Sunday, February 28, 2010

Second Guessing the Migraine Football Star?

I know I know, it's that subject again. I just found this new angle very interesting.

With the NFL draft coming up in April, the Vikings are starting to look for the 'red flags' that should have been caught around Percy Harvin and his Migraine headaches. They now realize that his Migraines were a bigger issue than they ever thought.

The Vikings are admitting now that they should have taken his NFL scouting report more seriously. They even admitted to seeing Migraines on his report, but said that it was just something they passed over because they didn't think his Migraines were significant enough or debilitating. Not debilitating? He sat out two college games during one season because of his Migraines.

They are looking this over even though Percy managed to be the offensive rookie of the year and was selected to the pro bowl in his rookie year despite his Migraines. Are the Vikings second guessing their choice in Percy?

With all of this, I would have to say that there are a whole new group of people with a whole different respect for Migraines. I just hope they don't start overlooking some other athletes if they have Migraines because of all of this. But then again, this particular Migraineur had two very distinctive honors this season even with his debilitating Migraine attacks.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Migraine Medication Change Poem - Poetry Contest

I wrote an informal Migraine Poem for the 2010 Putting Our Heads Together Poetry Contest currently being run on MyMigraineConnection. This contest will be judged by the National Headache Foundation. The deadline to enter the contest is Wednesday, March 31st.

This is a fun contest for someone who has never written a poem all the way up to the skilled poet. You are invited to enter up to three poems for the contest. All entries must be about Migraines or headaches and be poetry, not prose. Here is a complete set of rules and the entry form.

I am not a poet, but I wrote about a Migraine subject that many of us go through - a medication change. I started this poem after my last doctor's visit during such an event. I am not a writer and don't even know how to punctuate it, but I wrote about how I felt and what was going on with me during this change. Here is my unofficial poem entry:

Migraine Medication Change

Another appointment concluded.
Hands filled with many scripts.
New meds and old meds expectant to do the job.
Will this be the combo for me?

Taper off the old.
Known symptoms return.
Naked once more with one less drug.
Is this the right change for me?

Everyday a different adventure.
Another unprevented disappointment.
More nausea, dizziness, can't remember the rest.
Is tihs the rhigt cgnhae for me?

Titrate up on the new med.
A different way to survive the day.
A fresh hope, another beginning.
Could I become human again?

Time will reveal my fate.
More endurance needed along the way.
Please work, please perform, please be the one.
Are you the answer to my prayer?

Each med change is met with hope.
This combo has to and will succeed.
How will I fare on my new path?
Only time and patience will tell from here.

There's still time for you to join. You can read some poems from previous contests or better yet, the 2010 Migraine poems that have already been submitted for this year's contest. Most importantly, have fun! That's a big reason I wrote my poem and another was so I could share my experience that you would understand. Good luck!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Pay More for Less Migraine Medication?

I switched one of my Migraine medications after my last doctor's visit. Using the insurance companies on-line 'price a medication' function for my group, I decided I would do multiple breakouts on the cost of this medication at various dosage levels.

This would help me get ready for my next doctor's visit and to see how much my mail in pharmacy would charge me if this Migraine medication has hope of working.

I found the results very, very interesting.

I started off the new Migraine medication at 50 mg, but had to titrate up from 25 first. I have since had to increase it to 75 mg. This medication comes in 25, 50 and 100 mg capsules. I priced it here from 50 mg to 100 mg.

At 50 mg, there are two ways to get to this dosage; two 25 mg capsules OR one 50 mg capsule. The two 25 mg capsules would cost 41.6% more than the one 50 mg capsule. In this case it would be more cost effective to get the one 50 mg capsule.

50 mg: 2-25mg OR 1-50mg
. 2-25mg > 1-50mg :
. it costs 41.6% more to get 2-25mg capsules vs 1-50mg capsule

At 75 mg, there are two ways to make up this dosage; three 25 mg capsules OR one 25 and 50 mg capsules. There wasn't much of a difference with this comparison. The one 25 and 50 mg capsules were only 1.2% more than the three 25 mg capsules.

75 mg: 3-25mg OR 1-25mg + 1-50mg
. 1-25mg + 1-50mg > 3-75mg :
. it costs 1.2% more to get 1-25mg + 1-50mg vs 3-75mg capsules

There are three ways to get to a 100 mg dosage; four 25 mg capsules OR two 50 mg capsules OR one 100 mg capsule. I thought this had the most surprising result. One 100 mg capsule cost 33.9% more than four 25 mg capsules while four 25 mg capsules are 57.5% more than two 50 mg capsules. However, the one 100 mg capsule is a whopping 110.7% MORE than two 50 mg capsules. The least expensive way to get this Migraine medication at 100 mg would be to order two 50 mg capsules per day instead of one 100 mg capsule or four 25 mg capsules.

With my insurance, it would cost me over TWO times more if I got just one 100 mg capsule instead of two 50 mg capsules - the same dosage of medication.

100 mg: 4-25mg OR 2-50mg OR 1-100mg
. 1-100mg > 4-25mg :
. it costs 33.9% more to get 1-100mg vs 4-25mg capsules

. 4-25mg > 2-50mg :
. it costs 57.5% more to get 4-25mg vs 2-50mg capsules

. 1-100mg > 2-50mg :
. it costs 110.7% more to get 1-100mg vs 2-50mg capsules
. or over 2x's more to get 1-100mg capsule than 2-50mg capsules

We should all review all of our Migraine and other medication costs whether we get them filled at a pharmacy or through mail order. It may be worth it to do these price comparisons between the different dosages even if you have to ask a pharmacist and can't get those prices on-line.

My next obstacle is that I am currently at 75 mg. What if this is a good dosage for me? At 75 mg, I would pay 18.1% more out of pocket for this prescription than if I got 100 mg using two 50 mg capsules. It's something to think about, but my decision would be to pay more for less because I know I can't split the capsules and more importantly, I really wouldn't want to take more of this Migraine medication than I really need to - even if it costs me a little more.

I just found this whole cost comparison very fascinating. Hopefully I didn't lose you too much with all of these numbers. I didn't include the Migraine medication name I take because it doesn't make any difference what it is since we should be looking at these types of cost comparisons for all of our medications.

Did you find any big differences from your inquiries?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Living Well with Migraine Disease

I know I've written a lot about this Migraine book and was going to hang low on talking about it for a while in fear that I may be watering down how helpful this book has been for me and others around me, but I couldn't resist writing this one more time because it has made another remarkable difference in my life.

If you haven't guessed already, I am talking about the "Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches" book written by Teri Robert. This book first entered my life almost four years ago when I went on a quest to learn as much as I could about Migraines. It subsequently brought me to a great Migraine support forum group with good documentation which is updated as more Migraine information is unraveled and better ways of managing them comes along.

Since I have discovered it, I have given away the Living Well with Migraine book on numerous occasions even if it meant giving away my own copy and I have recommended it many times to others. I finally found a way to keep a copy in the house. Unfortunately, it meant passing down Migraine Disease to my son because I gave him a copy of the book which I will not give away. He read it while on school break and picked up a lot of good information from it for himself too.

This brings me to the point of telling you about the Living Well with Migraine book again. The book has been laying around since my son went back to school. After years of trying to get someone close to my son and me to read it, Terry finally picked it up and started reading it unprodded. Terry was never interested in reading it before and thought it was pointless to have my son read it while on break.

However since reading it, Terry has become more aware about Migraines and even started asking me additional questions. I can't believe what a change reading this book has made in the comprehending of Migraine disease. Terry definitely seems to understand some of the little idiosyncrasies of a Migraineur better than I could ever explain them and have them sink in.

Thank you Teri for the "Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches" book and for helping me to finally get through to Terry a little more.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Shades, Visors and Migraines: Week I Experiment

Sometimes I think I am tougher in terms of Migraines than I really am. I find it hard to do some of the things I should be doing to keep myself healthy in terms of Migraines. Usually at these times it's because it could be a little embarrassing.

I've decided to do a little experiment which will take me a couple of weeks to complete. I started off this week very small which I believe I will be the most inconspicuous. We'll see what happens as I change or add to this week after week during my testing.

I chose to do the experiment right after I had started shopping today and I could feel that familiar ball forming on the inside of my left forehead along with the numbness and tingling creeping down from my eye, over my cheek and toward my mouth. I know what I need to do while shopping. At the very least, I need to wear my sunglasses and/or a hat. I can't avoid going to the supermarket.

I go food shopping every week. If you know me, you know how I feel about lights and the supermarket lights are definitely no exception to my light rule. Lights are no good to the point where I have been called many 'dark' names because of my light aversion. I know what I need to do, but let's face it, it can be embarrassing to walk up and down the aisles with hats and/or shades on.

Bottom line is - it is stupid to abuse yourself by not doing what is right for you; by not doing something within your control to help your health.

I have also just come off of 12 days of Migraines and know I need to keep my head chilled down. The first eight days were straight Migraine and then the next four were day by day Migraines. Yesterday was my first Migraine free day and I wanted to try to keep it that way today.

This first week, I only put on the clip on shades onto my regular glasses while I went food shopping.

I admit, this is a baby step, but it is a step in the right direction. Since the shades clip onto my regular glasses, they aren't as noticeable and I can be viewed as being absentminded; at least that's how I like to look at it. As soon as I put the shades on, it started cooling down that usual process a little - the knot inside my forehead and the numbness spreading on my face. I know I need more than these little clip ons, but this is step one and the experiment for week one.

I wanted to observe the people around me in the store and how they reacted as I shopped. I figured I had nothing to lose except maybe an oncoming Migraine which I could definitely afford to lose! I have worn full blown sunglasses for short periods of times in stores in the past, but usually got self conscious about them very quickly especially after some reactions I had gotten. I decided to start fresh today and may even add regular sunglasses into my experiment at the end. I'll see how brave I grow and how much better I feel after food shopping.

After I donned the shades, it was interesting to see the different reactions. Some people glared where they would take a long lingering look at me and then look away. Most had an instant glance where they quickly looked and then went about their shopping while others kept glancing back like they were trying not to be rude, but trying to figure out what was going on.

The most interesting reaction I got was from a neighbor. I have seen him a few times before at the store where he has always been friendly, but he's not a chit chat friendly type of a person. Today, he acted like he didn't even notice me. Believe me, you would still be able to recognize me with these little clip ons on and we walked right by each other. Of course I didn't say anything either. Maybe next week if I see him again as I continue my experiments and feel braver, I'll initiate some conversation. To be honest, this was a spur of the moment experiment and I am usually a planner so I am cutting myself some slack here.

I always like to turn things around too. I have seen others in the supermarket with their sunglasses on. I try to think of my reaction or how I could have been perceived. All I know is that when I have seen someone in the past, I have thought, "Wow, there is a brave person. I hope they're feeling ok today." I'm sure in the distant past my thoughts would have been a little different though.

This first week wasn't too bad and something I could or should definitely keep doing week after week at the store. I have to admit though, that I felt a little out of place in the beginning with these on and may not have been as observant as I would have liked. I may try just the clip ons again and with a little more confidence next week or maybe move onto just the hat or visor.

I was going to post this after I was totally finished my experiment, but changed my mind for a couple of reasons. The biggest reason is that it will force me to continue on with my personally embarrassing research. I can't really back out now because I've let my out intentions and will write about it as soon as I can.