Migraine Awareness Month 26: "From The Outside Looking In"

AwarenessMonth2012BC2Good morning, and welcome to day 26 of National Migraine Awareness Month!

Today's prompt for the Awareness Month blog challenge is:

Migraine Awareness Month #26: "From The Outside Looking In."
Write about what you think your family, friends and others think a day in life, a day with Migraine disease is like.

From the outside looking in...

Most of my family and friends are only vaguely aware of my job as a patient educator and advocate.  It might surprise you to know that the majority of them don’t even know where I work other than ‘online’. 

I have never asked them what they think my days are like, but they occasionally give me a little insight with the things they say.

Sadly, some of my friends think that I spend all day long visiting Dr Google, obsessing over my health conditions.  In reality this couldn’t be further from the truth.  Most of my time is spent either writing, or helping other patients online.  Most of these people think that spending time online must make me feel worse, when in reality the opposite is true.  Helping others gives me purpose and keeps me concentrating on everything but my pain, so I can often be found even working while in bed in the dark, iPad on my lap.  I stop for the day only when a Migraine is completely out of control. 

A few relatives think I waste my time each day in front of a television eating bonbons.  I wouldn’t know a bonbon if it stood up and introduced itself to me.  Although a radio or the television is often on for background noise to drown out my tinnitus (ringing ears) I rarely watch TV unless I happen to be passing through the room at an especially interesting time.  I average approximately 12 hrs a day working as an educator/advocate.  It’s true that part of this time is my job.  However, the vast majority of it is volunteer.  Patients are my priority.  Even with those numbers, I still feel that I let some patients down because there just aren’t enough hours in the day.  I do my best and hope they see that.

A few friends and relatives think I waste my time on useless or frivolous sights such as Facebook and they see no purpose in it.  The reality is that I visit many online social media platforms, participating in too many of them to really count.  Sometimes I ask questions myself because I am always learning, but usually my time is spent helping others who are asking questions or looking for support.  I also keep in touch with other patients through these social media platforms, and we are often found sharing prayer requests and comfort for each other.  Hardly a waste of time in my book. 

I take my meds when I’m supposed to.  I distract myself from my pain every day.  I take out a little time each day to concentrate on things that cause me to pause with wonder and smile.  I enjoy the time I spend with my dogs and cat, and although my heart aches for the interaction, I enjoy watching the daily activities of the horses that surround my home.  I plan to go somewhere at least once a week because this makes me feel like my life is a little more regular.  I struggle to be as normal as I possibly can, with a very *not normal* situation. 

It’s my fault that my family and friends aren’t more aware of how I spend my days as a Migraineur because I could just talk about what I do and how I spend my time, but nobody is asking questions and I don’t feel the need to sit them down and bore them with the details.  I think they don’t ask questions because the reality is that they don’t want to know the answers.  They know I live in pain and that makes them feel uncomfortable.  They don’t know how to talk to me anymore.  Mostly, they are uninterested and busy with their own lives.  That happens with all of us from time to time.

My hubs and kids know how I spend my time because they live (or used to) with me each day.  My kids are Migraineurs too, so they understand from that perspective.  My world became very small when I got sick and that’s okay.  It’s okay that they are the only ones who “get me”  because they are the ones who matter most.  And the most important part of this equation is I am blessed that they DO understand and know me, and I am not alone.

 

~Ellen


Migraine Awareness Month #5: "Do That To Me One More Time."

AwarenessMonth2012BC2Today's prompt for the National Migraine Awareness Month Blog Challenge is:

Migraine Awareness Month #5  What comfort measure do you find helps you enough during a Migraine that you go back to it again and again, and how do you use it?

My go-to comfort item that gets me through Migraine attack after Migraine attack, is my heating pad.

I have often joked that my heating pad needs a name, because I cuddle with it more than my husband.  (Sadly, hubs agrees with me, lol) It goes nearly everywhere with me.

When I asked my doctors why heat is so helpful to me, nobody seems to have an answer.  Since I tend to suffer from inflammation one would think heat might aggravate the situation.  However, when I’m in pain I do tend to find it difficult to argue with success.

Placement of my heating buddy has everything to do with its success. 

In my case, I get a pain trifecta: Migraine (usually my left side) with extreme pain behind my eye, and trigeminal neuralgia that shoots across my face, eyeball and inside my ear like lightning while at the same time throbbing like the worst tooth/face ache you can imagine, radiating down the front of the left side of my neck.

I usually put my heating pad directly onto my face, even putting it over my pillow so I can lay on it, pain side down.  If tension is a problem in my neck, I have the larger sized pad that easily wraps around the back of my head for comfort there as well.

Thankfully it turns off automatically and I have never suffered any burns from it, however I do know of someone in the Migraine community at large that had an old model without the automatic shut off.  She took her meds, fell asleep on it and woke up with 3rd degree burns. 

There are times when even my heating pad isn’t sufficient.  I usually retreat into my hot pounding shower then.  I’m never quite sure if it is the heat itself that is so soothing, or the distraction of the hot pounding water over my bruised body that seems to help.  (Hurts so good?) Again, it’s tough to argue with success.  At the very least, the cooling down process after the shower allows my body to relax and sometimes fall asleep (often with my heating buddy wrapped comfortably around my face and head) when intense pain of an especially brutal attack usually makes rest impossible.

Do you find heat or cold to be more comfortable during an attack?  Do you find that changes from one Migraine attack to another?

What is your favorite comfort item?

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!

Ellen


Migraine Gem of the Day - Vasodilation and Migraine

MigGem166For many years, Migraines were classified as "vascular headaches." It was thought that dilation of blood vessels in the brain was the first thing to happen in the brain when a Migraineur encountered a trigger.

Research has now shown that Migraines aren't vascular in origin; they're neurological. The first thing to happen when we encounter a trigger is a wave of neurons firing across the brain.

Is that vollowed by vasodilation? At one time, the answer to that question would have been, "Yes." No longer. Researchers have now observed, via imaging equipment, some Migraines occurring without vasodilation.

Last year, I attended a conference where Dr. Andrew Charles gave a presentation on this research. A key statement he made was, "Vasodilation may occur as part of the disorder, but is not required for Migraine pain."

You can read more about this in Vasodilation Not Necessary for Migraine.

Live well,


 

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© Teri Robert, 2011
Last updated October 18, 2011


Use Migraine to Get a Discount on Goodnighties

Goodnighties166 A while back, I wrote a review of Goodnighties and shared with you that my Goodnighties gown helps make me more comfortable during a Migraine. It's also helped relieve some of the night-time discomfort of post-menopausal hot flashes.

I'm still loving my Goodnighties, and today, I'm able to tell you that from now through the end of November, you can get a 25% discount on Goodnighties gowns and pajamas. This is a special promotion for you, my readers, and it's just in time for the holidays too.

Whether you'd like to try goodnighties yourself, would like to buy a gown or pair of PJs as a gift for someone else, or both, now's the time. Just shop their website, www.goodnighties.com, and enter the word MIGRAINE in the promotions box when checking out.

And to the kind folks at Goodnighties, thanks!

Live well,


 

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© Teri Robert, 2010
Last updated October 24, 2010


Review: Goodnighties Sleepwear and Migraine Comfort

Goodnighties166 When Migraines strike, we need many things. Of course, we need our treatment to stop the Migraine and its symptoms. We also need comfort. Comfort measures can be as important to us as treatment.

Migraines strike us in many ways. There's more to a Migraine attack than the headache. In fact, for a diagnosis of Migraine, symptoms other than headache are necessary. There are many potential symptoms of Migraine.

One symptom that I find especially bothersome is chilling, then feeling overheated. One minute, I'll be huddling under the covers; the next, I'm throwing off all the covers and feeling hot and sticky. A few months ago, Karen Lee Richards, who writes for ChronicPainConnection.com, told me about a new kind of sleepwear she had tried. She had thought of me because she knows that Migraines can make us so miserable. This led to my testing a nightgown made by Goodnighties...

Please continue reading Review: Goodnighties Sleepwear and Migraine Comfort.

Live well,


PS: Want to try Goodnighties yourself, free? If so, after you read the review, come back here, click the add comment link below, and tell me how to wash Goodnighties and how long you've had Migraines. The first person to respond will receive a free gown or pair of pajamas. Thanks for your replies on this! Hopefully, I'll be able to do this again in the future.


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© Teri Robert, 2010
Last updated August 28, 2010.


That Migraine Smacked Me Down!

image from www.msteri.com Yesterday was one of those days when a Migraine attack got the best of me. It smacked me down really hard.

As I've heard from many of you, this summer has been a real trial. The weather changes and thunderstorms have been more frequent and severe than I remember them being for quite some time. A weather front moved through our area Sunday night, and I woke up totally miserable yesterday morning.

After getting my morning coffee ans stumbling to my office, I was awake and alert enough to realize I was in trouble. It was one of those Migraines where the nausea was at least as bad as the headache, so I grabbed and swallowed a dose of meds for nausea first. Then my abortive, Axert.

The meds worked, but I wasn't anywhere near as productive as I needed to be, especially since Monday is my busiest day. If you're subscribed to my newsletter, Putting Our Heads Together, it will be going out tomorrow instead of yesterday. I hate to be late, but I'm sure you understand.

This time, the nausea and exhaustion were the worst symptoms. Oh, and aphasia! I had trouble working because I couldn't think of the words I needed. UGH! If you want to read more about the possible phases of a Migraine attack and their potential symptoms, take a look at Anatomy of a Migraine.

I'm curious. Do you have symptoms that are worse than the headache of a Migraine attack? If so, what are they? Please click the "Comments" link below and share with us!

Live well,


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© Teri Robert, 2010
Last updated August 24, 2010


Migraine and Prevalence of Dizziness and Vertigo

DizzyWoman166pxDizziness and vertigo are sometimes reported as symptoms of Migraine attacks. Researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, have been looking at possible symptoms of Migraine and their prevalence. In a recent study, they looked at dizziness and vertigo.

It should be noted that dizzines and vertigo are not the same thing:

  • Dizziness is a general sense of disequilibrium, of being off-balance.
  • Vertigo is a subtype of dizziness that gives the feeling or illusion of movement.

The objective of the study was:

"To determine the prevalence of subjective complaints of dizziness or vertigo in Migraineurs attending a specialty headache clinic."

To find out more about this study, the results, and the implications, read Migraine and Prevalence of Dizziness and Vertigo.

Live well,


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Get the latest Migraine and headache news, informational articles, tips for living well, and more in my free weekly newsletter. To subscribe, CLICK HERE.

 

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� Teri Robert, 2010
Last updated July 30, 2010