I’m That Girl Crying in Public (And You’re Gonna Wanna Keep Walking)

1 (3)And next up on the tour that is the downward spiral of my month is me in the parking lot of Publix. Recovering from a session of hysterical crying–and taking a selfie–because I knew I’d want to blog about this particularly sour moment later on.

Earlier on in the day I ended up crying in the line at the Target Pharmacy, but I decided against the selfie.

In fact, my day has been filled with a lot of crying. Crying at the doctor’s office. Crying in the car. Crying on mute during conference calls. It’s just been that kind of day.

Lots of tears…way, way too many medications for my body to handle and a whole hell of a lot of fog.

It’s all coming back to the migraines. I’ve kept up taking the 25mgs of Topomax prescribed by the neurologist over the last week, but it’s been a misery. My pain has increased. My nausea has been so bad I’ve spent most evenings fighting my urge to vomit and eat everything in sight at the same time. If anybody touches me it sends shockwaves of pain throughout my body. My tendons hurt. Do I even have tendons? I feel so confused all of the time.

So I went to the neurologist this morning, excited because I knew that the only direction we could possibly go in was up–how could we not find a positive solution to these side effects or abandon this medication for another entirely? Except that that’s not what happened.

A portrait of my charming neurologist.

A portrait of my charming neurologist.

“I told you. There are really only three classes of medication for this,” my neurologist said. And Topomax was the end of the line. “You have to push through the side-effects.”

I told him, “This can’t be the end of the line. There has to be more options than just this…can’t you think of anything else we can do?”

He mentioned one medication, the name of which I can’t remember, “You want to go on that one? You’ll gain weight, lose your hair and if you want to have kids at some point they’ll be born with birth defects. But if that’s what you want?”

No. That is not what I want.

“You can go to the other neurologist if you want to get the Botox shots in your jaw, if that’s what you want.”

What is all this about what I want? What I want is to be able to make my migraines go away with a cup of hot tea and a heat wrap, not a fucking chemical cannonball to the brain. What I want? It’s not like I’m choosing between pillows or prom dresses here.

I was getting more and more upset as the appointment went on. “What about all of the nausea? I can’t make myself throw up with the gastroparesis–so it just feels like I’m on the verge of vomiting all the time and I can’t.

“Just take the Zofran.”

“I’m taking about five times the prescribed dose of Zofran. It isn’t helping.”

“There’s nothing else I can give you for that. You’ll just have to deal with it.”

Finally he motioned for me to take a seat on the exam table. I slowly gathered myself up and sat on the table. I moved my arms out in front of me for him to leverage them down. As soon as he touched my wrist I winced, feeling and remembering the rippling nerve pain.

“Why does that hurt?” He asked.

“It just does.”

Finally I sat back down in the chair across from him. We had solved nothing. And now my wrists stung and burned from where he’d touched me. The nausea was back, my chest tightened and the water works began.

For the first time in the appointment he seemed sorry for being so….short with me and after a moment said he could prescribe Gamapentin for the pain. But his guard went right back up when I started asking about the side-effects of it. (Sorry for wanting to know what fresh hell awaits me in the next capsule I swallow!)

I walked to my car and spent fifteen minutes scrolling through my phone for music that might keep me going on autopilot until I was ready to start feeling like a human being again and talk to my mom. But I didn’t ever reach that stasis, so she eventually called me and I picked up while waiting to drop off my prescription in line.

While I explained to her what had happened at that appointment she apologized, sounding really regretful that she didn’t come with me to the appointment (keep in mind she’s taken a ridiculous amount of time off work to take me to doctors already.) But I couldn’t stop myself from choking up a bit as I handed over my prescription and jogged out of the store.

By 11:30 I was tucked under a blanket on my couch with Happy by my side, some pita chips in hand, and my first capsule of the Gamapentin. I started my work for Global Genes and gradually made my way upstairs and took a conference call in bed while the new medication took me swimming around my bedroom.

Bear is the anchor, he's got me down.

Bear is the anchor, he’s got me down.

I slept away the rest of the day.

When R.J got home around seven I decided it might be a good time to stretch my legs, so we took Happy for a short walk and I recounted my neuro visit to him. He suggested that I write a letter to my cardioligist this week to give her some time to think about a solution before I went in on Tuesday. I got a small but much needed check in the mail and after an hour of recovering from our walk on the living room couch we decided to head to Publix.

It wasn’t until R.J had taken the cart and I was standing in line at the deli counter waiting to get my sub made that the nausea really began to overtake me. I think it was mostly from the girl in front of me asking for literally every sauce at the bar to be put on her bread (ranch, mayo, mustards, hot sauce, cranberry,etc that my guts started to churn. I finally waived R.J back over asked him to take over my sandwich and bolted outside so I could try to stabilize my stomach.

I think of all the crap I’d been through that day–that was the line in the sand. To be so confused about your body that you literally can’t figure out if you’re starving or wanting to puke? Done, I was just done.

I broke down and called my mom, who called R.J, who held my hand while I sobbed quietly the whole ride home.

Then I told him that I just couldn’t manage it anymore…between the medications, their side efffects, and taking medication for the medication’s side effects? I was feeling like I was getting sucked into a black hole of pills. This is how people become addicted to medications. Turns out their bodies really need one or two fixes–but those two treatments cause so much damage they unravel the whole damn system.

He called Dr. Santa Maria–and that’s where I am this morning, getting my IV after talking for an hour about a game plan for how we’re going to handle this current mess. I guess our first call is that my neurologist (And his Topomax and Gabapentin) are out. Our second step is getting a test on my temperol artery to see why I’m getting the brain freeze sensation. And the step after that is Dr. Santa Maria talking to my cardiologist about finding a way to get my heart back on track–so we can start at the base of where I think my migraine problems are coming from–my circulation problems.

It’s 11:30AM and I haven’t cried yet in public today. So far so good.




  • Gabrielle Tomory

    thank you for sharing,I really needed to read this, as my daughter has get to be diagnosed. However this sounds so much like what she is going through.

  • I’m so sorry you are going through this with an egotistical Neuro on your side. I’ve been down the Topomax rabbit trail about a decade ago when my Migraines hit insane levels. After a few months I decided I’d rather not be brain dead (I never had the nausea you describe)… in the end it turned out that that particular increase in Migraines was due to Zoloft. The Neuro I have now is very sweet and understanding and also willing to try new things that others aren’t as quick to try. we’ve not done botox yet, but I’m already on gabapentin for Fibromyalgia. I haven’t noticed any major affect on the headaches from it. I really hope that you find some relief soon.

  • Lizz B.

    I was taking gabapentin for my fibro, it really helped me stabilize it. Now I’m coming off of it (I only have five pills left). Unfortunately, it was the second one we tried, Cymbalta being the first. The Cymbalta took my fibro from annoying (because I had more pain than someone my age “should” have) to crippling and the world wouldn’t hold still and YUCK. I don’t remember if there were side effects to the gabapentin at first, there probably were but they were better than the Cymbalta lol. I had friends get put on migraine meds when I was younger, and after listening to them I’m terrified to mention the crippling migraines to my doctors and get another pill that will make my fibro get all screwy or something…

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