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