Over the years I’ve seen a number of medical providers to help with my migraines, from primary care doctors to neurologists, physical therapists, and even OB/GYNs.
Honestly, I’ve been privileged to have access to so many different kinds of providers who were willing and able to help support me and my migraines. Often the relationship with them has been seamless and easy; they’re able to support me quickly. But other times it felt tedious, like I wasted hours and hours for no new answers, just more poking and prodding.
My primary care doctor was wonderful, and she was the first to diagnose me. We already had a strong relationship and she had my trust, so I was quick to follow her recommendations, and they helped! Unfortunately, after a few years my migraines really started to escalate, often knocking me out for days at a time, multiple times a month. It was time for a neurologist to take over and help me in other ways.
My first time in the neurologist’s office wasn’t the smoothest experience, to be honest. My mom came with me, even though at this point I was a young adult. He did a very through history, more detailed than I had ever experienced. He recorded the conversation, which felt intimidating as he was also taking notes. It was one of the first times I remember feeling distinctly “broken.” He probed very intensely on my sexual history, even asking me again when my mom was out of the room. To say I felt uneasy was certainly an understatement.
His exam was equally thorough and it was all remarkably normal for a migraine patient. He suggested a preventative medication, something I would take daily to help hold off migraines. He said it might cause some unusual side effects, but typically they were temporary as I transitioned onto the medication. He also wanted me to start physical therapy (PT).
I gave it all a go, and it did help. I learned some important lifelong exercises from PT (and it was always a welcome study break), and the medication did really help to prevent many migraines.
As things go with doctors, I had follow-up visits, usually just to make sure there hadn’t been any changes. Unfortunately, on numerous occasions I waited for 30+ minutes in his office, only to have my appointment canceled because of emergencies at the hospital. I certainly understand these things happen, but that, coupled with a grueling hospital stay for a migraine during my first pregnancy, really had me looking for more.
My OB/GYN suggested finding someone who worked out of the same hospital where I would deliver my baby. That way, in case anything happened with the delivery, they could also be a part of my team. My new neurologist was a helpful resource through my first and second pregnancies, helping me create alternative plans that were safe for pregnancy. My OB/GYN also has always been supportive and has helped me to come up with plans to make sure my health was taken care of so I could have a healthy baby.
It took a while to get here -- and there may be more hiccups ahead as I continue to live and manage my migraines -- but for now I have a lot of great people helping me on my team. And if you don’t feel comfortable or confident with someone on your team, don’t feel bad about looking for a new doctor.
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