Thursday, November 21, 2013

Take a Holiday

Sometimes it can be a real struggle to manage Migraines with the stress that comes along with the holidays. The makers of Excedrin® Migraine wants to help some of my readers to enjoy your time with friends and family by sharing helpful hints and giving two of my readers the chance to win a $100 American Express Gift card. Plus you can enter a sweepstake on their Facebook page for a chance to win daily prizes and one nice grand prize.

We all look forward to the sights, smells, foods, drinks and merriment associated with the holiday season. However, sometimes the things we cherish the most about the holidays can trigger a Migraine.

This is one reason why the makers of Excedrin® Migraine invites you to "Take a Holiday from Headaches" with some helpful steps provided by Dr Keri Peterson, MD to try to help us avoid some of our triggers:

o Stick to your regular routine. Eating, sleeping and exercising as you do the rest of the year can help reduce the chances of getting a headache or Migraine.*

o Manage your time and plan ahead. Coordinate plans and responsibilities in advance with relatives and friends, compose set menus when hosting a party and try to purchase gifts early so you’re not rushing at the last minute.*

o Stay in ventilated spaces. As you browse through the mall, watch out for those scented candles or perfume if you are sensitive to smells.**

o Eat and drink in moderation. Eat, drink and be merry, but try not to consume sweets or alcoholic beverages in excess, as they could trigger Migraines.**

The holiday time can also mean lots of traveling so be sure you take your Migraine medications with you. This would include more than enough preventives for your time away, your abortive medication, rescue meds and OTCs like Excedrin® Migraine.

With all of the stresses that come with the holidays, the makers of Excedrin® are hoping to help alleviate some! Visit from now through January 1, 2014 to enter the "Take a Holiday from Headaches" sweepstakes, where you'll be eligible for a chance to win daily prizes including gift cards to popular retailers and one lucky grand prize of $25,000 to help shopping, travel and other holiday expenses which adds to the holiday stresses and possibly exasperate a headache or Migraine triggers. See official rules at

In addition to the sweepstakes, Excedrin® Migraine is offering two of my readers the chance to win a $100 American Express Gift card by leaving a comment on this post by midnight on December 24th. Please leave me a way to reach out to you if you are chosen as a winner. If you prefer, you can email me separately with your email address after posting your comment.

Good luck!!

* Can be sourced to Cleveland Clinic
** Can be sourced to

Friday, November 15, 2013

Smile for Migraines

I just heard about AmazonSmile. When you shop at at, Amazon will donate .05% of the eligible purchases to a charitable organization of your choice. It's the same Amazon we have used.

I searched some of the charities we can choose from to donate to and they include charities like the American Headache Foundation, National Headache Foundation or Migraine Research Foundation.  I looked for AHMA (American Headache and Migraine Foundation), but didn't see it on the list. I hope it will be added in the future.

It's so easy to choose one of these foundations. When selecting for a charity, you can search on the words 'Headache' or 'Migraine'.  That's what I did to find these charities!

The more we can do to help with research and education around Migraines, the better off we'll all be.  I haven't tried this new site yet, but can't wait until I have to go shopping again!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Purple Gold Star

I am so proud of my niece. Not only because she is going for her gold star in the Girl Scouts, but also because of what she plans to do for her project.

You see, she has a little sister who has had chronic Migraines and headaches for over five years. It's horrible to see her with head pain all of the time and she’s not even a teenager yet.

For her Gold Star project, she plans on doing something around Migraines. She wants to bring awareness around them and if possible, raise money while doing it. She has a few ideas around what she wants to do, but is very open to any helpful hints; things that have worked for you, your ideas or just your encouragement would help.

Last summer, her sisters (she has three younger sisters) and her set up a lemonade stand. They ended up raising an incredible amount of $50! Not only that, but they donated that money to the Migraine Research Foundation to help with research.  How awesome is that!!

I hope you are half as proud as I am of my niece and she, luckily, does not even show any signs of Migraine at this point.

What helpful hints do you have to offer for my niece?

Thank you!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Back-to-School Giveaway and Sweepstakes

In honor of back-to-school time, I will have a giveaway for you plus there is a “Help Your School Excel with Excedrin” sweepstakes to help your school. 

Can you believe it’s back-to-school time already?  Time flies by so quickly anymore.  What I can’t believe is that this is the first time in over twenty years that I am not getting ready for back-to-school!

Some of my friends have already started school, while others are getting ready to start right after Labor Day.  There is so much to do to get ready for school.  I can remember my biggest and most important back to school prep with my son.  He had just finished his first semester of college and was getting ready for his second.  The biggest difference here was that this was his first time going back to school after discovering he had Migraines. 

There was so much to prepare him for going back to school this time.  Given that he would not come home while at school, I not only had to make sure he had all of his school supplies, but had a good Migraine education base, knew how to help himself and had all the medications and supplements he would need for the semester.  Excedrin® Migraine works great for my son so I made sure this was included when he went back to school.

According to a recent survey by the makers of Excedrin®, about 41% of parents* and 43% of their children say getting themselves back on a schedule is at the top of their list of things that can cause them stress during the back to school season. 

This same survey also indicated parents’ feel that their children’s schools need new or upgraded supplies such as pencils, paper, computers, software and gym or sporting equipment.

In response to the survey results, the makers of Excedrin® launched the “Help Your School Excel with Excedrin” sweepstakes which is a fun way for five individuals to win $10,000 for their child’s school.  For more information about the sweepstakes, please visit the Excedrin Facebook page or see the paragraph below for the abbreviated sweepstakes rules. 

NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. Runs 8/15/13 at 9:00:00 AM CDT to 9/15/13 at 11:59:59 PM CDT. Must be 18+, a legal resident of the 50 U.S./D.C., & have a valid email address & Facebook account. See for rules. To enter for free, hand-print your full name, address, phone number, date of birth, email address, and name of school, and mail to: “Help Your School Excel With Excedrin® - Free to Enter”, PO Box 11387 South Bend, IN 46634-0387, postmarked by 9/16/13 and received by 9/23/13. Void where prohibited. Sponsor: Novartis Consumer Health, Inc.

The sweepstakes is a chance for you to help your school!

In keeping with the back-to-school theme, my September giveaway package is to help parents stay organized, hydrated and Migraine-free so you adjust to the new hectic school and activity schedules as you spend more time on-the-go. 

The giveaway for two of my readers includes:
• A 2013-14 academic planner and pen
• A magnetic memo board
• An aluminum tumbler

In order to enter the back-to-school giveaway, please post a comment (family friendly language and no advertisements) to my blog through Monday, September 9th.   I will need to be able to reach you if you are a winner so please feel free to email me your email address so I can contact you if you do win.  It would be great if you could share your back-to-school stories too.  Comments need to be submitted by Monday, September 9th to be eligible for the giveaway items.

Good luck with the giveaway and the “Help Your School Excel with Excedrin” sweepstakes!!

* Parents that can name at least one thing that might cause a headache during the back to school season

Disclosure:  “I am an Excedrin® Migraine brand ambassador. One iPod Touch to test the My Migraine Triggers mobile app was provided by Novartis Consumer Health, Inc., the makers of Excedrin® Migraine; my journey for a migraine-free experience is my own.”

Sunday, July 21, 2013

36 Million Migraine Campaign

Have you heard about the 36 Million Migraine Campaign? You may be one of the 36 million Americans with Migraine.  The American Migraine Foundation has started this new campaign program to raise $36 million.  The dismal truth is that's more than twice as much as the federal government allocates for Migraine research each year.

It was kicked off on a Today Show interview with Cindy McCain. Cindy is the wife of Senator John McCain. She has been a Migraineur for more than 20 years and is the official spokesperson for this campaign.

The campaign is looking to raise money to spend directly on better treatments and more research for a potential cure of Migraine disease. The goal is to raise $1 for each of the 36 million Americans with Migraines. In the interview, Cindy said; “People are afraid to talk about it (Migraine)”. “Their coworkers think they’re faking it.” “Their family thinks they’re faking it.” “We’re kind of the child that gets the leftovers in Migraine.”

Did you know that there is only one innovative drug that has been designed for Migraine in 50 years?

There are several ways you can help this campaign reach its goal. You can:
donate on-line
fill out a .pdf donation form
• text 36mill to 50555 now to donate $10 via your cell phone bill #36millmigraine

Don’t forget that some corporations have a matching donation program. You may want to check with your HR department about your company’s matching gift policy. If your company participates, you can obtain a matching gift form from your employer. Donations to the American Migraine Foundation are tax-deductible.

There are 8 core Message Points about the 36 Million Migraine Campaign and Migraines:
• The 36 Million Migraine Campaign is the first of its kind. It is dedicated to increasing our nation’s research investment in Migraine and raising public visibility.
• 36 Million Americans have Migraine which is one of the world’s most prevalent and disabling medical disorders.
• Migraine research is vastly underfunded by government, industry and the voluntary health sector. Can you believe it’s less than 1/20th of 1% of the National Institutes of Health budget? That’s only about $16 million a year which is dismal.
• Cindy McCain chairs the campaign and partnered with the American Migraine Foundation to lead the ambitious, much needed campaign.
• Migraine is not ‘just another headache’. It is trivialized by way too many people and has been around for at least the last 7,000 years.
• Even though Migraine can be a severely disabling and painful disease, people without Migraines view the disease as episodic and not usually fatal; therefore not a funding priority.
• I’m going to be a little paranoid here and say they were talking about me with this seventh core message – People with Migraine often ‘play down’ its pain and impact on their lives, fearing it will threaten their employability or reliability.
• Migraine is not taught in medical school. Oy. Most physicians received little to no training in Migraine which keeps it from being properly recognized as a serious medical condition and/or treated effectively.

These are all reasons why the 36 Million Migraine Campaign is so important. As the campaign says, together we will all be pioneers – because no one has ever tackled Migraine funding on a scale like this before.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Tracking Migraines; June Migraine Giveaway

I am planning a trip this coming November to Scottsdale Arizona. I already have flight reservations to the first annual American Headache and Migraine Association patient conference which will be held there after the doctors convention.  There will be different Migraine and headache topics given by some of the top Migraine doctors anywhere.  We can never get enough education around our Migraines and the conference has the added benefit of being able to network with our fellow Migraineurs – live and in person!  As long as I will be out there, I am also planning a bus tour to the Grand Canyon where I have never been.

Roughly 36 million people in the United States suffer from Migraines1.  Migraines are more than a headache and are typically associated with nausea, the pain is usually unilateral and there is typically sensitivity to light and sound. A Migraine can be severe and debilitating.

Along with the long travels on a plane and then bus tour, I will be surrounded by many of my Migraine triggers.  I will do my best to limit my exposure to them while trying to enjoy as much of the area as possible.  As my June Giveaway, Excedrin Migraine is giving away a few items which would be very helpful on a trip such as this one.  Here is a list of the giveaway items:
* Aero Snooze – A three-piece set which includes a TSA compliant carrying pouch with an Excedrin branded soft nylon eye mask and foam earplugs to help travelers drift to sleep.
* Memory Foam Travel Neck Pillow – This u-shaped travel pillow is made of memory foam to provide support that correctly aligns your neck and spine, while supporting your head in soft comfort.
* Tritan from Eastman Water Bottle w/straw – A 25-oz bottle is made of durable Tritan material, BPA free and meets FDA requirements.  This Excedrin branded bottle is impact and shatter resistant and does not retain odor and/or taste.

All of these items would help me on the trip I am planning; they could help calm down some of my know Migraine triggers.  Fatigue and stress can help exasperate Migraines in some people.  Migraine triggers vary from person to person and some of the triggers I am concerned with while on my trip will be:
* Diet – certain chemical in food and beverages can trigger Migraines. I will need to try eating more fresh and fewer processed foods on the trip.
* Hydration – It will be a long ride to the Grand Canyon and I have to stay hydrated or I will be on a long bus ride and not enjoying anything.
* Weather changes – I’m not sure what to expect weather wise on the trip, but it will be the beginning of winter and I have heard that Arizona is a good place for Migraineurs – I guess I’ll find out!
* Hormones – although it doesn’t affect all women, it’s not uncommon for women with Migraines to have increased Migraines before or during high hormone change times of the month when we have a drop in estrogen.

I am lucky in that at least I know some of my Migraine triggers. Novartis Consumer Health, Inc, the makers of Excedrin® Migraine found an overwhelming majority of women Migraineurs (93%) wish they knew more about their Migraine triggers while only 11% track their triggers regularly2.

June is Migraine Awareness Month.  Since the end of last year, I’ve been using the MyMigraineTriggersTM iPhone app which was developed by the makers of Excedrin® to help track Migraine triggers which includes different foods.  The app gathers various data into reports and charts that can be easily shared with our doctors.

Excedrin® Migraine is the #1 neurologist recommended over-the-counter brand for Migraine relief3.  It offers convenient and effective relief for Migraines for many of my nieces and was the first non-prescription medicine approved by the FDA to treat symptoms of a Migraine.

In order to be entered into the June Migraine giveaway, please post a comment to my blog by June 30th 2013.  I will need to be able to reach you if you are a winner so please feel free to email me your email address so I can contact you if you are a winner. Two winners will be selected. Good luck!

1American Headache Society, June 2012
2This research was conducted between September 7 and September 13, 2012 via an online survey of 1000 women in the US.  To qualify for this survey, respondents had to indicate that they experience Migraine headaches at least 4 to 6 times per year and have a smartphone or tablet device
3Anti Migraine data, Wolters Kluwer 2012

Disclosure:  “I am an Excedrin® Migraine brand ambassador. One iPod Touch to test the My Migraine Triggers mobile app was provided by Novartis Consumer Health, Inc., the makers of Excedrin® Migraine; my journey for a migraine-free experience is my own.”

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Migraine and Headache Awareness Month #11 – Twilight

Migraine and Headache Awareness Month #11 – Twilight:
What power of a vampire or werewolf would you like to have to cope with Migraine or another Headache Disorder?

I hope this doesn’t seem like a copout, but it doesn’t hurt to ask for whatever we need to help with our Migraines.  My ideal Twilight character doesn’t exist – yet, but I would want something similar to Renesmee.  Instead of a half-vampire/half-human character, I would want a half-vampire/half-werewolf.

My Migraines have gone both ways.  There are times I get the chills while other times I get the sweats.  Worst yet is when I get chills and sweats at the same time!  Wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to choose the half that was needed for a particular Migraine?  Or better yet, being able to have both halves at the same time.

June 2013, Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, is dedicated to Unmasking the Mystery of Chronic Headache Disorders.  The 2013 Migraine and Headache Awareness Month Blog Challenge is a project of


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Migraine and Headache Awareness Month #9 - Mama Mia: Money Money Money

Migraine and Headache Awareness Month #9 - Mama Mia: Money Money Money:
How does living with Migraine or another Headache Disorder impact your financial situation?

I tend to look at the tangible expenses of Migraine, but there are many other 'invisible' expenses that are associated with this invisible illness which I can easily overlook. 

I am lucky that my Migraine specialist is only a two and a half hour drive away.  This helps limit my additional expenses to a tank of gas, absurd city parking prices, and wear and tear on my car.  I can bring my meals with me for the day which helps keep down some invisible expenses.  I know many people who travel much further to see their specialists.  They have the additional expenses of hotels, meals, possibly flights and maybe even renting a car. 

Medications can be an insurance funhouse.  Most of the medications I have taken were at the Tier III level for my insurance company.  This basically means that insurance thinks there is cheaper preferred alternative medication which would help me the same as the medication my doctor prescribed for me.  It seems like insurance knows better than my doctor, who is a specialist in the field, and who actually examined me as opposed to this formulary that the insurance company uses to determine the 'right' medication and has never seen me.

There are other hidden expenses we have too.  The one I am struggling with the most right now is sunglasses.  This might not sound like much, but I am light sensitive to the point where artificial and natural light will trigger a Migraine.  I really need both indoor and outdoor sunglasses, but there is no way I can save up for two pairs right now. 

I have seen a company that offers transitional lenses with the FL-41 tint, but transitions would add a substantial amount onto the already high price of these sunglasses plus I’m not sure that they would transition dark enough.  I have mostly decided on the darker outdoor lenses, but have to wait until I have the funds.  It might sound easy to say ‘just get them now because it will help your Migraines now and save you more in the long run’, but it’s not that easy when talking about all of the other Migraine and family expenses.

This gives some examples of the invisible expenses around Migraines which should be considered too.  I’d love to hear about more invisible expenses as I’m sure there are many additional ones we are faced with regularly. 

June 2013, Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, is dedicated to Unmasking the Mystery of Chronic Headache Disorders.  The 2013 Migraine and Headache Awareness Month Blog Challenge is a project of


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Migraine and Headache Awareness Month #2 – Temple Grandin

For my own reasons, I’ve decided to use an alternate prompt for today’s blog challenge. I am writing about:
Migraine and Headache Awareness Month #2 - Temple Grandin: “A school bell sounded like a dentist drill going through my ears”: Many of us have wondered to ourselves, must you live so loudly? How do you cope with phonophobia (noise sensitivity)?

I know I’m not alone with my Migraine story as I have had Migraines since I was about six years old which was long before being officially diagnosed and really understanding that everyone didn’t have a headache every day like I did. Unfortunately, it took me over 35 years before I finally got that diagnosis.  There were a lot of experiences during that time which didn’t make much sense to me then, but I’ve been able to retrofit them and understand better as to what was going on with me.

One story that still surprises me around phonophobia had to do with the TV volume. I know my hearing is better than my husband’s and the kids liked things a little louder than normal, but I had to institute a volume control for the TV even when we were all watching a movie together in the living room.

The rule was that the TV could not be any louder than the 20 volume setting on it. Occasionally, they would sneak it up to 22 or 24, but I could usually tell. What I really didn’t understand was that some days I could tolerate a higher volume than on other days. The sound would go right through me like a dentist’s drill, but it wasn’t just a head thing so I figured I was just more sensitive to the TV level. It honestly made no sense to me and I never linked it to my every day headaches – after all, didn’t everyone have an achy head all of the time?

I don’t remember when this story finally clicked that it was related to my Migraines and that was why I was a little intolerant to something so menial, but we get a kick out of the story now. The good thing is that we all have been educated more around Migraines and they understand my intolerance to louder sound now as I do too.

Nowadays, it is very common for me to walk into a room and not only dim the lights a little, but also turn the volume down a smidgen. I do miss our family movie nights. They would be much easier to handle now with low lighting and sound.

June 2013, Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, is dedicated to Unmasking the Mystery of Chronic Headache Disorders. The 2013 Migraine and Headache Awareness Month Blog Challenge is a project of


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Migraine and Headache Awareness Month #1 - Phantom of the Opera

Migraine and Headache Awareness Month #1
- Phantom of the Opera:
What do you hide behind your Migraine/Headache Disorders mask?  What do you let people see?

The phantom behind the mask; an appearance, illusion or a transparent effect – that sounds like the Migraine phantom to me. 

Unfortunately, I am not always as transparent as I would like to be when I have a Migraine.  These are the times I try to hold strong - to get the job done; usually at my own cost.  I’ve gotten caught when my mask was ripped off by the triptan stupors and even stopped medications that were interfering with my ability to hide behind my mask.

But then, there are other times when my mask is a big happy, bubbly smile.  I can even surprise myself when I have this reaction because the thought behind this appearance is – where did that come from?  I’m minutes from exploding.  I am doing everything I can to keep myself together yet I have this illusion going on that says I haven’t felt this good in a long time.

June 2013, Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, is dedicated to Unmasking the Mystery of Chronic Headach Disorders. The 2013 Migraine and Headache Awareness Month Blog Challenge is a project of


Friday, May 24, 2013


.. is a day you absolutely can't miss. So what do you do when you're faced with many of your Migraine triggers?

Knowing that graduation started early in the morning on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, I didn't want to oversleep or something silly like that which would make me miss his graduation. So, I didn't sleep well. It was pouring and I mean pouring down rain. They had a huge tent set up since they always hold graduation outdoors. I sat next to the stinky plastic walls on the sides of the tent. People tend to over bath in their perfumes/colognes for these types of special events.

That all equates to too many triggers and my leg was still bruised and sensitive from a triptan shot a couple of days before. What do you do knowing you can't afford another Migraine?

Some of you have been around for a while; helped me along my Migraineous journey and gave me guidance with other family members as one by one they were diagnosed with Migraines. Can you believe how fast time goes by? My son graduated from college today. His official Migraine journey started during his first semester of college.

I still remember getting that sickening feeling when he described to me how often he was getting headaches and was sick at school. He was not the type of kid to get sick plus he still managed to play on the football team.

After much questioning, he started keeping a journal until he came home for his first winter break. I had that pit in my stomach about what he was experiencing. Trying not to get him (and me) worked up before his finals, I kept it low key until I could review his journal.

He started each day bright and early on the field. The class he missed most often because he was sick and couldn't keep his stomach in place was a three hour class at night that met once a week. Not the class you want to miss. Not to mention that it was an honors class where the president of the college was one of his professors.

Needless to say, he didn't pass his first class ever and ended up with a 2.5 GPA for his first semester; not like him at all. Honestly, I think that ended up being a good experience for him too. On break, he got a big education in Migraines. He read his first Migraine book - Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches written by Teri Robert. We talked the whole way on our drive back to school - going through the book and how he could help himself going forward. We figured his big triggers were dehydration and not getting enough sleep. That can be a tall order for a college kid and an athlete.

Three and a half years after that semester ended, he is now graduating. By avoiding his known triggers, taking care of himself and not waiting until the last minute to finish his assignments, he brought his GPA up enough so that he graduated Magda cum laude. He did retake the only class he ever didn't pass and ended up acing it. The class was still offered only one night a week, but he didn't take it during the football season and he prepared himself for the class by making sure he was well rested even though he still had early morning workouts.

I am so proud of how far he has come and that he managed to control his Migraines throughout his college career. That first semester was his toughest time with Migraines as he really didn't know what was going on with him or what to do. Education is so important in many different aspects. I pray that he continues down this successful path.

At graduation, I found myself holding my breath a lot whenever I got that first whiff of something offensive. Luckily that didn't go on very long as they opened up an air crack right next to where I was sitting. I didn't smell the plastic any longer and it helped blow other odors away.

Congratulations baby! Keep up the great work with everything you do.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Migraine Contest

It's that time of the year again!  It's time for the annual Migraine Poetry contest. Wait!  No experience is necessary.  You could have never written a poem before and still be a winner.

There are many ways to win, but the most important way you can win is that by writing a poem you can express your take around Migraines. It can be from your own experiences, things you have observed around Migraines, about being a caregiver - really anything to do with Migraines and Headaches.

There are a few ground rules which can be found on the Putting Our Heads Together Poetry  Contest page. Here are some of the basics:
  • Subject must be headache or Migraine related, but may be metaphoric or abstract.
  • Form: Rhymed, free-verse, any form of poetry, but not prose.
  • Length: Maximum of 60 lines, no more than 80 characters per line (including spaces and punctuation).
  • "Family-friendly" language required. No profanity or other potentially offensive language.
  • Deadline: Midnight, Friday, May 24, 2013. Submissions received after this date will be deleted.
  • All poems must be written in English.
  • Entries must be presented complete with spacing, punctuation, and correct spelling. Do not enter in all caps. We cannot retype entries.
  • ALL entries must be made via the online submission form. No exceptions.  
  • See Putting Our Heads Together for the complete set of rules
The winners will be announced and the poetry published on Putting Our Heads Together the first week of June, 2013, in observance of National Migraine and Headache Aware Month.

Join the fun!  Enter your poem by midnight, Friday, May 24, 2013.

Good luck!

Nutrition for Migraine Giveaway Winners

March was National Nutrition month. I had a giveaway for some great items to help us eat healthier.

The winners of these great items are: Cindy Aiton and PPerna.  Congratulations and enjoy eating healthier to help you Migraines.

Thank you to the makers of Excedrin® Migraine!

Disclosure: I am a paid Excedrin® Migraine blog ambassador. Compensation has been provided by Novartis Consumer Health, Inc., the makers of Excedrin® Migraine; my journey for a Migraine-free experience is my own.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

American Headache & Migraine Association

Did you know that there is a new Migraine patient organization that was formed under the American Headache Society (AHS)? The American Headache & Migraine Association - or better known as the AHMA.

The AHMA was launched last month and is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that is under the authorization of the American Headache Society which is a professional organization for physicians and allied health professionals.

Education, Awareness, Support and Engagement is the goal of the AHMA – to EASE the burden of Migraine and other Headache disorders.

You can join the AHMA organization too! By becoming involved with the AHMA in its early stages, you can help influence and direct the course of AHMA programming to help ensure they meet your needs and those of other members.

Right now, the awesome events and programs that are in place are:
  • A members-only support and information forum.  It can be accessed by joining the AHMA.
  • A free, members-only patient conference!
The conference is scheduled to be held on Sunday, November 24, 2013 in Scottsdale, Arizona. This conference is right after the AHS physicians’ conference which will allow some of these brightest and most caring physician experts present to us patients on a variety of topics that are important to Headache Disorder patients, their caregivers and loved ones. The AHMA is working very hard to not only give us access to these presentations, but to make the event as affordable as possible.

Many of the great leaders in the Migraine community are on the AHMA Board of Directors. Here is a list of the Board Members and I hope you’re as impressed as I am:

Chair: Teri Robert; Co-Chair: Dr Paul Winner
Chair Elect: Ellen Schnakenberg; Co-Chair Elect: Dr Bert Vargas
Vice Chair: Bob Wold; Co-Vice Chair: Dr Rob Nicholson
Treasurer: Julie Zellner McDonald; Co-Treasurer: Dr Rebecca Wells
Secretary: Diana Lee; Co-Secretary: Dr Rob Cowan

Membership dues for the AHMA are very reasonable. Here are the types of memberships available and the respective dues:
  • $15 per year:  Standard Membership
  • $250: Lifetime Membership
  • $0: Active Duty Military and Immediate Family; Disabled Veterans and Immediate Family
  • $25: Family Membership for two or more members in the same family at the same address
  • Looking to establish and set dues for a Lifetime Family Membership category is currently in the works.
Please visit EaseHeadacheMigraine page to join AHMA.

The AHMA is already blogging, tweeting and Facebooking! You can like or follow the AHMA (if you haven’t done so already) at:
  • Twitter:
  • Facebook:
  • AHMA Blog:
Have you ever hung out with other people who are just like you and have some of the same struggles you face all of the time? I’ve had the opportunity to do this on a couple of occasions and even attended another Migraine event where I was able to talk to some of the Migraine experts afterward. There is no experience like this and I still look back on these events as with very fond memories. In many ways, it was also very rejuvenating.

I actually met one of the Migraine experts, a couple of weeks ago, that will be presenting at the conference in Scottsdale this year. He was so witty and a pleasure to be around. I can’t wait to hear him speak at the conference if I can make it there!

There is so much for you to gain by joining the AHMA. You can make a difference.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Awareness Relaxation

I have been stressed out about so many things lately like so many of us are. It just does not seem to stop.

I needed something relaxing to do so I could try to step down a little. I have always enjoyed crocheting, but really haven't done it in a very long time. I just picked up my needle again today after many years.

I wanted to create purple Migraine awareness ribbons. My grandmother taught me to crochet, but I don't know how to read 'crochet' or anything like that so I typically crochet whatever comes instinctually for me.

I ended up making the purple ribbon above (actually a couple of these ribbons). I'll probably be making a whole bunch more and will decide what to do with them afterward. I have a few ideas, but I'll see what I end up doing with them. In the meantime, I will try to 'chillax' and crochet in between all of my stress that is...

What do you like to do to step it down? What do you think I should do with my ribbons?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Nutrition for Migraines; Giveaway

Did you know that March is the National Nutrition Month?  This is a good time to try to identify any food triggers you have and eat healthier.  There are many foods that can potentially trigger Migraines and it’s important to identify your food triggers. 

I went on a Migraine food trigger elimination diet a few years ago and can’t speak high enough about it.  I don’t think I would have found half the triggers I did without going on it.  By knowing what our food triggers are and eliminating these food triggers, can help reduce the frequency of our Migraines.

My elimination diet cut my Migraines down by at least half while I was on it.  The elimination diet also forced me to eat healthier which is something I still need to be cognizant of doing.

Last year, I ended up using the MyMigraineTriggersTM app, developed by the makers of Excedrin® to track my Migraines and try to identify additional triggers.  I also added foods I suspected to the section ‘Did you consume any of the following?’ of the app which will gather my data into reports and charts that I can easily share with my doctor.  I actually just added another food to this app yesterday to track!

I will be having a few giveaways this year and my first giveaway is around items that can help us with getting our nutrition.  Here are the items I will be giving away this month:

The Veggie-Peel – what I found fascinating about this peeler is that it has a chamber that will hold peels as it is used.  Since my last medication change, I’ve had horrible munchies so I’ve been trying to eat more vegetables.  I can shave carrots with this peeler and all of the shavings are held in this chamber until I am done!

Avo Saver – this gadget will help reduce a cut avocado’s exposure to air which will greatly slow the oxidization process so the avocado half will last longer.

Dressing Emulsifier – One of the food triggers I found while on my elimination diet was soy.  If you’ve ever looked at the ingredients that go into salad dressings in the store, it is extremely difficult to find a dressing that does not contain soy.  Even most of the ‘olive oil’ dressings will have soy!  The Emulstir will help mix up and store delicious salad dressings.  You would fill it with oil (a non-trigger oil!), vinegar (also a non-trigger vinegar!) and whatever spices/herbs you want.  The squeeze handle makes it easy to blend.

Emson Two Tier Microwave Steamer Food Cooker – Steamed vegetables will retain more vitamins and nutrients than other means of cooking veggies.  This gadget allows you to cook/steam two dishes at once!

There will be two winners for this ‘nutritional’ giveaway!  By entering a comment on this post or emailing me directly at migrainepuppet at gmail dot com, you will be entered into a drawing to receive one of two great giveaways which include the Veggie-Peel, Avo Saver, Dressing Emulsifier and Emson Two Tier Microwave Steamer Food Cooker described above.  The winners will be announced in April.

Registered dietitian Kerri Gans offered some valuable information about potential Migraine food triggers:

• There are many foods and drinks that can trigger Migraines and it’s important for folks to determine which foods are potential Migraine triggers for them.  By tracking our triggers, we can avoid them which can minimize our Migraine attacks.

• Tyramine is a common trigger that is found naturally in some foods like aged cheese and red wine.  It’s formed from the breakdown of protein as foods age.  A good rule of thumb is that the longer a high-protein food ages, the higher the tyramine content.

• Alcohol increases blood flow to the brain which can trigger Migraines and headaches.

• There are other potential common Migraine triggers which include artificial sweeteners (such as aspartame) chocolate, citrus fruits, coffee or tea, tannins (like red-skinned apples or pears) caffeinated soda, foods that contain MSG and nuts.

• Foods rich in magnesium, such as kale and broccoli, support healthy brain function.  Try swapping kale for romaine in your salad to increase your magnesium intake.

I wish you the best of luck if you enter this giveaway – it’s easy - either add a comment to this post or email me.

Excedrin® Migraine is the #1 neurologist recommended over-the counter brand for Migraine relief. It offers convenient and effective relief for Migraines and was the first non-prescription medicine approved by the FDA to treat all the symptoms of a Migraine.

Disclosure: I am a paid Excedrin® Migraine blog ambassador. Compensation has been provided by Novartis Consumer Health, Inc., the makers of Excedrin® Migraine; my journey for a Migraine-free experience is my own.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

One Bite

There are times when we become so overwhelmed with everything that is going on in our lives that we don't know where to turn or what to do next.  This definitely does not help us cope with our Migraines.  That was me last year.

Although I had always preached it and even used it in the past as a general question to my team at work, I needed a friend to remind me of what I had to do to get through a period in my life when too many big things were going on at the same time. 

"How do you eat an elephant?"  That question said enough for me to take that much needed step back to look at the bigger picture of everything so I could start moving forward again.

If you had to eat an elephant, it would immediately seem so overwhelming to see this big obstacle(s) in front of you where so many thoughts and stresses would be running through you and it would seem like an impossible task for you to handle which definitely does not help anyone, but especially you and your Migraines.  My elephant was too big of an object for me to see around which made it difficult to move forward.  An elephant doesn't help when trying to regain some semblance of control over your Migraines.

The best way to eat an elephant is "one bite at a time". You need to break everything down into smaller, more manageable pieces or make them more bite sized. It's much less stressful this way and although stress is not a trigger, it can help exasperate your Migraine triggers or increase an existing Migraine - neither of which any of us need. 

My friend's little reminder helped me to refocus my elephant; to put my many obstacles back into perspective and then manageable pieces where I was able to start progressing again.

One bite at a time. Don't try to swallow too much at one time; break it up.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Volleyball Grew Wings

I've been trying to get out  a little more this year by doing some of the things I enjoy. It haven't been able to play much this season, but I have managed to get out a few times.

Volleyball can be a tough sport for Migraineurs especially if it is indoors or even outdoors and the lights or sun are right above for us to enjoy every time we look up - which is almost every play. I've been trying to track volleyball and its effects on my Migraines. So far, the two don't seem to be getting along very well even though I wear a hat and try to take other preventative measures when I do play.

The last time I did get out was a little different; a new experience. As I was playing, sometimes the ball grew wings and had the effect of looking like it was being jet propelled to the other side of the court. OK, not quite the wings that 'normal' people would envision, but the aura kind that were on either side of the ball and trailed away as the ball kept flying.

Is it bad to say that I thought it was really cool looking?  Of course it wasn't so neat afterwards, but this is where I still get kind of confused or maybe perturbed is a better word of how I feel.

Will I ever be able to play the sports I have always enjoyed doing?  I know I should probably stop something's, but the stubborn side of me doesn't want to give Migraine another win.

I am tired of Migraine taking all of these bits and pieces of normalcy. I need to get away from the humdrum of Migraineur living. I need to get out, be with my friends and enjoy the little things life has to offer while getting a little bit of exercise.

What have you found that you can do where the beast will not follow you?  Have you been able to keep the Migraine away during and/or after an activity that it usually shows up for?  What are your secrets?  Are you stubborn too, where you don't want Migraine to take another part of your life away?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Still Trying Biofeedback for Migraines

After everything I went through with the first person I saw for biofeedback, I don’t think many people would have blamed me if I never went back again to try to learn these techniques.

I last left off where my biofeedback person blew up at me three times during my last visit and I honestly didn’t intentionally push his buttons, but I also had had enough and finally called him on things he was saying.

He would claim he could cure Migraines. I let him know there was no cure for Migraines; that it is a genetic neurological disease with triggers that can start a Migraine occurrence. Next he was upset that I had a higher Migraine earlier in the day and he would rather I come into his office with a raging Migraine so he could cure me. He also really lost his cool as he accused me of understating my Migraine intensity levels and got very serious as he was telling me that maybe my wires were really crossed and that I probably could pass a lie detector test.

As far as understating my Migraines, I feel I am consistent for me from one Migraine to another as far as I record them. I also told him that I don’t understand how someone could drive to his office with an intense Migraine going on and how I’ve seen many people claim to have a level 10 Migraine while playing around on the internet. It’s downright dangerous to drive with a rampant Migraine! He was also very serious when he agreed that I might be an anomaly and that maybe my wires really were crossed because I would warm while in sympathetic (fight) mode.

I really didn’t want to give up on biofeedback because of this one incompetent therapist. It took me a while, but I had finally found somebody else to try. It was difficult to find her as every place I called said that they either no longer did biofeedback or that they had too long of a waiting list. One of these former biofeedbackist, gave me the name of someone who was trying to return to practice after a long hiatus due to a bad injury she sustained.

I had talked to this therapist on the phone a few times and she really seemed like she was going to be good. Since she was out of practice for a while, we also negotiated a rate that was about a third of what she said she normally charged.

Do you believe in “it’s a small world”?

As we were talking during our first session, she asked questions around my first experience with biofeedback. It started off simply and she thought this therapist did not do a lot of things correctly. Although the two of them were over thirty miles apart and in opposite directions from my house, it turns out she taught him how to do biofeedback, she certified him and they used to travel together to different conventions! You can only imagine how I felt after hearing that bombshell!

I started getting very uncomfortable with her as she was making comments about him. In one way I was relieved that he was the problem with our sessions, but I also felt funny about things she said. It made me question the confidentiality of our sessions. She went on to say that she knew he was having financial and personal issues and had hoped he was getting better. She continued that he had really been very promising in the field when he started and she continued to commiserate about him.

Personally, I felt if she would say these things about my prior therapist to me and about an old friend of hers at that, I wasn’t sure what kind of confidentiality I could expect; not that I wasn’t going to say anything that mattered, but I was going to be very guarded from that point on. I just wanted to learn biofeedback techniques, is that too much to ask?

She said she was a Migraineur too and had just gone through a very painful accident and was trying to get back on her professional feet. During some of our sessions, she would use very outdated terms and gave me some type of a headache test that had about seventy-five questions on it. She was going to tell me the type of headaches I experience.

It didn’t go very well as when I got to a question I told her I didn’t experience those symptoms, but I knew it was going to be linked to TMJ which I have. She got a little combative and insisted on how I know I have TMJ as she now suffers from severe TMJ due to her accident. Again, I swear I didn’t do anything to provoke this engagement.

She really was a nice lady; just out of practice for too long. I felt bad as she even bought updated software to use for our sessions and often commented on how she was either practicing on herself or a friend before I got there. I almost feel like an elitist when I found she bumbled around too much for my comfort and even literally crossed her sensor wires during some tests.

These sessions were supposed to continue after my first round of Botox. I never made another appointment with her as I felt I was not going to get my monies worth out of her either.

I will tell you about my third therapist next time, but during the first session with biofeedback therapist number three, I let her know straight up that she was my last chance. If she could not help me learn biofeedback techniques, I was not going to pursue it any longer even though I felt there could be some value after learning it. I was also very candid about Migraines not having a cure and intentionally put her through the ringer a little bit with my questioning. How do you think these sessions faired?

I really don’t think biofeedback should be as stressful as I had experienced. Have you had unreasonable or unusual biofeedback sessions? My last double session with therapist three is tomorrow…

Sunday, January 13, 2013

New Year, New Hopes

I don't know about you, but sometimes I wonder if it's easier for us to manage head pain than when we have pain someplace else.  Since the end of last year, I've had a few other pain areas and I find myself where I would rather have the headache of a Migraine than these other discomforts.

(Stop, they're knees!)

I was so glad that last year finally made it into the history books and was looking forward to a new beginning that only the New Year could bring forth.  Last year was a very tough year with Migraines and the health of everyone in my family. We each had our own medical experiences, we met our insurance deductibles in January and our max out of pocket expenses were met during the summer.

Last year ended with a bang when I found I needed to have a root canal right after Christmas and the New Year has started off with its own lumps and bumps.

The good news for last year is that I tried Botox for my chronic Migraines and I am still hopeful that it is helping.   My doctor would like to see me wean off all of my other preventatives which would be great if I can do that as the side effects of Botox are nothing like the side effects of my other medications.

Although I don't think my second round of Botox worked as well as my first and third treatments, my doctor said that sometimes you can get an ineffective batch from the pharmacy.  Botox gives me more mental clarity than I get from my other preventatives. Does your doctor have the same goal if you are using Botox?

One week into this year and things already seem a little reminiscent of last January.  My son has already had to go to the orthopedic doctor due to a football injury to his knee. Can you believe that it happened during a flag football game?  The picture above is an xray of my son's knees. You can see how much bigger the one knee is as compared to his boney looking knee. My husband still finds himself with various new issues cropping up since his ordeal last summer and has already needed some emergency care for himself.

And now as my mouth and head conditions have started to settle down in my crazy life, I find myself in the middle of yet another health issue.  Probably the worst part is that I needed to go doctor hunting. I hate looking for a new doctor, but I was between doctors and wasn't really pursuing a new one since I had been trying to get my Migraines under control. I'll also use the poor excuse that I was just too busy with other things, but I know we still need to take care of our whole selves.

I have to say that the doctor I was able to obtain is awesome and very pleasant to work with.  After the exam, he was even able to make an appointment for me to have two tests done in another location on that same day and to see another specialist for this coming week.  It is so nice to have good doctors where I didn't need to look for these other doctors myself.

I am still hopeful that it will be nothing too serious. I've read that some of my symptoms are actually good signs plus denial is the only way I know I can deal with the situation.  Heck, that's still how I deal with my Migraines most of the time! I'll find out more in a few days and can't wait to get some relief from the increasing pain.

In many ways I find it so much easier to handle head pain than other areas even though it can make it more difficult to think and even talk clearly. Any pain can distract us from our task at hand, but I think we have already come up with our own coping skills with our Migraines since we've had years of practice.

Do you find it easier to deal with the pains in your head or with pains that you have elsewhere?