Monday, June 24, 2013

Migraine Awareness Month #24: Risky Business: New Treatments

Today's prompt is from the movie Risky Business.  It asks us "Each time you try a new treatment you take a risk. How do you initiate a discussion with your doctor so you can make an educated decision about trying it as a team?"  

If you read my blog often, you'll find that I think I have some truly great doctors.  The three of them that I see regularly are Dr. Y. in Philadelphia, Dr. T., and Dr. D., locally, and they are just amazing in all they do for me.  So I have lots of trust in my doctors.  I also suffer daily migraines and have for some time now, so I am quite desperate for new treatments.  This combination of trust and desperation makes me willing to try just about anything one of my doctors recommends.  Is this smart?  I don't know.  I truly think they have my best interest at heart.  Is every thing they recommend "right for me"?  Again, I don't know, but I'm willing to try just about anything.

So given all that above, and the fact that trying new treatments is an easy decision for me and a fairly easy discussion with my doctor, I'm going to take the prompt in a little different direction.  See, I have this horrid Depression.  It can be triggered by a myriad of things, but disappointment is a biggie.  So the disappointment I suffer when new treatments fail is a huge trigger for my capital D Depression.  What I have to balance more than anything when trying a new treatment is the excitement and expectation of trying something new, with the potential for disappointment and feelings of failure when and if it doesn't work, like so many other things haven't.

The words "cautious optimism" are well known around our house when discussing new treatments.  I have to continually moderate my feelings about whatever it is we are doing so that I don't get too excited or feel too optimistic about it, because that will lead to huge disappointment if the new treatment doesn't work and then there I am with all this optimism on my hands....  It's just not good.  If I can tell myself, "yes, we are going to try this, but like every thing else, it probably won't work," then I can avoid the extreme disappointment and Depression when in fact, the new treatment doesn't work.  But sometimes I wonder, am I shooting myself in the proverbial foot to always expect things to fail?  Does it become a self-fulfilling prophecy when you expect everything you do to fail?  Am I missing out on some placebo effect that might just be as good as the real improvement?  Then again, if you've seen the Depression I can fall into from sheer disappointment in the failing of new treatments that I had built up in my mind, you might believe, as I do, that missing out on some placebo effect is probably worth it just to avoid that kind of Depression.

A conversation with my doctor about new treatments?  Nah.  That's not Risky Business.  Risking Major Depression because those new treatments let me down and cause serious disappointment?  That's Risky Business to me, folks.  That's just one more balancing act of my life.

June, Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, is dedicated to Unmasking the Mystery of Chronic Headache Disorders.  The Migraine and Headache Awareness Month Blog Challenge is issued by

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