Problem Solver vs. Fighter

A few weeks back I wrote about having Too many emotional layers… and being at my limit.

As I was thinking today about one of those layers a little voice inside my head said “you are a fighter,” and I thought, I am a fighter.  And then that little voice inside my head said “you are a problem solver,” and I thought, I am a problem solver.

Just this last weekend I was laughing with my almost 16 year old son about a computer game we used to play together called Pajama Sam.  Worst game ever, because even with a college degree, I could not solve the problem of finding the last vegetable person (what the heck was that game anyhow?) and we never beat the game.  I can picture this game in my head with 100% accuracy as I write this, and there’s a part of me that may go look for the CD ROM and see if I can solve it today.

Worst game ever.

When that little voice inside my head decided to talk and say that I’m a fighter, and then, that I’m a problem solver, the lightbulb went on, the sky opened up a bit, and things made sense to me.  I AM a problem solver.  I can’t handle things just dangling, hanging unsolved.  I’ve always been a ‘why’ person.  Call it needing to know, or even suspicious until I know the reason behind some things.  I’m a thinker.  I can get lost in spinning on a thought or a problem.  It’s not always a good thing.  Over the years I have learned to not waste valuable brain space for things that aren’t important to solve or to get to the bottom of.

But, some things in life right now, they need a solution.  And unlike Pajama Sam, I will stick with it until I come up with the right fit solution.  That’s the fighter.  When things matter, you don’t give up until they are right.  I think that in order to be a good problem solver in life, you also have to be a fighter, so you never give up.


Oh, and sorry in advance if you aren’t able to get ahold of me for a while, look what I found…


Too many emotional layers…

Lately, it seems that there are too many emotional layers in my head. I’m picturing it like the way we learned about rocks and land, where there are layers upon layers built upon each other.

Yet, unlike land, in my head, there is a definite limit to the amount of layers that can be built.  When the layers in my head have reached the top, even the smallest piece of dust that lands on the top layer seems to be too much.

I was subbing last week, and while in the lunch room with friends, tears built up in my eyes while I was in the process of figuring out a plan for the afternoon.  I was figuring out where my kids would be going in multiple directions when I had to be somewhere else. Not a big deal.  Everyday, normal decision making.  I’m not a cryer, especially in front of other people.  I tried to shake it off, and gave myself a quick ‘Pull it together!’

Yet, it was the dust on top of the layers.

That’s happening lately. Normal things that aren’t big things at all, at times have a big effect on me.

All I can figure, is that I need to get rid of some of those lower levels of crap that take up space in my head.

Many of these layers seemed to have just shown up, and taken up residence, I haven’t even really been aware that they moved in!   And like current home and tenant laws, after a short time limit of being there, even if they don’t belong, it’s a battle to get them out.

I need to make myself clear, I am not suffering from anything. I have close friends that are going through crazy times. Yet, here I am, my mind not able to take a piece of dust on top of the layers.

After talking to a friend recently, I wonder if a part of it has to do with being in my 40’s.

This seems to be an in between time.

My kids aren’t young, they don’t need me in the same ways that they used to, yet they aren’t around the corner from leaving the nest quite yet.  We’re in the midst of teenager years which brings it’s own challenges.  (Note:  Challenges is a very nice, PC word to use for some teen parenting experiences.)

40’s is finding good friends sick.  Horribly sick.

By our 40’s, most of us have been married a long time, and as I look around, it’s bringing some divorces.

40’s seems to be an in between time.

These 40’s things may be contributing to the layers in my head that are already there from my own life experiences.

But, I can see around the corner. Resilience will bring experience to this in between time, and maybe then the layers will start to lift.

Although, as I chip away at those layers in my head that by now probably have fossils in them, I believe for the time being my motto will be this:


Just keeping it real.  Shoulders go down a bit in tension, and a small smile comes across my face as I take a sip while making dinner.

It may not chisel the layers, that’s going to take some work, but I do believe it helps me with the dusting.


Representing 209

Yes, my area code is 209, but I’m more focused on representing day 209 of no migraines.

I was super nervous to celebrate day 200, or even really acknowledge day 205, which is where my largest migraine free streak up until now had ended.

Yet, here I am.  Day 209.  No kaleidoscope eyes, no dullness for 48 hours with the fear of standing up too quickly for reasons other than a fire due to the extreme headache pain for TWO HUNDRED AND NINE DAYS!  Anti migraine smoothie?  Butterbur?  Feverfew?  B-2?  Plain luck?  Don’t know the reason.  Just thankful.

I wrote on day 197 that I was nervous about going to Vegas, that partying like a rock star (although, let’s be honest, my version of partying like a rock star is likened more to that of a 90 year old rock star these days), but honestly, I was nervous that enjoying multiple cocktails for a couple days in a row may bring on a migraine.

A couple days before our trip, I woke up in the middle of the night and told my husband I didn’t want to go to Vegas.  Not because of my fear of it triggering a migraine, I just wasn’t feeling it.  When I booked the trip months ago, which was anchored by purchasing tickets to see Billy Idol, I was in a Hell Ya! mood, a kick ass Let’s Do This! mood.  I haven’t been feeling that mood lately.  And the more experience I have at this living life thing, the more I have to listen to that voice that says “I don’t want to do this” and go with what feels good.

So, we went to Tahoe.  Familiar, relaxing, beautiful, with some cocktails mixed in there too.  The gambling gods even gave me a shout out to let me know that I was right to listen to my inner voice and go with what feels good by giving me this:


Thank you Royal Flush.

Catch ya’ on the next one Billy Idol.

Rock on 209.

“Your son is going to require major ear surgery.”

Being a parent of my kids has made me very good at holding my breath.

My son has his third major ear surgery on the horizon.  A tympanomastoidectomy to be exact.  

Last year I wrote about how my Littlest was sick.   I wish my oldest just had a fever and a cough which is something that I know that will go away within a few days.

Anxiety has the ability to make me feel preoccupied with a looming feeling of restlessness, among other things.  Real worry, the kind where you know exactly what is at stake, it’s exhausting.  It’s not productive, but it can take over.  Worrying about my kids is like going ‘all in’ during a card game, it takes all you have, and you hold on to the hope that all will be ok.

The summer before his 7th grade year, my son had a string of ear infections.  This is very much the ‘norm’ for him.

His first ear infection was at 6 months old.  While on antibiotics, he woke up one morning, and his left side of his face was drooping.  We took him into the ENT specialist, where the doctor stated that there may be a tumor, and referred us to get a CT scan done of my baby’s head.  I had to excuse myself from the doctor’s office while he was talking because I started crying from worry.  The CT scan came out all clear thank God.  My son’s ear infection never went away though, and he had his first ear tube surgery at 9 months.  Over the years he had two more sets of ear tubes, as well as his adenoids taken out.  He’s always had ear problems, so when he continued with ear infections into his 12th year, we were not overly concerned.  My husband took my son in to our pediatrician at the end of the summer before his 7th grade year for yet another exam for his ear, and I asked him to see what the doctor thought about us going back to see the ENT since there had been so many infections recently.  At their visit, she did not seem concerned, and said ‘sure’ in regards to going back to have him examined by the ENT specialist.

We hadn’t been to his ENT for years.  Back at this office though, we were in the exam room, my son, both daughters, and I, backpacks stretched out over the room with homework started.  I was prepared to be told that he needed ear tubes again.  More of an inconvenient pain, but not horrible.

The doctor looked into my son’s right ear with his equipment, and quickly met my eyes afterward and said “I am 99% certain of what this is, and if I am correct, he is going to require major ear surgery.”  I think I will always remember those exact words.  Major?  Not just ear surgery?  You throw major on there, whole new ball game.  My son had what is called a cholesteatoma growing in his ear.  It was explained to me that this was a non-cancerous tumor of sorts.  It is made of the same materials such as our fingernails or skin are.  It’s caused by excessive and repeated ear infections.  If not treated, it can be spread into the cavities of the brain, which is seen in children that have come from third world countries that had not had medical attention for this problem.  The only way to treat cholesteotoma is to physically remove it.  There was no way to know how intrusive it was, or how much it has spread until you have opened up the ear during surgery to investigate.  Our son’s ENT doctor who had worked to put tubes in his ear as an infant, and during his elementary years, was now going to perform major ear surgery 12 years later.

Fast forward to his first surgery, January, 2013.  Our son’s doctor came to us in the waiting room, explained that the cholesteotoma had been ‘EVERYWHERE‘.  It had encased my son’s inner ear bones, and therefore all bones had to be removed.  It had spread into crevices, where the doctor had to reach and clean out.  He had to repair and ‘make’ a new ear drum for my son.  When I step back and take away the emotions involved, it amazes me that this all can be discovered and done.  I am so thankful.  The official terminology for what my son had done during surgery is a tympanomastoidectomy.  He explained that with this surgery, there is a possibility that my son could experience vertigo for a short duration, or chronically.  He then explained that his eyes were not showing signs of this, and that he seemed to be doing very well in recovery.

When we got to see my son, he had what the doctor likened to a turban on his head.  A huge hard bowl shaped protective shield covering his ear, and gauze wrapped around his head to hold it into place.  Poor guy was miserable, in pain, sick from the meds.  But he was awake, and he was ok.  So thankful.



At home recovering with his cat right next to him.

At our first follow up a few days later, the doctor was happy to see that my son was not experiencing any signs of vertigo, and that he had a small amount of hearing (5%) in his right ear.  He went on to explain that hopefully he got all of the cholesteotoma, and if so, that we can look towards rebuilding his ear with prosthetic inner ear bones in about a year.  He explained that cholesteotoma is like crab grass, even if a little bit was left behind, it can grow back and spread.  He said the crevices in the inner ear are endless, and that he hoped he had gotten it all, and was really happy with the results.

Our remaining follow ups were great, after two months, he could return to sports, eventually he was able to return to swimming and all restrictions were erased.

I believe it was about 9 months after his surgery where at his follow up it was determined that the cholesteotoma was back.  Surgery was necessary again.  We were so hoping, as I know his doctor was too, that we’d be scheduling the surgery for rebuilding of the inner ear.  We were now scheduling a surgery for the same invasive, painful, stressful surgery as 9 months prior.  This time though, we had a new challenge.  My son.  He knew exactly what was to be expected of this surgery now.  He was scared, worried, and stressed out.  This broke our hearts in the midst of our worry.

The second surgery presented a new worry.  That there was a possibility that if the doctor felt there was too much cholesteotoma, too much damage, there is a procedure where all of the inner ear is removed.  He explained this is a one way street, hearing restoration is never an option.  He also explained that this is something that he would never prefer with someone young, but wanted us to know the possibility.

Fast forward to the second surgery, December, 2013.

Strange how music has always caught me.  I can relate music to memories, and I feel that music can bridge emotions.  While in the waiting room during my son’s second major ear surgery, the TV played a morning show that the Goo Goo Dolls were guest appearing on.  They played the song ‘Come to Me”.  I listened quietly to this song, thinking that I would remember that moment forever.  That song had been playing repeatedly on the radio recently.  And we made up our funny lines of ‘come to me my Swedish friend’ because it kinda sounds like that, and that’s how our family always sang it out loud in the car.  So, I was soothed by singing in my head ‘come to me my Swedish friend’, it brought a small smile to my face, and a feeling of peace while my son was deep in his surgery.

The doctor came out of surgery to meet with us in the waiting room.  We’ve gotten to really love this doctor.  Some feel he’s rude, short, bad bedside manner.  These are the comments I’ve heard or read.  He’s a doctor who is very busy, is old school, and we have learned has a great love for his own family, and is very, very kind.  He has cared for our son in a way that we are forever indebted to him for.  He came out, sat by my husband and I, and said, ‘I had to make a decision in there.  I thought about your son, I though about your family, who you are.  I wanted to give him another chance.  I think we can do this.  I feel good that I got it all.  I wasn’t ready to say that’s it.’  And there we had it.  I was fully expecting to hear that he had to wipe out my son’s entire inner ear, with no hopes of ever hearing in his right ear again.  He went to bat for my kid.  Because he’s old school, we went old school and after both surgeries wrote a very sincere thank you letter.

At our month follow up appointment after his second surgery, the nurse was asking the regular round of questions and pointed out how large my son’s file is.  His doctor said ‘I have elderly patients that don’t have a file as big as yours!  You’re 13!!!’  He examined my son’s ear, rolled his chair away from him, and said ‘I am thrilled!  THRILLED!’  He did a little tap, tap, tap on his legs with his hands, and was giddily smiling.  He explained that my son’s ear, with all of the patch repairing that he had done during the surgery, looked better than he could have ever expected.  He said that this surgery’s success is 1% skill from the doctor, 99% luck.  I disagree with that of course.  He was so excited!  He even pointed out that we don’t see him get excited, he was EXCITED!

At a regular follow up in 2014, as my son’s ear continued to look good in it’s healing, ear drum staying in tact, ear canal staying as it should, we began to talk about a future surgery where he may be able to restore partial hearing to my son using prosthetic inner ear bones.  My son told the doctor that he didn’t want to have the surgery over the winter as we had the previous two years.  He was now a freshman in high school, and he explained to the doctor that he really wants to try out for the high school baseball team, and the 2-3 month recovery period following surgery wouldn’t allow for that.  The doctor looked at my son, and said, ‘that will be fine, we can wait.’ My son questioned whether or not he even had to have the surgery, that he is fine with just hearing with one ear.  Of course he’d rather opt for not having to go through the horrible pain, a new scar to replace the one that currently rides from the top of his right ear all the way to the bottom along the backside of his head behind his ear, or to sit out of any activity which could lead to contact for a 2-3 month period.  The doctor explained that putting aside the opinion that my son is fine without hearing in one ear, the doctor needed to go back and open up his ear one more time to make sure there was no cholesteatoma left.  And at that time, it may be possible to rebuild the ear.  But that even then, there are times that the rebuilding does not work.  This was a blow to me.  I had been naive and thought ‘oh, he rebuilds the ear and then my son hears again.’ I did not realize that it was not a for sure thing.


Incision a few days after the second surgery.

We have continued to have two month follow ups regularly after my son’s second surgery.  Each time I go silently terrified, wondering if he is going to say the cholesteatoma is back.  During an appointment last Spring, the doctor looked into my sons ear as I held my breath, and said ‘there’s a cholesteatoma on his canal.’  I didn’t breath, I didn’t talk.  I just watched and waited as my son made a stone face through the pain of the doctor cleaning out his ear so he could have a better look.  As he had that better look, he stated ‘I may have spoken too soon, it may be cartilage that has grown, not cholesteatoma.’  And with that, I breathed again.  I don’t know everything there is to know about this type of problem, but I do figure that if there is cholesteatoma again, the chances of more, and more, and more surgeries gets higher, while the chance of my son ever hearing through his right ear and having this all behind him gets lower.

I know that things could be so, so, much worse.  The doctor himself told us after my son’s first surgery, as I had tears welled up in my eyes because I was so surprised at the magnitude of what had just been performed, he said ‘It’s going to be ok.  He doesn’t have cancer, it’s his ear, he’s going to be ok.’  And it is.  I fully believe that.  Although, there is the reality that, this is my kid.  He’s scared, stressed, and doesn’t want to have to have this surgery again.  Of course, things could be so much worse, I want to acknowledge that.  But at the same time, I have to take my own advice that I have given others; that this is one of our worst things that has happened to one of our kids.  That it is horribly worrisome and scary, even though it could be much worse.

I look at my son and see how resilient he is.  You would never know he can’t hear out of his right ear.  There are times if he’s on the pitching mound, and a coach talks to him from the dugout, the coach has to be reminded that he can’t hear from that ear and that’s why he isn’t paying attention, it’s not disrespect.  My son is super funny, his hearing has been the butt of a joke from time to time, always taken well because it’s out of love.  After his first surgery, they played the game ‘telephone’ in his English class.  The telephone message was passed into his right ear, and after he said ‘what?’ twice, he turned and passed on a message.  I asked him if it was the same as what he had heard, he said he had no idea, he just made something up.  Hilarious.  He certainly does not want special attention nor treatment.

During a regular follow up in the summer of 2015, when all was still clear in his ear, no cholesteatoma was found, his doctor talked about scheduling a surgery to repair and possibly restore hearing.  My son asked his doctor if he HAD to have surgery again.  His doctor looked at him, and explained that my son was at an age now that in some cultures is considered to be a grown man.  That he feels it is appropriate for my son to have a say in whether or not to have this surgery.  It was not necessary to undergo surgery unless there was a returning cholesteatoma, and that he could even decide to have a restoration surgery as an adult if he chose to.  Yet again, I had tears in my eyes as we left the doctors office, because I did not know that it was possible that we could be done with surgeries.  I thought it was just when will the next surgery be.  As we got into the car, my son looked at me, huge smile on his face, relishing in the moment of being old enough to participate in this choice, “Well, I’m definitely not having surgery!”

And that’s where we are.  We had one more recent follow up, all was clear. A hearing test was performed and it was the exact levels (approximately 5% hearing in the right ear) as it has been for the past few years.  Which, as the doctor explained, is very good.  If there had been an increase of hearing in that ear, it may mean that there is a growth that is allowing for sound to bounce off of and produce some hearing.  The gigantic worry weight of a looming surgery is off of our back.  If he chooses to have a surgery in the future to see if he can regain hearing in that ear, it will be up to him.  We, as parents went back and forth wondering if it was something we should try and push him to do at this point, feeling that his hearing now would be incredibly valuable.  But, in the end, the stress, pain, and worry that our son would experience with another surgery, one where hearing is the expected outcome, yet not a guarantee, it’s just not worth it.  As much as it seems like just yesterday my son was a 9 month old that had his first set of ear tubes put in, he’s almost 16 years old now, and I’m glad his doctor put a lot of the decision in his hands.

This post was long, I know.  It is my hope that it can help others who may have just been told their kids have a cholesteatoma, or need major ear surgery.  Here’s to hoping that his ears stay clear and free of cholesteatoma forever, and that any future games of telephone will be headed the direction of his left ear!!!




I’ve got a confession to make…

I have an irrational, obsessive fear of elevator shafts and street drains.
Let me explain.

First, elevators.

I’m not scared of an elevator falling to the bottom floor as you may think is my fear regarding elevators.  I’m afraid of that little spot between the floor, and the elevator.


The slat that is a perfect spot, that if my keys fell, it would be a fiasco to try and get them back.  There is not a time, not once, that I step onto an elevator and I don’t think about that hole, and my keys falling into it.  I then go through the steps in my mind that I believe would be how to get them back.  This is what I’ve come up with.  If we’re at a large building, say a casino, there are people that work there all over, I believe I could find the right person to lead me down to what I picture as a basement with a burning stove, where in movies, it’s creepy and murders take place.  BUT, there would be my keys, sitting at the bottom of the elevator shaft, along with what I would imagine are wallets, money, phones, and other keys belonging to people who hadn’t thought through a plan, and figure their item is gone for good.

IF, it is a small elevator, in say, a small apartment complex.  I figure I’m pretty screwed.  It’s going to take a long while to get someone who knows where to go and what to do to get me my keys that fell down the hole.  But, if I can get the keys to the bottom elevator floor room, I’m pretty sure I’d have the situation locked down.  I’ve thought it through in my mind so many times, I’m pretty sure I’ve come up with all possible solutions.

So, as I think through my plan of action each and every time I get on or off of an elevator, you can look closely, and will see that I am distracted in my thoughts of where exactly my keys are.  If they are in my purse, and there is any possible way that they can fall out and land perfectly as to slide down that crack into the elevator dungeon, I’m double checking that my purse is securely closed, possibly checking multiple times.  If my keys or phone are in my hand, there is a death grip on them.

My husband was with me when I took the picture above of the floor in front of the elevator.  He said “What are you doing?”  I told him that I was taking a picture because I may write a post on how I’m scared that my keys will fall down the elevator shaft through the slot between the floor and the elevator.  His reply?  “Alright.”  Really, no skin off his back, this isn’t his first rodeo with me and my crazy thoughts, he knows there is no reason to question further.

Moving on to street drains.

As if the elevator wasn’t enough to worry about, there are street drains.


These pose an entire different threat.  Some, I don’t get too incredibly worried about, because you can see the bottom.  Yet, on a rainy day, that bit of comfort is totally gone.  Once those keys hit the flowing water downhill, they are gone.  And really, I have no plan for that one.  As well as the large drains where you can’t see the ground.  No plan other than calling the City Utility district and maybe making up a story that the keys belonged to the limo of a top government official or something so that maybe they would come and help me look for them.

And what about this sign that often accompanies a street drain?  It makes this whole process even harder to handle.  Really?  A creek?  I’m never getting my keys back, ever.


Street drains.  I have to hold my keys even tighter in my hands then when I’m walking onto an elevator.  Some of these drains seem large enough for my whole wallet to fall through.  I will avoid walking directly over them at all costs.

The other night, I felt like someone pulled the banana in the tailpipe trick on me.  Not really that trick specifically, but a clever one that got me.  As I leisurely got out of the car at Target, I looked down and this is what I saw:

IMG_7017Good Lord.  I let out what I imagine would be described as a loud gasp, like, I just missed getting hit by a dart or something.

Thankfully, my keys and phone were tucked away in my pockets, where they were not threatened by this unexpected drain.

I can pretty much guarantee that I will never park in that spot at Target again for as long as I live.

I think it’s safe to assume that you would not be surprised at this point to know that each and every time that I take off a ring or earrings near a sink, that I mentally go through the steps of taking apart the pipes below to rescue any fallen jewelry.  I find comfort in having a plan.

And, there you have it.  My brain.  It’s never boring in there, there’s always something that I can find to worry about!

I’d love to know if anyone has every dropped anything down the elevator shaft hole, or in a drain, and what the outcome was.  I am fully willing to add a new plan of action to my current ones if need be!  🙂



OH MY GOSH!  After I wrote this, I googled ‘my keys fell down the elevator shaft’, and this came up!

No way.

AND THIS!  I love Mike Rowe, and Dirty Jobs, didn’t know he did this episode.  And they found a credit card!!!  Along with some gross stuff…

It’s all going to be ok, Back to School edition…

I find myself telling my kids as they are getting older things that my friends and I have been telling each other for years.  As they are facing challenges and disappointments that come with an increasing age, I have found myself giving them the tools of ‘it will be better in 5 minutes’, and ‘the first day is the hardest, it will get a bit easier every day after.’

As my middle child went to middle school for her intro half day last week, she was nervous of course.  My words to her were, ‘focus on 12:08 when the school day is over, at that time, it will no longer be new, and no longer be as scary.’

And after the conversations with my children are done, I then start telling myself the same things.  Man, this worrying about your kids thing just gets harder and harder with some of the things growing older presents.

There were times in my life that I couldn’t see around the moment I was in in order to see the possibilities of the future.  And only through living life have I learned, that it really is better in 5 minutes, and the second day is usually easier than the first.

So, I will continue to tell my kids, and I mean it when I say ‘it will all be ok, I promise.’

As school starts tomorrow, and I look into my crystal ball and see myself waking up repeatedly throughout tonights sleep, I will tell myself as I often do in the middle of the night ‘everything is ok’ and allow myself to go back to sleep.

I hope the little things I say (mantras?) that help me move on and not get too tripped up on things actually help my kids rather than make me resemble Bob Wiley more and more.  They humor me at least making me feel as though they do help!  🙂

With the first day of school comes the enjoyment of a routine (and a quiet house), which will only too soon be replaced with  missing the kids and wishing for summer to return quickly!

Here’s to a safe school year, and strength to all of the wonderful teachers that spend each day teaching our kids!

The older I get…the more free I feel.

Last week was my 44th birthday.  Although I spent it as day 3 of a flu/food poisoning experience, I feel that this is going to be a darn good year.

Last month, I discovered a very cool, inspirational website and Facebook page called

I submitted the quote below with my interpretation and inspiration from it regarding my upcoming 44th birthday.


I was very pleased with their publishing of my interpretation, which was accompanied by a beautiful picture.  I was fortunate to even get some wonderful feedback from readers.  You can read the short article here:

“What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven’t happened yet.”

My treadmill workouts: from laughter to thought provoking.

I continue to try and kick anxiety’s ass through exercise very regularly.  Exercise also allows me to not have to be so careful while participating in one of my favorites…eating.

My TV hook up while on the treadmill is pretty sweet.  Although we still haven’t hooked up cable out in the office where my treadmill is, but there is the XBox, which thankfully has Netflix.

Up until recently, my treadmill workouts included watching stand up comedy.  It was great!  Then, once I blazed through all the Kevin Hart and other comedians of interest, I moved on to The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt:

Hilarious, it filled a big void left by 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation ending.

Once I finished Kimmy Schmidt, I was stuck.  No more comedy found of interest.

So, then I went on to other ‘stuff’.

First up was ‘Fed Up’, a documentary/movie about sugar being the culprit in our war with obesity:

Very interesting, and it made me go a little crazy looking at the amount of sugar in all the labels of the food we eat.  It’s a bit overwhelming.

Next up, I watched ‘GMO OMG’.  All about GMOs in our foods.

Again, very interesting.  Made me think about it far after the movie had been done.

I just finished ‘Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead’:

I really liked this one, very entertaining, and funny at times.  And towards the end, during a scene with a certain t-shirt, I had the ugly cry face as tears streamed down my face while I ran on the treadmill hoping that no one would walk into the office as I was in that state!

I find that having something to look forward to watching while on the treadmill allows me to almost (I said almost) want to get on that thing so I can continue the movie!

Looking forward to more comedy as it comes up, but for now, I’m diggin’ on some knowledge!

If you have some time to kill on the treadmill, or just killing time, check them out, hope you like them!

You are not welcome here migraine anxiety, please go away.

In case you missed it, last week I celebrated day 200 without migraines, and then on day 205 got a migraine.  Still a win for sure.  I’ll take 205 days between migraines in comparison to two a week any day.

The problem with a migraine returning is, it brought it’s friend anxiety.

Last night I went to work.  I am a Recreation Therapist, and I work as a consultant in care homes with adults with developmental disabilities.  I love my job, it’s awesome.  Last night, as I walked into one of my care homes that I’ve been with for many years, my migraine signal number one began.  I became dizzy, things became a bit blurry, and it didn’t stop after a few seconds.  Oh no.  This is usually my first indicator that a migraine is coming.  I told the care home staff that I thought maybe I was getting a migraine, put my hands on my face, messed with my ears, and began to force yawning (all random things that I’ve read here and there that I am totally willing to try).  As I was trying to take a moment to see if this would pass, I had one client excited to see me and eager to begin our routine conversation about TV channels.  As my hands are over my face, “J” is about 7 inches from my ear ‘Jennica, WB is on channel 3?  The Frog says WB?  WB is on channel 3?  What channel is that?’  This goes on without pause for quite a duration.  I love this guy, and I am usually so game for this conversation, but this is not the constant conversation you want when you are trying to determine if you are, or are not getting a migraine.  Even the staff picked up on the fact that something was not good, they quickly intervened, ‘Come here “J”, Jennica needs a minute.”

It’s amazing what anxiety can do.  It fires up your brain to such a ridiculous speed.  This is what went on in my head within about 3 seconds:

  • Oh my gosh, is this a migraine?
  • I’ve never gotten a migraine at work.
  • Am I going to need to go home?
  • Am I going to be able to drive home?
  • Did I take my vitamin supplements today?
  • Yes.
  • Did I drink my smoothie today?
  • Yes.
  • How many days is this from day 205?
  • I don’t want this to be my new normal.

I slowly lifted my hands from my face and looked around, settling in to my surroundings.  ‘I don’t think I’m getting a migraine,’ I tell myself.  Then I have to explain myself to the staff of the care home where I have worked for years.  I hate having to explain that I get migraines, and that they level me, and that is why I plug my ears, shake my head, and rub my temples all in an effort to out fool the migraine from showing up.  Did I fool this migraine from showing up?  Why didn’t it come?  I had step one of my migraines happen, the dizziness, why didn’t step 2, my kaleidoscope eyes happen?  I know I’m not supposed to look a gift horse in the mouth, but what do I expect now?  I am not one that is good with surprises, I like knowing what to expect.

I went on with my night, all was good.  All but my amped up body by the time I got home.  There was no reason for my body to be so many steps up, the only way I can describe it is when I put my hands up near my head and say ‘I’m about right here now, all amped up.’  And that, my friends, is anxiety.

I’ve written about my anxiety a few times, once devoting an entire post to it, likening myself to Bob Wiley of What About Bob, you can find it here.  I hope you can get some laughs, let me know if you can relate!

I’ve so enjoyed my new sense of normal without migraines for 6+ months, and the lack of migraine anxiety that has come with it.  Walking into businesses, restaurants, stores, just walking in, like a normal person, not worrying about wearing my sunglasses a bit longer than socially normal, wearing a hat to set off light glares.  I’m not ready for migraine anxiety to make a comeback as my new normal.  It’s not welcome here.

Keep fighting the fight.

I am very fortunate that at this time I seem to be in between rounds of my fight against migraines.  I am a realistic person, and not going to say that I am retired from fighting.  I just know that what I’m doing right now, is winning the fight.  What started as a blog surrounding my migraines, has allowed me to write about all sorts of things while I’m in between rounds, and it’s been fun.

During this time, I’ve referred back often to my ‘anti-migraine potion‘ that seems to be what’s working for me.  I’ve recently talked to two people I know about their current struggle with migraines, and the frustration that comes with it.  I wish there was a magic one size fits all pill for migraine sufferers, but there is not.  The pill that I was instructed to take unfortunately held hands with possible side effects of suicidal thoughts and the lack of being able to put a sentence together.  That was when I knew I had to try everything else I had ever read about before succumbing to that option.  Some people are lucky and are able to find the right fit to help combat their migraines.  For the ones who haven’t found their answer to help relieve their migraines yet, keep pressing on, keep exploring options for what will work for you.

I went to the doctor yesterday for a routine physical.  As I arrived in the office, I semi-panicked wondering if the spots in my eyesight were from the bright sunlight coming though the windows, or if a migraine was coming on.  Anxiety and panic swept through me as I began to rub my forehead, and then press my earlobes closed multiple times.  Not sure why I feel like this helps maybe prevent one, but I do feel that, so I had no shame in putting my fingers in my ears and pressing repeat as I was in the middle of talking to the receptionist, reporting to her that I was worried a migraine may be coming on.  I then went on to make myself yawn a few times (I read somewhere that yawning relaxes your body and could prevent a migraine from coming on.  Whatever, it’s now part of my routine.)  No shame.  I don’t care about looking cool, or even sane if any of my weird habits work.  No migraine came, and I  think it’s safe to say it’s not because I closed my ears about 20 times, but it makes me feel better.  My migraine fear was still on my mind as I realized it was funny to list my vitamin and herbal supplements as the three things I take as my ‘medications’ for the first time in that doctors office, the nurse not familiar with what any of them were.  The doctor, after learning about my migraines, pulled up some information on an electronic headband type thing that is supposed to be beneficial to migraines that he recently read about and found interesting.  Here it is.  You never know, it may be an added step to accompany my ear closing regimen in the future.

Migraines are so much more than just a headache.  Migraines often come with, or lead to, both anxiety and depression.  These are the things that at times can take a bigger toll than the actual migraine itself.  Having people around you that listen to you, and respect what you are experiencing makes such a difference.  Be your own detective, keep pushing the envelope if and when your doctor wants to give you their auto-migraine-sufferer-speech and auto-prescriptions.  Research.  Not only medical research, but research other migraine sufferers.  I have found a wealth of information through following people who blog about their migraines.  Find the best option for you!

I am going to continue to celebrate between my rounds of this fight.  Good luck to you, keep fighting the fight!