday, when I get my second round of Botox treatment for chronic migraines, I will ask for the following,

My records. To check all migraine meds prescribed by my neurologist, both preventive and for acute pain that my insurance does not cover.

Another Sumavel sample AND Sumavel coupons.

Traditionally, Inderal has been used as a preventive migraine med. I cannot have it. My blood pressure runs very low, courtesy of my maternal DNA Topamax, another preventive med is not tolerated; out of the question. At my age, HRT, hormone replacement therapy with bio -identical hormones is a well sought method to stabilize hormone levels. Hormonal unbalance is a well – documented causative factor of migraine attacks. I am excluded from the party though.  My KT syndrome makes me a preferred candidate for blood clots. Hormones are contraindicated. I place my bets on Botox; my lifeline to reduce the frequency and duration of the attacks but I still wonder why do 36 million of migraine suffered in the USA, out of which 14 million have almost daily migraine attacks are denied access to the latest weapons in the arsenal against migraines. Does it make sense that a mother has to miss a day’s work or a day with her children because she can’t benefit from Sumavel swift action? Or how about the millions spent on ER visits annually because attacks are so vicious that require an injection to avoid dehydration and to halt the pain? Doesn’t it make more sense to cover Sumavel injections instead of paying costly hospital visits?

Last time I went to the ER the bill ran about several thousand dollars. Talk about the rising costs of medicine in this country. There are so many loopholes that need to be fixed in our inefficient medical system. Nothing ever changes unless voices are joined and push forward to be heard. 34 millions of voices should certainly make a difference.

Some insurance carriers might cover the shots but I surmise that they must be the exception and not the rule. I am committed to inform the public about the latest developments regarding Meniere’s disease, Migraines and Chronic Depression plus any other health subject I might deem appropriate.

One person cannot make a difference but 34 million can. Share this information with all of your contacts. It is time to join forces and let medical insurance companies know that their goal is to make health cures and treatments available to all patients. Don’t forget to ask your physician about Sumavel and Botox migraine treatment.

UPDATES

I had my Botox treatment two weeks ago. Pain has been relentless these past two weeks.

Alas! Migraines have finally decreased their frequency and duration fifteen days after treatment. Added bonus? Perfectly smooth, arched eye brows.

Best of all, RELIEF FROM AGONIZING PAIN.

My neurologist prescribed

Regular Imitrex injections

Imitrex inhaler

A potent topical cream that contains Arnica, Menthol, Lidocaine, Topamax, Imitrex, a muscle relaxant, and a non steroidal analgesic among other chemicals. It has to be prepared at a special pharmacy.

Insurance denied coverage. Again.

Botox…thank you from the bottom of my heart.

 

 

 

 

 

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