Monday, November 29, 2010

Fingers Crossed

My migraine returned yesterday about noon and with no rescue medication it was a very long day. I had considered going to the ER but feel so guilty about my previous trip to the ER earlier in the week. I don't know how justified I am in this, but I live in fear of my insurance company. Probably because I depend on them so heavily.

Anyway, in another half hour my doctor's office will reopen after the long 5 day holiday weekend. I'm counting down the minutes. I've had a good deal of soreness in my lower legs the past week or so and can't help but wonder if it is related to the chest tightness. I hope it is, that way it will go away with the chest tightness once all the meds are out of my system and I've found a new rescue medication. The last thing I want for Christmas this year is another physical problem to deal with.

My mom's surgery is tomorrow so I'm going to spend the day today getting a few things done. I still have a bit of a migraine but since I forgot some basic stuff at home I really need to make these errands happen. If I get to feeling much worse I can always stop by the ER and treat the migraine. Of course the hope is that my doc will be really responsive and I'll have a new rescue to try yet this morning.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

From Minnesota

Gosh it feels like I've been away from my blog for month. I was feeling so lousy, I didn't have a reliable migraine rescue and I had a two day car trip ahead of me. I ended up leaving on Friday, two days ahead of schedule to avoid driving during my period (the migraines are always harder to treat during). Yesterday afternoon I arrived sore, exhausted and just so glad to be done with the driving. The last 3 hours or so were the toughest because my neck was just screaming. It didn't take long after getting out of the car and sitting in a regular chair for my neck to calm down and feel okay again. No damage done.

It was a tough trip because of the reactions I've developed from my rescue medication. In the meantime I've missed so much of what's been going on with my fellow bloggers and have been neglected making posts myself. But now, at long last, I've arrived in Rochester and I'll have the time and energy to give attention to blogger again.

A quick update: Yesterday my chest pain finally started to feel better. That is, until I tried the new rescue medication. It did a satisfactory job with the migraine but it also made the chest pain much worse - just as I feared. The search for a good rescue will have to resume on Monday when my doctor returns from vacation.

I hope you all were able to enjoy your Thanksgiving. I'm super thankful for all of you!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Very Bad Situation Indeed

I don't even know where to start.

To say that I'm fearful and stressed is quite an understatement. I've been having some strange symptoms in the past couple weeks but this past Sunday things got worse. My chest felt tight and when I would bend down my heart would jump (as though I had just been frightened). I decided that if the symptoms continued in the morning I would call my neurologist. I felt better though so I went to PT and did some holiday baking and such. After my mid afternoon walk with the dog I was feeling much worse. I was winded and my chest was tight again so I picked up the phone and called my doctor's office. She had already left for the day.

I left a message and was certain I would hear back from her first thing in the morning. I didn't hear from her at all but her office called just before 11am and said the doc thinks it is the imitrex and she wants me to stop taking it. "So what should I take instead?" I said. "I don't know, I'll leave another message for her and call you back when I have an answer." said the woman.

Seriously, why would she say to stop taking it without replacing it with something else?

It was 4 hours before I got another call from her office and she wants to send a new prescription to my pharmacy. Okay, great. So my husband got home and we went to Costco and I got to feeling even worse. We decided to go to the ER because these symptoms were getting worse with the activity and we didn't know how serious it was.

After several tests the ER doc determined my heart and lungs were fine - no immediate danger - probably just the imitrex. I felt a little foolish going in since it turned out to be nothing, and, of course, the insurance fears kicked in too. But I was also relieved to know that it wasn't serious. Then this morning I went to the pharmacy on my way to PT to get the new rescue med that she phoned in. I was a bit surprised and sort of concerned to see that she had prescribed another triptan. So I asked the pharmacist if another medication from the same family would be likely to cause these disturbing and painful side effects. He thought so. He offered to call the doc's office and see what he could find out.

What he found out is that my doc has already left on holiday and won't be back until Monday. The anxiety I had been holding at bay came flooding out. I'm leaving for Minnesota on Sunday, which means I'll be traveling all day Sunday and Monday. What happens if this new medication doesn't work? I won't have any way to get another med. Plus if it doesn't work than I'm stuck on the road with no rescue and I certainly won't be able to drive. And if that happens my migraine won't end. They don't come to an end by themselves because of what's going on with my neck - retriggering continually. I honestly don't know what I would do. To make matters worse I'll be getting my period in the next couple of days, which means my migraines will be harder to treat. And that's assuming I don't have the same reaction to this med that I had to the imitrex.

I'm working hard right now to stay calm and breathe well because the tension is not good for my head. I doubt I'll be able to avoid a migraine. I guess that's okay because it will give me a chance to try the new medication. Of course, doing so will also prevent me from being able to tell if this new medication creates the same freaky side effects since I'm still experiencing them.

This could not be timed worse. Now is just not the time to try to find a new rescue medication. I've tried other rescues before with no benefit at all. The fact that I suddenly need to find a new one is scary enough, but doing it right now is terrifying me. I pray that I can make it through Monday without too many more snags.

When my husband gets home I'll talk with him about possibly leaving on Friday instead.
A very bad situation indeed.

Monday, November 22, 2010


My PT read something online about food allergies playing a part in migraines and now insists that I should try elimination diets starting with wheat and gluten.


First, I honestly don't know what I would eat if I had to eliminate wheat and gluten from my diet. Obviously people follow such diets and I would be happy to make such an extreme change in my life if it meant relief but (secondly) I don't really know that we have grounds for such an action. I don't know that I have an allergy or sensitivity to either of these things and wouldn't I go to an allergist before spending the next year of my life eliminating one thing at a time to see if that's the problem?

Have any of you had experience with this kind of thing?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Has This Ever Happened To You

Does this ever happen to you?

Sometimes when I close my eyes I get a, well I don't know what to call it, an image. I will see the room that I'm in from the perspective I'm in - only I'll see everything with perfect clarity and in bright light.

It is always very striking because I keep my surroundings dimly lit and between the visual disturbances I experience with my migraine and my eye's convergence insufficiency most of the time things are slightly out of focus. I'll be wide away, close my eyes and suddenly I'm transported to the healthy version of this same place. It will last a few minutes and during that time I can open and close my eyes without losing the image and then it just fades.

This isn't a regular occurrence but it happens at least once a month or so. Each time I am surprised and amazed by what I see. I only wish I could understand what's going on. Why does this happen?

Does this happen to any of you?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Today's Dent Pushed Me Over The Edge

I don't have a lot of nice things but what I do have I take really good care of. I have never been in a position to just replace stuff regularly. This attitude extends to all of my stuff. That's why at 32 years of age I have sweaters and shoes that are 15 years old. Furniture that was discarded by family and friends that I've spiffed up and loved into more than a decade. I regularly vacuum and armoral my car.

I'm very grateful for all the stuff I have - it is all valuable to me even if it was really cheap or free because it all serves a purpose. You can tell that I value this stuff because I take such good care of it.

The most expensive thing I've ever purchased is my vehicle. And the first vehicle I bought (8 years ago) is the same vehicle I'm driving today. I love my car. It allows me to be mobile and free. Talk about value. I worked so hard to purchase, pay off and maintain my car and for 6 years it was in great shape. It was in great shape until we moved here to suburban DC 2 years ago.

Apparently here nobody gives a damn about anyone elses property because it is getting so banged up just parking in our apartment lot. And I'm not even talking about little dings like someone opened their car door too fast, I'm talking about dents that are deep and in spots that don't even make sense. I have 3 different car paints that have transferred via scrapes onto my side mirrors. I have no control over what's happening out there. I park far away and even then some idiot will park crazy close instead of taking one of the MANY open spots surrounding me.

My car parked for years outside in apartment parking lots and even school parking lots and it has never gotten so banged up. This has gone so far beyond what one should expect when parking with the public. This is ridiculous!

I'm so so FURIOUS at my careless, rude, stupid neighbors!!!!! I have never, never even dinged one of their cars. Why? Because I'm considerate and respectful. NO MORE! Today's dent has pushed me over the edge and I will no longer be careful with their vehicles. I will in fact be banging into their vehicles on purpose and with muscle. I hate living here!
You see that picture up there? That's how I feel right now.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Climbing Out of a Bad Spell

After almost two weeks of constant migraines it looks like I'm finally climbing out of it. Just in time too as there is still so much to do before my trip. I'm back to my regular housewife duties.
Much like with Halloween I'm having trouble feeling like Thanksgiving is just 9 days away. The news has been all over the holiday retail season's early start this year. The radio stations are going to start playing festive music on Friday instead of after Thanksgiving as usual. I've had to start planning and such already. No wonder I'm not in the Thanksgiving Day spirit.

Maybe another reason is that we don't really have any plans. For the most part all of our family and friends live so far away. I say for the most part because I do have an uncle and a cousin who live in the area and we have spent the last couple Thanksgivings with them. I sort of doubt that will happen this year as they have had some family drama and may not be up for it.

I don't mind not having big plans especially since I'll be leaving that weekend. The more rest I get between now and then the better I'll do on the long drive.

Do you have big gatherings for Thanksgiving? How does this work with your pain?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Night Fan

I love that the sun is going down earlier and earlier. The return to standard time is something most people don't care for. People love the sun. I used to be one of those normal people who enjoyed sunlight. Of course I've preferred dim light or dark since I can remember...probably because I've had migraines almost as long. These days I would be happy to have short cloudy days all year round.

Here it is, 3 o'clock in the afternoon and the sun is at such an angle that I can part my room-darkening curtains some without being stabbed with the bright rays. Of course I'll still keep the miniblinds down to filter what is left of the rays. Within two hours it'll be time for the dim lamps to come on. If only this could go on all year.

Do your migraines help you to appreciate the shorter days too?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Adventures in PT

On the first of November I started tracking my activities at the suggestion of my physical therapist. She thought that by looking at what I'm doing she might be able to make suggestions about where to make changes to take better care. My tendency with this kind of thing is to go to my computer and design a spreadsheet of some kind to track whatever. I resisted the urge and just wrote down the things I did each day including my migraine.

I took my hand written paper in with me this morning to PT to see if I was on the right track. Turns out she was looking for more detail so I'm headed to the computer to take it too far. But the lists I had put together started a conversation about the things I am doing. She doesn't think I should be ironing and is concerned about the stackable washer/dryer being bad too. Why don't I just take everything to the cleaners? Um...because we can't afford to pay someone to clean and press our clothes. She and her husband make really good money and I don't know that she realizes how unrealistic that is. We can't afford that kind of thing so I will continue to do laundry regularly and iron a thing or two as needed.

She also made suggestions about what I could do to get out of the house, organizations I could volunteer with. I would love to get out more and I appreciate her efforts to get me in involved in something I'm interested in. I just don't think she really gets how much I struggle just to get basic stuff done at home. I don't think she understands the migraine fog or how debilitating they can be. Even though I'm able to get stuff done and it doesn't look like I get much done each day, that doesn't mean that I have all kinds of spare time. When I'm not doing something it is for one of three reasons.
1. I'm recovering from doing something
2. I'm preparing to do something
3. I am treating a migraine

I don't try to explain this to her. Partly because I don't know that someone who enjoys good health can really understand and partly because I don't know that I have the time or energy to really explain it. I'm not convinced that I'm doing the right thing by just politely taking it in and making generic comments like "oh yeah, that sounds like a great organization."

What do you ladies think? Should I try to explain what my days are really like or not? Have you had similar experiences?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I'll be driving to Minnesota again in about 2 1/2 weeks to help my mom after her knee replacement surgery. The plan right now is to stay about 2 weeks but of course that could change depending on how she's doing and what the weather is like. Minnesota in December is pretty unpredictable outside of the cold.

While I wasn't expecting another road trip so soon after my summer Mayo trip I'm really excited to get to see my family and friends again. I just hope that I'll feel okay so I'll be able to go out and do stuff.

Preparations for the long trip are already underway because my body will only allow me to do a few things a day and I still need to keep up with things around the house. And since I'll be leaving right after Thanksgiving and returning pretty close to Christmas my husband and I have already started working on our Christmas cards.

The first Christmas we were married we put a picture of us, our dog and our rabbit in the cards we sent out. The second year we did picture cards. Last year was a tough year and we decided to do something a little more fun so we used photoshop to place us in front of the capital building and to put our dog up on one of the balconies. It was a big hit, so naturally this year we're going to be using photoshop again.

I don't actually know photoshop but fortunately my husband is a wiz. I mostly help with concepts, finding and taking pictures, and asking "can you..." It's actually pretty fun. We have the background done and hopefully this weekend we'll be able to get our faces and our dog placed.

All of this feels premature two weeks before Thanksgiving but is it ever really too early to start thinking about Christmas? Without this advance planning I wouldn't have the time to relax and enjoy my holidays so I'm not the least bit apologetic about it. I LOVE CHRISTMAS!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Nap Day Dream

I'm in the middle of yet another stretch of bad days. The kind when my rescue meds never really able to get on top of the pain or nausea. These days are always extra exhausting so my activity level is quite low.

Right now I'm wanting to just snuggle up in bed and nap the worst of the pain and ickiness away. But I really do want to get a couple things done first so I'm taking a few minutes to blog about my nap day dream. I found this picture of an Ikea bedroom that I think is fabulous.

I love the dark rich colors. I love the window in back of the bed so at no point will the sun peek through and shine directly in your eyes. I would use room darkening window coverings and would not use so many lights but you get the idea.

Okay, I should get back to it. But I'll be thinking about this picture later tonight as bedtime grows close.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Migraine Blog Carnival is up!

The November Headache & Migraine Blog Carnival is now available HERE!
This month's topic is "What are you thankful for despite living with migraine disease"

Friday, November 5, 2010

Still So Much To Be Thankful For

Living with chronic pain is a huge challenge. It has forced unwanted and unwelcome limits and alterations into my daily life. So much of my time is spent trying to manage my symptoms and medications, navigating insurance and health care, struggling to accomplish household chores and be a good wife. So often I feel overwhelmed and consumed by all of this. But when I really stop and think about it my life is still full of blessings.

All of my basic needs are being met. I have a roof over my head, clothes to wear, food to eat, shampoo and soap in my shower, heat and air conditioning, health insurance and we are able to live within our means. Additionally, I enjoy many luxuries like a wonderful husband, a computer and Internet access at home (allowing me to connect with the world), a Netflix subscription for entertainment, a washer/dryer in our apartment so I don't have to sit all day at the Laundromat and a great pet dog who keeps me company all day. Plus, I have a wonderful family and great friends.

Despite the health challenges I'm facing I still have many health blessings. I can walk, see, hear, taste, smell. I don't have a life threatening illness. And, I also still have hope.

Focusing on the many things I still have to be thankful for in my life helps me to see past the many challenges I'm facing as a result of my chronic pain and is a wonderful reminder that my life is more than just pain and limitations. With Thanksgiving just around the corner I'm so thankful to have so much to be thankful for!

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving season?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Some Good Things

I need a thankful list today.

1. Being done with grocery shopping for the week - I hate grocery shopping and now it's done.
2. The election is almost over - meaning the hateful ads will stop for a while.
3. Hot chocolate :)
4. Jon Hamm on SNL a couple days ago.
5. My dog snoring beside me.
6. Time with my husband.
7. Netflix - and all the wonderful shows it allows me to see.

Blog Carnival!

The New ChronicBabe Blog Carnival is up HERE.
The topic is: We all fall down...and then we get back up again.
Check it out, there are lots of great posts!