Miss Migraine: Cycle breakers, or things I share with my dad

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The Adventures of Miss Migraine is an ongoing column about my life with chronic migraine. This post first appeared on my blog of the same name on February 6, 2013.

When someone says “steroids,” I think of my dad.

No, my dad is not a baseball player or other kind of athlete who uses steroids illegally to improve his performance. He’s an asthmatic who takes frequent courses of prednisone to keep his airways open. My dad takes “pred” frequently enough that my family has stopped using the drug’s full name.

Combo Breaker!

This is what steroids do (in theory) to a bad migraine cycle.

So when my doctor said she wanted to put me on a dose of steroids to break a migraine cycle, I thought, “Well, that’s one more thing I share with my dad.”

My dad and I share a lot: obsessions with fast, pretty vehicles, a tendency to “stir the pot” rather than let things lay, love for good, dark beers, the whole chronic illness thing, and a freaky ability to reach each others’ minds. Of course, I’d rather not share the need to take steroids on a semi-regular basis with anyone, but at least I’m in good company.

(Side note: Today is my dad’s birthday, so please wish him a happy one!)

My neurologist first gave me decadron a few times, which helped a little, but not much. She’s now switched me to Medrol, which comes in a blister pack much like the ubiquitous Z-Pack. Medrol seems to work pretty well for me, although the pills taste like bleach mixed with ammonia. I’ve also tried using Compezine as a cycle breaker, but wasn’t impressed with the results.

When I go about a week with constant high levels of pain with no breaks, I call the doctor’s office and they are able to send a prescription to my pharmacy. Easy access to these cycle breakers is a huge thing for me. This past week I desperately needed one, and the Medrol pack thankfully kicked me out of the cycle in time to start a new job.

What cycle breakers, if any, do you use? What works for you? What doesn’t?




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