Cefaly at Two Weeks

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My approximation of the box pose, only more ‘me’

Along with getting rid of my chronic case of tech neck, I am dearly hoping mid-July’s Botox treatment will give me the pain relief I seek. The last doctor treatment for migraine (or anything, actually) was May 28 when I had the nerve block. Over time, my facial pain, the pain in the back of my head that radiates down my neck and into my shoulders returns as the day wears on. On the plus side, I can sit up for ages before becoming dizzy. I usually become sore first. I have several lamps now and aim them all over the place at various levels to limit pain. Noise levels are still problematic.

Anyway, The Cefaly.

There are two types of Cefaly units. The US one, and the

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The Cefaly Box

Canadian and rest of the world? European? one. From what I understand, the US model has one speed and an allowable wear time of 20 minutes.

My model has three speeds 1. Active Headache 2. Prevent 3. Gentle and is allowed to be worn all day. (The website at http://www.cefaly-technology.com explains all this).

Included in the box is a set of electrodes, (3 maybe? My husband ordered a whole bunch so I got confused.) And some forehead wipes.

Cefaly works by cleaning your forehead with the wipe. Bioderma is the closest sub for this. It must be non-oily. Next you place the provided electrode (powered by 2AA batteries, don’t worry) on your forehead. The brochure will describe this, don’t worry. Mid forehead. You then slide the lovely Wonder Woman Headband down your head until it engages with the electrode. Press the button on your WWH until you get your program. (In US this is ONCE). Enjoy your 20 minute treatment. Repeat if desired, unless American. Lowest price we found in Canada was $299 at Costco.ca.

I am fortunate to have the gentle cycle, because I am very sensitive to TENS! Yes, I had no clue this was TENS at all. I had used a machine once at my grandmother’s house once about 25 years ago and it was so incredibly painful.

The first time I used it, thoughts I had included:

“Dear God, I hope this thing shuts off eventually. What if it doesn’t?”

“This feels like Dave Grohl playing timpani on my sinuses!”

“Did I buy a home ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) machine by accident?”*

*(I had a family member go through this treatment several times, we discussed it,  plus the awful scene in cuckoo’s nest, I understand it was a very mild situation.  My brains were being scrambled, and I was getting scared. That’s where my weird mind went.)

But I endured. The next therapy I needed to stop about 5 minutes in. It was just too painful. My husband complained of a headache that evening, so it was time for an experiment. He got to wear the band. He couldn’t feel anything! I couldn’t believe it.

 

The next time I used Cefaly, I sat up and carefully applied the electrode supplied, to my forehead using a mirror to judge the best spot midway between my eyebrows/forehead ridge and the start of where my forehead curves. This session was so much less painful. It still hurt, but was much better.  This time I noticed how much better I felt after the session. I had about 10 minutes where I felt I still was wearing the headband, and I was kind of scrambled for a few minutes, like waking from a nap. My shoulder and neck pain was so much better, and my facial pain was from a 6 to a 3 or 2.

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Electrode Placement is Very Important

 

The next three or four days were tough, as I had excessive sleeping. I would lie down for a quick nap, planning to wake around 5 for dinner, do my therapies; and wake up the next morning.  I’ve done sessions over the last three days, still on gentle. However, now the painful part is only a couple of minutes and I tend to fall asleep for the last part of the session. The damn beeping to signal the finish always wakes me. I’m thinking of going up to level 2 soon.

 

  • Having your electrode placed properly is very important. Use a mirror.
  • I found having the TV or something on is helpful to pass time or distract.
  • Bioderma is a fantastic substitute for the included wipes. I have not found a distributor. Alcohol is too drying and will degrade your electrode pad.
  • Just press the button for emergency stop. 
  • Two AA batteries.

 

At this point I am looking forward to my afternoon sessions. It’s like a challenge.

The fantastic part is my insurance reimbursed us for it. Yay!

Verdict: Even though I am sensitive to TENS, this product is highly effective in reducing and treating my headaches. Where I would expect to be useless, I can take a treatment and after 20 minutes my pain is seriously reduced.  I’m amazed.

I will keep you posted!

 

The Doctor Appointment: or I’m the Girl with the Most Cake

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I attended the doctor appointment of intrigue on Monday, and found out SO MUCH INFORMATION! I have needed two days to recover. Also, my nerve blocks are wearing off, so please bear with me, my face hurts.

Well, it seems the lovely doctor who did my nerve blocks at the other hospital is now not able to be working at both hospitals. This may have contributed to communication breakdown. But it also means she had no reason to see me or take me on as her patient. When I sent her that desperate email, I had no idea, and she could have said, sorry, don’t work there. However, she took me on as her patient at the other hospital. I am so very thankful.

Now, the doctors at the clinic wanted to know how much I know, which was nothing.

The very first miracle was having the admin at the pain clinic bumping me up in the schedule so I could see the migraine doctor in the first place. I think she only saw a few people, and my husband was very nice to her, as he just is, and she knew how much pain I was in, so she got us in right away. I don’t think she brought many patients with her back to her clinic.

Now, back to the appointment. Remember the scary, nasty woman who worked there? She was in charge of this appointment. She was a ray of sunshine. I believe it was finally having job-related duties. Anyway, we had a lovely conversation. Originally, I was sent back to this clinic to get off of an inappropriate medication. Then she asked some questions. Who has been following up with me? No one. What are your other issues? Well, I spoke about my knees, arthritis, we are going to the arthritis society, it’s not too bad.

My pubic bone. I spoke about being laughed at and dismissed by the EDS Clinic. She looked concerned. I told her that it might not be an EDS issue, but it still hurts, and even if he says it shouldn’t it still does. Then it clicked. I told her it might be an injury from my daughter’s birth. They tried to keep her in until she was 37 weeks, but she was an oz short of 8 lbs. The doctor had to stand on the table during my c-sections and rip her out of my pelvis. The only reason I know is because my husband is 6’5″ and could see over the curtain. He turned white (er). He didn’t tell me until later. She looked at me in horror.

I told her about my back pain, which she blamed on inactivity, of course, but my husband jumped in and mentioned it was our original reason for visiting the pain clinic, and how I was improving for so long.

When I thought about it though, doesn’t it make sense that the back pain is the other side of the pelvic pain? Duh. I really am ashamed it took me 16 years to figure this out. Not to mention I was in labour for 2 days with my son slamming against my pubic bone. They gave me an epidural for the pain right away. Then when they looked at the ultrasound realized he wasn’t going to fit. I am 5’8″. I’m not some little, slight, thing. Oooh, fun fact. While I was still under the illusion of VBAC I received advice from Michelle Duggar, who was on kid number 8 or 9 at the time.

When the doctor came in he told me he had given me one round of Botox injections. I agreed. We then went through everything again… at which point I corrected him and said: Dr, you gave me two sets of Botox, and a guided nerve block under anaesthesia. He was not like being corrected, but was kind of… okay! Knows her stuff!

At the end of the meeting, he was unimpressed no one was following me. We were expecting to see an appointment at the EDS pain clinic in September. So he booked me for a full exam in July.

Surprise! We have an appointment with the EDS Pain Clinic mid – June! So we are going to let the other pain clinic know, just for transparency, and see what they can offer. Another Miracle!

It was so amazing, I called my Mom as soon as I could, as my spoons came back, on Monday. We are so different! I was marvelling at the miracles and my luck, my Mom wanted to know how everything got so screwed up! She said everything should be perfect! Well, yes. It has taken me so long to get over that expectation. Sometimes miracles happen when things are messiest. I can’t demand perfection when I live in chaos. My daughter has perfectionist tendencies and it nearly cripples her from doing anything. It’s painful to watch.

Embrace your imperfections. They are some of your most endearing qualities!

I am still working with the Cefaly! I will give you an update in a couple of days!

In the Blink of an Eye…

It looks like this didn’t publish when I tried to publish. Sorry. Let’s attempt it now, and I am working on another post…

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My beloved Grandmother died on May 7th. It was as unexpected as you can get for someone who is 96 years old (97 In August) and isn’t terribly ill. She was an amazing lady. She was my inspiration and role model in all things. She was so tough. She never let anything slow her down.

It was my utter frustration in not being able to attend her funeral, it being in Winnipeg, that led me to send a rather nasty (Canadian nasty) note to my doctor about me having to live in darkness while my life passes me by. Well, my doctor had me in her office and was sticking needles in my face within two days.

It seems she was sending me messages through the clinic, which I was not receiving, of course, and I was doing the same. Now that we are in touch, we can bypass the stupid place and get to business.

As for the MRI, my brain is fine, no leaking, no shifting, I seem to have good old fashioned chronic migraine. The doctor has a treatment plan, a bunch of it is old stuff from the last clinic, getting me off an old medication, Botox regularly. She feels I can probably feel good some of the time.

I was doing really well before, when my treatment was regular, so we shall see.

Sitting up is so amazing, I can’t even begin to tell you.

Why do people insist on wearing perfume to a headache clinic? Why?

Love

You Can’t Tell Me What To Do!

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I really don’t get the chance to interact with many people. It’s a huge effort for me. But your husband and kids! People exclaim. I see my kids when they drop off food, they are teens! Introverts at that. My husband arrives home from work around 7:30 and must take care of homework and lunches and clean up, so he rolls into bed around 9:00. I have an hour or so, if I managed to stay awake.

So, when I get to speak with a new person it’s pretty exciting! Unfortunately, though, some people (though their heart is in the right place, I’m sure, wanting to help) start in with the “You know what you need to do…” and it’s very rarely helpful. Now, of course I am not dismissing carefully considered suggestions, I’m not unilateral in this! What I’m talking about are the questions that could be better phrased as why questions. The ‘You need to find a new doctor’ ‘you need a housekeeper’ ‘the waiting list for neurologists is six years’  these types of unhelpful comments.

It would also be nice to be asked how I’m feeling, but we might all be pretending everything is fine.

I’m still lying here in the semi-darkness, grumbling most of the time. I feel like my life is flying by. I’ve been lying here for a year. I’m gaining weight back because I can’t move. I am having huge gastro problems. I’m so tired today, I can barely move. I’m not sleeping properly, pain is waking me up. My joints are so weak and painful I can barely do anything. I am so angry at being ignored. How much more of my life am I going to spend lying here?  I can do NOTHING right now. Even watching television is a struggle as the light and noise can only last so long.

I did buy a cervical pillow from Wal-Mart, it’s very nice. It’ helping my neck pain. I lie on it at first, after being propped up a bit and my neck hurts so much, but the next day it feels good. Less pain than usual.

I feel like if I could have a good stretch I’d be better. Momentarily, anyway…

 

After the awful van attack in Toronto,  one of the victims’ spiritual leader said she had so many loyal and beloved friends because she was a good person.  *Well* it’s really good to know where I stand. 🤔 Perhaps I should stick to Christianity over Buddhism, as it lauds suffering. 😄(Emotionally self-inflicted counts 😜).

Ugh, just occurred to me, my throat kind of hurts – I get really angsty and grouchy when getting sick. (Started to get that way around age 35. Awful.) At least it doesn’t take weeks to get over anymore.

Time for more rest.

Lies I’ve Been Told…

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“Looks aren’t that important in life, it’s what’s inside a person that matters.” …

“I am your friend,”…

“That looks great on you!” …

“You’ll regret it!” …

“I’ll never tell anyone, I swear!” …

“You can count on me!”…

“This medication is non-addictive.”…

“I would never lie to you,”…

“I love you!” countless…

“If you lose weight you’ll feel better!” x infinity…

“Your doctor will call you back in three days…”.

“Your doctor will call you on Tuesday.”.

(Sigh)

Now, to be fair, it seems the clinic is moving floors. It essentially broke down earlier this year (at last check, admittedly a bit ago, only complaint with my doctor who ran clinic is about paperwork. Will keep you posted. Must have hubby do checking am too weak),  and it seems to have merged with another pain management service. My new doctor, who was only in this clinic once a week anyway, has not been in, due to the chaos. I have confirmed the scan is on my file. Now, I don’t even know if the doctor to administer the blood patch is still on staff. I caught a quick article up online for only a couple of hours that stated there are no doctors in my home city to treat chiari if it turns out to be. I will burn that bridge when I get to it, but I am pretty miserable here. I essentially lie in the dark most of the time. The straighter my neck the better. My vision is very bad. My tablet is turned way down, as is the tv. Very dark. I can’t stand noise. So it’s not always watchable or useable in the tablets case. Last week was great- I could sit horizontally and play with makeup for a little bit! Have a rest. Organize some items I had tossed aside when feeling terribler. So much better than lying on my side in the dark. I have incredible trouble sleeping, so I stare into black space for hours. It can be awful. And the facial pain. Ay-yi. And the back pain so bad you almost faint, but you don’t.  Because you’re home alone. On really good days I get to sit up for a while before the pain starts, the nausea and dizzy take over. On really really good days you can turn on a lamp.

The EDS Clinic said I could be in to the pain clinic there by the end of June, so hope oozes from every pore! No, I am grateful as I’ve been inappropriately medicated for a long time. I would like to sleep, maybe? Once a week? My former pain doctor had been planning to change my plans for medication for a while, as he suspected I might be causing myself pain with what I am on. (Apparently it’s a thing) Plus it has been a year since I have had proper migraine shots, so dealing with intermittent migraines, too. Fun! 😄

Oh, and a lady from Chiari Canada has been so lovely and supportive in corresponding with me, even though she is so busy. I appreciate it so much.

My rugrats gave me their flu or cold or whatever… I am not amused. I shall take my whiny butt back under the blanket.

I shall let you know.

 

 

Just Breathe

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Oh, well, things are back to normal. Life is back to kick me in the ass and remind me I am sub-human, in case I had forgotten. One of the latest games is to obnoxiously correct my grammar as I am trying to form a sentence. I’m just pleased if I can communicate an idea, never mind if I remembered it was try to instead of try and. Maybe people are thrilled they can bulldoze me for the first time. Worse,  however, is I can still hear that horrified ‘oh my God’ when referred to my size in the conversation of last week. I mean, I’m 5’8″. When I carry extra weight, I look huge.

So, I’m finding being judged at every turn very tiring. Everyone has something to say. There are actually people in this world who believe you draw to you everything that happens. Therefore, if I am suffering pain, I must be a bad person. Genetic? Bad in a past life. I’m fat? Then using a wheelchair because I’m lazy, no other reason. Now that I’m close to average size, I’m treated so much better by doctors and strangers. My friends are gone, though. That often with weight loss, I’ve heard.

I’ve been suffering a lot of knee pain. It keeps me awake at night. It’s awful. I hope it goes away. I have been bracing like crazy at night. My shoulders are really bothering me. I’m not certain how I could brace them, but I’m resting and keeping warm.

So many doctors have turned me down! I can’t get a specialist! They keep saying to wait until the EDS Clinic sees me. I’m so glad we are 5 weeks away. My clinic is no longer doing Botox. Great. Just found out. My head isn’t too bad, knock wood! I think many are not comfortable without the specialist support. So we wait and take things easy.

My days have nice flow. Wake at 6. Breakfast, coffee, Instagram. See kids off to school. Deal with emergencies. Play with makeup.  Lunch. Crafts for an hour. Nap. Tidy, hang out, organize. Time with husband, night meds and snack. Sleep, painsomnia, sleep.

God, my face hurts. 😣