Well - I went to my neurology appointment a few weeks ago. It only took me 2 1/2 mos to get it. Good thing it wasn't urgent. Anyway - here are the updates. Feel free to skip today's post as some of you might find this boring...
#1) I suffer from Parasomnia. Parasomnia, from what the Dr. explained, is when one talks, walks, or engages in other behavior while sleeping. The talking can be clear and enunciated, or it can be slurred or even sound like moaning and grunts. This behavior usually occurs when one is extremely exhausted or under a lot of stress. It can also be a side effect of other medications. I have never walked in my sleep, but I have been told that I occasionally talk in my sleep, sometimes even giggle out loud, and once last week, I woke my daughter up because I was yelling at someone. Anyway - makes sense. I do feel stressed a lot and I am always exhausted as I do not sleep very well.
When I explained my sleeping problems to the neurologist, she asked,
"How long have you been dealing with the insomnia?"
Me: Well, I wouldn't call it insomnia.
Dr: What would you call it?
Me: Well, I just have problems falling asleep, and then when I do, I can't manage to stay asleep.
Dr: On average, how many nights per week would you say you have trouble falling asleep?
Me: Five or six nights per week.
Dr: And what time would you say you tend to finally fall asleep
Me: Anytime between 2 am and 4 am.
Dr. And how often do you wake up during the night?
Me: Usually about once per hour.
Dr: What time do you usually go to bed, to attempt to go to sleep.
Me: I am usually in bed by midnight.
Dr: And you toss and turn and can't go to sleep until sometime between 2 and 4?
Dr: And what time do you get up in the morning?
Me: Between 6 and 7.
Dr: So on average you *might* get 2, maybe 4 hours of sleep, and then it is not restful sleep at that.
Dr: Yep. You have insomnia.
Me: Oh. I guess I thought insomnia is when you never sleep.
Dr: Hon - you're NOT sleeping. You have insomnia.
#2) I have Insomnia (they say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, right?)
Anyway I did a sleep test for sleep apnea... it's not back yet. Don't know what those results will be.
#3) I suffer from Migraines. The neurologist ran some tests and as it turns out what I thought were daily headaches are actually migraines. I did not think I had migraines other than occasionally. However, the Dr. said that people have migraines more than they even realize they do.
We tend to think of migraines as a splitting headache, making us nauseous and sensitive to light, etc. While those are definitely signs of a migraine, there is such a thing as a mild migraine which is not debilitating. Who knew?
Anyway, she told me that the migraine tends to be one-sided, and will manifest itself by pain in the temple or behind an eye, where as a regular headache could be across the entire forehead or a tension headache in the base of the neck and/or shoulders. A Migraine can also cause that dizzy "elevator" feeling, which is different than vertigo (room-spinning) feeling. This explained why I was having frequent "dizzy spells".
Her best diagnosis as the culprit for the migraines was a lack of sleep... ya think? So, for now, we are doing the following treatments and then I go back next month. If this doesn't work, we do more work-ups and more tests.
I take topomax each night before bed. This will prevent migraines the next day. The problem is that there are side-effects. The biggest two that seem to affect me are numbness and lack of focus. I get numbness and tingling in the tips of my fingers and occasionally in my lips and/or face. And During the day, I don't have the headaches, but I feel like I can't concentrate. She did warn me that it sort of induces like an ADHD effect. I have seen this to be true. I have a hard time focusing at work, and often can't remember what I was doing from one minute to the next, getting easily distracted, etc.
I take an Ambien before bed. The ambien helps me fall asleep. The problem is it doesn't KEEP me asleep. So, on the days I feel especially anxious, I take my Xanax, instead of the Ambien. But I can't take that every day as it is addicting.
So - there you have it... My recent medical adventure. Sorry, no horror stories on prodding or poking this time. Oh, and for those who are wondering, I have tried the "herbal remedies" such as the melatonin and chamomile, etc. They just don't work for me. Other people swear by herbs. For some reason, they have never really done anything except make me have to pee more frequently.
The exercising has helped in the sense that I get tired sooner and therefore try to get to bed before 11pm.
So, just don't be surprised if you come for a visit and you hear me laughing, screaming or crying in my sleep. My kids think it is funny, because when I am in my parasomnia stage, they can actually carry on a conversation and ask questions, to which I will answer. Ha ha... very funny!
oh...and I am in the clear for any type of tumors that they were looking for... whew! ;)