The Start of Something New

The new year always offers us a new beginning…and we tend to talk a lot about it. For me, I’m not feeling that January 1st of this year was a “start of something new,” (excuse the cheesy “High School Musical” quote; I thought it fit) but rather that January 20th will be. I start my second semester of school this year on Tuesday the 20th and that seems to be what I’m waiting for to transform into a new me. Why am I waiting? I’m waiting because…well honestly, I have no excuse why I’m waiting. I don’t exactly have a new years resolution or even a “new semester resolution.” I just hope to feel better over the next few months than did over the last few.

I’ve started seeing a new neurologist and he is absolutely phenomenal (Dr. Michael Ament, MD. Board certified neurologist and headache specialist at the Ament Headache Clinic in Denver, if anyone needs someone great to treat his/her headaches…don’t forget to mention that I told you to go to him…we both get a discount). My first appointment was long and he analyzed my past and my present with headaches and he gave me a treatment that I’m hoping will start to work. He really gets the ball rolling and he seems to genuinely want to know where my pain comes from and how to fix it. I started on a very low dose of Topamax or Topiramate, which is an anti-epileptic medication. I had taken an epilepsy med for my headaches before and the side-effects were miserable. The same stood for the second medication, but I had to stick it out for four weeks to see if the medication was treating my headaches. Of course, the medicine was not making any change in the frequency or intensity of my headaches and I was in a moody, depressed, hopeless stupor for almost a month. At my appointment yesterday, we decided to cross that one off the list. My next step is blood pressure meds, considering the headaches may not be caused by something in my brain. I have also taken a blood pressure medication before and there were neither side effects, nor results. I do have high hopes for this course of treatment. There are not as many neurological side effects expected with this one and although it is a blood pressure medication, it isn’t the same thing as what I took before. My doctor told me that his goal is to get me headache free (or almost headache free) and back in the pool. He says this medication offers for a more active lifestyle, so I can finally start working out a little bit and getting more in shape. In addition, I was given an abortive medication for when a migraine starts on the uprising to knock it back down and I have begun to make an appointment with an allergist to see if I have any weird allergies that are migraine triggers. The doc also ordered another MRI brain (UGH), but I’m hoping that over the course of the next month we will make some advances. It feels like I took a step back on the topamax and now I’m ready to start moving forward and getting on with it finally! It’s been 8 years for goodness sake!

So, I have a plan for myself. I am going to do just what my neurologist tells me. In addition to that, I am going to begin working out. I will probably do mostly cardio for now because I want to get into shape before I try to strengthen any muscles. I’m not sure how to work out outside of a pool, so if anyone has any pointers, just let me know…I need them…desperately. I will probably swim once a week and do yoga directly after that (it feels GREAT!) and then I will go from there. Doing consistent exercise might hurt my head at first, but it’ll get better over time (or at least it’s supposed to). I’m also going to eat healthier and try to keep track of my food intake to see if anything in particular aggravates my headache.

In addition to the cliche getting healthy thing, I hope to find a job this semester so that I feel more financially secure for myself. I’m ready to start making my own money again! I’ve applied for seven jobs in the Fort Collins area and I’ll apply for more if I need to!

The icing on the cake is that my loud, broken car is finally getting fixed, so I hopefully won’t have a whole lot to worry about once I go back to school.

I’m really looking forward to this semester. I’m going to do everything in my power to make it a good one!

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