Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Preparing For The Specialists

I have an appointment on Tuesday, November 29 at Michigan Head Pain and Neurological Institute. They have sent me some paperwork to have ready when I come, and I have a bit of information (lab work, doctors notes, MRI) ready for them as well. I've compiled what I have so far in a folder so I'm organized and prepared.

I am to arrive at 7:15 AM the morning of the 29th. And they told me to plan to be there until 5:00 PM. I'm supposed to come in fasting so they can do blood work. There was information sent to me about how they might do an EEG and ECG, and there was also information online about the possibility of a spinal (ha, I first typed spinach) tap to test for additional medical conditions. At this full-day appointment there will be an educational seminar about migraines and I will also meet with a clinical psychologist. The multi-disciplinary team will discuss my case and then give me their findings and recommendations for treatment. The doctor(s) will have the final say that day, however someone from the clinical staff has told me that based on my history that I am appropriate for their inpatient program. The average stay is 7-10 days. Typically, treatment will start the day after the full-day appointment, however they cannot guarantee a bed will be immediately available (I asked, they have 20 beds). My husband is coming with me, so we are prepared to stay in a hotel and wait it out. Either way, Chad will be chilling at a local hotel while I make myself at home at Chelsea Community Hospital. I don't exactly know what will be involved in the inpatient program (click the previous link for some info), other than doing everything they can to get my headache under control and break the cycle. I suppose it will depend on what they find after their evaluation at that full-day appointment.

I'm going into this appointment and treatment cautiously optimistic. I believe that the staff at MHNI are the experts for treating what is wrong with me. I know that I will not leave cured. I know that I will still have headaches, maybe even bad ones. But here is what I hope to gain from going to MHNI:

  • A better understanding of the migraine cycle and how it causes pain in my body (and mimics so many other symptoms.... or does it?)
  • A better understanding of what the headaches are or are not tied to/caused by (infection, hormones, stress, etc.)
  • A significant decrease in the intensity of my daily headache, and/or a decrease in the amount of intense days per month
  • Ways to cope with the guilt I feel from missing out on life due to the pain and and feeling like I am not doing enough at work because of the pain
  • Something (drug or non-drug) that will help me when I have a bad migraine
I'm grateful for this opportunity and I'm looking forward to it.

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