If vomiting during a Migraine attack makes you think your medications didn't "stay down," think again.
It's extremely important to talk with our doctors about our treatment plans and have his or her advice about what to do if that happens. Depending on a number of factors, a significant amount of medication can be absorbed into our systems in a very short time after swallowing them.
Even "safe" over-the-counter medications can cause serious, even fatal problems before we realize we've taken too much. It's an older case, but the memory of this one will always stick with me. In 2003, a 17-year-old girl turned to Tylenol for Migraine pain relief. Shortly after taking it, she vomited, so she took more. The Migraine and vomiting continued, and Kellie took 20 tablets in a 16-hour period. The last thing she said to her mother was:
There are over 100 medications and supplements being used for the prevention of Migraine and headache. When we get frustrated with trying to find preventive treatments that work for us, it's helpful to remember that there are so many options.
Do you know how many of them are actually approved by the FDA for that purpose? Do you know how many of them were originally developed for Migraine and headache prevention?
I've been thinking of some of the chants and the like that I've heard from people demonstrating on Capitol Hill and how they apply to Migraines and Migraine care.
The one that sticks in my mind most is when the leader of a demonstration shouts, "What do we want?" The crowd replies, then the leader shouts, "When do we want it?"
Here's my version and the responses I'd want to hear:
What do we want? BETTER MIGRAINE TREATMENTS!
When do we want it?! NOW!
Of course, a better answer is that we want better treatments yesterday, but that's obviously impossible, so I'll settle for as soon as humanly possible.
The problem is -- How do we make this happen? There isn't a single medication on the market today that was originally developed of Migraine or Headache prevention - NOT EVEN ONE. The biggest reason for that is lack of funding for seminal research into the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of Migraine and other headache disorders. How do you research treatments until you have the basic knowledge of what causes them and how they work? That's the kind of funding we want to see the NIH fund. Pharmaceutical companies can't generally do this kind of research because it doesn't end in a treatment - it's the type of research that has to be done prior to treatment development. So, everyone has been shooting almost in the dark up to now. We've been lobbying Congress for increased NIH funding, and things are a tiny bit better, but not significantly.
The truth is that if we keep waiting for government to fund this research, not much advancement is going to be made in my lifetime, my children's, or even my grandchildren's.
So, here's my next question for you -- How badly do you want better Migraine treatments? If we really want better treatments, we have an opportunity now to help make it happen...
Dr. David Dodick, Mrs. Cindy McCain, and other people involved with the American Migraine Foundation have launched the 36 Million Migraine Campaign, and I'm with them in wanting to see it succeed. The goal of the campaign is to raise $1 for each of the $36 million (plus) Migraineurs in the U.S. and use it for the needed research. You can read more about the campaign in The 36 Million Migraine Campaign - Time for Better Treatments.
I realize that many people don't have the financial resources to make many donations. That said, nobody is asking anyone to donate more than they can afford. What we're trying to do is get EVERYONE to step up and help with this campaign. When more people donate, less is needed from each person to reach the goal.
Cutting to the chase...
Almost everyone can afford to make a donation to this campaign. $5... $10... whatever you can afford. It's time we put some $$ toward research instead of continuing to just dream, wish, and complain. The truth is that if we can afford to donate to this campaign, but don't, then we forfeit any right we might have had to complain. It's that simple.
Personally, I can't donate as much as I wish I could, so I'm donating $36 per month, plus all the profits from my Café Press gift shop, until the campaign ends. You can track my donations through my 36 Million Migraine Campaign page on Crowdrise.
Just during this summer, I know of three people who took their own lives because of Migraines - because they lost hope of ever finding treatment that worked for them, because of the stigma associated with Migraine disease, just because they thought they couldn't take the Migraines any longer. This has to stop!
Will you be part of the solution? You can donate to the 36 Million Migraine Campaign by:
If you have Migraine disease, do you experience the aura phase of the Migraine attack? If you said, "No," are you sure?
I've been seeing far too much confusion about Migraine aura online lately. Here are some misconceptions and pieces of misinformation that I've recently encountered:
If you don't have the aura, you don't have Migraines. Whoa there. Not everyone experiences the aura, and those people who do, seldom experience it every time they have a Migraine attack.
Aura is only visual symptoms; any other symptoms that occur before the headache are prodrome. Yikes! That is so incorrect. There's a wide range of other possible aura symptoms.
Yes, there are some symptoms that can occur during either prodrome or aura, or even during both, but there are some possible non-visual symptoms that occur during aura only.
Why should we care? Research has shown that the acute treatments we use when we get a Migraine work better when they're taken earlier in a Migraine attack. That's one good reason to know the possible symptoms of the aura phase and learn to recognize them.
The current statistics indicate that only 25 - 30% of Migraineurs experience the aura phase. I'm beginning to wonder if that's correct. It seems quite plausible to me that there are other people who have the aura phase, but since they don't know all the possible symptoms, they don't recognize that they experience the aura phase.
I've been giving this a good bit of attention lately because I want all of us to know all we can about Migraine disease and get the most out of our treatments. I've written about this a couple of times lately, so rather than write it here again, here are some links to information we should all have...
If you've been diagnosed with Migraine without aura, but this information causes you to wonder if you may also have Migraine with aura, please discuss your symptoms with your doctor. It's not only possible, but common to have both forms of Migraine.
Social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and others have done a great deal to help get Migraine and Headache information and support to people coping with these disorders.
Social media can be fun, but it can be hard to keep up with how to get the most out of using these sites.
In October, the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media is holding their 5th Annual Health Care Social Media Summit, designed to engage patients, advocates, and health care professionals in social media. This is a great opportunity to meet with others engaged in social media and learn how to best utilize it.
The Mayo Clinic will be awarding three scholarships to this summit, and I've applied for it. Now, I need your help to be one of the three people selected for the scholarships.
I'd greatly appreciate it if you could take five minutes to give me a bit of help by:
Please go to the essay I wrote to enter the contest - My Essay
Click the Facebook "Like" button by the title of the essay.
Take a minute to register on the site, and post a comment below my essay.
Pass along the link and ask your friends to help too, please.
Following those steps will give me two votes in the contest. Voting runs through tomorrow - Friday, August 9. I would love to attend this summit because it will help me use social media more effectively to help everyone who has Migraines, Cluster Headaches, or another Headache disorder.