Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Dark Side of Medication

This is not an upbeat post, but I'm feeling compelled to address a very important topic relative to medication. Here goes.

Medication - in the Western sense - can do wonderful things for us. It can lower our blood pressure, prevent insulin problems, prevent unwanted pregnancy, assist in achieving pregnancy, control cholesterol and help us feel better, overall. And these are just the every day benefits of medication, not to mention the incredible advances we've made in the last 50 years in the areas of heart disease, cancer and AIDS. Incredible, really.

But medications can have a very, very dark side; a big umbrella called side effects. Consider the medication that puts your body into a metabolic shut down. You don't want to get out of bed. Once you're out of bed, no amount of caffeine can inspire you to move forward into the day. Getting dressed is totally discouraging because nothing fits. Not even the clothes you bought two weeks ago. Breakfast #1 is with your son. Breakfast #2 is an hour later, because you're starved despite the fact that you ate a seemingly "good" meal the first time around, consisting of complex carbs, protein and good fat. Push through the day but it feels like sleep walking. Have more coffee at regular intervals. Eat, eat, eat and repeat. Can't wait just to sleep. Get on the scale and gasp at the number. 8 pounds in one month? Eat again and go to bed, praying that your body will find its "fire" sometime. Really, really soon. Please. Like now.

Welcome to my March.

My doctor put me on a daily medication at the end of February for migraine prevention. I have horrifying migraines, the type that put me out of commission for a solid day and sometimes require a visit to the ER for a demerol shot. They are wicked beyond explanation.

After missing four days of work in January, we (the doctor and I) decided that a more aggressive approach was warranted. Enter the medication.

When taking a controversial medication, it's always necessary to balance the benefits with the risks. The biggest benefit - in my eyes - was the fact that I went through the entire month of March without even a hint of a migraine. The risk? Missing out on life. Being checked out while I was with clients. Scheduling naps instead of connections with friends. But most important, I felt like Ben wasn't getting 100% of me. And I want him to have that. As much as I can give it to him.

So today, April 1st, I dumped the meds. My doctor wanted me to wait it out, give it another month but I just can't do it. My time in life is way too critical - as a mother, as a daughter, as a friend, as a business owner. It's all I have and while it can't be magical all the time, I want to be present for the magic when it comes...in whatever way it manifests.

Not a happy topic, I know. But so necessary to be cognizant of. Don't lose a minute, a day, a week and certainly not a month to a medication that just doesn't work with your body. For me, I'd give anything to get out of a migraine. Anything, that is, except for my spot in life!