Category Archives: migraine/headache

Medical Marijuana: Smokes

Marijuana smoke is the only danger to one’s health that I’ve come across. The best way  to avoid this harmful side effect is to eat magic brownies.

Have you ever thought about what your actually doing while smoking? You are lighting plant matter and paper on fire. Then you hold the fire close to you and stick it right in front of your face. You are also inhaling solid and liquid particulates and a list of harmful gasses from the paper and plant as you bask in the smoke cloud.

Marijuana smoke poses the same health risks as tobacco smoke, a forest fire, any smoke.

First hand marijuana smoke has been found to cause damage to the respiratory system. It can cause things like bronchitis and respiratory infections. Second hand smoke exposure can be harmful to the blood vessels.

The marijuana smoke contains chemicals that can lead to cancer but no long term research has been done yet.

https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/secondhand-marijuana-smokehttps://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/secondhand-marijuana-smoke

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/resp.12298/full

http://herb.co/2017/04/20/weed-smoke-vs-cigarette-smoke/

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I Hate Pissing Contests

I went to a family reunion this weekend. We always go a day early so we have time to spend with my Great Aunt. One of my cousins is a drama queen. This time she was milking for sympathy because she was diagnosed with chronic migraines. She had her first in April and was diagnosed shortly afterword. We had a short dialogue about her first migraine, her doctor, and medicine. Most everything made me think, wait what? I told her it takes patience, cooperation with her doctor and faith in her medical team. She reminded me that she actually has a life, a kid, a job, still in her 20s and I don’t have any of those things.

I staring at this girl in amazement. I couldn’t find a shred of sympathy or compassion. That made me question myself. I know what its like to be blinded by the pain and my migraines last for several days. I know her pain. I remember how hard it was when it first started in my 20s. I thought I should feel sympathy, logically it is the correct emotional response, but I didn’t. I pitted her lack of understanding and was disgusted by her attitude.

I figured it out. She wanted compassion from me while trying to one me up and hurt my feelings. She wasn’t asking me about migraines or coping at all. She told a story about her last ER visit, she stared at me. My last ER story was 10x better, I could have also pointed out why she was treated so horribly. I didn’t say anything. Her last doctor appointment. I didn’t say a thing. Her job. Silence. She was aggravated. Yup, this was definitely a pissing contest. She was baiting me and showing off. I was pissed.

I believe that these pissing contests are toxic. I don’t like it when someone tells me I have it worse off or someone has it worse off then me or at least its not cancer. We shouldn’t get stuck on who has it better or worse off. We shouldn’t compare suffering. When we do we loose chances. We can learn from each other, confide in each other, be friends or mentors. We can’t be those things if we are stuck in a pissing match.

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Migraine Hot Spots

I read an interesting article today. Bert Sperling’s firm, Sperling’s Best Places (www.bestplaces.net), did a study about the worst places to live if you have migraines. Check out the study here http://www.bestplaces.net/docs/studies/migraines.aspx.   The firms complete 110 cities not to live in are listed here http://www.bestplaces.net/docs/studies/migraines_list.aspx .

The Top 10 Hot Spots:

  1. Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN
  2. Madison, WI
  3. Little Rock-North Little Rock, AR
  4. Knoxville, TN
  5. St. Louis, MO-IL
  6. Nashville, TN
  7. Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol, TN-VA
  8. Chattanooga, TN-GA
  9. Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson, SC
  10. Canton-Massillon, OH

The Bottom 10 (the best places to live)

  1. New Haven-Bridgeport-Stamford, CT
  2. Boston-Worcester-Lawrence, CT
  3. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX
  4. El Paso, TX
  5. New York, NY
  6. Salinas, CA
  7. Miami, FL
  8. Honolulu, HI
  9. Los Angeles, CA
  10. Fresno, CA

 

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I Tried Peppermint Oil

I tried peppermint essential oils by “Young Living Essential Oils.”  My sister and her boyfriend are representatives and showed me how to use it two different ways. To diffuse the oil, when inhaled it calms the nerves, stress reliever, and helps you relax. The other is to apply the oil to the skin on your forehead, behind the ears, and back of the neck. Applying to the skin relaxes muscles, helps with pain, and relieves stress (your are still inhaling the fumes).

Defused
It was relaxing. It didn’t help with the pain. Relaxation techniques have never helped with the actual pain. I think if stress is a big trigger it would probably help. And being more relaxed can help cope. But, I found that being overwhelmed or exposed to the sent during an attack made the pain worse.

Topically Applied
The moment the oil touched my skin I had the weirdest sensation. The pain was behind my eyes down the left side of my head. Also a stop on the top of my head and my nose was tingly. My sister had put the oil on her hands, started at forehead and moved back to my neck. All of my pain scurried to the top of my head like it was running away from the oil, after a while drifted to the left side of my head, and my face felt cold. It was weird. My sister says, “At least it did something.” I did not like how it felt. But she was right. It wasn’t what we had hoped for, but it was the first thing that my pain responded to. It was the first shimmer of hope we had the the pain would respond to any treatment. So, the oil puts up an interesting fight, but the pain wins.

My sister and her boyfriend told me that my experience must be very rare. No one had reported an experienced like mine. Most of the people I know use it for headache, they say it takes their pain away instantly. I don’t know anyone else who has tried it for migraines.

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Aphasia at the Neurologist

One of my fears has been that I would experience aphasia during a neurology  appointment. It is the most frustrating thing that can happen in the doctor’s office. Here I am staring at my doctor unable to communicate. All I could do was cry. My mind completely blank. What was going on around me didn’t even feel real. After long pauses I could usually come up with a short response. But it may have been gibberish. My Mom said I looked awful and decided to come into the exam room with me, after a few questions the doctor asked if he could talk to Mom instead.

He ordered pain shots. To receive them the nurse needed my birthday. Yeah, I could only stare at her and cry. After an awkward pause Mom inquired if she is allowed answer for me. She is. Thankfully, I got my shots.

The doctor and nurses were all very supportive. The nurse caught on to what was happening pretty quickly and informed the doctor. The nurse told me to cry as much as I wanted. The doctor was patient with me, asked if we understood aphasia, and ordered the shots before we talked so they would be ready asap.

After I woke from a long sleep I felt awful about how the whole morning went down. I cried to my sister about how I didn’t go to the doctor for shots and I missed out on being able to really talk to the doctor. It made me feel like a drug seeker although no one treated me like one. I’ve never sought out drugs. That stigma stopped me from being able to seek treatment for years and now it makes me feel awful about myself every time I take or am given a pain medicine.

Aphasia is always frustrating. Getting attacked by it in the exam room was just as awful as I imagined it would be.

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My Personal Strobe Light

Today I decided on my worse symptom. I have visual aura all the time. I can get a special visual aura right before and during my migraines with intense pain. I get bright white streamers across my vision followed by black streamers going left to right quickly. The white streamers are so bright they hurt my eyes. It gets worse when I turn the lights off or close my eyes. It looks like a freaking strobe light. And it does all the things an actual strobe light does to me. I get nauseous, motion sick, dizzy, nephropathy, and muscle spasms. Before my seizures were under control my personal strobe could set off a seizure.

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So I typed “migraine strobe” in google. Google thinks that is what it looks like.

I figured it out. Someone took part of my brain and replaced it with a strobe light. Maybe the batteries will run out soon.

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The Daith Craze, I asked the Doctor

Family members have been driving me crazy pressuring me to get my daith pierced.

I Researched It

The daith has three dots on it. The piercing is a 89ac955a85a83648088f335123207376type of acupuncture, the Chinese philosophy of medicine that balances your Chi. The idea is that it hits the pressure points in your ear that help with pain, “point zero.” It balances your energy and brings your body back into oneness. That is why is helps with pain, hormones, and viscera. The piercing misses that pressure point. The red dots is where the piercing goes and the green dot on the daith is where the point zero is. Furthermore you would have to get specific earning and most don’t. Acupuncturists write its not worth it. If the person piercing you got the right spot it would probably work just a few weeks at best. And keep in mind the body jeweler is not a doctor or acupuncturist. I have also read that it is not acupuncture. It gets confused as acupuncture because of its location and it uses pressure to relieve pain. I tried acupuncture. I am not an expert, but it seems that if you strip away the religious components of acupuncture what you have left is relaxation, pressure, and location.

Then there is the aftercare. 6 months to heal, high risk of infection, and possible bad reactions.

A few links from different types of authors:
Body Jeweler: http://www.urbanbodyjewelry.com/blog/the-truth-about-daith-piercing/
A study: http://www.blog.migrainepal.com/blog/daith-piercing-results-for-migraine
Blogger: http://www.blog.migrainepal.com/blog/daith-piercing-results-for-migraine
Acupuncturist: http://www.blog.migrainepal.com/blog/daith-piercing-results-for-migraine
Acupuncture Academic, about the points: http://www.blog.migrainepal.com/blog/daith-piercing-results-for-migraine

What My Doctor Said

I had Botox today and so asked my pain doctor about the daith piercing. My doctor is a friendly guy with a good bedside manor. When I ask a question its all business and he takes me very seriously. I’ve never felt silly while asking a question, even when I thought it was something “duh” or stupid.

I asked “My siblings are bugging me to get a daith piercing. Have you herd any science for it?”

He laughed. Covered his face, looked at floor, and chuckled at the word “science.”

This is what he said after a moment. He has 15 patients who got the piercing. About half felt that they helped. A few were very pleased with it. One got both ears done. The other half it didn’t work, one it made it worse. He told me that if I want to try, I could because of the chance that I might like it. He would recommend going to a professional. So it would be expensive, about 80$.

Me?
I’m not that trendy. I trust my doctors. Last time my doctor didn’t say yes that might help, it didn’t help. It was a waist of time and money. There is no medical research to back it up and acupuncturists don’t stand by it. I am not trying it.

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MHAM: My career is like Willey Coyote’s life struggles

Rules for wild e coyote and roadrunner_c286fac5e196549de2c120acb1c6c298

The creator, Chuck Jones, had the above rules for Willey Coyote. As I was reading these I was sympathizing with Willey Coyote. He had a physical handicap and was trying to compensate with his superior intelligence. Coyotes can run 43 mph while roadrunners run 20 mph and coyotes are know for being highly intelligent animals (they set traps for pray, are sneaky, and ways to do less work for higher reward). Willey has reason to feel humiliated by his failures. If he was any other coyote that roadrunner would have already been his snack.

The things that stand between Willey and success are frustrating. A lot like the things that stand in the way between me and a career.

Willey has bad luck with the products and tools that are available to him. They malfunction or Willey fails to use the product properly. And He only has one source, ACME Cooperation. It reminds me of how my body stands in my way. My body malfunctions or I do something wrong and it causes my body to malfunction. Have a malfunction in the wrong time, wrong place and I need a little white flag that reads “help!” My brain is the only source I have. I am told from bosses and coworkers that I could go so much further if I could just get a different one. Just like Willey could probably love to change manufacturer.

Everyone not having troubles at work or in their career are like the Roadrunner. The Roadrunner makes it look so easy to stay on the road, the path to success. Roadrunner is the only one who has a voice. The successful, healthy employee gets a voice. We are stuck in the background trying hard to hide, trying to put on a show. Part of that show is not saying the wrong things, not complaining, not bringing attention to your special needs, and not slipping up. My focus get so wrapped up in showing normal-ness I loose track of conversations, don’t have things to add, panic when asked for my opinion, and fade into the background. “Beeb, Beeb” is what Roadrunner says to Willey. Roadrunner is mocking him, what is wrong with you that you can’t catch me? I become the source of ridicule or target for workplace bullying because of my shortcomings. And I have nothing to say for myself other then I was physically unable because of my disability, unless I am hiding the disability.  Silence is not always golden. Words can cut like a sword.

Willey could stop any time but he is a fanatic. Stopping doesn’t seem like an option. We have tried to hard to quit. Giving up now is utter defeat. Proving “I can do this” isn’t the aim of a career. The aim is to find a place to belong in the workforce that will support you (and your family). With the goal “I’ll show you” you are not finding a sense of belonging and community. You are alienating yourself and creating unnecessary stress. Quitting was hard, it still makes me cry. I worked so hard to get my education and now find myself unable to get a job doing research. A job teaching seems just out of reach. Yes I feel like a failure, a bum, a deadbeat, lazy, a burden. Its all stuff I am told I am. But I had to stop being a fanatic and focus on my health. Adulting sucks damn it.

Willey finds his environment challenging. Even gravity is against him. Me too. At work light, sound, and gravity were always a challenge. Walking, opening doors, pushing buttons on the elevator, and even writing on the shiny white board or turning on the projector were all annoying obstacles that naturally occur in the educational environment.

Willey Coyote is constantly humiliated. His physical injuries were never as deep as his emotional scars. It reminded me of this time I had a seizure and sprang my ankle. The hurt I felt every time I had to say “I had a seizure and fell down a flight of stairs” hurt more then the pain in my ankle and random bruises. I had to laugh it off, say it with a smile, make a joke, and get a chuckle. Just like Willey. He just had an anvil fall on him, but please see the ridiculousness in what happened, please help him deal with the emotional hurt by laughing it off with me. Its not a cruel as it sounds. That is the sad part. I just gave a presentation that included migraine triggers, I wasn’t thinking, it hurt like Hell, please laugh at the ridiculousness of this situation, I think I’m going to cry if you don’t.

How has migraine impacted my career? It has made it nonexistent. I was told I need to fix my little problem before applying for a job. I can’t fix a disability. I am applying for a single class again. Part of me is saying yeah right and the other is saying there6a00d8341ce97953ef01b8d28550f8970c-pi is no harm in trying. But there is emotional harm in getting the job and then not succeeding. Migraine and the stigma I’m being fed has pretty much shattered my confidence. I need to find the fanatic inside me that got me through college to get me a job.

 

Challenge found at http://www.migraine.ninja/2017/06/migraine-and-headache-create-career-challenges.html

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MHAM 16: The Struggle is Real

Topic: How has the stigma impacted you, and how have you fought it?

stigma

People don’t like being reminded that they are not immortal or immune to everything. So it is normal behavior to make it the “sick” person’s fault that they’re body is not in perfect condition. Even when the condition is genetic or result from something the person had no control over, people will find or make up a “reason” this happened to the “sick” person. Then the “healthy” person can say “that will never happen to me.” Then it is normal for the “sick” person to be push out of the social circles. The “sick” person becomes a “downer” and most don’t want them there.

There are a lot of stigmas that impacted me and I could go on. It becomes amazing how labels, stereo types, and such impacts your life the moment a symptom enters your life. And how those make drastic changes in how others see us, how we see ourselves, and how we are allowed to contribute to society over night. So I will rant about a few.

I was a theater major when I got sick. I was honest with my professor and turned down a leading role. The next play I was second lead and I had a few migraine episodes while other students were being jack-asses playing with the lights. (At this point I had not had a seizure yet.) After that show everything went to hell. I lost my job in the workshop and I wasn’t given a part in the next play. I had to do both of those things to keep my scholarship. It went as far for a professor to give a lecture about the importance of staying healthy in order to give performances and do well in acting classes. I went from the best in the department to the outcast in a few weeks. A rumor spread that I was diseased and wouldn’t be able to hack it. And then one professor was surprised her best student dropped all her classes…

In school I was told constantly that I couldn’t do it, I was going to flunk out, and I needed to drop. Why? Because sick people are not able to think critically, learn, pay attention in class, concentrate, or perform academically in general. They also drag down the class and make classmates uncomfortable. Sick people should not live on campus because they lack the skills to care for themselves. So, a sick person is stupid, inconsiderate of your feelings, and should be invalids? I fought it by living on campus, having a kick ass thesis, getting a 3.6 gpa, and being awarded a scholarship to graduate school. There was a bet on if I would make it through my thesis presentation. I encouraged it. There was standing room only. A friend of mine made a killing. I fought the same crap in grad school. I fought it mostly by having a kick ass thesis and getting a 3.6 gpa.

I am a druggie. A druggie is “a drug addict” or a person addicted to a specific substance, typically illegal. I am dependent on my prescription medication. I need it for my brain to function properly.  If I stop taking it, my body will have an adverse reaction. Prescription medication is illegal without a prescription. Would you like to see my prescription? This is a major problem with having to take medication in public. Suddenly I am explaining to strangers what I’m taking and why so they do not call the police. Would I really be popping illegal pills after an alarm went off in public? Stranger, if this looks like an illegal drug, how do you know? I’ve never seen one…

Why am I a unemployed bum living in my parents home? Maybe because I can’t live on my own and I do a lot worse when I work. Why don’t I have an online job? Please help me find one that does not require me to be on the phone or type all day or that is not a scam. What is that, no? I am in a lot of pain, pain makes it hard to function because it does this to the body (insert list) which make it hard to function. The doctor agrees it would be hard for me to work and I shouldn’t work for more then 10 hours and that if I do work it (insert list). Long educational talks that are repetitive and they don’t listen to anyway because most people just wanted to say “Your lazy, should be working, living on your own, and need to stop being a burden to your parents.”

Why are you working being a pain in our ass? Because I need to pay bills? I’m told I need to stay home and live off of disability. That I am too sick to work. My pain makes me unreliable, bad worker, undesirable, disabled, need a better doctor, I must be lying about seeing a doctor, I don’t eat, I eat the wrong foods, I don’t sleep, I must

6a00d8341ce97953ef01b8d28550f8970c-pi

have had a brain injury I am lying about. It was crazy the things I herd and was told. I fought back by not quitting. I decided that my bosses were going to have to fire me. But each time I ended up quitting on doctor’s orders. Oh it is so annoying.

This is how I slowly watched my world change. How I saw my friend

s dwindle, place in society change, my roles shift, other’s expectations from me disappear, my dreams go out the window, my future change. Because of physical limitations and stigmas.

Check out for other entries http://www.migraine.ninja/2017/06/education-needed-to-combat-migraine-and-headache-stigma.html

 

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MHAM 13: Management

Topic: How do you incorporate the whole person in your Migraine and Headache Management – the physical, intellectual, and emotional?

Physical
I need to get back into working out three to four days a week. I use to switch out light cardio and yoga followed by a nap. It helps me with my balance. I eat when its time to eat. I drink mostly water and plenty of it. I rest and sleep when my body tells me to. It may sound stupid/easy but its not and it’s not something I could really do until I quit working. I am doing a lot better since I started doing these basics.

Intellectual
I read pain, migraine, persistent head pain, and seizure related articles and try to learn everything I can. I also got two introduction to sociology of medicine books that I want to read. I write this blog. Right now I guess I need to learn about Trump’s healthcare. My Dad seems to think it’s going to be great and buys into all the “chronic pain” stereo types and prejudices. I’ll I’ve seen about it is that it has been behind closed doors and nobody actually knows what it is. My pain levels make holding trains of thoughts difficult. Holding verbal, spontaneous arguments are really hard for me. I tend to fill my brain with information that becomes useless because of my unpredictable critical thinking skills. It can be like having a ship whose cargo holds are full of merchandise but the ship gets thrown off course by a hurricane and the merchandise boxes break or get water damage. Its the same as receiving comments like “you are really useful on your good days, you should have more of those.”

Spiritual
Jesus is always the answer. Why does music written in a minor key sound “sad” or “downbeat,” while music in a major key sounds “happy” or “upbeat”? Answer: Jesus. Social and medical research has shown relationships between religiosity and better health. I relay on my faith a lot to get through a lot of the crap my body puts me through. When people ask me questions along the line of “why haven’t you killed yourself” or say “I would have killed myself by now” I say “because I have Jesus.”

Prayer and worship activates several parts of the brain and most notably the left. 6a00d8341ce97953ef01b8d28550f8970c-piPatients who know they are being prayed for heal faster then patients who are not being prayed for. Prayer/meditation can also release endorphins and increase your sense of well-being. If your thinking “yeah right, phhfff.” It is not uncommon for nonreligious people to join religious groups for the the social interactions, friendships, and support groups. A church is also a great place to start a local support group for the community.

Emotional
To be honest, I don’t know if I can separate physically and emotionally better sometimes. I measure my ability to cope with emotional health a lot. My ability to cope is also tied to the amount of pain I’m in. So sometimes I get confused.

Chocolate is always the answer.  What, exactly, is it about good jokes that makes people laugh? Answer: Chocolate. But if someone looks at you funny you can redirect with just kidding family, family is the answer.

Chocolate, in serving seizes. Dark chocolate is a good source of copper and magnesium which are minerals your brain needs. Dark chocolate also boosts your immune system and blood flow to the brain. It also gives off boosts of endorphins and serotonin, it helps your mood. But chocolate does has caffeine and therobromine–these are the chemicals that can trigger migraines, so you have to be careful and know how much of that you can tolerate. I went to my grandma’s for a few weeks when my g-ma died and again that summer. She talked to her doctor about it and portioned me out a one ounce serving for the whole day of 50% dark chocolate. I held it together better. I can manage better with the pain and emotionally. Now if I don’t have dark chocolate I will eat Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips, 45% cocoa. Does eating chocolate actually belong in physical?

Family is a great source of support. When I’m sad or having a hard time coping I can go across the hall to see my sis or go down the hall hunting for a parent or down stairs for my sister or my niece. Or trip over the dog. I can call my brother and sis-in-law too. A lot of the time I call my Uni or go for a play date with her, or move into her apartment for a week. A change in pace can help a lot.

I also listen to music. It can move me and help me sleep.

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