Last Thursday I had the opportunity to sit down for an interview with Denise Dador from ABC 7 Los Angeles right before the kickoff to BlogHer Health 2019. I shared how chronic migraine had impacted my life and why I’m more than happy that Aimovig arrived when it did.
To watch my interview, just click on the link that I’ve provided below.
*** I am a paid Amgen and Novartis Spokesperson. This content reflects my own personal opinions and was not created or reviewed by Amgen and Novartis.***
***I’ m a volunteer for the Speak Your Migraine Network that is sponsored by Amgen Inc. & Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. SYMN is comprised of volunteers who share their experiences managing their migraine disorder in order to inspire others and build awareness. All opinions and experiences are my own.***
MY PATIENT PROFILE
Age: 41Diet - No Special Diet In Place Exercise - 2-3 times a week/low impactYears Living with the Migraine Disease: 31Classification and Diagnosis of Migraine: Migraine with Aura - diagnosed at 10-years-oldVestibular Migraine and Chronic Migraine - diagnosed at age 35My Migraine Triggers:Changes in the Weather - Incoming Storms, Barometric Pressure
& HumidityChanges in Hormone Levels - Menstrual CycleFood - Onions, Certain Brands of Bacon, Red Wine, & Smoked CheeseSmell - Strong fragrances (Incense, Cleaning Products, Perfume, Cologne, & Burnt Food) Current Migraine Treatment Regimen:SPG Blocks Injections - Once every 3rd weekMelatonin - Daily vitaminOne or More of the Following are Selected Based on Symptoms:BenadrylNaproxenZomigBaclofenZofranToradolBoost OxygenCryohelmet or Cryoscarf CaffeineOther Medical Conditions I’m Currently Being Treated For:Rheumatoid ArthritisFibromyalgiaCluster HeadachesOsteoarthritis
Date of First Aimovig Injection
August 9, 2018
Day 1- I woke up at 3 A.M. to a migraine attack that had me immediately reaching for my Zomig, Benadryl, and Zofran. Knowing my Aimovig shipment was set to arrive by noon, I wanted to make sure I received my first dose that day.
I decided to wait until the afternoon to administer the first injection. I wasn’t worried about giving myself the shot, I was just a little concerned I wouldn’t do it right. I looked over the instructions a million times, okay I really didn’t, but it was at least 20 times.
By the way, I absolutely hate needles! I do have prior experience with giving myself injections. I once carried Imitrex injections with me at all times from the time I was 16 until my mid-twenties. As much as I dreaded having to inject myself during the onset of a migraine attack, I knew that I would feel better within minutes of the medication going through my system.
I currently do weekly injections to manage my rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. The medication is in a vial and is not premeasured which means I have to measure each dosage. Lucky for me, Aimovig comes prefilled and is in an autoinjector.
I’ll be honest, I thought I screwed up and didn’t do the injection right. I clicked the button on top, but the yellow line didn’t move. I attempted it again until I finally saw the yellow line of the side of the injector pin slowly drop. I waited 30 seconds before removing the injection and noticed quite a bit of blood. More than I had anticipated.
I bled for a good 15 minutes. It wasn’t bad, it just took much longer to stop than any other injection I’ve received in the past. The only issue I had was experiencing soreness in my left thigh for 2 hours post-injection. It basically felt like someone punched me in my leg.
Day 2- I woke up feeling great, but that afternoon my head started to give me grief. Around 5 P.M a cluster of dark clouds moved through and shortly after the rain began. The massive left-sided throbbing and pressure spanning across my entire forehead caused me to sit in the darkest room in the house for the rest of the night. My pain level was between a 5-6. My whole face was numb and my stomach was upset. I used my Cryohelmet, Boost Oxygen, Benadryl, Naproxen and an energy drink to ease the pain to a bearable 2-3. This migraine attack stuck around for 6 hours.
Day 3- I was not expecting to wake up with some female issues that landed me in the ER. With everything going on with my body, there were no unexpected migraine attacks that day. I was not at all concerned that the Aimovig injection played any role in what happened to me that day. The on-call doctor and nurse also agreed with me.
Day 4- After all the excitement from Saturday was behind me, I had a rather relaxing Sunday. I did take things easy as requested by the ER doctor. I’m happy to report no migraine-related issues on this day.
Day 5- The morning started out fine. I got a lot accomplished until the humidity spiked and was at 90%. My head made it known it was not happy which caused me to take a variety of over-the-counter medications to get comfortable enough to finish my daily activities. This particular migraine attack lingered around for almost 8 hours.
Day 6- I had a fairly decent day. No migraine-related issues, but I did have a sensitivity to light all day. I sported my sunglasses most of the day which is nothing new for me. I’m certain it was due to my fibromyalgia acting up and not at all migraine related.
Day 7- My head hated me today. I woke up to excruciating throbbing all over the top of my scalp that only got worse as the minutes passed. I sipped fluids through a straw all day to keep hydrated and wore my Cryohelmet for 6 hours straight. I knew my stomach would only tolerate benadryl and naproxen which I took as directed by my neurologist several times a day. I spent all afternoon stuck in my bed. I was in too much pain to move around. The humidity was 100% which explains why my migraine attack lingered for so long. This migraine attack lasted around 14 hours.
What are my thoughts on Aimovig during week 1?
It’s too early for me to tell. Weather is ALWAYS a factor when it comes to having migraine attacks. No matter what I tried in the past for treatments, my head does it own thing PERIOD! Now I will say this, since starting SPG Blocks in March of 2017 my migraine attacks are not as severe. I only had one ER visit during that time frame for a migraine attack that was a 10+ and caused me to be severely dehydrated. Considering I was making so many frequent ER visits that the staff knew immediately why I was there before I even mentioned what was wrong with me; that’s one hell of an improvement.
My hope is Aimovig will work in accordance with my SPG Blocks to help me to where I am able to have less migraine days and live a better quality of life.
Each person living with migraine experiences different outcomes when it comes to pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical treatments. In this article for Longevity, I share how a procedure called a SPG Block, helps with both my vestibular migraine and cluster headaches.
***Disclaimer: I was originally gifted this product in 2014 for testing purposes.
All opinions are my own***
Over the past 30 years, I’ve sampled a wide variety of products geared towards people living with migraine. Finding relief; even if it’s only temporary, can make a world of difference for a person facing intolerable amount of pain. Whether it was based on the companies claims or testimonies of reliable sources, I’m always up for testing a new item without harmful side effects.
In my online quest to find a reliable and safer alternative to lessen or eliminate head pain, I came across the Catalyst™ Cryohelmet website.
So, what is a Catalyst™ Cryohelmet?
It is a device that applies targeted cold therapy to the head. With proper use your Catalyst helmet may be effective in reducing inflammation from head injuries, lowering body heat, and lessening migraine pain.
I was immediately sold on the idea of a helmet that could lessen migraine pain. Well, that and the part about staying cold for up to 90 minutes while wearing it. For those of us that endure debilitating symptoms during a migraine attack, the very last thing you want to do is move around. Not having to run back and forth to the freezer to replace a depleted gel pack every few minutes would truly be a blessing.
I didn’t waste any time reaching out to the company to share my current situation with chronic migraine and shortly after, received a complimentary helmet to test out.
I felt like a kid on Christmas day the moment UPS showed up with my Cyrohelmet. I didn’t waste any time ripping open that box to see that it included the following:
CryoMax™ Cold Packs in UltraCool™ fabric pouches with Velcro
Insulated carry bag and CryoMAX™ square to keep Cryo-Helmet frozen for hours
I immediately tossed my new helmet in the freezer so that it would be ready the very second I needed it, which would be in the evening.
During the first night of using my Cryohelmet, I was fighting a level 7 migraine attack that included aura, nausea, being lightheaded and my head throbbing non-stop. I slipped the helmet on then tightened it as much as it would get and waited for some type of relief to kick in. Within a half hour, I managed to fall asleep with my helmet still on. 4 hours later I woke up without feeling nauseous or lightheaded and best of all, minimal head pain.
I was quite impressed with my first go around of this product. I loved that I could get out of bed and walk around the house without the helmet falling off my head. I could never get those gel packs with those plastic straps to stay in place for long. I even added extra Velcro straps to those things only to have them fall off the second I tossed or turned in bed.
If day 1 went that smoothly, I wondered how my Cryohelmet would hold up the next time I needed it for migraine relief. The very next day I got my answer when woke up to stabbing pain on the right side of my head with dizziness so severe I couldn’t move without making it worst. Luckily, my daughter had placed the helmet back in the freezer while I slept. It was at the perfect temperature to be effective enough to lessen my head pain to a tolerable state.
Because I have chronic migraine that meant I spent at least 15 or more days dealing with various symptoms. The three symptoms I often experienced during each migraine attack was dizziness, nausea and head pain. My Cryohelmet helped to manage my attacks which meant spending less time stuck in bed and more time doing things with my family. How could you not love a product with those wonderful capabilities?
Once I became well enough to travel long distances again, I discovered that the Catalyst™ Cyrohelmet was airport friendly. I’ve gone through several TSA checkpoints around the U.S. carrying my helmet inside the insulated bag provided by the company with no issues. I’ve even used my Cryohelmet while on the plane. It helped me to relax and experience less head pressure making the rest of the flight more bearable.
Cryohelmet came to my daughter’s rescue after she developed a terrible ear infection. This infection quickly caused her to have a high temperature that eventually skyrocketed to 103 degrees. Not only did the CryoMax™ Cold Packs inside the helmet soothe her ear pain, it lowered her temperature and kept it below 100° the rest of that night. Even our family physician was impressed at the fact the helmet was more effective than the fever-reducing medications she received.
I even began using my Cryohelmet in the 15 minutes leading up to each of my Cluster Headache attacks. I found it helped me to be in a more calmer state of mind. For anyone that has endured these horrific beasts of a headache understands you become desperate and any type of relief is welcomed.
After I learned my son developed chronic migraine, the team over at Cryohelmet shipped a helmet for him to test out. My teen noted a decrease in head pain within the first half hour. In a matter of fact, he prefers to use his Cryohelmet over his migraine abortives. There are no strange side effects with icing your head and it helps him to relax a bit more too.
My son not only uses his Cryohelmet during a migraine attack, he wears it to cool down after football practice and games. Between lifting weights and running plays its easy for any athlete to get overheated. My teen knows the importance of icing his head and now so does his teammates.
Within the last two years, Cryohelmet has graciously donated a total of 5 helmets to my son’s middle and high school football department. Although my teen is currently the only person with the migraine disease on the team, a few of the players discovered the amazing benefits of using the Cryohelmet’s during the hotter temperature days. Just knowing my child and his team mates have a product specifically designed for head injuries on the sidelines, puts my mind a bit more at ease.
What more can I possibly say about a company that has followed my teen and I through our journey of living with migraine and cluster headaches, other than if they put that much thought into two of their customer’s well-being, then imagine how much time and effort went into the development of their line of products for potential customers.