Every single human being has had symptoms of one thing or another and if we’re able to have access to the Internet, we try to search out what the symptoms possibly mean. After several searches which usually lead us down to ridiculous results (always seeming to involve the word ‘cancer’), there comes a time when we know we MUST finally to go to the doctor and ask point-blank, what could be causing all this pain?
Unfortunately, we migraineurs often come across many doctors who will outright not listen to us and offer a pill instead of an answer to prevention. Now, please do NOT misconstrue this discussion as I absolutely value all doctors, but we need help and a doctor with an ear is EVERYTHING! In any case, I find it rather insulting to my intelligence that a doctor, who went to medical school when I haven’t, just wants to deal with the symptoms and not find out what the problem is with me. Is it because it’s not a subject they’re familiar with? Or is it just too complicated and go on to refer it as a “headache”? (I don’t remember the last time an OB referred to natural childbirth as, “cramps”. JUST SAYING!)
How many times has this happened to you? You finally get to the doctor’s office after waiting a week or two. You’re sitting in the office, possibly having to hire a babysitter just for you to be able to go alone, then finally get to the office and now you’re waiting for a good 15-30 minutes or more. When you finally get to go inside, you have to repeat everything to the nurse that you already told them in the initial consult over the phone. Again, you go over what your symptoms are, family history, etc, knowing in the back of your head that you’re just gonna have to repeat them a third time to your dr. But you think, “Whatever, I finally get to see a neuro!” Then your doctor arrives and you go over your symptoms in great detail to her/him. Any good doctor will go over the possibilities of causes with you; family history, hereditary illnesses, etc. Occasionally and sadly you’ll come across a doctor who will just say which medicine they’re going to prescribe for you. Say what?? Medicines for the symptoms are great, but can’t we investigate what’s causing these awful, chronic attacks? Maybe your other symptoms are hair loss & weight gain and the doctor might just say that you need to exercise and eat better. Well, that’s good commonsense information that we all already know, but what if you’re already eating healthy and exercising? Does it even occur to the doctor why anyone would call and show up if it was just a “headache”, a “little hair loss” or just a “little weight gain”? Why would anyone go to all this trouble unless we were genuinely were looking for answers and not just another pill? My point is to try to have a conversation with your doctor if she/he is bent on doing anything except for prescribing yet another pill or cream. Any good doctor WILL LISTEN to their patients and try to help discover what’s causing all this chaos in our brains.
Several years before I went keto, I tried to speak to my first neurologist about how I had noticed that cutting out gluten significantly lowered my severe migraine attacks. My neurologist was only interested in trying a different medicine on me again, which turned out to be very bad and really messed up my eyesight for several years; praise GOD it slowly healed over but again it took years. Then, during my next visit a few weeks later to the same neuro, again I told him about gluten, but he just decided to try giving me steroid shots in my neck, which resulted in nothing. After those final, horrible experiences with that neuro, I searched for and found the second neurologist who was wise enough listen to what I, his patient, had to say. He not only listened about how my dietary changes positively affected and lowered my migraine attacks but when I came back a few weeks later he had actually done research on how gluten affected neurological processes like seizures and it’s cousin, severe migraines. I was very pleasantly surprised that he was not only listening but was actually wanting to document my journey of dietary changes and see just how they were going to affect my brain. This positive support from my neurologist was the beginning of everything for me.
Now, here I am several years later, 3 years into the ketogenic way of life and I’ve been able to discover a ton about how my own body reacts negatively to sugar, caffeine, hormone surges, lack of sleep and stress. I still get attacks, yes, but now I can actually pinpoint most of them ahead of time with great accuracy. Yes, I still get the occasional random attack, but their frequencies are extremely low compared to 5 years ago.
If you, the reader, take only one thing from this particular blog, let it be to BE ACTIVE IN YOUR OWN PREVENTION. Do NOT wait for anyone to hold your hand and guide you through this. Get up and start writing a daily journal from what you eat, how you sleep, when attacks happen and give details! Are you ovulating? Did you miss a meal? What was your fasting glucose this morning? Obviously, you can’t write when having an attack, but either ask a friend to write down your notes, record on your phone or even buy a cheap audio recorder. Anything to get the info.
YOU are your own experiment and today is a great day to start!