|Visits to urgent care and DHE infusion therapy|
- Botox every three months
- Mindfulness/Meditation/Guided Imagery
- Diet (no gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, and all other food/alcohol triggers)
- Stadol Nasal Spray
Two months ago I was looking through headache specialists in my area trying to find one that will accept my insurance. Finding one that seemed like a good fit, I asked for a referral from my PCP to see him. She kindly forwarded it to my neurologist who then let me know that Kaiser has hired a headache specialist that will be working in the Baltimore area in October. That was major news since I have been denied to see any other headache specialists by Kaiser over the last seven or eight years. Naturally, they denied my referral but who cares! I can finally see someone who can help me!
After a very painful and long August and September I was seen by the great Dr. Jason Rosenberg yesterday. Prior to coming to work for Kaiser, he was the director of the Headache Center at Johns Hopkins (lucky me!!). He only had myself and another patient scheduled that afternoon so he spent almost two hours with me. It was nice not having a time constraint which made the appointment flow seamlessly where it needed to go. We discussed my long history with migraine, all of the medications I have tried in the past, procedures that may have helped or not, sleep habits, and the big elephant in the room - my weight.
Thanks to the wonderful antidepressant Paxil, I gained almost fifty pounds. Before I started on it a few months ago I was already overweight due to taking Lyrica for migraine prevention. At that time I was only 30 pounds over my normal weight and was really trying my best to lose it. I switched antidepressants because the one I was on was not working very well. My psychiatrist did let me know that it can cause weight gain but I was willing to try it again (I was on it years ago with no side effects or weight gain). Well, here I am weighing 248 pounds and very embarrassed and depressed about it. I could lose 100 pounds and still be 18 pounds over how much I should weigh for my height (5'7"). *sigh*
How do you lose so much weight when exercise causes exertion headaches which then turn into full-blown migraine attacks? I have hardly any will power when it comes to food because food is everything and it makes me happy. Yes, I have an unhealthy relationship with food. But I am also the one who makes homemade yogurt, kefir, almond and coconut milk, and spice mixes from scratch. So basically I am a food addict conundrum. Dr. Rosenberg wants me to lose one pound a week by either eating 500 calories less a day or burning 500 calories more a day. My daughter was with me at my appointment and she basically became my drill sergeant yesterday. She will keep me accountable and on track and boy do I need that in my life right now. I also plan on getting in touch with my naturopath again so that she can help me in losing weight properly,
The next topic was sleep. I have insomnia and have been struggling with not sleeping enough for almost a decade. My current sleep aid medication, Atarax, also causes weight gain. Something that my psychiatrist did not tell me. No wonder I feel hungry after I take it! As an added bonus, not getting enough sleep causes the build up of cortisol in the body which then causes weight gain. Naturally, I was switched to Lunesta and was given a sleep plan:
- Schedule consistent bedtime that allows 8 hours time in bed.
- No TV, reading, music in bed.
- Use visualization techniques to shorten time to sleep onset.
- Move your last food to at least 4 hours before bedtime; limit fluids within 2 hours of bedtime.
- Stop naps.
Dr. Jason Rosenberg is a neurologist who has specialized in headache disorders since 2006. He was the founder and director of the Johns Hopkins Headache Center at Bayview from 2006-2016. He is currently practicing at the South Baltimore Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Halethorpe, Maryland.