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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Headaches are a headache

Many of you know that when I got the chance to travel to Singapore last December, I went zip-lining across the Indian Ocean at Sentosa Island. What most of you didn't know was that I suffered with migraine headaches for most of my trip to Singapore, and I almost didn't zip-line because I wasn't feeling well. The picture of me and Riley was the next day- the kids and I went back to Sentosa Island by ourselves, since Tim was working. I remember feeling so sick when we were walking around, and later, at the aquarium. But, I always have a smile on my face! I've learned to deal with the pain, and most people don't even know I have one...

These last couple weeks, I have been in pain.

For 2 weeks, I have suffered from migraine headaches. I decided enough is enough, and once again, called my doctor. This week, my doctor prescribed me a preventative migraine pill; a pill that I take everyday so I don't get headaches. I was hoping to leave with answers: Why do I get headaches? Is there something I'm doing to trigger them? But as I sat in her office, and she called in my new prescription to my pharmacy, I didn't even have the energy to ask her these questions, since I was still suffering from a headache.

Since my mid 20's, I have had migraines. My doctors in California and in Oregon both sent me for CAT scans, and nothing ever came up. I was diagnosed with migraine headaches, and given prescriptions to take when I feel a headache coming on. The prescription medicines I have been on usually make me feel drowsy and dizzy, so I usually don't take these medicines unless I know I'm home for the night. About 5 years ago, I discovered Excedrin Migraine, and I find that 85% of the time, this over-the-counter pill worked. 15% of the time,when Excedrin Migraine didn't work, I had to go to Plan B, which was my prescription medicines. But in recent years, I have been popping Excedrin Migraine like it's a daily vitamin, almost like I had an addiction to them. I haven't been feeling healthy doing this, even though my headaches go away. My headaches have been getting progressingly worse.

I usually get these headaches in the morning. These headaches make me cry. I hate the way I feel. And I have to work as a kindergarten teacher. And be a mom. And a wife. I have a lot of people and kids that I interact with on a daily basis, and it's just not good when you have a painful headache. When I have a headache, I just want to close my bedroom door, shut the window shades, and hide in my bed. When so many people depend on you each day, it's nearly impossible to feel like this.

I was hoping my doctor would give me alternatives, other than the drowsy migraine prescription meds that I have been given throughout the years. That's the big difference between European doctors and American doctors. I'm still trying to figure out what philosophy I like better.

When I lived in Germany, it was the complete opposite. If you were sick, the doctors treated your sickness with homeopathic over-the-counter medicine. One time Riley had bronchitis, and he was treated with a breathing machine, instead of an antibiotic. It took him 2 weeks to get better, and he missed 10 days of school. Last year, I had a sinus infection, and I was treated with ear and nose drops. A month later, still sick, my doctor finally gave me an antibiotic. I was frustrated with the process, and the time that it takes to either feel better from a sickness, and the time it takes to get a good antibiotic. In the States, it can just be the opposite. Seven years ago, I was just returning back to teaching, after moving back to New York. I was just offered a job working in a Saratoga Springs elementary school, and feeling the stress of the decision I made in returning back to work, I was feeling overwhelmed. It was the day of my "New Teacher Orientation," and I had a routine doctor's appointment right after my orientation. After a whole day of listening to the human resources people and the district's policies, I was feeling overwhelmed. I walked into my doctor's office, and after being brave that whole day, the feelings of guilt, unhappiness and anxiety were building. I soon realized that I was crying at the doctor's office, telling her just how I wasn't feeling ready to go back to work. My doctor, a female doctor just a couple years older than me, told me that she thought I was depressed, and prescribed me an anti-depressant. Looking back, I can't believe she gave that diagnosis, after such a short visit. I was simply having a moment. So, this is the same doctor who prescribed me my daily preventative headache pill. I want answers to my headaches. But I am thankful that at least for the moment, I feel at ease with these headaches. I go back to my doctor in 5 weeks for a follow-up visit, so I'm hoping at that time, to discuss why I get these, and if there's anything natural I can do. I'm not totally missing those homeopathic European medicines, but I appreciate European doctors and how they seem to try to treat the illness with answers first...

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