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Living With Chronic Migraine

Listen to The Mighty Podcast episode, “Living With Chronic Migraine.” We’ve also provided a transcript below. To talk about the episode or share topic ideas, join the Podcast Peeps community on The Mighty. 

In this episode, The Mighty Podcast host, Ashley Kristoff, discusses Chronic Migraine with neurologist Dr. Margo Butchee, MD, MPH and “My Crazy Good Life” food blogger, entrepreneur, and Chronic Migraine patient Becca Ludlum. They talk about the challenges of living with the disease, how to find a doctor, and a treatment path that Becca took on her Chronic Migraine journey. This episode of The Mighty Podcast is sponsored by AbbVie.

If you prefer to listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts, you can do so here. 

Links:

  • For product information, including Boxed Warning and Medication Guide: https://bit.ly/39aHtef 
  • Check out Becca’s blog, “My Crazy Good Life”: https://mycrazygoodlife.com/ 
  • Podcast Peeps: https://themighty.com/groups/podcastpeeps 
  • The Mighty app: http://mgty.co/app

Transcript:

SPEAKERS

Host, Ashley Kristoff; Becca Ludlum; Dr. Margo Butchee, MD, MPH

Ashley Kristoff  

Welcome to The Mighty Podcast where we infuse the health space with positivity, humor and vulnerability. The Mighty is a safe and supportive community here to help you find the people and information you need to navigate your health journey. We’re so excited to spend some time together today. Today’s episode is sponsored by AbbVie and our guests have been compensated for their time today. Now let’s get into what the health we’re talking about today. 

Today’s episode of The Mighty Podcast is focused on Chronic Migraine. In addition, because we’ll be talking about an FDA approved prescription treatment, BOTOX® (onabotulinumtoxinA), it’s important to remind you that there are benefits and risks associated with BOTOX®. BOTOX® prevents headaches in adults with Chronic Migraine 15 or more headache days a month, each lasting four or more hours. BOTOX® is not approved for adults with migraine who have 14 or fewer headache days a month. 

As for important safety information to know about BOTOX®: Effects of BOTOX® may spread hours to weeks after injection, causing serious symptoms. Alert your doctor right away as difficulty swallowing, speaking, breathing, eye problems or muscle weakness can be signs of a life-threatening condition. Patients with these conditions before injection are at highest risk. Side effects may include allergic reactions, neck and injection site pain, fatigue and headache. Allergic reactions can include rash, welts, asthma symptoms and dizziness. Don’t receive BOTOX® if there’s a skin infection. Tell your doctor your medical history, muscle and nerve conditions including ALS/Lou Gehrig’s disease, myasthenia gravis, or Lambert Eaton syndrome and medications including botulinum toxins, as these may increase the risk of serious side effects. We will discuss additional important safety information later during this presentation. 

And please check out the podcast description directing you to BOTOX® Prescribing Information including Boxed Warning and Medication Guide. And lastly, this discussion is not intended to provide medical advice or care, so please speak with your healthcare provider if you have any questions about your personal medical condition or disease management. 

Today’s episode of The Mighty Podcast is focused on Chronic Migraine and BOTOX®. I’m your host Ashley and I’m just so happy to be joined by Dr. Margo Butchee, a neurologist with Mercy Clinic in Oklahoma City and Becca Ludlum a food blogger running “My Crazy Good Life” blog. Welcome both of you. How are you guys doing today?

Dr. Butchee  

I’m good. Thank you. Thank you for having us.

Becca Ludlum  

Thank you so much. I’m great.

Ashley Kristoff  

Yeah, thank you for being here. So, Dr. Butchee why don’t you tell us a little bit more about yourself.

Dr. Butchee  

So, thank you so much for having me here today and I’m so honored to be part of The Mighty. I am a physician at Mercy Neurology Clinic in Oklahoma City, and I do specialize in treating patients with migraine. And so, I’d also like to share that I come from a long history of migraineurs. Really, this is the main part of what drew me to headache medicine. Also, the meaningful relationships I’m able to develop with my patients in really helping them during their time of greatest need to be there to help them during this critical period is what really drew me to medicine. And outside of being a physician I’m also a mom to three wonderful children. My oldest is Oliver, he’s six years old. Nolan is four years old. And my youngest is Elise, she’s three years old. Outside of practicing medicine, I really enjoy spending any extra time I have with my family.

Ashley Kristoff  

Amazing. I’m so glad we have you here today. And it’s so amazing to hear that like the intersection relationship of lived experience and professional so excited to hear from you. Becca, do you want to tell us a little bit more about you?

Becca Ludlum  

Sure, I’m Becca Ludlum. I live in Tucson, Arizona with my husband and two sons. I’m a food blogger and an entrepreneur. We have several different businesses that we run. My blog is called “My Crazy Good Life.” I started my blog when my boys were young and wrote a lot about raising them in the face of technology and how to parent them. But once they got old enough, they didn’t want me to write about them anymore. So, I was able to switch and write about something that I cared about (not that I didn’t care about them), I was able to write about something that I loved, which is nutrition and food. Healthy living, just kind of focus on a little bit indulgent and mostly healthy. I love reading. I love spending time with my family and friends. I love practicing yoga. I love to go to concerts. My husband and I just started a wood and metal business just during the pandemic and we had some extra time and started making metal rusted trellises and big metal torches and lanterns and we engrave wall signs and cutting boards and those fancy tumblers that you see everywhere on social media. So, we’ve been having a lot of fun. Through all of this I’ve been living with Chronic Migraine for over 20 years.

Ashley Kristoff  

Wow. That’s incredible. Thank you for sharing. Just the breadth of like your metal and wood business just you got “jack of all trades” over here.

Becca Ludlum  

We got a lot of stuff going on.

Ashley Kristoff  

Alright, so let’s get into what Chronic Migraine is and some experiences around treating it and living with it. So, Dr. Butchee, we’re gonna start with you. Many people may know about migraine or maybe have experienced migraine at some point in their lives, but other people might not be so familiar with Chronic Migraine. So, what is the difference?

Dr. Butchee  

So Chronic Migraine really is a complex neurological condition with an array of symptoms. Now specifically, Chronic Migraine is defined as 15 or more headache days a month, with the headaches lasting at least four or more hours. And unfortunately, there are 3.3 million Americans living with Chronic Migraine. So, to put this into perspective, if we place all of these people together in one place, that would constitute for the third largest city in the US.

Ashley Kristoff  

There’s a lot more people living with Chronic Migraine than I even thought. Is the cause of Chronic Migraine known?

Dr. Butchee  

So great question. We’ve made a lot of progress in recent years in understanding the cause of Chronic Migraine. And so, some of the most common causes that we know of include genetics, so half of your risk for developing migraine comes from your family history. So, remember, my mom and even my grandmother, we come from a long family history of migraineurs, so I am more likely to pass this along to my children as well. What you eat, drink can also play a role into your migraines. We know that caffeine, alcohol can trigger migraines, and even certain foods you eat such as foods high in MSG or in nitrates can also trigger migraines, and even skipping meals. Now weather changes, especially if you know I live in Oklahoma where we have a saying that if you don’t like the weather, just wait a few minutes, which is true because our weather can fluctuate wildly. And so, it’s the changes in the humidity, the temperature, air pressure, this can all lead to migraine. And remember, these are the most difficult for our patients to control. You don’t really have any control over how the weather behaves. Changes in sleep can also trigger migraine, whether it be too little sleep, too much sleep, a change in the sleep routine. These can all set up a migraine attack. And last but not least is stress and anxiety. And certainly, this past year has really challenged us as far as stress levels. And we know that this can trigger migraine and even the time period after stress can trigger a migraine. 

Ashley Kristoff  

Becca, I am curious to hear about your personal experience with Chronic Migraine. So, what were the first symptoms you experienced and what was that diagnosis journey like?

Becca Ludlum  

My Chronic Migraine journey started literally out of the blue. So, nobody in my family has migraine, Chronic Migraine, I always say it has to start somewhere. I had a really bad headache that I couldn’t get rid of and I started experiencing other symptoms like nausea, sensitivity to light and smell, this constant, well what I know now is migraine, but constant headache that I just didn’t really understand it wouldn’t go away. And at the time of my diagnosis, I was having about 20 headache days per month. 

My diagnosis journey was not easy. It took a really long time, and I am still, 20 years later, learning more about why I get them and what causes them. First, we tried to rule things out like a brain tumor and optic nerve tumor, other more serious conditions. Made a lot of visits to pain clinics and literally pages of prescription medications that I had tried. I even had a home health nurse that had to come out to the house and administer IV medications to try to break one of the really bad migraines that I had had. For me a headache is something that I can take a few ibuprofen for and it’s gone whereas my migraine is totally different. They’re not all the same for me but most of them feel like a brain freeze, like when you eat ice cream too fast, except it doesn’t go away after a couple minutes. It just stays and not much helps. And so medications don’t usually help. Lying down makes me feel better. Most of the time I just I wait it out is pretty much what I do. Like I said my symptoms aren’t always the same. My migraines are not always the same and so sometimes I have really bad light sensitivity but then like I said earlier, like I love going to concerts so I can go to a concert and sometimes it’s fine. But then there’s other times where I can usually tell earlier in the day if I’m starting to be a little bit sensitive to loud noises or light then I know that’s it, concert’s off, no movies or anything like that. After a couple days of a migraine, I’m super tired. I call it a migraine hangover where I’ve taken some medication, and I’m kind of just trying to work my way back. And so those are also counted as migraine days.

Ashley Kristoff  

That is very relatable. I think our audience who live with migraine and other chronic conditions are very much in tune with what you just said there. So how did you deal with this at the time, like when this was first happening, especially when something’s out of the blue like that, you know, how did that work?

Becca Ludlum  

So it’s taken a long time for me to learn what my triggers are. And so over the years, I’ve slowly learned that I knew if I would eat something that I’m not supposed to eat like foods with nitrates, that was that was one of my first ones, and so I knew that if I could not like, like, I’m just gonna have bacon this morning with my omelet. It’s not a big deal. Knowing, so things like that I could kind of feel like coming on. And so then, you know, eventually you just you don’t do that, right? You learn like, no, it’s not worth it. And so, my coping strategy, besides avoiding things that I’ve noticed trigger migraines, my coping strategy is to just bow out of everything. And so, you know, we’re supposed to have date night, or if we have a family weekend planned, or any kind of outing, any kind of thing that we have, as soon as I feel one coming on, I do not try to power through it. I did for a long time, and it just doesn’t work. So that is my number one thing is as soon as one starts, I’m done. I’m out. And it’s just, it’s not good for anybody if I push through.

Ashley Kristoff  

Yeah, I think it’s so important to have those boundaries and those limits and knowing your body the right way to know how you can move forward so I’m curious about you mentioned, like canceling plans, those sorts of things. So how did the people in your life react to this new diagnosis?

Becca Ludlum  

So, I was at a place in my life where I was meeting a lot of new people. And so that was just me, they just, they knew me, and they knew that you know, and it’s kind of weird, because when you don’t have a migraine, you’re normal and everything looks fine, right? But then when you do, it’s like, that’s it done. But everybody was really good about it. And so, there are things where, you know, I tried to work a traditional job, it just didn’t work. My kids are super empathetic because they grew up seeing me have these. And so, everybody was really, really good about it. My husband has the patience of a saint. He’ll step aside and do anything that needs to be done while I have one to make sure that I don’t feel like I’m losing out or, ‘Oh, you know, I can’t make dinner tonight.’ So, people have been really great about it.

Ashley Kristoff  

I’m so glad you had such supportive people in your life during this time. I am curious to know what people maybe didn’t understand about this experience with Chronic Migraine, or what came up when you were talking with other people?

Becca Ludlum  

I would explain that, you know, I have Chronic Migraine and there’s certain things that I can’t do and unfortunately, I can’t expect when that’s going to happen. And sorry I can’t hang out, go with you, do whatever. People were really good about it. They were really understanding, friends and family both, really understanding. There were a lot of schedule changes that we had, a lot of last-minutes things that were postponed or changed. And thankfully, like I said, everybody’s been great about it. Learning is such an important part of this for me. And so, like I said earlier, 20 years later, I’m still learning what causes these. And I feel too like my body’s changed a little bit over the years. And so even though I learned one thing, well, now things are changing. And so, you know, my exercise routines changed totally. I noticed that one of the things that I loved to do was just causing way too much inflammation in my body and was triggering all these crazy migraines that I would get. And so, I was able to change that around a little bit, you know, without stopping my total exercise routine. My diet has completely changed and so my family’s been so good about that. But you know, slowly I’ve taken things out of my diet. Well now it’s gotten to the point where it’s no meat, no eggs, very limited dairy. And so, these are all things though, that it’s so easy to make that decision to stop. My family’s been really good about that. They’ve been very understanding about not having beef as much as we used to and it’s taken over 20 years, but all of these changes are helping. It’s not just about headache, it’s not something that you can push through and I, like I said, I go to movies, I go to concerts, I go to theme parks and as long as I don’t have migraine symptoms, I’m good. But if I try to do one of those things with a migraine, it’s just not, it doesn’t end well. It ends up with me being miserable, you know in bed somewhere and then usually the people that are with me are feeling bad I’ve learned that, so it’s just not worth it to push through.

Ashley Kristoff  

For sure. Dr. Butchee, you want to give us a little bit more color for how other people might think about migraine and the kind of distinction versus a headache that you know, I think that a lot of people who aren’t familiar are really thinking their migraine is.

Dr. Butchee  

Migraine is so much more than just a headache. It really is an array of symptoms. And that’s what really makes the condition so disabling. And so, in fact, the World Health Organization defines migraine as one of the most disabling illnesses. And it’s comparable to someone with dementia, quadriplegia and even active psychosis. And what’s really unfortunate about this is that some patients wait on average four years before speaking with their physician. So, I really encourage people out there to start keeping a headache diary. Start recording how often you’re having headaches, how long they last, and the severity of the headache and also start charting the symptoms that you have with it. So, you may not realize that all those symptoms may be related to your migraine. So, let your physician know that you’ve missed birthdays, because of your migraines. You’re on vacation and you had to stay back in your hotel. You couldn’t go out to dinner because you had a migraine. And I vividly remember in my childhood, my mom was on the couch the majority of the time because her migraines are so severe. This is the important things that your physician needs to know in order to properly give you a diagnosis.

Ashley Kristoff  

Becca, do you have any other real-life examples that you want to share to just contextualize that a little bit?

Becca Ludlum  

Like, of course, right off the bat, I’m like, give me 10 minutes, I can give you 30 of them. You know, a lot of things that I missed were time with my kids by the pool. Summer was really stressful here for me. We live in Arizona, and so it gets really hot, you know, we have a pool, so they wanted to be outside during the summer. Sometimes it was really hard to [kind of] sit in the pool with them without having [you know] good shade and that was tough. Movie nights, you know, things that involve like bright lights, like that has been one of the things that really, I’ve noticed where it’s like, oh, like I really wanted to take you guys to the movies tonight but it’s just not going to work out. So, let’s do something else. Nights out with friends and family, many date nights that we’ve missed many, you know, dinners with friends. We always make it up at some point, but kind of a bummer when everybody’s all excited to go out and like oh, guys, sorry, I have to cancel.

Ashley Kristoff  

Yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense and I think too that that really drives home Dr. Butchee’s point of just sharing those real-life examples. It helps you be empowered as an individual but also be empowered as a patient to say these things to your doctor to help them understand. So now I am wanting to discuss how you found your current Chronic Migraine doctor, like what types of things did you look for in a doctor? And what was that journey like?

Becca Ludlum  

So, I was referred to my doctor by a friend, but I’ve lived in several different places. What I found is that there are not a ton of migraine specialists in each city. And the ones that you do find usually have a really long waiting list to be able to see them and so I learned from the last move that we made that I need to pre-plan for when I moved there. So, we knew that we were going to move, I made an appointment as soon as we found out that we were going to move so that I was able to not have as long of a wait when I moved and then not have as much of a break in between appointments. And so that was really helpful. But I ended up waiting, it was about six months, to be able to see the doctor but I feel like she really understands me. I really like her approach. She gets migraines as well she has Chronic Migraine so that, it helps, it really helps to know that they understand how you’re feeling. And, you know, while she said, you know, hey, you know, this is what I do for mine. I know that that doesn’t translate. And she was very clear about that too. Just because this works for me, doesn’t mean it works for you. But like, in general, she was like, here’s a path that I took, you know, I started looking at foods that I ate, exercises that I did, ways that I move my body and how all those things and so she really was able, she was in a position where she was able to help me kind of brainstorm, you know, my triggers and what brought on my migraines. And I love that she takes a whole-body approach. She doesn’t just focus on headaches and migraines. She looks at many factors, like I said, like exercise and food and all these different things that could be going on and so I really appreciated that.

Ashley Kristoff  

Yeah, you sound like you have a wonderful doctor. Dr. Butchee, could someone with Chronic Migraine see any neurologist or is there something that they should be looking out for?

Dr. Butchee  

So not all neurologists specialize in headache medicine. So, it really is important that you do your research, find the ones that do. In the US there are neurology practices with headache specialists, and they have more knowledge about treatment options that are available, therapy and lifestyle changes in order to help patients with Chronic Migraine.

Ashley Kristoff  

So, speaking of treatment, let’s get into what that could look like for someone like Becca.

Dr. Butchee  

So, there are two types of treatment when it comes to Chronic Migraine. One is acute and the other is preventive. The goal of acute treatment is to stop the symptoms of a migraine attack after they start. And so, this differs from preventive treatments that can help headaches and migraines before they start. And one preventive treatment option is BOTOX® for Chronic Migraine.

Ashley Kristoff  

I see and Dr. Butchee could you share any important information our audience should know about BOTOX®?

Dr. Butchee  

BOTOX® prevents headaches in adults with Chronic Migraine 15 or more headache days a month, each lasting four or more hours. BOTOX® is not approved for adults with migraine who have 14 or fewer headache days a month. Effects of BOTOX® may spread hours to weeks after injection, causing serious symptoms. Alert your doctor right away as difficulty swallowing, speaking, breathing, eye problems or muscle weakness can be signs of a life-threatening condition. Patients with these conditions before injection are at highest risk. Side effects may include allergic reactions, neck and injection-site pain, fatigue, and headache. Allergic reactions can include rash, welts, asthma symptoms, & dizziness. Don’t receive BOTOX® if there’s a skin infection. Tell your doctor your medical history, muscle or nerve conditions (including ALS/Lou Gehrig’s disease, myasthenia gravis, or Lambert-Eaton syndrome), & medications, including botulinum toxins, as these may increase the risk of serious side effects.

Ashley Kristoff  

Thank you, Dr. Butchee for sharing that important information with our community. So now Becca, you actually use BOTOX® for Chronic Migraine. So, when did you first find out about this as a treatment option?

Becca Ludlum  

I actually found out about this as a treatment option a long time ago. My grandfather is actually the person who first told me about BOTOX® for Chronic Migraine. Years ago, he followed the news that BOTOX® was approved by the FDA for preventive treatment of Chronic Migraine and would often send me newspaper articles about it. And initially, I resisted a bit because I was unsure of exactly what it was and how it would work. But it seemed like he knew it was what was good for me before, before I did.

Ashley Kristoff  

Yeah, what made you, you know, decide to do it and try it?

Becca Ludlum  

About six years ago, I decided to look into BOTOX® for a few different reasons. So, my headache and migraine days were getting a little out of control. I was feeling really overwhelmed and tired of trying different medications and not meeting my treatment goals. And so, my neurologist suggested BOTOX® and explained the benefits and risks with treatment. Since she’s also a Chronic Migraine patient, she let me know that she received BOTOX® injections for her Chronic Migraine, and it reduced the number of headache and migraine days she had experienced. I remember her saying to me, we finally got your medication stable and you’re not meeting your treatment goals that we set. And so, let’s try this and see what happens.

Ashley Kristoff  

Yeah, I think that makes total sense. Dr. Butchee, can you talk about what treatment with BOTOX® actually looks like for people with Chronic Migraine?

Dr. Butchee  

BOTOX® for Chronic Migraine is administered in 31 different injection sites across seven head-neck muscle areas that may be associated with migraine. So, BOTOX® prevents on average, eight to nine headache days and migraine, probable migraine days a month versus six to seven for placebo. So, two rounds of treatment are needed to feel the full effects at 24 weeks. So, I know injections can be intimidating for some and the experience is different for everyone. Becca, can you describe your experience with BOTOX® for Chronic Migraine?

Becca Ludlum  

I started feeling results about four weeks after the first treatment. And so just like you mentioned, two rounds of treatment are needed to feel the full effect at 24 weeks. But I started to notice some differences right around the four-week mark.

Ashley Kristoff  

Yeah, I just need to pause for a second because Dr. Butchee mentioned 31 injections. What were your thoughts about that many shots?

Becca Ludlum  

Everybody’s experience may be different but for me the injection felt like a small pinch or prick. I am no fan of needles, but it’s not nearly as painful as a migraine attack and so that’s what I think every single time one goes into my head I’m like, it’s not as bad as a migraine. It’s not as bad as a migraine, 31 times. It took about 10 minutes for my doctor to administer the injections and she took as many breaks in between as I needed, and she knows which one’s kind of caused me to tense up and she’ll stop for a second and tell me like let me know when you’re ready. There is no downtime, so I get it at my doctor’s office, I’m able to leave, I’m able to drive home and I’m good. I’m just able to go home and resume my day.

Ashley Kristoff  

So, what do you think about life with Chronic Migraine now that you have a reduction in headache and migraine days?

Becca Ludlum  

I’m so glad that I’ve managed to find and build a relationship with a great doctor who has been part of my care team. And I’ve found an effective treatment for my Chronic Migraine that I never really believed was possible. And I can’t lie a big part of me wishes that I hadn’t waited so long to pursue more treatment options.

Ashley Kristoff  

That makes sense. Dr. Butchee, can you tell us what side effects our audience should know about BOTOX® for Chronic Migraine?

Dr. Butchee  

The most common side effects of BOTOX® for Chronic Migraine are neck pain and headache. There are other side effects that also occurred in the Chronic Migraine clinical trials. This does not cover all the possible serious side effects of BOTOX® so it’s important that patients speak to their doctor about the Important Safety Information about BOTOX® and the BOTOX® Prescribing Information.

Ashley Kristoff  

Dr. Butchee I bet a lot of people have some of those same questions and concerns that Becca had. What do you say to someone who is looking to get ahead of their Chronic Migraine  and try BOTOX®?

Dr. Butchee  

So, first and foremost, you need to be diagnosed with Chronic Migraine. So, I encourage people to keep a headache diary and bring this along with you when you see your physician. This will really help identify patterns, make a correct diagnosis and really help move forward with the correct treatment plan that’s right for you. Secondly, people should understand that BOTOX® for Chronic Migraine is around a 10-minute procedure every three months. As I said there are 31 injections in seven different areas of the head and neck. These are the areas that may be associated with migraine. I know most people are no fan of needles, you may feel mild discomfort and injections feel like tiny pinches or pinpricks. And my patients by and large tell me that it hurts far less than a migraine attack. And thirdly, I know a lot of people are concerned about cost, you can ask your doctor or their front office staff about any patient savings programs that may be available that can help with the out-of-pocket costs.

Ashley Kristoff    

What would you like folks to know who are considering trying BOTOX® treatment for Chronic Migraine?

Dr. Butchee  

So, a survey of 71 people show that 97% of BOTOX® patients plan to keep using it and 92% wish that they had talked to their doctor and started treatment sooner. So really, I hope this information along with Becca’s experience gives your listeners the motivation to talk to their health care provider and to see if BOTOX® might be the right treatment for them.

Ashley Kristoff  

Great and Dr. Butchee what is something that potential patients might not know about BOTOX® for Chronic Migraine?

Dr. Butchee  

So, samples may be available for new patients to evaluate efficacy and safety. And this can be a really helpful way for patients to get started and see if the treatment might work for them. It’s an opportunity for patients to see if BOTOX® is right for them, and also an opportunity for them to start BOTOX® treatments sooner.

Ashley Kristoff  

I think that’s really great. I’m sure that goes such a long way in like demystifying the experience and making people feel comfortable with trying this treatment. So, Becca, I know you’ve got a lot on your plate with your family and your business in the food blogging world. What made you want to speak out about living with Chronic Migraine and how can other people start?

Becca Ludlum  

I share health and wellness information as it comes up with my readers on “My Crazy Good Life.” I shared one day about my BOTOX® injections and had a ton of questions so I wrote an article on my blog titled “Why I Use BOTOX® for Chronic Migraine.” My blog focuses on using minimally processed foods to make delicious and nutritious recipes, which just happens to go right in line with, like the reason that I use those ingredients is to help avoid migraines. And so, I’m always happy to share my experiences with readers and others in my community. I’ve learned from others over the years, and I will always share my experiences so others can learn from me as well. You can support loved ones with Chronic Migraine by listening and offering to help whether that means cooking, taking kids to events or just sitting with someone. Everyone’s experiences are so different, and I think that talking with your doctor and learning more are the best ways to empower yourself.

Ashley Kristoff  

Well, thank you for sharing so much about your experience and your journey. I think just giving people a place to start sometimes when they hear about this diagnosis is such a great place. So, having all of these learnings that you’ve had in your life I’m sure is such a helpful way for new and people who have been around the block to help figure out new ideas and new things that might work and help them in their management. Dr. Butchee, what advice do you have for somebody who is looking for a doctor?

Dr. Butchee  

So as Becca and I have said before, remember that not all doctors are trained to treat headache disorders like Chronic Migraine. So, it’s really important that you do your research to find a physician that is dedicated to treating Chronic Migraine. And this is really important because the diagnosis is key in order to get the right treatment. A great resource to use would be BOTOX® ChronicMigraine.com. And you can select your location and see if there is a healthcare provider close to you that treats Chronic Migraine.

Ashley Kristoff  

Thank you for sharing that. Becca, what would you say to somebody who is kind of in the same position that you were in a few years ago dealing with Chronic Migraine?

Becca Ludlum  

There are a few things that I’d say. One of them is don’t suffer in silence because help is available. Bring a headache journal with detailed information about the weather, your daily activities and what you eat and drink. Even something that maybe seems small and not important to you might be something that just glares to your doctor. Ask questions and if you feel that something doesn’t apply to you, or that they’re not understanding you, make sure that you clarify yourself so that your doctor understands exactly what you’re feeling and when. The faster you seek help, the faster you’ll be able to get on a treatment plan that could reduce your number of headache and migraine days per month. I’d say don’t get discouraged if your initial treatments don’t get you to your full treatment goals. Every person’s body is different and there is no one size fits all solution. Take the time to look into different options that are out there, you may have to change your treatment plan to come up with what will work for you.

Ashley Kristoff  

I think that is wonderful advice to give the community. So now we are at the point in our podcast where we like to do this thing called self-care corner and we like to talk about self-care that has fulfilling us or helping us recently. So, do either of you want to go first and share? Maybe Becca, some of your current self-care go-tos?

Becca Ludlum  

Sure. So, what used to be my daily exercise goal is now just a goal for overall self-care. So sometimes it means that I work out, sometimes it’s taking a yoga class or meditating and sometimes on the really crazy busy days, it’s setting time aside to make my favorite dinner. It’s all about being flexible and understanding that my needs can change every day.

Ashley Kristoff  

I love that. Dr. Butchee do you want to share your self-care?

Dr. Butchee  

My self-care is making sure I devote time to spend with my loved ones. And I’m so blessed to have this with my husband Ryan, and my three children, Oliver, Nolan and Elise. Self-care means making sure that you give yourself time to nourish and recharge your mind, your body and your soul. And it’s important that you choose who you spend time with. You really want to make sure that you spend time with the right people because your time is valuable. So, I encourage you to seek people who uplift you, people who inspire you to be better every day and people who challenge you to grow. When I spend time with my loved ones, and I know this is very hard and I’m still working on it myself, but I really do my best to be 100% present, and put that cell phone away. And so, self-care for me really is spending time with my loved ones.

Ashley Kristoff  

Thanks for sharing. I love that. And I love that you say to that it is a little bit hard to do some of these things. And self-care isn’t always pretty and easy, so I just appreciate that honesty here. Recently, my self-care is I’m a very creative person so something that I wanted to try is just something new. So, I actually took my hand at costume making, and it’s been a really, really fun time. It’s really challenged me, and it’s forced me to really spend that time with myself as well. So, it’s been just a wonderful activity.

Ashley Kristoff  

So, let’s share our final thoughts to wrap everything up here. So, are there any thoughts or resources that either of you would like to share about Chronic Migraine with The Mighty community Becca, do you want to start?

Becca Ludlum  

Of course, I’d of course talk to your doctor and visit BOTOX® ChronicMigraine.com for more information. And if you’re looking for delicious and healthy recipes, you can find recipes that I create over at MyCrazyGoodLife.com.

Ashley Kristoff  

Love that I’ll have to check those out. Dr. Butchee, do you have any resources to share?

Dr. Butchee  

I encourage people with Chronic Migraine to check out one of the many advocacy organizations online. There are great educational resources and opportunities to connect with patients in your local community who also live with Chronic Migraine.

Ashley Kristoff  

That’s awesome. All right. Thank you for sharing. Becca, Dr. Butchee, I just want to thank you both for being here today to shed some light on Chronic Migraine for our listeners.

Dr. Butchee  

Thank you for having us.

Becca Ludlum  

Thank you so much for having us.

Ashley Kristoff  

Yeah, thank you so much for sharing your perspective, your experiences. It’s just really wonderful and I really hope our community takes a lot away from this talk. So, thank you again for listening to this episode of The Mighty Podcast. If you want to continue this conversation, head over to TheMighty.com or download The Mighty app to become part of our community. Thank you to AbbVie for sponsoring this episode. We’d love for you to give us a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, follow us on Spotify or if you’re listening on The Mighty give this page a heart. Join us on our next episode and stay Mighty. Please stay tuned for more Important Safety Information about BOTOX®.

BOTOX® (onabotulinumtoxinA) Important Information

Indication

BOTOX® is a prescription medicine that is injected to prevent headaches in adults with chronic migraine who have 15 or more days each month with headache lasting four or more hours each day in people 18 years or older. 

It is not known whether BOTOX® is safe and effective to prevent headaches in patients with migraine who have 14 or fewer headache days each month (episodic migraine). 

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

BOTOX® may cause serious side effects that can be life threatening. Get medical help right away if you have any of these problems anytime, hours to weeks after injection of BOTOX®:

  • Problems swallowing, speaking or breathing, due to weakening of associated muscles can be severe and result in loss of life. You are at the highest risk if these problems are pre-existing before injection. Swallowing problems may last for several months
  • Spread of toxin effects. The effect of botulinum toxin may affect areas away from the injection site and cause serious symptoms including loss of strength and all over muscle weakness, double vision, blurred vision and drooping eyelids, hoarseness or change or loss of voice, trouble saying words clearly, loss of bladder control, trouble breathing and trouble swallowing

There has not been a confirmed serious case of spread of toxin effect away from the injection site when BOTOX® has been used at the recommended dose to treat chronic migraine. 

BOTOX® may cause loss of strength or general muscle weakness, vision problems or dizziness within hours to weeks of taking BOTOX®. If this happens do not drive a car, operate machinery or do other dangerous activities. 

Do not receive BOTOX® if you: are allergic to any of the ingredients in BOTOX® (see Medication Guide for ingredients); had an allergic reaction to any other botulinum toxin product such as Myobloc® (rimabotulinumtoxinB), Dysport®, (abobotulinumtoxinA) or Xeomin® (incobotulinumtoxinA); have a skin infection at the planned injection site. 

The dose of BOTOX® is not the same as, or comparable to, another botulinum toxin product. 

Serious and or immediate allergic reactions have been reported including itching, rash, red itchy welts, wheezing, asthma symptoms, or dizziness or feeling faint. Get medical help right away if you experience symptoms. Further injection of BOTOX® should be discontinued. 

Tell your doctor about all your muscle or nerve conditions such as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, myasthenia gravis or Lambert Eaton syndrome, as you may be at an increased risk of serious side effects including difficulty swallowing and difficulty breathing from typical doses of BOTOX®

Tell your doctor about all your medical conditions including if you: have or have had bleeding problems; have plans to have surgery; had surgery on your face; weakness of forehead muscles; trouble raising your eyebrows; drooping eyelids; any other abnormal facial change; are pregnant or plan to become pregnant (it is not known if BOTOX® can harm your unborn baby); are breastfeeding or plan to (it is not known if BOTOX® passes into breast milk). 

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements. Using BOTOX® with certain other medicines may cause serious side effects. Do not start any new medicines until you have told your doctor that you have received BOTOX® in the past. 

Tell your doctor if you received any other botulinum toxin product in the last 4 months; have received injections of botulinum toxin such as Myobloc®, Dysport®, or Xeomin® in the past (tell your doctor exactly which product you received); have recently received an antibiotic by injection; take muscle relaxants; take an allergy or cold medicine; take a sleep medicine; take aspirin-like products or blood thinners. 

Other side effects of BOTOX® include: dry mouth, discomfort or pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, neck pain, eye problems: double vision, blurred vision, decreased eyesight, drooping eyelids, swelling of your eyelids, dry eyes; and drooping eyebrows. 

For more information, refer to the Medication Guide or talk with your doctor. 

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit  http://www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088. 

Please see BOTOX® full Product Information including Boxed Warning and Medication Guide at www.BOTOXChronicMigraine.com and at the link in the podcast description. 

Thank you for listening!

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