Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Podcast

There's been lots of movement over here lately. Things are advancing on many fronts! Lots to report, people! Lots to report!

Let's get started, shall we?

First of all, a quick medical catch-up:

I told you in this post about how my daily migraine prophylaxis, Topomax, is causing me kidney stones, right? (I had another one this weekend, in fact. That brings us to five in the past 14 months, all 5-8mm in size).

Well. I went to my appointment at the Stanford Pain Management Clinic (they had a guy playing a grand piano in the lobby. Oh, Stanford!), and had a very empowered discussion with my (female) doctor about how I Would Like To Be Taken Seriously. Because I've been doing this for 20 years and I've done my research and my legwork and I know what I'm fucking talking about.

She agreed. She was cool.

Go me! \o/

She wants to try switching me to a "safer" drug (Propranolol, a beta blocker/blood pressure medication which is not exactly what I would consider the non-side effect-having safer drug she implied it would be (more on that later), but which won't cause kidney stones. So.) She also suggested a non-drug method, involving freezing the sensory nerves under the scalp that radiate upward from the occipital region at the base of the skull and from the orbital region in the eye sockets.

The migraine tends to follow along those nerves from the base of the skull up over the top of the head to the eyebrow, slightly off to the side like this. Mine are usually on the right.

Notice where the supraorbital nerve emerges from the eye socket. This is VERY IMPORTANT in my particular case!

This has proven to be very effective, apparently. In fact, the day I was there, I had a migraine, and she was able to give me a preview by numbing the supraorbital nerve to see if it would help.

It did!

The real kicker here, though, is the reason she did it: because I told her about my car accident, and about my compound complex depressed skull fracture, the mended seam of which you can still feel if you press your finger against the ridge of my eye socket.

Where? Why, precisely where the supraorbital nerve emerges from the skull, of course!

And those occipital and distal nerves? They sit right where they could be compressed by a region compromised by improperly-healed grade-3 whiplash

Both areas that might be inflamed, say, during the hormonal shift of a monthly menstrual cycle, perhaps?

I put that last part together myself. I mean, migraine has all kinds of triggers, and not even doctors can reliably pinpoint the cause or reasons behind the condition. My migraines have followed the classic pattern: I started getting them as a young child (6), they were misdiagnosed as food allergies and blood sugar disorder, they disappeared when I was a teenager and then reemerged in my mid-twenties. 

They were not caused by my accident. I would have had them anyway.

But my accident created a host of powerful triggers, and I think I've just figured out how to beat some of them. Well. I shouldn't count my chickens-- we know how that goes. But I'm going to try this nerve-numbing, and if it helps, a bit of freezing. Freezing lasts longer than numbing, so they make sure the nerve angle works on you before they do too much.

The main point here: NO MEDS. I am slowly but surely getting the medication out of my system. I'm ramping up on Propranolol so I can ramp off of Topomax, but if the nerve thing works, I'm kicking the Propranolol too. I'm checking the boxes. One down, two to go. Get this stuff out of me, so I can just be myself again.

But enough about that.

A few weeks ago, Carol Miller, who I told you about in my last post, came to my house and we recorded ourselves in conversation about our storied pasts for her latest podcast for Rarebird Radio.

It was pretty amazing! We had so much to talk about that we had to reign ourselves in, and we've decided to turn our conversation into a series (and perhaps even more than that... stay tuned, loyal readers. I told you this was the start of something big, and I meant it!)

So here, I'll borrow the introduction from Carol's blog, along with the picture we took of ourselves sitting on my family room couch in front of my old guitar, and then you can go listen to our chat and tell us what you think!


Podcast: Carol E. Miller, author of the memoir Every Moment of a Fall and Kate Bassford Baker, author of the blog The Girl Who Lived, discuss their near-fatal crash experiences, EMDR and releasing traumas the body closely guardsListen


What would you like to hear more about? What topics did we miss? What questions do you have that you'd like answered? Leave them in the comments, and we will do our best to address everything in future conversations!

PS: in my next post, I'll tell you about another little something that has begun around here: I have finally started the process of turning this blog into a book! More to come!

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