Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Very Bad Situation Indeed

I don't even know where to start.

To say that I'm fearful and stressed is quite an understatement. I've been having some strange symptoms in the past couple weeks but this past Sunday things got worse. My chest felt tight and when I would bend down my heart would jump (as though I had just been frightened). I decided that if the symptoms continued in the morning I would call my neurologist. I felt better though so I went to PT and did some holiday baking and such. After my mid afternoon walk with the dog I was feeling much worse. I was winded and my chest was tight again so I picked up the phone and called my doctor's office. She had already left for the day.

I left a message and was certain I would hear back from her first thing in the morning. I didn't hear from her at all but her office called just before 11am and said the doc thinks it is the imitrex and she wants me to stop taking it. "So what should I take instead?" I said. "I don't know, I'll leave another message for her and call you back when I have an answer." said the woman.

Seriously, why would she say to stop taking it without replacing it with something else?

It was 4 hours before I got another call from her office and she wants to send a new prescription to my pharmacy. Okay, great. So my husband got home and we went to Costco and I got to feeling even worse. We decided to go to the ER because these symptoms were getting worse with the activity and we didn't know how serious it was.

After several tests the ER doc determined my heart and lungs were fine - no immediate danger - probably just the imitrex. I felt a little foolish going in since it turned out to be nothing, and, of course, the insurance fears kicked in too. But I was also relieved to know that it wasn't serious. Then this morning I went to the pharmacy on my way to PT to get the new rescue med that she phoned in. I was a bit surprised and sort of concerned to see that she had prescribed another triptan. So I asked the pharmacist if another medication from the same family would be likely to cause these disturbing and painful side effects. He thought so. He offered to call the doc's office and see what he could find out.

What he found out is that my doc has already left on holiday and won't be back until Monday. The anxiety I had been holding at bay came flooding out. I'm leaving for Minnesota on Sunday, which means I'll be traveling all day Sunday and Monday. What happens if this new medication doesn't work? I won't have any way to get another med. Plus if it doesn't work than I'm stuck on the road with no rescue and I certainly won't be able to drive. And if that happens my migraine won't end. They don't come to an end by themselves because of what's going on with my neck - retriggering continually. I honestly don't know what I would do. To make matters worse I'll be getting my period in the next couple of days, which means my migraines will be harder to treat. And that's assuming I don't have the same reaction to this med that I had to the imitrex.

I'm working hard right now to stay calm and breathe well because the tension is not good for my head. I doubt I'll be able to avoid a migraine. I guess that's okay because it will give me a chance to try the new medication. Of course, doing so will also prevent me from being able to tell if this new medication creates the same freaky side effects since I'm still experiencing them.

This could not be timed worse. Now is just not the time to try to find a new rescue medication. I've tried other rescues before with no benefit at all. The fact that I suddenly need to find a new one is scary enough, but doing it right now is terrifying me. I pray that I can make it through Monday without too many more snags.

When my husband gets home I'll talk with him about possibly leaving on Friday instead.
A very bad situation indeed.


  1. I moved from imitrex to another triptan, and finally ended up on Relpax. I did not have the difficulty breathing and chest pain issues with Relpax, but that might be an individual differences. My doc then (10 years ago) said that the different triptans work differently on the vascular system (which includes the heart and lungs)....

  2. I have tried several triptans without success. I have a similar reaction to triptans and was told I had a coronary vasospasm. I opted on my own to ditch them. The risk and the way I felt wasn't worth the minimal pain relief I got. Now, I depend on my preventatives (haha...gotta laugh b/c they don't do a thing!), Fioricet, Norco & lotsa lotsa ice!

  3. I take the occassional Maxalt with Aleve. That combo works about 50% of the time. I didn't realize there could be cardio-type symptoms. I'm so sorry you went through all of that. I hope you find something better really soon.