Sunday Thoughts on Living with Migraine - Still Proud

Fall-SundayGood morning, and happy Sunday to my Migraine and Headache family. As always, I wish we could have a day when nobody in our community has a Migraine or Headache, but since that's just a beautiful wish, I'll hope that the day is treating all of you as well as possible.

All of the months leading up to the recent Presidential election were... well, I'd say difficult, but that's an understatement. I can't think of a word that adequately describes it. By the time election day arrived, I'm sure many of us with Migraine were impacted by the stress. I know I certainly was. Although stress itself isn't a Migraine trigger for me, there are other triggers I have to watch out for during stressful times - dehydration, skipping meals, messed up sleep.

I first voted in the Presidential election of 1972, the year I turned 18, and the first time 18 year old citizens could vote. I was excited about it because I love my country, and I see voting as both a privilege and a responsibility.

In the years since then, I've never seen anything as shameful as the rhetoric spewed forth during this last election. Never. Although still proud of our country, I was truly ashamed of many people. The issues were nearly lost in the vitriolic stream of name-calling and worse. It didn't stop with the candidates, and it didn't end with the election.

The FREEDOM OF SPEECH that we enjoy and that allows us to state our views doesn't give us the right to devolve into UNpeaceful protests, property damage, and threats. The election is over, and everyone on both sides should be moving forward and being gracious toward others. Our country and our citizens face many enormous challenges, and we'll only overcome them if we work together.

Anyway, I came across a video yesterday that I think everyone will love. Please note that the song is performed entirely a cappella. Even the snare drum sounds are made by one of the vocalists. Please, sit back, relax, enjoy the song, and remember why you're proud to be an American.

Live well,

PurpleRibbonTiny Teri1

 

 because a migraine is NOT "just a headache"

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Let's Talk Migraine - Triggers

Lets-Talk2We all know that doctors have less time to discuss our Migraines during our appointments these days. Still I'm still shocked when someone tells me that their doctors have never discussed their Migraine triggers with them — or worse still, never even told them that Migraines HAVE triggers.

I've had Migraines since I was six-years-old. Nobody ever told me about triggers. I thought Migraines just happened and didn't learn any better until I was in my 40's, my Migraines became chronic, and I sought care from a Migraine specialist.

Have you and your doctor discussed your Migraine triggers? Do you discuss them when you go for follow-up appointments. For more on this important issue, please read Two Vital Migraine Related Issues That Doctors Often Don't Mention.

Live well,

PurpleRibbonTiny Teri1
 

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© Teri Robert, 2015
Last updated April 1, 2015.

 


Migraine Gem - Migraines and the "Big O"

MigraineGemsPurpleFor some unfortunate people, the "Big O" can trigger a Migraine or cause certain types of headaches.

That really stinks, right? Right!

BUT, for other people, orgasm can actually abort a Migraine.

Does this sound like something you'd like to know more about? We can handle that!

For more information on these topics, take a look at these articles:

Live well,

PurpleRibbonTiny Teri1
 

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© Teri Robert, 2014
Last updated January 22, 2014.

 


Migraine Gem - Trigger Foods

MigraineGemsPurpleDid you know that some foods and beverages can trigger a Migraine up to 48 hours after being consumed?

Identifying and managing our triggers is one of the most essential elements of effective Migraine management. This makes a great deal of sense given that some triggers are avoidable, and avoiding them can mean fewer Migraines for us.

Many people ask about what foods can trigger Migraines. There's a fairly long list of potential trigger foods. For some Migraineurs, a few of them can trigger a Migraine. Other Migraineurs may find that they have several food triggers. Yet others find that no foods are triggers for them.

As with many other things concerning Migraines, food trigger vary greatly from one person to the next. The best way to determine if we have food triggers is through an elimination diet.

For more information about food triggers, the elimination diet, and a free downloadble workbook, see Managing Migraine - Migraine Trigger Foods.

Live well,

PurpleRibbonTiny Teri1
 

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© Teri Robert, 2013
Last updated November 11, 2013.

 


Migraine Gems - Diagnosing Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension

6a00d8341ce97953ef019afff7fbb5970b-800wiIdiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), aka pseudotumor cerebri can cause headaches and trigger Migraines.

When Migraineurs have frequent Migraines, but can't identify the triggers for those Migraines, it's not unusual for their doctors to suggest a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) to rule out IIH, and this is where a problem can come in.

What's the problem? Too many doctors don't know how to rule out or diagnose IIH. Too many erroneously think that everyone with IIH has papilledema (swelling of the optic nerves), and that a dilated eye exam can rule out IIH. Or they think that a trial of a medication used to treat IIH can rule it out or confirm the diagnosis. This is also incorrect.

There is only one way to definitively rule out or diagnose IIH. To find out what that is and read about a true case of what can happen when it's not diagnosed, see Pseudotumor Cerebri: Getting the Diagnosis Right.

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Live well,

PurpleRibbonTiny Teri1
 

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© Teri Robert, 2013
Last updated March 2, 2013.


Migraine Gem - Dehydration

MigraineGems190One of the most essential elements of effective Migraine management is trigger identificaiton and management. Some triggers are avoidable, and once identified, avoiding them can mean fewer Migraines.

Dehydration is one of the most basic avoidable Migraine triggers. It's also one of the strongest and most common.

For information on dehydration and avoiding it, see An Avoidable Migraine Trigger - Dehydration.

Live well,

PurpleRibbonTiny Teri1
 

Make a difference... Donate to the 36 Million Migraine Campaign!

 

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© Teri Robert, 2013
Last updated September 25, 2013.



Migraine Awareness Month #4 "June Is Bustin' Out All Over!"

AwarenessMonth2012BC2Good morning, and happy Migraine Awareness Month!

The prompt for today, day 4 of National Migraine Awareness Month is:

Migraine Awareness Month #4: "June Is Bustin' Out All Over!"
What's the best tip you can offer others for having some summer fun despite Migraines?

My tip is really a two-parter: Be aware of heat and the sun, and stay well hydrated.

High temperatures and getting overheated can be a very strong Migraine trigger as can dehydration, and the two of them can go hand-in-hand. Obviously, being in the hot sun can be problematic, but high temperatures can cause problems even when we stay in the shade, especially when the humidity is high. So use light colored and lightweight clothing to protect yourself from the sun, including hats, but don't stay out too long in high temperatures. And, don't forget to protect your eyes.

Dehydration, even mild dehydration, can actually be dangerous in addition to being a Migraine trigger. Be sure to stay well hydrated at all times. You can find more information on this in An Avoidable Migraine Trigger - Dehydration.

Be safe, be comfortable, avoid as many Migraines as possible, and have fun!

National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation. The Blogger’s Challenge is initiated by www.FightingHeadacheDisorders.com.

Live well,

PurpleRibbonTiny
 

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© Teri Robert, 2012
Last updated April 23, 2012.


Migraine Awareness Month Blogging Challenge #3: Just shoot me now!

AwarenessMonth2012BC2

Today's prompt for the National Migraine Awareness Month Blog Challenge is:

Migraine Awareness Month #3  What's your worst Migraine trigger? Can you avoid it? How do you handle it?

MSG, bright lights, perfume bottles dressed as people, weather fronts and air pressure changes, a sleepless night, hormones… all are big problems for me.  These triggers are often difficult to control or predict and for people like me, they are potent triggers.

My worst trigger is actually different.  It’s different because it is almost entirely beyond my control.  My biggest, worst trigger is… my comorbid conditions. 

I’ve written at Migraine.com before about autoimmune thyroid dysfunction (Graves’ disease), lupus and Sjogren’s syndrome.  I’ve told readers there about little known conditions called dystonia and tardive reactions.  I’ve written elsewhere about laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) as well as systemic inflammation, facial neuralgias and even about spinal problems.  Together these are my Achilles’ heel.

I’ve long ago learned how to manage most of my food triggers – I shop, cook and eat as though I lived 200 years ago.  CHECK.

I quit my jobs and remodeled my home to avoid lighting and sleep triggers.  CHECK.

I try not to go out into the public very often unless I have a way home so if noise and smell triggers set me off I can quickly get away from them. CHECK.

My hubs follows the weather very carefully and warns me when fronts are coming through that might trigger problems for me.  I try to make all my flights non-stop or I drive (at night and early morning) to avoid those pressure triggers.  CHECK.

I had a hysterectomy and quit all HRT and the hormones that became (for me) such a huge trigger for Migraine with aura.  CHECK.

All those CHECKs came with a hefty price, in more ways than financially.

So I have gone to great extremes and I’ve managed to do just about everything right and still, I remain a chronic Migraineur.

No matter how hard I try, no matter the giant mountains I have climbed to reduce my triggers, I cannot control my worst trigger: my other health issues.

Most of my comorbid conditions involve inflammation and my central nervous system in one way or another.  They are highly reactive to outside stressors (like triggers) such as illness, injury, medications or yes… stress itself.  These "triggers" cause disease flares where my immune system begans to attack my own body.  I have organ and musculoskeletal damage from them, so I MUST avoid flu and colds, dehydration, all sunlight, certain food and medicines, cold temperatures, wind… and negative emotions. 

Not only do my comorbid conditions complicate my life, but also my Migraine treatment.  As a result, when I do have a Migraine that runs amok, I have precious few options to pull me through.

  • No triptans
  • No DHE
  • No traditional anti-emetics
  • No drugs that cause tardive reactions (an enormous list)
  • No additional NSAIDs

My treatment for these comorbid conditions limits the medicines I can take while undergoing treatment.  These include the entire class of opiate pain relievers.

In avoiding all my Migraine and health triggers, my life has become pretty limited.  I had to come to terms with all my different diagnoses as well as my *new* life with them.  My “old life” and dreams were gone in one long, agonizing puff of smoke.  I went through several stages of anger and grief before I realized that I have done everything I can do to be better.  The rest, for right now, just has to wait. 

Life however, doesn’t.

While we wait for brilliant researchers to find us new treatments, I can still be a person that has value.  I do still have choices.

When I am able, I can contribute to my home community (I am a CERT trainer and medical First Responder), my Migraine community (I am an educator and advocate) and communities for those pesky comorbid conditions.  I can help others and see them smile.  I am still a wife, a mom, a daughter, a friend - - and a member of the human race.

I live every day of my life now with pain because of those things over which I have no control.  My Migraines are the worst, and all roads lead to them.  If I was given a choice of a cure for any of the significant health problems I have, it would be Migraine I would wish away. 

To learn more about these health conditions, check out these helpful links:

National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation. The Blogger's Challenge is initiated by www.FightingHeadacheDisorders.com.

To help raise awareness about Migraine, please Tweet this post with the hash tags #NMAM and #NMAMBC and share it on your Facebook page. Thank you!

Have a great day!
Ellen