Feverfew

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:

IMG_8273

Thank you Royal Flush.

Catch ya’ on the next one Billy Idol.

Rock on 209.

197 days migraine free

Well, I’m  around the corner from my record of 205 days migraine free.  Pretty cool stuff.

I just don’t want to get crazy and jinx anything and shoot for a blog post on day 200.  Fact is, I’ll be in Vegas on day 200, and if the  last time I had too much fun is any indication, day 200 may not come.  Hoping it will, but just in case, I’m celebrating on day 197!!!

Here’s to Butterbur, B-2, Feverfew, and anti-migraine green smoothies!

I’m loving feeling that migraine free is the new normal, and that migraines are not the norm.  I’m not naive enough to think they can’t and won’t return.  But I’m living in the moment for now.

Keep fighting the fight friends!

 

Adding to my supplement arsenal…

Recently, I went to my doctor and had some routine bloodwork done just to make sure everything was in check.

For the first time ever, a few of the results came back about 1 point high.  So, needless to say, not in the ‘normal’ or ‘good’ levels.

I know I’m 44 now, but, I will not settle for a C grade.  I’ll go down to an A-, maybe a B+, but not below average.

So, I’ve had to get back on the horse.  The health horse.  This past summer brought many nachos, burgers, and yummy foods.  And although I continued to exercise at my regular intervals, I knew I was pushing the envelope.

So, I’m back to not eating however much I want of whatever the heck I feel like.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my food, and will continue to eat, yet, not to the point I was doing, and I’m back to adding more of the good for me stuff.

Also, I’ve added a Super B-Complex, and a D3 vitamin daily which my doctor suggested to assist in lowering the levels which were slightly elevated, and to assist with bone health to my anti-migraine potion.  I’ve tweaked my B-2 to just in the afternoon, I didn’t know if it would be too much B in the morning.  (I feel like such a dork for even writing all this.)

Anyhow, here’s to our health.  Still banking on natural sources and vitamins to battle the things my body throws at me, in hopes of not needing more serious meds down the road.

I’m currently on day 35 since my last migraine, jonesing for day 200…

Just keep swimming…

Image

My Anti-Migraine Green Smoothie, perfected!!!

It’s been over 11 months since I began my anti-migraine potion which includes Feverfew, Butterbur, B-2, and green smoothies daily.  And over that 11 months, I have had 5 migraines.  Which pales in comparison to the up to 2 a week I was experiencing prior to my anti-migraine potion.  My original post which details the supplements and the original recipe for my green smoothie can be found here.

Below is what I have concocted to create my tweaked version of the original green migraine smoothie recipe, and this is my favorite to date.  Details are below with an updated recipe at the end.

First, the greens.  Pure kale is really good for you, but it seems bitter to me.  After many trials with many greens, my favorite greens to use in my smoothie are these below:

Image

Spinach and baby kale, the only place I’ve found this particular brand is at Safeway, and it’s the best in my opinion.  A close second is this:

Image 1

Power Greens, it’s available at Costco. The trick to either bag is to try and get as much air out of it as possible before you store it back in the fridge. The original recipe called for 2 cups of greens.  I basically lightly pack the blender until it is about 3/4 full of greens, then add the rest of the ingredients. 1/2 – 2/3 of a cucumber, 2 stalks of celery, organic if possible since I drink these every day.

3/4 cup of coconut water, I buy this:

Image 2

It comes in a pack of 6 I think at Coscto.  It lasts forever.

Lemons…I now peel 2 lemons and just throw them in the blender.  I used to juice a lemon and add it to the smoothie, I found I really like the lemon taste, so I added another to make 2, and peeling them and throwing them in is easier than juicing them. If you’re lucky like I have been, you’ll have a friend with a lemon tree and she will bring you bags at a time of delicious, fresh lemons!! 🙂

Ginger; this has become a larger and larger portion as the time goes on.  I put about a 2″ x 1″ piece of peeled fresh ginger into my smoothie.  Looks about like this:

Image 3

(So, I’m not a professional photographer, but you get the point…)

And, lastly, about a cup of frozen pineapple.  I use the kind below from Costco:

Image 4

Blend all that up until it’s nice and smooth.  I separate mine into two portions, one to drink that day, one in a container in the fridge for the following day.  On a migraine day, I’ve been known to drink both portions in a day, splitting it between the morning and afternoon.  These can be frozen also.  I make an extra batch or two and freeze them in Ziplock gallon bags when I go on vacation and I don’t want to have to bust out the blender every other day.  They defrost real well, I pour mine into a cup with a lid, give it a good shake, and they are good to go.

Again, I’m not sure exactly what it is in my anti-migraine potion that seems to be working for me, but I’m happy that I’ve had a lot of relief over these past 11 months.  I know there is not a one size fits all for the treatment of migraines.  If what has helped me helps anyone else at all, that is so wonderful.  I hope that everyone’s unfortunate journey with migraines can eventually bring them some relief!

Slide1

I’ll take 20 days for $100 please.

20 days migraine free feels like one hundred bucks.

200 days felt like a million bucks, see here:  200 days.  Boom!  Drop the mic.

And I completely understand that my math is not to scale, 2 hundred and 2 million are not accurately represented in my example of how the days feel.  It’s all good.

$100 is nothing to sneeze at.  If I found $100 on the ground, I’d be happy and smiling all day long.  Which is me now, 20 days of no migraines, I’m happy and smiling.

I’ll keep on aiming back towards that million bucks feeling, and hoping to avoid the feeling that I get on a day that a migraine comes, the feeling that my wallet just got stolen.

I’ll take the C-note today and smile as I take my feverfew, butterbur, B-2, and drink my green smoothie, my anti-migraine potion.

Hope to parlay it into bigger payoffs again soon!

200 Days. Boom! Drop the mic.

Today marks 200 days since my last migraine.

 

 

200 days of no kaleidoscope eyes.

200 days of no numb, anti-present feeling for hours following the kaleidoscope eyes.

200 days of no head splitting headache the day after the kaleidoscope onset of my migraine.

Green migraine smoothie, B-2, Feverfew, Butterbur, (aka my anti-migraine potion), no afternoon coffee, and monthly chiropractor visits.  These are the things I’ve done consistently for 200+ days.  Something in this equation is working for me right now.

200 days.  Boom!

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.

 

http://www.cefaly.ca

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!

 

127 days of no migraines; new habit.

It’s been 127 days of life free from migraine headaches.

I’ve heard it takes 28 days for a habit to form.  I can say that after 127 days, I am in the habit of not having migraines.  And I do not want to return to the habit OF having migraines.

The word ‘migraine’ hasn’t been thrown around on a weekly, or even daily basis around my house by my children, husband or myself for quite a while.  That’s a new habit, because our old habit was being worried that a migraine was coming, had happened, or had occurred the previous day therefore I was still in the awful haze of dullness with the ridiculous headache that could stop me mid step.

I’d like to thank the Academy…oh no, I mean, Butterbur, Feverfew, B-2, and my green smoothie.  Otherwise known as my anti-migraine potion.  I honestly have no idea what the main contributor to my new habit is, but I’m thanking them all so they continue to work together.

Marjorie_Hinckley_-_The_only_way_to_get_through_lifepreview

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.

Image

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

 

‘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!)  

IMG_3325