Friday, January 07, 2011

Looking Forward: My Migraine Plans for 2011

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Managing our migraine disease is a personal experience. What works for one of us may not for another. That's why I'm going to tell you about my plan for taking charge of my migraines in 2011 for the January Headache & Migraine Blog Carnival.

When the radiofrequency nerve ablation procedure I had in June 2009 failed I had two options: (1) an occipital nerve stimulator trial, and (2) a behavioral pain management program. I did the behavioral pain management program and it opened up to me a life I'd dreamed of, but not known how to build. It taught me structure, how to take care of myself and to listen to my body. It helped me see how much depression was clouding my ability to enjoy life regardless of my pain levels. It was a wonderful experience. I'm glad I did it, and I would recommend it to anyone. The tools I learned serve me every day and will continue to throughout my life. They inform the decisions I am making about what I want my health care to look like in the coming year.

But despite the wonderful coping skills I've built, I still have a lot of pain. Most of the time I think I deal with it pretty well, but I resent the medications and the limits they impose. I'm coming around to the idea of trying the occipital nerve stimulator. My main hesitations are fear and the expense. There is a very good chance I would be approved for it since I do have a diagnosis of occipital neuralgia in addition to chronic migraines, but knowing how expensive this kind of surgery would be I must admit I'm anticipating potential roadblocks.

So in 2011 I think I might explore this option and see if it is a good fit for me, my lifestyle and our goals as a family. To be perfectly honest there may be other changes in the works this year that would preempt trying the stimulator anytime soon, but I still think it makes sense to get the ball rolling and learn more.

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DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site constitutes medical or legal advice. I am a patient who is engaged and educated and enjoys sharing my experiences and news about migraines, pain and depression. Please consult your own health care providers for advice on your unique situation.