migraines

Let it go, the King is dead. You’re 200+ days of no migraines is gone.

The number 205 seems to have now taken on a ‘glory days’ effect in my mind.

Problem is, I want it back.  I want to go over 200 days between migraines again.

And I don’t believe I’m going to lie down and settle for less.

There are times that I laugh when I hear my husband or others talk about their sports glory days.  And how is it that they can remember specific plays in great detail from 20+ years ago?

Will that be me?  Day 200 when I blogged about that celebratory day, will I remember that day with great details?  I just may.  Because I most certainly will remember walking into stupid Raley’s for stupid dinner stuff and getting a stupid migraine.  Dumb grocery store.  And I will certainly remember the nail salon, and most recently, a whopper migraine in Michael’s.  All stopping me from getting back on track to 200+ days migraine free.

I have to keep my glory days in the front of my mind though.  It happened once, it can happen again right?  And still, I can’t be too miffed about having broken my 200+ day migraine free streak.  Because the fact is, I’ve only had 6 migraines in one year and 16 days.  That may be some glory days there in itself, second only to my 200+ day streak.

Onward.

Still faithful to my anti-migraine potion, because 6 migraines in 381 days, I can glorify that!

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:

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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:

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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:

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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!

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No thank you Maroon 5…

So, all morning, this was the song in my head:

Maroon 5 – This Summer’s Gonna Hurt Like A Motherf****r

I don’t even necessarily like the song that much, but I can identify with it.  And not for what I’d imagine it’s supposed to mean, like partying like a rock star, or whatever the song is truly about.  Yet, my glamorous take on it, is if I continue to get migraines this summer like the one I got yesterday, ‘This Summer’s Gonna Hurt Like A Motherf****r!’

If anyone got the license of this truck that must have hit me yesterday:

Or if you could tell me if I got any good punches in during the fight against this guy last night:

Because that’s how I feel today.  The ginger helped with the nausea, which was nice (Ginger for Migraines).  Nothing touched the headache or helped me figure out where my brain was and why my head was dizzy today though.

Oh well, as I tell my kids sometimes when they’re not feeling up to something ‘fake it ’til you make it.’

Now, on with the rest of the day….

Well that sucked…

I didn’t expect to have to try out ginger just 2 days after writing Ginger for Migraines!

But, here I am, migraine in full effect today.  Could have been the heat, I’m sure that didn’t help.  Or that I missed my green smoothie today, which could have helped to prevent it.  I had friends over, including my good friend from Virginia for just a few hours, and didn’t want to interrupt my time by stopping to make my smoothie.  My bad.

When I got back home after getting the migraine, I mixed 1/2 tsp of ground ginger into a small glass of water.

So, was it ‘abracadabra, migraine gone?’  I don’t know.  I do know that about 10 minutes after drinking the ginger, the nausea was gone.  And within an hour I was feeling much more like myself, although still could use a whole house fan for my head.  I don’t think anything will ever combat the feeling of having something heavy and weighing down my head and face.

The real test will be tomorrow….the headache.  I’ll see if it is minimized, or if not, if more ginger helps to relieve it.  Here’s to hoping!

Still, overall, can’t complain too much.  Only my 3rd migraine since September which I feel is big ‘Winning’ compared to three per week which was my reality pre-August, 2014!!

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!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urine_therapy

10 days is NOT the business.

10 is much different than 205.

10 days ago, I had my first migraine in 205 days.  Today, I had another.  It bites.

I met my friend to get our toes done (very rare occurrence, about twice a year, so this was a big day!)  As I entered the nail salon, the wall that is a glass waterfall seemed to encompass every single prism of light in the universe and laser it my way.  I’ve gotten a migraine in this place before, but I’ve also gone there and not gotten one.  Not my lucky day today. The prisms of light that seem to only be attracted to my eyes, in combination with the endless can lights in the salon above my head said ‘You’re out.’

As soon as my eyes went full kaleidoscope, I was calm.  I know what to do and what to expect when I get to that point.  It’s the before that is not fun, wondering if the migraine is or is not going to rear it’s ugly head.

My friend and I talked about the need to find a dark place that does pedicures.  Then we quickly retracted that and laughed thinking that may not be a place that we’re supposed to visit!

My kaleidoscope eyes let up just in time for me to see the end result, pretty toes.  Then, with heavy heart, I entered my migraine into a new app I just got last week called Migraine Buddy.  All the information that I’ve been keeping in the notes of my iPhone for years, now is stored in a convenient little app.  It tracks migraines, as well as provide reports to target triggers and similarities.  Cool.

10 is no 205.  Still optimistic though thinking since it was the glass wall of water that brought it on, maybe they aren’t back to stay quite yet.

And on we went to drown my migraine frustrations in some Chili’s chips and salsa and tacos.  Migraine smoothie will come a bit later today, hope it can reel this in a bit.

Good thing tomorrow’s headache can hold hands with a mellow day without big plans.

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:

http://www.handsfreemama.com/2015/03/23/the-life-of-the-party-is-closer-than-you-think/

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.

Sigh.

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!

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