migraine relief

Ginger for Migraines.

I was in Pismo Beach last week for our annual trip with family.  Can’t say Pismo Beach without thinking of this:

While I was there, my good friend Timaree from http://thenutritionprofessor.com sent me an email with a cool video about ginger and migraines.  See it here:

Looks like I’ll be purchasing some ground ginger, because heck, if it does as it claims for some without the side effects of Imitrex, which were so lovely for me (see here at Imitrex Fail!), it’s worth keeping on hand for when a migraine does break through my anti-migraine potion!

Has anyone used ginger as a successful migraine treatment?

Urine therapy. Ya, maybe my migraines aren’t so bad…

So, according to this printout that I was given at my local health food store (which is wonderful by the way), I have a lot to look forward to within the next 14 months.  If, that is, I’m part of the most susceptible group of women and my migraines will end at age 44… Image 644 is not a super party year.  It’s not like turning 21, 30 or 40.  Those were pretty good party years.  44 is, meh.  Good, but meh in terms of a party year.  Unless, of course, I’m what is referred to as the ‘most susceptible group of women’ that get migraines.  They are aged between 25 and 44.  So, 44 would be my last year of migraines if I am in the most susceptible group.

I’m thinking I’m not the typical or most susceptible group.  I’ve already gotten the odds of being within the 10% of the population that gets migraines.  And I certainly have gotten them more than the ‘approximately once per month.’ So, as I continue to cross my fingers and hope that the migraine spell is released on the eve of my 45th birthday, what do I have to look forward to if it isn’t?

Well, if my anti migraine potion stops working, it looks like there is another option I may have before trying prescription medications: Image 2 urine therapy.  Not something I’ve read about yet.  Not sure I’m going to be too quick to look into that one.

Image 1 And then I have these long term issues that may come for a visit when I need something additional to the thrill of a normal old migraine.

So, here’s to hoping that the day I wake up and I am 45, birds and butterflies will be fluttering, and all migraines will stop.

For the next 14 months though, I will continue to apologize to the customer service people at REI for wearing my sunglasses in the store, insisting it’s not because I think I’m super cool.  I’ll also continue to yawn, and rub my ears continuously in an ever so attractive manner in hopes that I intercept a migraine that is coming on.  As well as continue my anti-migraine potion and keep my fingers crossed that it continues to work for me so I don’t have to Google ‘urine therapy’.

Who am I kidding, after writing that, I had to Google it.  And WOW, just WOW!


Atta-Boy Migraine!!!

Baseball, unlike softball, does not have cheers and such during the game.  Which I am thankful for, because I do not like having those stuck in my head for days at a time.

Sayings however, baseball does have.  And one that I heard very often during this last season from one of my son’s good friends during games was ‘Atta-Boy’!  But it wasn’t said as it is written, it was more like ‘Atttttaaaaa Booooooyyyyyyy!!!’ in the most deep, loud, almost gurgly voice possible.

It totally grew on me.  To the point where just yesterday I yelled ‘Atttaaaa Giiirrrrllll!’ to my daughter during her soccer game.

Got me thinking, on day 44 of no migraines, I think an ‘Atta-Boy’ is suitable towards my migraines.

So here goes, ‘Atttttaaaaa Giiiirrrllll!’ to my brain for no migraines!

Imitrex fail!

‘Here are some samples of Imitrex. Take one as you feel a migraine coming on.’ Was what I was told by my doctor early in my migraine career. Up to that point, I had taken ibuprofen, and as it made a slight dent in the pain, I was hoping for bigger results.

Then came game day…

I was going to a good friends house to visit with her and let our kids play.  It was about a 30 minute drive.  As I pulled up to her house, my eyes began doing their kaleidoscope tricks.   Oh wait!  I have a pill that can help me!  I took the prescribed Imitrex.  Full migraine to follow 20 minutes later as the kaleidoscope eyes relieved themselves to leave me with an overall dull feeling.  Then, something that I hadn’t experienced yet in my migraine career, praying to the porcelain gods as I vomited in my good friends bathroom.


Snapshot of that moment:  my two small children (didn’t have the third yet) running around with my friends’ two small kids, playing, my friend is watching the children, and I am puking in her downstairs bathroom.  (Can I say how happy I am that she had such a wonderfully clean home?  I don’t know how to express my appreciation for a clean toilet when puking in another’s bathroom.)

After I returned from the bathroom, I laid on the floor of the living room on my back.  Although the back of my head was on the floor, it felt like I was raising it up, my neck muscles were sore and tightened. Scared, and so thankful this was a good friend that I wasn’t embarrassed to be in front of during all this crap, I read the paperwork that came with Imitrex.

  • Vomiting, check.
  • Drowsiness to the point of barely able to keep my eyes open, check.
  • Tightened neck muscles, check.  See below more specific details of the tightened neck:

‘Chest/jaw/neck tightness can commonly occur soon after using sumatriptan. Only rarely are these signs of a serious condition. However, you may not be able to tell it apart from a serious reaction due to a lack of blood flow to the heart, brain, or other parts of the body.’  How nice.

Fast forward about an hour, and my husband was at my friends door to take our kids and I home.  I went straight to bed and stayed there until the next day.  I vividly remember telling my husband that I am happy to stick with ibuprofen as treatment for migraines for the rest of my life.

I am sure Imitrex and other drug treatments have thankfully been successful for many people.

I am the person that gets every random side effect with prescription drugs, including the antibiotics that were prescribed to me just last year that stated you may experience ‘psychotic episodes’.  How lovely, crawling out of my skin and not being able to sleep is a side effect to trying to get rid of bronchitis.  Lucky me.

I know my body is sensitive to prescription drugs, therefore I choose to be very careful before taking any.  I weigh out the side effects vs. benefits before I commit to taking anything, for fear of it negatively impacting my life.  This is why I felt it so necessary to try each and every thing I had ever read and learned about migraine relief and prevention before filling my Topamax prescription back in August of last year.

I am so thankful that up to this point it has not been necessary to fill that prescription.  I was literally sick reading through the possible side effects, preparing myself for all that were listed.    Although, that was the point I was at, the migraines had gotten so frequent and life impacting, the benefits of taking Topamax were winning the side effects battle of the two.  I don’t take for granted that my anti migraine potion has been successful for me.  And I’m not naive, there may be a day where I need to look at the benefits of another prescription that could overrule the possible side effects if my migraines were to change course or get worse again.

Here’s to having hope that I won’t need to fill prescriptions in the future with lists of side effects though!  Because I don’t know that I’ll keep getting invited over to friends houses if I continue to lay on their floor and puke when I arrive!

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!

When all else fails, make cherry margaritas!

At times, I will have a beer at night if I have had a migraine during the day. It just levels off the stress and pain, and makes the shoulders go down a bit.

I really enjoy wine, but wine and migraines just never sound good together for me.

With it being cherry season here now, I’m thinking the next time I get a migraine, a cherry margarita may just have to be in order.

Migraine or no migraine, pretty sure these will be in my near future again.

Here goes:

  • About 3 cups of fresh cherries, pitted.  (Use a pitter bought at a store, or if you don’t have a pitter, see here for an easy way to pit them)
  • 1 can of frozen limeade concentrate
  • 1 cup of tequila (more or less depending on your preference)
  • Triple Sec if you have it, about 1/2 cup (this will not make or break the drink, still make it if you don’t have it!)
  • 1 cup or so of water (lessen or add as you prefer the consistency of your margarita)
  • Lots of ice, about 2 cups at least

Blend well, pour in a cool glass, and enjoy!  Delicious, and cherries have the benefit of being an anti-inflammatory!

What migraine?  (ha ha, I wish!)

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.

I’m guilty of ‘just going through the motions…’


It’s funny how sometimes, something seems off, and as I’m trying to work it out in my head , something comes along that I either read or hear, and it helps me move along and make sense of things.

I’ve found myself very busy lately, and getting things done.  I wonder if it has to do with the fact that I have more days to get things done, they haven’t been taken over by migraines now for over 200 days as I had written about last week.  (Sidenote…looks like 205 is my number.  205 days following my last migraine, I got one as I was in Raley’s shopping for dinner the day before Easter.)  As I have been working more, as well as busying myself with things that have been waiting to get done, I think I’ve maybe (embarrassingly and regretfully) been going through the motions with my family.  Everyone gets fed, loved, tucked in, kisses, and I love you’s, but, at times it’s while I’m busy getting things done.

Back seven months ago, it was familiar for me to hear my youngest ask in a worried voice, ‘mom, are you getting a headache?’  Back then, I was getting roughly 2 migraines per week.  That’s two days of my life affected for each migraine.  So, about 4 bad days, and 3 good days per week.  Lately, as I’ve been ‘checking’ myself (think Ice Cube), I’ve wondered if I was more present seven plus months ago because the days that were good, I really tried to get the most out of.

I don’t believe that you can live ‘every day to the fullest’.  I think that may be a bit unrealistic, even though I’d love to think I could make it happen.

I do believe that moments can be celebrated on almost a daily basis.  When we went away for a quick trip a few weeks ago, no one day was perfect.  There were however, moments.  Sitting on the beach listening to the waves and watching my family, everyone happy, that was a full moment.  The next day at the park (which my older two swore they  were too big for, but ran around with my youngest as they created their own game), I sat next to my husband with the sun on my back, not really talking, just hanging out, it was another full moment.  After that short get away, I realized that a day doesn’t have to be perfect to be a success.  To have those moments that are to the fullest matter, and they have the ability to make me feel whole.

I began to write this post between the celebration of day 200 of no migraines, and before day 205.  With the return of a migraine on day 205, I recalled how I’ve often wondered if when I need to slow down, but don’t, is a migraine my body’s way of saying ‘ya, I’ll take care of this, you are going to be slowing down right now’?  Day 205 definitely slowed me down.  Most of the migraine bells and whistles were present, even some that rarely show up to the migraine party such as the cold chills.  No numb lips and arms though, so I guess that’s good.  My husband pointed out that getting a migraine once a calendar year may not be so bad.  And I agree.  They still suck, yet suck just doesn’t fully encompass the definition of a migraine.  The sledgehammer that hits you down, with the pain afterwards, does more than suck.  But, it’s funny, as I was driving home from Raley’s, knowing I was right ahead of the full kaleidoscope eyes storm, the point at which I would not be able to drive for at least 30 minutes, I found myself smiling.  A slow, undercover smile, while thinking to myself, ‘alright, ya got me, I’m due, 205 is pretty good stuff.’

As I mentioned above, something I came across and read recently had parts that really spoke to me, and helped me move past some things that seemed to be taking up too much real estate in my head.  Some of this article posted on handsfreemama.com is heavy, take from it what may apply to you:


So, “Could I be the party”?  Yes.

I didn’t expect a kick-my-ass migraine reminder that I definitely needed to slow down, be the party, and take in the moments, but I’ll take it.  Maybe a migraine for me at times can be a really sick, twisted gift that reminds me to slow the ____ down.  Please just let my body go back to keeping these reminders hundreds of days apart.

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!

From green beer to green smoothies…

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

It seems like just yesterday I was celebrating with green beer, now I seem to be celebrating with my green migraine smoothie.


After the day has been completed, and kids are settled, maybe a beer then.  For now, I’ll sip on my smoothie.

You can read about my anti-migraine potion here.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!