In this case I intentionally didn’t avoid them. I full on engaged them. My doctor wants me to get an EKG at the hospital for triptan side effects and I have been really procrastinating on it. So one wicked migraine and some perfect timing I figured this would be the time to go right ahead and take medication like one would with a wicked migraine.
I took a triptan yesterday and then thought if the migraine was still around this morning… I would take another. Now, keep in mind, if I were to take as directed I could in fact take three a day if the mood struck me. But the side effects are brutal so I never take more than one a day or two days in a row. Otherwise the side effects seem to compound. Just has led to some really freaky stuff that I would rather avoid. Because it isn’t like I rush off to the ER when freaky things occur. Nope. Not me. I go, oh, bad chest pains… I’ll wait and see if I die, if I do… it was bad, if I don’t… then it’s all good. Clearly, so far, all good. Wake up not breathing and gasping for air? Unpleasant. Yes, unpleasant indeed. So, don’t go back to sleep, because that might lead to death or something. I don’t know. There is just freaky things that occur even on the milder end. Like heart rhythm issues and heart rate issues, which I thought were rather mild concerns but rather disturbed my doctor when I explained them in the course of explaining something else entirely. So apparently those are not to be ignored either. And here I was ignoring the chest pains and issues with breathing. Apparently I am way more advanced at the ignoring side effects than I should be then. Don’t blame me for that though. Blame doctors. I have been taken off triptans before, for breathing problems and angina. No one ever said anything about the other stuff being problematic. Literally no one said those were anything I should be concerned about in the least bit. I thought pretty much a normal occurrence but that I must be on the upper range of side effects related to them. And to be honest some doctors said for the breathing issues I should just ‘take more asthma medication’ or ‘triptans don’t aggravate asthma’ (well they do cause side effects that resemble those symptoms dumbass). So sometimes I am taken off one and put on another and sometimes there is no change at all. And that is why I made my own very specific rules. To reduce occurrences that even freak me out, which is rather hard to do. But even the best of times tripans do not make me feel good. I try to time taking them so I can rest. I used to wait at work to take them at lunch… I know you should take them ‘right away’ but doing so could cause unpleasantness. Like chest pains and wow I can’t seem to catch my breath to talk to this customer. And what the hell is my heart even doing right now? I needed to rest a good hour to dampen the effect. Sometimes take my inhaler. never rush around. I always felt so damn short of breath. Like the air was sucked out of my lungs.
But my ‘don’t want to make a fuss’ rules of ignoring symptoms really is not a good idea because those symptoms are not good really. I don’t know what it means to be honest. My doctor thinks I am just sensitive to them. Maybe she is right. I think maybe allergic to them in some way given the breathing issues.
Either way she is concerned about the heart arrhythmia it seems. The heart flippy thing and skipped beats and palpitations that never really concerned me at all. I knew they were not great but I have indeed experienced worse in my lifetime. Prior to being diagnosed with hypothyroidism my heart beat did some things that were so disturbing I was scared to move. I would have gone to the ER for sure had I not been terrified movement might actually cause my heart to do something worse than it was. It was that erratic. So what it does on triptans, while, yes it skips and causes that hitch in my breathing and flip flops that I can feel in my chest… it isn’t going so erratic I am terrified to Move. The really fast or really slow thing I think happens frequently to people on triptans, and with migraines. I think we get a weird POTs like thing going on. So while that isn’t great either, especially when your heart is pounding so damn hard you cannot sleep, I don’t think that is particularly harmful. Nor do I think there is anything wrong with my heart at all. Just like there wasn’t when my thyroid was out of whack. I think I cannot breath so great when I take a triptan and that doesn’t do wonders for one’s heart rate. That is what I think. Plain and simple. And the more not breathing so great I do the less great my heart does during the day, which then leads to palpitations later and sometimes chest pains.
Because taking a triptan is like being punched in the chest. It cuts my breathing quality down in half. That is why I say it resembles asthma like symptoms. Because I have to ‘breath more’. It takes effort. There is immediately shortness of breath, sometimes raspy, sometimes I cough, sometimes I wheeze, but always a shortness of breath. And a heaviness in the lungs that lingers through the day. Sometimes I will catch myself breathing more heavily because I feel like I am not getting enough air, and of course this causes my heart to jack up. Either way, the reason I often go to sleep with an acute migraine is because I Never, ever take a triptan anywhere near bed time. The decrease in breathing without, say, taking my inhaler or more asthma medication can cause breathing issues while I am sleeping. And waking up with no air in my lungs… not suffocating, more like I let out all the air, have no air, and am having trouble taking a breath back In. And also waking up with something similar to an asthma attack, even though I have never had an asthma attack with the asthma I have. Lets just say, you don’t want compromised breathing when you are lying down and sleeping I guess is the idea there.
Let’s just say I am symptomatic and leave it at that. But if I am careful I can keep the symptoms fairly tolerable. At least my level of tolerable, which apparently is not what it should be. I thought if I quit smoking I would be off my asthma medication. It has become clear to me if I remain on triptans… that is not the case at all. But I doubt very much that is the treatment for whatever side effect this is. The inhaler does help and so I suspect the Symbicort at night does to. But necessary? No. Not at all. I want to be off that medication.
Anyway. I took the Maxalt two days in a row knowing full well how crappy I would feel. Maybe I forgot just how crappy. Quite crappy it turns out. Just so that I would be able to go to the hospital and get the EKG my doctor wants to ‘catch’ the erratic heart thingy. Because usually I don’t have a migraine in the morning and I take the triptan in the afternoon. I thing the first little heart flippies are minor so I ignore them. If it gets wonky at night by then my spouse is tired and the lab at the hospital is closed. If it gets even worse and I think this would be a prime time to clock this fast heart rate and hard beat… well my car is blocked in and I can’t get out to drive myself by then. So I have procrastinated. The last time I saw my doctor she specifically said ‘any heart irregularity’ so including the first heart flippies and skips. So I timed it so I would be able to drive myself. But had to wait till the med kicked in, migraine quit, then rushed to get there… doubt the very, very brief test caught anything. And now, I feel extremely cruddy for a test that literally lasted two seconds. Feel like a damn elephant is sitting on my chest. And a dry cough that will not quit. My chest Aches. Yeah, that was so not bloody well worth it.
It is a standing order though. Can do this anytime I want. Joy. Not. But if they do not catch anything my doc said they might do they send home version. You know… I think all they need to do is have me at the hospital, take the triptan, and test my breathing quality and have me hooked up to a heart monitor for a few hours. Done. The breathing test Alone and it will be a done deal. That is if they cannot take my bloody word for it and all. Or, just let me keep taking them, as they have for years. I have not died yet and clearly alternative medications are way too taboo. However my current doctor is far too good to risk having me on a medication that could be… not too great for the health as it were. She isn’t going to ignore me. She in fact suggested I really, really not take my triptan often. But that makes it hard to get this damn test done. And treat the migraines. But she isn’t like any other doctor either, who would just switch me to another triptan. And I am running out of triptans to try here. So the fact she is trying to figure this out shows how good she is. I like to think it is something random that can be fixed that has nothing to do with the triptans. It is why I mentioned it to begin with. I wondered out loud to her if my side effects were something to do with my erratic blood pressure or migraine related POTs… something like that. She asked for more details and that is how I find myself in this situation. As I said, she thinks it is possible I am just really sensitive to them. I think she is doing her due diligence here. Either way she is looking at the heart, but I am positive it is the lungs. I am positive the smack to the lungs causes all the heart wonkiness. And in fact the very first ‘reaction’ I had to a triptan was a breathing related one. I did have skipped beats as well, but when you get the shortness of breath and that heaviness to the lungs, that happens. And there has not been a triptan since I have not had that reaction to.
So yeah I can go anytime I please to get it done again. Given this is the only time since she gave me this in the last three month I can see that not happening anytime soon. Have to wait for a morning migraine for one. So I can drive myself and I still think all the rushing around makes it moot.