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Posts Tagged ‘medication allergies’

Migraine News from Between my Ears

October 17th, 2008


A funny thing happens when you start blogging.  There is this little bit of celebrity that arises.  I can admit that like many people I once secretly wanted to be famous.  My friend Laura told me in High School that she pictured me as a kind of revolutionary leader, with thousands chanting my name.  If that had ever been my ambition, I’d have to say that I failed miserably.  I’ve made it through nearly 50 years of life and I don’t think even dozens have ever chanted my name.  Not at the same time, anyway.

But I digress.  I started this blog for a few reasons.  I wanted a place to share my thoughts on living with Migraine disease, and the other chronic illnesses I live with.  I particularly wanted to share my hope and strength, as someone who has come a long way in managing a life with these conditions.  I wanted to join the warm, intelligent, funny and committed community of Migraine and headache
bloggers and advocates who are making such a difference in the lives of patients and in advancing the understanding of this disease.  The big reason was this moment of truth I had almost a year ago, when I realized that my chronic illnesses are not just an impediment in my life; they
are an opportunity to
share my professional tools and skills, and the
wisdom I have accumulated, to help others manage their lives with
Migraine.  I wrote a bit more about that a few months back in My Migraine Story.

I didn’t really start the blog to keep the world posted on the doings in my own life.  I tell a lot of stories, partly because I come from a family of storytellers,and partly because I’ve always made points (with clients and anyone who will listen) by telling personal stories, about things that happen and lessons I learn.  So it’s been a lot of fun doing that here.  And lo and behold, I learn that people are actually following (to some extent) what’s going on in my life.  Little old me, Megan, Rachel & Adam’s Mom, Danny’s wife, Joan & Jim’s daughter, Jon & Ellen’s sister, the lady in the house on the corner by the field, the little red-head… that one.  It’s a small and gentle sort of celebrity, but I find when I don’t follow up on things I’ve mentioned, sure enough, you’re actually listening, and sometimes you ask.

So the news between my ears…

Hope your heads treat you well and you have an AWAP weekend!
- Megan Oltman

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Posted in Communicating, Current Affairs, Musings, Weblogs | Comments (4)

Testing for Medication Allergies

October 13th, 2008


Long story ahead.  I’ve been trying to get tested to get more information about the specifics of my medication allergies.  I’m allergic to ibuprofen, likely all aspirin derivatives (NSAIDs) and possibly also acetominophen. Long story which you may have read here, 2 near-death anaphylactic reactions to Advil, hives from Tylenol, swollen lips from an aspirin-based product, yada-yada.

My allergist suggested at the time (nearly 6 years ago) that since all these reactions happened within a few months, when my system calmed down I might not be allergic to everything. But said allergist would not do challenge tests on me for the medications for fear of liability, and she was also a screaming nasty unprofessional person whose sorry butt got fired.

Lo, 5+ years of living without these meds later, my headache specialist would like me to get tested for aspirin and acetominophen to see if we can expand my available Migraine medication options. My primary doctor told me 6 months ago that he thought he could do such a test in his office. The idea would be that I would actually ingest a small controlled amount of the drug in question and the staff would stand by to save me if I started going into anaphylaxis. Sounds like fun, no?

So last week I went to talk to my primary doctor about doing said challenge tests in his office. He
discussed it with me in more detail. He wanted to find a less dangerous way and proposed testing my blood for antibodies to the chemicals involved. This indicates whether there is a sensitivity, but I asked him, “Does having a sensitivity tell you whether the body would react anaphylactically?”  He went off to research it and concluded that no, it wouldn’t. I just got
a call back from his nurse saying there was no way to test except the “old-fashioned” challenge test, and they felt that could only be done in the hospital with a crash cart. So I should find an allergist who would admit me as an inpatient and do the test in the hospital.

Is this back to square one? I’m imagining calling allergists’ offices and saying, “hi, I’m looking to make an appointment see if the doctor would be willing to put me in the hospital, give me something that might kill me and then stand by to save my life! Oh and by the way, I really am counting on my life being saved! Want to take me on as a patient?” The fact that I am about to switch insurance makes this all more complicated.

I’m actually going to call Dr. G (headache specialist) and see if he might think
an allergist associated with his hospital would do it. At least then it would be one doctor asking it of another instead of some crazy-sounding patient?

I’m not particularly upset here or anything, just kind of rolling my eyes. Nothing’s ever simple, is it? It’s a wonder any of us ever have time to do anything other than wade our way through our medical issues!

- Megan Oltman
Still living aspirin-free!

Aspirin image courtesy of Ritcharnd Moskow; magic pill image courtesy of [O*] ‘BharaT; map-maze image courtesy of David Bleasdale.

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Posted in Medicine, Rant | Comments (3)

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