Sunday, June 24, 2012

Let's Do the Monster Mash

Migraine Awareness Month #12: "Let's Do the Monster Mash!" Choose a movie monster that reminds you of your Migraines and tell us why.

This is another challenge that I started in the past and finished today. I am stretching this a bit and hope I can make the connection to my movie monster.

My movie monster is Mommie Dearest. I’m really looking at the “wire hanger” scene and don’t want you to get the wrong impression either. I don’t feel like I’m a bad mom and have never beaten my boys with a wire hanger or anything like that.

I chose this “monster” because sometimes I feel like Migraines can make me want to act like the mad monster person like Mommie Dearest is portrayed as in the movie. I don’t know anything about the real “mommie dearest” so I really can’t speak to whether she was a true monster or not.

In reality, I couldn’t imagine screaming at the top of my lungs like that with a Migraine (or even without one) as I think my head would explode although theoretically, it seems like it would be a nice way to get all of that built up frustration from having a Migraine out in the monstrous way of screaming and throwing things (without a child in the area) around.

I can actually imagine screaming things (quietly) at my offensive trigger or aggravating situation like:

No more fluorescents lights! What are fluorescent bulbs doing in this house when I’ve told you no fluorescents lights ever! What are fluorescent bulbs doing in this house! Answer me!  We’ll see how many fluorescent bulbs you have in this house!  Why? Why?  You live in the most beautiful house in Puppettowne and you don't care that it will be ruined by fluorescent lights!  You don't care!

No more huge barometric changes! ...
No more bathing in scents! ...
No more air horns! ...
No more doctors that don’t listen! ...
No more ERs that think we’re drug seekers! ...

I think I feel better screaming that out on paper. I’m sure you can think of my more shout outs for your “Mommie Dearest Monster”.

National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by National Headache Foundation. The Blogger's Challenge is initiated by

Migraine Awareness Month #24: Dear Genie

Migraine Awareness Month #24: "Dear Genie."  Put together a wish list for your life.

I’m not going to shoot too far into the stars or anything outrageous like that and make a long wish list. My main little wish would be a cure for Migraines.

Since we would still need to see doctors to receive this cure, I would also wish for doctors and a healthcare system that understood Migraines. Someone and someplace we could go to, to talk intelligently about Migraines until we could get our cure from Migraine.

National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by National Headache Foundation. The Blogger's Challenge is initiated by

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Name That Tune

Migraine Awareness Month Blogging Challenge #6: "Name That Tune!"

Choose a theme song for Migraine disease or your headache disorder. See if you can find a YouTube video of it for your blog post

I had started writing some of the challenges earlier, but couldn’t finish or post them. I’m posting the Migraine Awareness Name That Tune challenge today.

I chose the chorus to Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones:

I can't get no satisfaction
I can't get no satisfaction
'Cause I try and I try and I try and I try
I can't get no, I can't get no

How many ___*_____ have we tried and gotten no satisfaction?
*rescue meds
*ER visits
*steroid packs

How many people have we tried educating and gotten no satisfaction?
How many people have we tried to get to listen to us with no satisfaction?
How many ___**_____ and gotten no satisfaction?
**fill in the blank

Can you fill in the blank?  There are so many ways we have gotten no satisfaction with our Migraines and our attempts to keep making our lives better.  But, we have to keep trying ...

National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by National Headache Foundation.  The Blogger's Challenge is initiated by

(I'm just focusing on the chorus)

Friday, June 22, 2012

LED Testing

I feel like I keep attempting different things to try to help with my Migraines. The last thing that I tried was to finally test the LED bulbs.

I’ve been following LED bulbs since about 2008 when I first found out about them and even signed a petition then when the government decided to mandate the phasing out of incandescent light bulbs. I already knew that I did not react well to CFL bulbs which were the only viable alternative.

LEDs have been cost prohibitive for years. I have been watching the prices drop. Week after week while shopping at the supermarket, I would check the supermarket shelves to see if they stocked them there yet.

Two weeks ago they were finally in the supermarket plus they were marked way down if you used your super shopping card. It put it into a reasonable price range to finally try an LED bulb. I couldn’t wait to get home, rip the bulb out of the package and put the bulb into a socket.

I couldn’t believe it! In less than fifteen minutes, my whole face went numb and I was very nauseous. I usually just have half of my face go numb after being exposed to the CFL bulbs. I wasn’t expecting to have any reaction as LED bulbs aren’t supposed to have any type of a flicker. I don't know why the reaction.

I guess it's time to go back to the drawing board with light bulbs. In the meantime, I will continue to make plans with the old incandescent bulbs.

Have you tried the LED bulbs? How did you make out with them? Did you have any reactions?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Migraine Behavior

I still say that sports is a very good way to communicate to some people about Migraines and what it’s all about. There was another example that went out today that really got some conversation and education going on at my work today.

We have a guy at work who doesn’t sit far from my desk. He was completely amazed by the article he was reading which was about the Texas Rangers announcer Dave Barnett. While Dave was announcing a televised game recently, he started saying something about how the go-ahead run was at "fifth" (base) and rambled on about a "botched robbery" and something about a "henchman."

The guy at work couldn’t believe that a Migraine could be behind this kind of behavior. Of course I could smell the opportunity for a little education!

It was nice in that he was really receptive and the lady right across from him was able to add in valuable information as well. We also talked about and reminded him of the episode that happened to Serene Branson during the 2011 Grammys while she was on air. Aphasia can happen during the Aura phase of a Migraine where we can have problems finding the right words during an attack.

This article on the sports announcer sparked a lot more conversation around other symptoms of a Migraine attack. He kept saying he couldn’t believe this was all part of a Migraine that he thought a Migraine was someone with a very bad headache who had to go to a dark room to get better.

With a little twist on the article One Person with Migraines Can Make a Difference, knowing this sports guy at work, he will be telling other people he knows, including other sports nuts, about what he learned today and basically because he still won’t be able to get over that he didn’t know that Migraines can make someone talk funny and all the other ways that Migraines affect the brain and other systems in the body.

We need to get the word out any way we can; even if it’s one person at a time.  This conversation never would have occurred if this sports guy did not read about this visible sign of a Migraine Attack in a sports section on the internet.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Botox Bantering

It’s been almost two weeks since I had my first Botox treatments. The experience has been very different than I expected.

The office visit was unremarkable. It was actually a very quick visit and probably one of the fastest I’ve had in a very long time. We knew if the Botox was approved that this would be the course of action I would receive this appointment.

The needles were very small. Throughout the Botox shots, the doctor and I bantered nonsense back and forth. I even told him that this bantering was supposed to keep my mind off of the process he was doing. He chuckled. To me, the shots were nothing especially since when I was younger, I was stung by more bees at one time than the number of shots of Botox I got.

The first side effect I had went away pretty quickly. My front teeth and the tip of my tongue went a little numb. That never returned after the first day. I have been getting more ice pick headaches; I really haven't had any in a very long time before this treatment.

The biggest side effect I’ve gotten is neck and shoulder pain. I felt like my neck ran a marathon. I don’t think it had to do with the actual shots as my forehead and the sides of my head didn’t bother me like this at all. Typically your neck will receive about ten different shots and the shoulders will get about six; three on each side. The injected muscles are supposed to no longer contract or spasm which is one of the ways Botox is supposed to work.

My neck was fine for the first couple of days, but after that, the muscles were like they were sore from not being used in a while; kind of like your muscles feel at the beginning a sports season when you first start working out again. I don’t know if it was different muscles taking over for the ones that no longer contract, but that’s what it felt like to me.

The other weird sensation I had is that I my forehead felt like it was "after" sunburn. What I mean by that is it didn’t hurt like sunburn, but like after you have sunburn, your skin feels kind of funny and feels like it moves funky too. It kind of feels like it’s not really your skin, but it is. I hope that makes sense. I'm just glad my eyebrows still move! :^) The sore neck and "after" sunburn forehead feelings have mostly gone away.

It’s still a little early to tell how it's going to effect my Migraines and it’s only the first round of Botox. I want to remain optimistic that it will help. I really hope so.

More to come…

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Migraine Awareness Month #16: Lead, follow, or get out of the way

Migraine Awareness Month #16: "Lead, follow, or get out of the way." Which role fits you and why?

Honestly, I have to say I fit all three roles. I once had a boss who gave me a cartoon that sums me up. It was one of those Maxine cartoons – that funny old lady cartoon.

It said something like this: “Do not walk in front of me for I may not follow. Do not walk behind me for I may not lead. Just leave me alone.”

This was given to me way before I knew my Migraines were actually Migraines, but I think it explains a lot about me and my Migraines. Depending on what stage my Migraine is at, I may lead, I may follow or I may be beside you. If the Migraine is really bad, chances are I want to just be left alone.

I think my blog shows examples of the different roles I have fit into along my journey. There are times I am leading the way with a fresh idea or leading someone new down a path to follow to help them. If I come across great leaders, ideas, plans, articles or documents, I will follow them in an attempt to help myself and share to help others.

My favorite part is when we can all work together to accomplish a goal or as Steven Covey would call it in his sixth habit, synergy. This is the habit of teamwork and finding new solutions to old problems together. Where people bring all of their experience and expertise to the table and collectively the results will fare better. Although I do more ‘get out of my way’ lately, luckily there are a lot of people around here who have good synergy and are always looking for more people to jump in with great ideas.

National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by National Headache Foundation. The Blogger's Challenge is initiated by

Monday, June 11, 2012

Migraine Awareness Month #11: Say What

Migraine Awareness Month #11: "Say What?!" What's the most ridiculous thing ever said to you about Migraines, who said it, and under what circumstances?

There are so many different comments we’ve all heard, but I’ve decided to go the doctor route on this one. It was this doctor’s way of trying to push me into retrying a medication for the THIRD time - on my first and last visit with him.

Instead of saying anything of any intelligence to me after hearing my hesitation about retrying a medication, the doctor said “You can keep doing what you're doing or retry this medication.” Say what?!

First of all, if I wanted to “keep doing what I was doing,” I would have stayed with my last incompetent doctor and not sought him out.

Second of all, if the medication didn’t work the first two times at the exact same dosage, why would it work now with no other changes?

Third of all, at that point in my Migraine treatment, I had only tried a couple of different medications; not even enough to count on one full hand. Why in pray tell would he be going back to a medication that has already failed not once, but twice before.


National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by National Headache Foundation. The Blogger's Challenge is initiated by

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Migraine Awareness Month #10: Name the Spokesperson

Migraine Awareness Month #10: Name the Spokesperson. Choose any celebrity to represent Migraine (whether they have Migraine or not) who would it be and why?

I have to go down the sports path. I have been in contact with a lot of idiot coaches who feign to understand all of this ‘head’ stuff. I think they need to keep getting knocked by professional athletes who seem to truly get it.

My choice is Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team. He is one of the best hockey players in the NHL and was taken out of play for an extended period of time due to a concussion.

Crosby received his concussion in January 2011 and did not return for the rest of that season and actually didn’t end up returning until late the following season. After playing in his first seven games, some of his concussion symptoms returned so he took himself out again until he was completely symptom free again.

To give you an idea of his hockey worth around this time, he set an NHL record during the season he was taken out for having the most points for an NHL team in the fewest amount of games played. He also scored the winning goal in the 2010 Olympics in overtime to give Canada the gold medal win. He truly understands the value of making sure your head is completely healed from its injury before returning to play.

Sidney Crosby had been through the battles of a lot of people giving him pressure to return to play when he knew what he needed to do for his health. I think Sidney Crosby would be a great spokesperson for concussions.

National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by National Headache Foundation. The Blogger's Challenge is initiated by

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Migraine Awareness Month #9: Day Dream Believer

Migraine Awareness Month #9: "Day Dream Believer." Describe your dream day - without a Migraine to hold you back.

I would have to be outside on a bright sunshiny day with my boys and family. No hats or sunglasses would be a rule for the day too. I would have to be free to enjoy the beautiful day – no barriers.

Of course there would have to be the outdoor barbeque and games. Exertion and alcohol wouldn’t be a problem on any front. No, I still wouldn’t overdo the booze as I would want to remember every minute of my dream day.

I think the bottom line is I want to be free to eat, drink, play and be outside to appreciate a nice day without any head worries while enjoying friends and family.

National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by National Headache Foundation. The Blogger's Challenge is initiated by

Migraine Awareness Month #8: Let there be light

Migraine Awareness Month #8: "Let there be light." Most Migraineurs have issues with light sensitivity. What do you do to cope with it?

Yes, you could say I have issues with light and have had many people joke about my “cave” at work. I really don’t mind as I tease along with them and know I couldn’t survive at work without my workplace accommodations. Besides, my desk is cave like; just the way I like it!

I have done a few different things to try to cope with the lights. Many of the things I have tried, I have gotten bizarre reactions from people, but I really didn’t care because it was really a huge help for me.

Here are some of the things I have done to help or try to help me:

* Tinted my car windows.   Laws do vary by state so I did need to get a medical exemption from my state.
* I have light accommodations at work where they put these marvelous light sleeves on the fluorescent lights over my desk.
* I can wear hats at work as an accommodation.  This might not sound like much, but my company has a policy against wearing hats. Hats have been my savior in many situations.
* I have called hotels to see if they could switch their CFL light bulbs to the incandescent bulbs. I have also brought incandescent bulbs with me in my car and even took them with me on an airplane!
* The brightness on my computer screens are set as low as I can manage it, all of my backgrounds have been changed to be an off white color and I have a filter on my monitor.
* I have a small rolled up towel that I put behind the rearview mirror in my car. This blocks the sun from coming directly through between the two visors of the front windshield into me.
* I use a knee pad at the end of the driver’s side visor when I have it against the driver’s side window. This blocks the light at the end of a short visor.
* I’ve gone church hopping to try to find the right church I could sit in. I actually ended up back at my church in a ‘votive’ room wearing a hat in mass every week.

Oh boy, I hadn’t realized how many alterations I have made because of lighting and I’m sure I’ve tried more that I didn’t even mention here.  I'm always willing to try more!  Anyway, this is the way I have coped with the lights.

National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by National Headache Foundation. The Blogger's Challenge is initiated by

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Migraine Awareness Month #2: Tea for Two

Migraine Awareness Month #2: Tea for Two. If you could invite someone (any living person) to your home for tea for the purpose of explaining Migraine disease to them so they would truly understand it, who would it be and why?

This one was hard for me to come up with someone to invite to tea. I could think of so many different people. Many who believe they understand, too many in the healthcare profession and some who are doing the best they can while still trying to learn about Migraines. I also went down the celebrity path as they could spread the word to a large amount of people. I ended up having tea with someone I didn’t even expect.  Me.

The person I seem to have the most problems with right now is me. I am not always a good listener and tend to push other people away from helping me. I can be too independent sometimes for my own good.

Although I have gotten better, I still have a hard time with the work/take care of myself balance of Migraine management. This year has brought on tougher to manage Migraines; I need to listen to me.  I have a lot to teach me about how Migraines can be a progressive disease.  I must also let those around me, who want to help, help me.  I can't be superwoman during a Migraine attack.

We have a lot to talk about!  I think I can survive this conversation, on both ends, with myself over tea.

National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by National Headache Foundation. The Blogger's Challenge is initiated by

Migraine Awareness Month #1: Your First for the First

June is Migraine Awareness Month to help make Migraines more visible which was initiated by the National Headache Foundation.

There is a blogging challenge for the month to blog every day of the month on a prompt for the day to bring on each of our viewpoints on the topic. If you get stuck on a particular topic, there are a few extra topics at the bottom of the list which can be used as substitute topics. Please join if or when you can!

I will be intermittently participating in the Migraine Awareness Month Blogging Challenge in June.

The first challenge is:  Migraine Awareness Month #1: Your First for the First. Share the story of your first Migraine, what it was like, if you knew what it was, what you did, how you felt.

I first went to the doctor for head pain when I was around six years old. I can still remember the doctor telling my mother and me, “They’re just headaches. There’s nothing we can do about them.”

For me, that put my coping mechanisms into overdrive to which I was not officially diagnosed with Migraines until about thirty-seven years later after I had an incident at work which forced me to look into these terrible just headaches. I could also remember many times before this episode when I would squeeze my head trying to make the just headache pain go down.

Because these headaches were starting to affect my work and this incident actually got me called into my boss’ office (for the first time ever), I remained motivated enough to research Migraines after my headache had calmed down a few days later.

It was amazing to read about Migraines. It was like reading about me. I didn’t really know anyone who had headaches all of the time or had excruciating head pain at times. It was so eye opening. In my amazement, I briefly mentioned to my boss that I thought I had Migraines.  (I didn't know that Migraines had a stigma attached to them!)

That was the best thing I could have done. He immediately started talking to me about Migraines. His wife has Migraines and actually took medication to try to stop them from occurring! Wow, I really had a lot to learn.

I still call my boss my first Migraine teacher and don’t know where I would be if he didn’t give me that personal foundation to my Migraine education. This is a big reason why education is important to me as I don't want others to feel so alone or not know what's going on with themselves.

National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation. The Blogger's Challenge is initiated by