Monday Morning Migraine Blues

You know, Mondays are rough in the first place, but adding a Migraine triggered by a weather front, and I have the Migraine Blues...

Migraine Blues was written and performed by Dr. Fred Sheftell, a friend and mentor. Dr. Sheftell passed away nearly a year ago. You can read about Dr. Sheftell in Celebrating Fred Sheftell - Friend, Migraine Specialist, Great Man.

I still miss him. Here's to you, Dr. Fred!

Live well,


 

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© Teri Robert, 2012
Last updated February 20, 2012.


Migraine Gem of the Day - Holiday Tips from Marcia Cross

MigGem166Desperate Housewives star Marcia Cross knows personally how debilitating Migraines can be. When I talked with her a few years ago, it was close to the winter holidays, so trying to avoid holiday Migraines was a major topic of discusssion.

One tip she offered was:

"Make party planning stress-free: Stress can make you more susceptible to your migraine triggers. Planning a dinner party for friends and family? Plan ahead and shop early. Enlist helpers and delegate duties to make last-minute details stress free as possible."

You can read more tips from Marcia and about her Migraines in Navigating Holiday Parties with Migraines - Five Tips from Marcia Cross.

Live well,


 

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© Teri Robert, 2011
Last updated December 17, 2011.


Reducing Holiday Migraine Triggers - December Blog Carnival

BlogCarnival125 Welcome to the December, 2011
Headache and Migraine Disease Blog Carnival!

The Headache & Migraine Disease Blog Carnival has been created to provide both Migraine and headache patients and people who blog about Migraines and headaches with opportunities to share ideas on topics of particular interest and importance to us.

The theme of the Decembercarnival is "Reducing Holiday-Related Migraine Triggers: Share your best advice, tips & tricks for minimizing triggers while still fully enjoying the holiday season," and it's hosted by Kelly on Fly With Hope.

Check out this month's great collection of blogs in December 2011 Headache & Migraine Blog Carnival.

Live well,


 

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© Teri Robert, 2011
Last updated December 12, 2011.


"Bah humbug!" to Holiday Migraine Triggers

ScroogeSmallEach year, many Migraineurs miss out on holiday activities or enjoy them less because of Migraines. An obvious statement, right? Yeah, I know, but let's take a look at it anyway.

There are triggers we can avoid and triggers we can't avoid. We can't really avoid triggers such as weather changes or hormonal fluctuations, but we can avoid some triggers such as foods and our sleep schedule.

There's also that third category of Migraine triggers, those that could be avoidable, but... Take fragrance as an example of this kind of trigger. If perfumes, scented candles, and the like are triggers for us, we can avoid them, IF... If we keep them out of our homes, don't go out, and don't let other people in. Bah humbug! That's certainly not in the holiday spirit.

So, what do we do? I certainly can't tell you that we can avoid all our Migraines during the holidays. Well, I could, but it would be a lie. We CAN, however, take steps to minimize our exposure to some triggers and to reduce the impact of any Migraines we do get.

Let's take a look at how we can work on this:

If we're going to try to avoid our triggers to reduce the number of Migraines we have, we need to know what our triggers are. The best tool for identifying triggers is to keep a Migraine diary. If you need a diary, you can download a free diary workbook with diaries in several formats for you to choose from HERE.

Once we know what our triggers are, planning ahead is our best weapon. For tips on managing avoidable holiday triggers, take a look at 10 TIps for Enjoying the Holidays Despite Migraines and Navigating Holiday Parties with Migraines: Five TIps from Marcia Cross.

Since it's impossible to guarantee no Migraines during the holidays, it's vital to have a plan in place to handle any Migraines we do get...

  • Check your medications - prescription and over-the-counter. If you need medications, make sure to get them in advance, especially if you need a new prescription from your doctor.
  • Traveling? Be sure to take your medications AND anything else that you need during a Migraine. Remember those things that you use for comfort too. They can be important. I have a bag that I keep packed with the things I need during a Migraine - everything except my prescription medications. When a Migraine strikes when I'm home, that makes it easy for my husband to get me the things I need and want. When we travel, I add my medications to the bag, and I'm ready to go. Want some suggestions for putting a bag together? See MAPP Your Migraines.

Living with Migraines for over 50 years has taught me always be prepared for a Migraine, then try not to worry too much about getting one. Not worrying is definitely easier said than done, especially when important events are coming up, butif all these years have driven one point home it's that worry about it won't keep it from happening, but it will dim my enjoyment of the family, friends, and all that goes with the holidays.

Try to let go of any need to push for perfection that you may have. Perfection is highly overrated and virtually impossible to achieve. People who care about us are more concerned about enjoying our company than whether holiday meals are just right or whether all the gifts are beautifully wrapped. Let go of striving for perfection and of any guilt and embrace the joy of the holidays.

Happy Holidays!


 

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© Teri Robert, 2011
Last updated December 8, 2011


Migraine Life Hacks: Dealing Better with Migraines

MigraineLifeHacks Diana Lee has chosen a great topic for the March, 2011, Migraine blog carnival, "Life Hacks: Tweaking Work & Life to Deal with Migraines." Over the years, I've written several articles about various aspects of this topic. It's really one of my favorite topics because it's one way we can actually exercise control over this darned disease.

It so often seems that Migraine disease controls us. Too often, it does, BUT if there's one good thing about this disease, it's that there are indeed things we can do to control our lives that in some cases help control the disease. Even those that don't control the disease, can make it easier to live with the disease by our taking better control of our own lives.

So, let's get down to taking a look at some "live hacks" that can make it easier to live with Migraines. These fall into two categories, those related to Migraine triggers and those not directly related to triggers.

life hacks elated to triggers:

  • Trigger identification and management is an essential part of Migraine management. Some triggers are avoidable, some are not. One we know what our triggers are, we can avoid some Migraines if we find that we have any avoidable triggers. If our triggers aren't avoidable, knowing what they are won't help us avoid Migraines, but it can at least help us be better prepared for them.
  • If you're tyring to identify your triggers, keeping a Migraine diary can be extremely helpful. You can find more information and download a free diary workbook in Your Migraine and Headache Diary.
  • For some lucky people, many Migraines can be avoided by avoiding certain foods or beverages. Is that you? Do you know if any foods or beverages are triggers for you? You can learn more and download a free work book in Managing Migraine - Migraine Trigger Foods.
  • Are loud music and crowded clubs a trigger for you? Ask your friends to spend an evening with you at home where you can have quieter music and a less crowded environment.
  • Is alcohol a trigger? Club soda with a twist of lime tastes great, especially when it means you won't have a Migraine!
  • MSG a trigger? Then you know you can't order Chinese take-out unless it can be ordered without MSG. You know you can't eat that bag or Doritos. Which is more important? Eating the junk or feeling well? You decide.
  • Messed up sleep. Too much, too little, disrupted, and poor quality sleep can all be Migraine triggers. If they're a problem for you, then you know you're going to pay for it if you don't pay attention to your sleep. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

life hacks not directly related to triggers:
These are mostly organizational suggestions that can make things much easier when you live with Migraines:

  • Keep your prescriptions filled so you don't run out of medications.
  • Shop ahead. Make a short list of things that you really need to have in the house when you don't feel well. Make sure you're always well stocked on these items. It's helpful if they're items that can be kept - canned or frozen, for example.
  • Cook ahead. When you cook a good, healthy meal, think about doubling the recipe and freezing an extra meal. It will come in handy when you're in a hurry or when you don't feel well.
  • Whatever you can plan ahead or do ahead, do it. When we do this, we give ourselves huge breaks. It's such great feeling when events are planned ahead, when holiday shopping is done well in advance.
  • Dump the guilt. Nobody is perfect. If you miss an event or a few details, the world is not coming to an end.
  • Be realistic. This is one of the biggest favors any of us can do ourselves. Be realistic in our expectations of ourselves and others. Look at the overall picture and don't let small details ruin things.

In the end, how effective Migraine life hacks can be is really up to each individual Migraineur, and that's going to vary from time to time. There are going to be times when we get angry and don't want to compromise because of having a disease. You know what? That's perfectly reasonable, when it happens occasionally. We all feel that way, sometimes.

In my day-to-day communications with Migraineurs from all over the world, I'm seeing a growing group of Migraineurs to whom I'd like to offer some encouragement and perspective when it comes to these Migraine life hacks. I think there are elements of today's fast-paced life that are building unrealistic expectation:

  • Cell phones mean we don't have to wait until we get home to phone people.
  • Text messaging means we don't even have to wait until we can call someone to tell them something.
  • Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter give us "instant" updates on what people are doing.
  • Email means we often don't have to wait for a regular postal letter to be delivered for "mail" communication.

These things make it easy for us to feel that we "can have it all" and forget that living fully, well, and successfully is usually a series of compromises. Nobody gets their way all the time. Maybe I shouldn't be, but I'm surprised when I get an email or a Facebook message from someone who has avoidable Migraine triggers such as foods, alcohol, smoke, loud music, or crowded bars and is upset because they have to give up certain social events or suffer with a Migraine. Now, I'm not so old that I can't remember hating to miss a big party or an important family event. Still, if I had a choice between going to a New Year's Eve party and drinking club soda with lime or drinking alcohol and being deathly ill with a Migraine, that seems to me to be an easy choice. If I knew chocolate was going to give me a level 10 Migraine, I think I'd prefer to abstain from it.

Anyway, what I'm really trying to say is that each of us has to decide what it's worth to us to avoid Migraines and to live better when they do strike. To me, it's well worth avoiding known triggers and some advance planning.

Do you have migraine life hacks to suggest? If so, please leave a comment and share them!

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, 2011
Last updated March 11, 2011


Migraine Triggers and Holidays: December Migraine Blog Carnival

BlogCarnival125 Welcome to the Dec., 2010, Headache and Migraine Disease Blog Carnival!

The Headache & Migraine Disease Blog Carnival has been created to provide both Migraine and headache patients and people who blog about Migraines and headaches with opportunities to share ideas on topics of particular interest and importance to us.

The theme of the December carnival is "How can we make the holidays special despite the need to limit our migraine triggers?"  This month's carnival is hosted by Diana Lee, the founder of the carnival, on her blog Somebody Heal Me.

Are you ready to read some great posts? On to  Holidays & Triggers: Dec. 2010 Headache & Migraine Blog Carnival.

For the Migraine bloggers among you, here's the information for the January blog carnival:
Theme: Taking Charge of Our Migraines in 2011.
Deadline: Friday, January 7, 2011
Post Date: Monday, January 10, 2011
Host: I'll be hosting this carnival here!

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 December 13, 2010.