Month: September 2014

My anti-migraine potion is now complete.

Butterbur.

When I went to pick up a new bottle of Feverfew today, they had Butterbur in stock.  This was the only thing missing from what I had researched and wanted to try to prevent and/or relieve my migraines.  It is now going to be added to my daily herbal supplement and green smoothie anti-migraine regimen.

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This is what the back of the bottle reads:

‘Modern scientific studies have demonstrated that Butterbur supports healthy blood flow to the brain and healthy neurological function.  Petasins, the active constituents in Butterbur, have been shown to play a role in minimizing the frequency and severity of neurological discomfort triggered by bright lights and stress that occasionally occurs in healthy individuals.’

We’ll see.  I’m adding it to what I started back in early August.  It’s been 55 days and I’ve had two migraines in comparison to the two per week that got me started on this journey.  Not sure what specifically to credit, but I’m sticking to it.

Below is a link to my first post which outlines the herbal supplements and migraine smoothie that seems to be working for me!

https://youcantarguewithcrazy.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/winning-charlie-sheen-reference-of-course-the-endless-game-of-migraines-for-this-quarter-at-least/

Angel of Migraines

 

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Bad Mood Mama

Sometimes I feel guilty about being in a bad mood.  Not that I’m perfect and they aren’t supposed to happen, but when no one I’m around caused it (particularly my husband and kids), I feel guilty about my bad mood.

I’ve seen this twice in the last 24 hours, it seems fitting:

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I’m not upset with my husband, and my kids are being perfect because it’s day 1 of a 2 week break from school.  I’m just in a shitty-ass mood (I warned you on my first post, I do swear sometimes, but I’ll keep this PG-13).

A dear friend of mine became a widow at an unimaginable young age, shifting the parenting of 3 very young children from two parents to one.  Through our sometimes laughed about astronomical amount of hours spent talking, she told me once that she missed having someone to fight with.  To set the record straight, she and her husband were not a married couple who fought regularly, they had a great relationship.  She just missed having someone to banter with, to be pissed off with, because it’s not like she could do that with the kids.  I get that.  My good friend has recently remarried, and I was fortunate to have their wedding at my home.  It was beautiful.  I believe she is the most resilient person I have ever met.

As mentioned, the ‘someone to fight with’, I get that.  I wish that I could put some boxing gloves on during a bad mood and give my husband a nod and say ’10 minutes in the ring’, no feelings attached, head out to the barn, and let the punches fly.  Get that unaccounted for aggression out.  Unfortunately, as much as I could try and explain the reasoning behind boxing my husband is not anger related, I don’t think the amount of therapy my kids may need after witnessing that is in our pocket range.

So, I went for a long bike ride.  Sweating while listening to some Van Halen, Jay-Z, Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock, and some Queen to include a few, that helped me.  I’m better now.

If I start selling soap, be worried.  Otherwise, if you hear a bell ‘ding’ in the barn, it may just be that my husband bought me some boxing gloves and a big ol’ punching bag!  Round one!!

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Leave me a comment below if you got the soap reference.  Let me know I’m not out here on my own!  🙂  One of my top 10 movies of all time for sure!!

Can someone please invent a whole house fan for my head?

In the past 47 days, I’ve had two migraines.  That’s a party, it really, truly is something to be celebrated in comparison to the two a week I was having.

But 10 days ago, was the second of those two.  It was pretty major.  After 30 minutes of kaleidoscope eyes, there were two full days of headache and the feeling of a hangover.

Cue the whole house fan for my head invention…

We are currently in the market for a whole house fan for our home.  It’s my understanding that in the evening or morning when it’s cool outside, you open the house windows, turn on the whole house fan, and presto, all the hot air is sucked out of the house and replaced with cool air from outside.  This would be amazing since we have a huge attic space that just traps the hot air, and even when it’s 65 outside at night, our A/C is still running strong trying to make up for the day.

After that last migraine, for two days, my eyes felt like they were sagging, my head and face felt like there was an enormous weighted gel surrounding them, just bringing everything down.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if I could press the on button, and my whole house fan for my head would just suck out all the migraine crap, and replace it with normalness that most people have?

I’d pay top frickin’ dollar for that man!

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Green Smoothie Talk

My 14 year old son:  I’m sitting next to algae!!  (referring to the glass canning jar in the middle console of my car between us)

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Me:  No, it’s my green smoothie son.

As I take swigs, cue the vomit and gagging sounds from my 3 kids in the car with me.  I have to laugh.  Whatever.  Only my youngest has managed to swallow a small sip to have the bragging rights that she tried it.  (I really like my smoothies, but the green just freaks everyone out.)

 

Two hours later, walking into Jamba Juice for their ritual after dentist visit smoothie:

My 8 year old daughter:  Hey Mom!!  Look, they have green smoothies!!

Me:  Yep, they do.

8 year old is studying the poster on the wall of what goes into their smoothie:  Is that what you put in yours?

Me:  Some of it is.

As we are getting into the car from Jamba Juice:

8 year old:  You should really try those mom.

My 11 year old daughter:  Hey mom, how long has it been since you’ve had a migraine?

Me:  16 days now!

11 year old:  That’s awesome.

Yes it is.  It really does amaze me that my kids seem genuinely interested in how things are going.  Life gets so busy, and they have so many of their own things going on now.  I know I’m loved, but that they are interested and concerned as well, that is really cool.

I know I bring damage to their rep with the green smoothies, but it’s not like I would walk up to school to pick them up with one in my hand.

I do however pick them up from school and cruise around town with one of those stay cool bright blue towels around my neck at times.  It is quite clear that I am not in the middle of playing a sport which these are designed for.  But the coolness of the towel seems to help me think maybe a migraine won’t come.  All of my kids asked what I had that bright blue towel wrapped around my neck like a scarf for, and when I told them, they said ‘oh’.  They didn’t ask me to take it off, or walk way in front of me like they didn’t know who the crazy lady with a blue towel around her neck was.  I mean, in all honesty, it’s safe to say that they don’t hold me up to a high standard of fashion.  I cruise up to school, the store, wherever, all the time, with absolutely no regard for my appearance (other than make sure I’m out of my jammies).  If I’m working out, or cleaning the house, or other fun tasks such as cleaning out the chicken coop during the day, I am not putting on a stitch of make up.  I’m wearing a hat, and sweats.  That’s how I roll.  There are days where I think I should put a bit of effort into what I’m putting out there, but then then my brain rebuts with “save that for a special occasion and dazzle everyone then.”  I am fine with the outlook of “she cleans up well!”

I’m proud of my kids for their concern and their heart, their acceptance, and not wanting someone different than who they got.

I’ll continue to sport my green smoothies, under cover if we’re out of course so I don’t thoroughly embarrass my kids.  If we’re at home though, it’s fair game for whichever friend may be over to be invited to the “try the green smoothie challenge”.  No visitor has taken me up on the challenge yet…

Migraines have created a ‘Bob Wiley’ level of anxiety

Who is Bob Wiley you ask?

What About Bob was my cult movie.  My friends and I in our early 20’s must have watched that over 30 times, usually very late at night.  So when I think of mental health, I think of Bob Wiley.

Migraines have made me into a version of Bob Wiley at times.  The anxiety of wondering when a migraine is going to come, can be ridiculously hindering.  I mentioned in my original post that the high majority of my migraines come on after exiting a car, usually late afternoon or evening.  Being the mom of three great kids ages 8-14, it is safe to say I have a very nominal adults without kids social life.  So, when I do get to go at the very least, to dinner, it’s in the evening, and since I live in the country, I don’t walk to dinner, I drive, so that’s pretty good ammunition for a migraine .

I’d like to take a guess that the amount of times my husband and I have gone out to dinner by ourselves over the past ten years is around 25 times.  When I asked him how many times he thought we went out by ourselves over the last ten years, he said 8.  We’ll split it down the middle and go with ’17’.  We average 1.7 times a year going out by ourselves.  As you can see, we totally take that whole ‘make a date with your spouse once a week’ thing seriously.  No, all kidding aside, it just doesn’t happen too often.  We are both very lucky to have such flexibility in our schedules that we are able to hang out and go to lunch, or do fun stuff like kayaking during the day sometimes when the kids are at school.  Of our ’17’ dinners out though, I can recall many where I was sipping my wine looking across the table at my husband through my migraine kaleidoscope eyes.  I mean good dinners out too!  I love my food, and feeling a little numb and not able to fully see and enjoy my flaming cheese and fresh pitas, or my bruschetta, not cool migraine fairy, not cool.

Once migraines became a part of my life, and showed how they can intrude on normal everyday events to rare outings as adult with no kids, I became anxious.  Anxious of when were they going to come?  I tried to track down what I’ve eaten, what I’ve drank, hormones, sleep patterns, there has never been a consistent antecedent to my migraines.  Hence, the anxiety.  I mean, if I knew putting away three pieces of pepperoni pizza and a couple of glasses of wine were a trigger, at least I’d weigh in if it were worth it!!  But not knowing when one was coming made me nervous each time I got out of the car to go somewhere.  I can recall so many times walking up to a restaurant thinking ‘Oh man, you’ve got to be kidding me’ as I had hoped to elude one.

I look back on my cult movie What About Bob days,  and I do not recall any anxiety.  Normal worry, stress, those things, yes, but anxiety, no.

Now, I can recognize myself in some of Bob Wiley in the clip below from the movie (thankfully not all of the clip!)  Warning:  if you have young people ears around, there is some swearing at the end of the clip.

So, what now?  When I wake in the middle of the night, or first thing in the morning, I usually have a sense of worry.  This is what I refer to as my anxiety.  It has gotten significantly worse at times, lasting through the day, or a heightened overall sense of uncomfort or worry, and also at times, it has gone away.  So unlike worry when you’re knowing what you’re worrying about.  That’s easy.  This type, I have to chase down.  Try to catch it and figure out if it’s really even something real that should be ‘taking up space in my head’.  (A saying from a family member I heard over the summer and really loved.)

Something that’s helped me when I wake in the night is to make a list if there are things I’m worried about that I need to do the next day.  Another thing, and this is random, I picture a ream of white copy paper.  Kinda fanned out, and I picture myself putting my hand on it, feeling how smooth and cool it is, and how entirely blank it is.  I use this when I really can’t get back to sleep, and I don’t know why.  It gives me a good excuse to focus on really not thinking about anything.  White paper is boring.  Perfect to fall back asleep to.

Something that helps me when I wake up in the morning with that dull ache of worry is laughter.  I woke up a few weeks ago at my ungodly hour of working out on a Thursday, that sense of worry looming for no known reason.  My husband made a crack about one of our many cats and how this cat had been ‘licking his cud’ all night and kept him up.  I cracked up.  Our cats and animals are constant humor around here.  The laughter, because it was real (hey, fake may even help), alleviated the anxiety tremendously and immediately.

The other thing that helps me in this lovely strange battle is working out.  Mind you, I, like everyone else in the world would rather sit down over working out any day.  But, going through the motions of working out, especially when you don’t feel like it (let’s face it, there’s never a time where I think ‘hey, the gym sounds fun!’) turns into a routine that feels weird if you aren’t doing it.  My anxiety decreases to the point of almost zero after each and every workout.  That’s my medicine.  Last Monday, Labor Day, I was in a funk.  It took until the afternoon to finally admit to myself, I needed some exercise.  Went for a big bike ride, came back.  Normal self.

I have a feeling this anxiety crap will always be lingering, saying ‘good morning’ as I wake up some days, saying ‘let’s stay up’ when I wake up in the middle of the night.  But, as I continue to find things that work to put my migraines at bay, in combination with find things that help make the dull ache of worry dissipate, I think I’ll continue to sail on through life doing ok!

I sure hope my friends from my What About Bob cult enjoyed laughing at these clips as much as I did!

‘Winning’ (Charlie Sheen reference of course) the endless game of migraines (for this quarter at least)

My sister in law Lisa, who is also my dear friend suggested that I started a blog on what has worked for me lately with migraines.  I told her people would have to get my humor, and accept a little swearing now and then.  And here I am.

For the last 29 days, I have only gotten one migraine.  That’s a frickin’ party.  Because prior to that, my once a month migraines turned into bi monthly migraines, then bi weekly migraines.  I finally lost it and threw in the I give up towel to migraines when I was walking into Cheesecake factory with my good friend Jessica before the Jay-Z and Beyonce concert (don’t judge, I love me some Jay-Z songs!) and a migraine started by the time we were sat at our table.  Did not stop me from thoroughly enjoying that concert!  I was not really into Beyonce, but seeing her live, wow, she’s something else!

My migraines go like this:  usually late afternoon or evening, and almost always after getting out of a car, I get very dizzy for about 10 seconds.  Within 5 minutes, my vision is like looking through a kaleidoscope.  This lasts for 20 minutes, almost to the second.  A little numb on my senses is the after affect until the next day.  That’s when the head ache kicks in.  Pretty funny trick when I forget I had a migraine the day before, and bend over to get something off the floor (3 kids, happens a lot).  That’s when I’m quickly reminded, and my head feels like the description of the big balloon in Pink Floyd’s ‘Comfortably Numb’ although a big balloon with someone sitting on it, creating crazy pain.

The day after the Jay Z concert, I made an appointment with a neurologist I had seen once before.  Walking out of there I had a referral for an EEG, brain MRI, bloodwork, and a prescription for Topamax.  The Topamax was the one that got me.  The side effects scared the crap out of me.  I am the one that gets every random side effect with any prescription.  I was prescribed the antibiotic Levaquin over the summer, and surprise surprise, woke up after being asleep for an hour, crawling out of my skin, anxious, pacing, ‘psychotic episodes’ being one of the rare side effects listed.  Lovely.  And I digress…  I figured as worn out as I am with these migraines, before starting this major drug, I owed it to myself to try everything I’ve pinned in the past regarding migraines and after I’ve exhausted them all, I’ll succumb to the Topamax  if necessary.

I told my good friend Timaree who is a dietitian, nutrition professor at a local college, and my before dawn work out partner of my plans, and she asked me if I’m eating the amount of greens that I should be.  I don’t like to admit to her the truth, she’s perfect in her eating, I mean it, perfect!  I’ve just come off of vacations where I got to eat at the places I’d have my last meal at!!!  Needless to say, greens were not part of those meals.  She talked about the greens being good for circulation.  We googled green smoothies, and wow, tons came up specific to migraines!  Yes!  Later that day when I went to our local health food store and gave the list of the items I wanted, the main side effects of these supplements she told me were loose stools.  I can handle loose stools man!  It’s the suicidal thoughts, and lack of putting together a sentence that Topamax can give you that I can’t handle unless I have to after exhausting these options!!!


So, here is what I came up with in the end:

  1. Vitamin B-2 (Riboflavin) 100 mg, up to 2 times daily (one in the morning with breakfast, one in the evening with dinner)
  2. Feverfew herbal supplement 1 capsule, up to three times per day (Feverfew extract 175 mg, Feverfew 150 mg)
  3. Butterbur.  75 mg of butterbur up to twice daily
  4. No afternoon cup of coffee (This was an accident, I love my coffee pick me up in the afternoon.  I have three kids between 8-14, all needing to be taken to places and helped with homework in the afternoons, but I mistakenly went a couple of days without it, and then didn’t want to jinx anything!!)
  5. Migraine smoothie (adapted from  http://www.chaosserveddaily.com/2013/09/16/a-migraine-busting-smoothie-for-our-unlucky-13th-move/) thank you, thank you, thank you for that!
  • 3/4 cup coconut water
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple (Costco has a swingin’ deal)
  • 1-2 stalks celery
  • 1/2 peeled cucumber
  • 1″ section of fresh ginger root
  • 2 cups greens, I use a spinach/kale mix.  Organic is the best
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Mix it up and drink it up!  It usually makes almost two glasses worth, so I sometimes split it into once in the morning and once in the afternoon, or drink one and save the next for the following day.

Sidenote:  I went to Costco to buy two bags of frozen fruit.  Truly that is all that I went in there to buy.  Suffice to say the little plastic part for the pourer of my blender broke off the night before….as I walked by the Vitamix demo lady, I had to stop.  And I stayed stopped.  I tried the smoothie, the frozen dessert, the tortilla soup.  I talked to her about my friend who swore by her Vitamix and that there would be no grit or pulp in my green smoothies if I borrowed hers to try.  And I swear, two minutes later my friend walked up next to me in Costco as I stared at the demo lady.  With Timaree by my side, I said, ‘Ok, put it in the cart.”  I have never, ever purchased something so big on a whim like that.  I drove home, my husband was on the front porch.  I said “Hi, I love you, I bought something big.”  And in one of those crazy rare instances where the moon and stars and all others were aligned, after I told him what it was, his reply was “I bet you’ll use it a lot.”  I quietly went into the house to unpack my new Vitamix before he could realize what I actually spent!!!


So, what were the results?  In 29 days, I have had one migraine.  SO MUCH BETTER than 8 in that same time span that I had come to expect.  I’m not sure what if any of the above are the main contributors.  My husband and kids practically throw themselves on the ground dry heaving when I drink my green smoothies , but it was my 8 year old that said on the day that I got the my one migraine in 29 days ‘Mom, you must not have drank enough of your green smoothie today!’  Although, I knew the real culprit, it was Pier One Imports.  It was a Monday, about 6:00 pm, and I walked into Pier One.  I had my smoothie, my herbal supplements, and no afternoon coffee already working for me, but I think I was a bit too cocky, nothing could battle those bright lights reflecting off of every single inch of shiny glass throughout the store.    I told a friend recently that it’s like my head is the perfect storm, just waiting for the one thing to push it over.  It was the lights at Pier One that day.  I’ll take it though.

Just had my follow up with my neurologist this morning, which helped prompt me to write this.  Thankful to God that all is good with my MRI, and my EEG.  Bloodwork, perfect.  So awesome.  “So,” she asks, “did you start the Topamax?”  I have to admit, she kinda scares me, and I was nervous about telling her that no, I did not.  I explained the things I’ve been doing for 29 days, and that I’ve only had one migraine.  She proceeded to write down the ingredients of my smoothie, confirmed ‘B-2 not B-12?’, and then said “If it’s working, let it work!”  She kept saying “Migraine smoothie huh?  Migraine smoothie.”  I asked her if she wanted me to send her the recipe, and she said ‘Yes, I have a patient that nothing works for her migraines, maybe this will.  Migraine smoothies, you learn something new everyday!”

Today is a good day.

(Update:  as of April, 2015, I celebrated 200 days migraine free!  Then on day 205, I got a migraine.  Still consider that winning though!)  

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