I have been at Mayo Clinic since last Tuesday. I told a few close friends before I left but I just didn’t want to set off any alarms. I have had serious migraine headaches since I was a child and for obvious reasons, they have not been getting better. In the last six months I have had to make an ER visit because my meds at home would not work. I am SO very blessed to have a friend in Dr. Bob Waller, President Emeritus of Mayo Clinic. He was able to make a call and the next thing I knew I was making flight arrangements for my trip. To say the last year has been a little stressful is an understatement.
I really did not know what to expect when I arrived. I flew in on Tuesday alone and Jay did not fly in until Wednesday night. So, Jay missed my initial consultation with the doctor. The facility is incredible. It is its own city! As I waited for the doctor on Wednesday, I overheard a lady say, oh, that’s okay, I’ve been waiting for six hours. And immediately, it took me back…back to St. Jude, back to those hours of waiting in the clinic to see the doctors. Trey would get so tired of waiting. I saw so many people with computers, books, papers, etc. and I thought WOW, I hope I have enough to keep me occupied. I sat for maybe 15 minutes. I don’t know why they were waiting. And I don’t think that is the norm.
I really liked Dr. Boes (pronounced Bays). He was very thorough and very, very interested in Trey. During the reflex exam, I had to remove my socks and shoes. (REASON NUMBER 2,569 THAT I GOT A TATTOO) and he saw my ankle. I laughed and said, yes, at age 48 I got a tattoo in memory of my son and I began to explain Simba, quote James 1:2-3, and tell how Trey received the news of his cancer and tweeted Hakuna Matata. A smile came on his face and he just said, how cool. Of course, all of my reflexes were fine.
We talked about all the different meds I have tried from antidepressants, beta blockers, anti-seizure meds, preventative meds, narcotics, etc. Then he ordered tests. He ordered the standard MRI and since I had at once been diagnosed with sleep apnea, he ordered an oxygen sleep text. Basically I wore an ET probe on my finger all night and slept in my own bed for them to monitor the dips in my oxygen and if I stopped breathing. The results of that test were minimal. Not enough for me to go back to Memphis and see the sleep doctor! Yeah!
When I left the office, they gave me about three pages of appointments for my tests, directions, instructions, etc. I walked out of the office, got on the elevator (that could probably fit 50 people) and I felt everything suddenly closing in around me. All I could hear were people talking about their tests, chemo, appointments and the flight or fight feeling kicked in. Jay wasn’t here yet, so I just went in a lobby area by a grand piano and sat and sat and sat. Oddly enough, I had posted “If I only had a brain…” earlier in the day and later on Thursday, someone was singing from the piano that song. Whoa.
I went Thursday afternoon for my MRI. They ask you 10 times if you have any kind of metal, but why would they ask you about a tattoo? So, reason number 2,570 I was able to tell why I had a tattoo and they so sweetly told me, it’s only for eyeliner. Well, you asked. While I was in the MRI, I thought of Trey and Collin, my sweet boys. I thought of how I was just getting this done just for preventative reasons and how Collin will have these for the rest of his life not knowing what will show. And Trey, he knew. And only had one. There was no time or reason for another. I just began to feel so insignificant for even being here. Migraines, bah.
There was another thing I thought of while being in the MRI. My mother has always blamed herself for the reason for my migraines. If you have hereditary anything, you will know that you cannot control how it passes to you. I know my mother will be pleased with this visit. You always hurt for your child. Just like we hurt for Trey and Collin. We have no control over the hereditary P16 gene and know that it is all in God’s hands and in his control, just like my headaches. All we can do in BOTH cases is educate ourselves, take care of ourselves, and bring awareness to help others. I hope I have done that.
My MRI turned out fine. They only saw one enlarged blood vessel, but nothing that would be contributing to my migraines. We talked about the future for my migraines and his suggestions. All of his notes will be forward to my doctor in Memphis. He did tell me to get off one of my medications, which I have already done. It causes major fatigue and that is really a big problem I am having right now. I can sleep anywhere, anytime. But, he did say, after the last year, that is not uncommon. I didn’t like that answer. I want energy. You know what you have to do to get energy? Exercise! OH SHUT UP! Did I just say exercise?? Jay and I both know when we get home that exercise and diet is in our future. It won’t cure my headaches, but I will feel better.
I’ll go ahead and tell you that his recommendation was to begin botox injections every three months. My doctor in Memphis suggested this a year ago. The FDA has approved these injections. Just have to make sure insurance likes it! Relpax has always worked for me, if I catch my headaches at the right time. That’s the problem, catching them. They will start on Wednesday or Thursday and by Saturday it’s too late. He wants me to switch to Imitrex, but it causes chest pressure. If you have panic attacks, like I do, I told him that is why I have not tried the drug. He said the plus with Imitrex is that it is in shot form, gets in your system quicker, and then I might not have to use my heavier drugs. Makes sense. He has other ideas if these simple solutions do not work. If this doesn’t work, try this. If this doesn’t work, do this, etc. Some I have done any may have to tweak. Like Jay has always said, that’s why they call it “practicing” medicine.
Overall, I am very, very thankful for my visit here. Second opinions are always best!
Jay and I spent the rest of Friday at the Mall of America for a little light shopping. On the ride back in the shuttle, we both had a good laugh. We renamed our trip – Mayo Vacation. The driver told us he had to make another stop before returning to Rochester. We thought, okay. He said he was going to Target. Huh? He picked up a gentleman from Target. This gentleman stepped in and sat in the very front seat. He had not been on the van for five minutes and my throat began to close up. The heat was on high and I just hung my head on the seat in front of me. The driver asked the gentleman, do you live in Rochester? He said no, I just go in to see my girlfriend, I work at Target. I told Jay, he must have walked down every aisle and used every tester bottle! The next sign said, 4o miles to Rochester. Ugh. I leaned against the window because the rattling of the plastic in the van made it sound like we were going to fall apart. Fa ra ra ra ra, Ra ra ra ra!
It will be good to get home, where I can sleep in my own bed with my two labs asleep at the foot of the bed.