Monday, December 31, 2012

New Idea for the New Year

I don't normally make new year resolutions. It's too easy to forget and/or lose motivation for accomplishing a goal that you decided to set on January 1st. Instead I like to start in on my goals whenever I feel compelled and ready to tackle the work involved in making change. As luck would have it, this New Year's Eve finds me compelled and ready to make a change. 
It all started a few days back when I watched a documentary on Netflix called Chemerical all about the chemicals used in cleaning, beauty and other everyday products. The argument against using these products was compelling from a health, environmental and financial view points. I got to thinking about how much I hate using some of these products because of the smells that bother my head and thought this might be worth a try. Especially when they spoke about how inexpensively they can be made at home. 

Natural products, simple products,'s right up my ally.

I've done some research online and think this seems like a very doable thing for us to implement. Of course, it'll take some time and I'll have to do it slowly over the next several months one product at a time. I think I'm going to start with laundry detergent. I've made a list of items I'll need that I'll go get this week, mix and try. 

I'll keep you-all posted along the way. Who knows, maybe eliminating some or most of the chemicals we use constantly will help me better control my migraine and fibro pains. It can't hurt.

Have you ever tried anything like this? What have your results been?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Thank You Thursday

Dear 2012,

As I recovery from all the Christmas hoopla my mind can't help but reflect on your time. Your stay will be up in a few short days but the memories of 2012 will no doubt be with us for a very long time to come. Thank you for ushering us through the vicissitudes quickly and moving us into 2013 without harm.

You were the time in which we moved into this condo, allowing us the opportunity to save some money. The time in which we said a very sad good-bye to our beloved Lucy and hello to the lovely Gypsy. The time in which I really started to discover and accept myself for who I am. The time in which I finally found a level of forgiveness in me for a couple people in my life who hurt me deeply.

Many of your painful days tested my physical and emotional constitution but I'm still here. You have been a time of growth and hope that I am truly grateful for.You won't necessarily be missed but I appreciate you for what you were as I prepare to bid you farewell this coming Monday.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Beauty Mistakes I Make

The craziness of chronic pain touches all aspects of my life. One area that I don't talk about often is beauty. Turns out I'm making all kinds of beauty mistakes because of my migraines and fibromyalgia.

I sleep with my face smashed against my pillow. This causes the skin to be pulled and leads to wrinkles BUT I like to sleep on my stomach, with one side propped up on a pillow. Being comfortable trumps the concern over the wrinkles this is giving me.

I don't spend precious time and energy on my hair or make-up. When necessary I can sort of pull myself together and look presentable like I did yesterday for Christmas. But, the daily cost-benefit analysis I do usually results in me opting to do the bare minimum to make myself feel semi normal. Ultimately, this leaves me looking a little rough, especially when you factor in my comfortable yet pajama looking attire. Thankfully my husband doesn't care what I'm wearing, how my hair looks or if I'm wearing make-up. 

I don't bother with accessories or trends. I never add a belt unless I need it to keep my pants in place. I only wear scarves when I need to keep my neck warm and hats when I need to block out light. Basically, I take a very pragmatic and simplistic approach to my style. Getting properly dressed is tasking enough so adding any extra steps to the process just exacerbates that, plus it's more constricting once on.

I drink lots of hot tea during the winter months, which stains my teeth. As much as I want white teeth I love my hot tea. It's comforting and makes a wonderful ritual.

Even though I'm not the kind of person who is always ready for whatever comes up on a moments notice I have decided that it's okay. I'm taking care of myself and prioritizing what I do with what little energy I have. Most days spending it on beauty just doesn't make much sense.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

New Doc Search

The time has come. I must search for a new primary care physician. I had hoped to avoid doing this, thinking that I could find a way to make things work with my current PCP but after our visit on Thursday I've decided  it's better to just find a new one.

I have been frustrated with her for a while now. She enters the room with her little laptop and a fully formed agenda that usually centers around giving me more pills. She spends the entire time typing furiously and quickly darts away leaving me angry that I haven't been listened to and unconvinced about the plan she has dictated to me. I keep trying to have a conversation with her about this stuff but she just isn't hearing me.

I want to stop taking one of my meds. I told her I wanted to stop because it isn't helping, it interferes with my sleep and it adds to my dry mouth. Her solution was to double my dose. I told her I didn't want to double my dose because it's already making sleeping more difficult than it was already. She said fine but I'm not taking you off it. Then we talked about the new preventative med my headache specialist from Mayo put me on. She asked if it was working and I explained that I have only been on it for 3 weeks and only 1 week at full dosage so it's too early to know if it will work or not. But it is a bp med and my bp was 90/70 so I'm not exactly feeling great. She told me I should cut the dosage in half and start taking a baby aspirin every day. I told her that I wasn't comfortable doing that since this was the recommendation of the headache specialist. She again dismissed it and said well, we can give it another month if you want and then cut it in half and take an aspirin.

I see my job in all of this is to listen to my body and communicate that with my physician. Since she just won't listen there isn't much here to work with. Time to move on. I don't really feel the need to have a conversation with her about this, she won't hear me anyway. After the holidays I'll just have to spend some time researching new docs. I hate this whole process. The searching, the testing out, the paperwork, the time it takes to really establish a relationship. It's just a lot of work, a necessary evil.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

End of the World?

With just over a week to go until Christmas, I feel like I'm moving into the final stretch. A couple gifts have yet to be purchased and wrapped. Some small details have yet to be worked out. My husband has a couple projects that will need to get done. Despite all this I actually feel increasing excitement and decreasing stress about it with each passing day.

First things first. Between now and then is my husband's birthday: December 21st, otherwise known as the winter solstice. This date has gotten more attention this year than usual because of all the whole end-of-the-world prophecies. Now I don't tend to believe that the world or even that the human species will end on Friday.

But I do find myself hoping for a large scale cultural shift. I would like to see us care more about our planet. I would like to see us slow down a bit so we could focus on what's most important in life. I would like to see demand for whole, natural foods become so big that our grocery stores ratios of produce to everything else flips. I would like to see life become simpler.

We may not be on the precipice of any kind of shift. Life and time may simply continue to march forward on the present trajectory. However, something about all the speculation and conversations surrounding the 21st have been fun for me.

What do you think might happen? What do you hope happens?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thank You Thursday

Dear Murphy's Law,

Thank you for showing up just before Christmas. It's as if you knew that getting a cold now is just what I needed. Since my body struggles with basic tasks daily, the smallest illness will dig it's heels in and take me down, lingering longer than it should. I tend to think that my body gets so busy fighting against all the pain, nausea and crap that when a bug comes along it just doesn't have the energy it once did to fight it off quickly.

Whatever the reason, the cold is here and Christmas is less than 2 weeks away. I am determined to get better before my hosting duties on the 25th. But part of me thinks this going to be a life lesson in "perfection is not happiness". Letting go now, letting go now, letting go now.

Dear Honeybaked Ham Co.,

Thank you for shaking some sense into me yesterday. I walked into your store thinking I would make arrangements to buy a ham for Christmas dinner. I walked out thinking there is no way I was going to do that. You tried to make it sound like a perfect solution. You would glaze the ham, bake the ham, even slice the ham for me.

But them came the details. I had to pick it up on the 23rd. You say the ham is fine in the fridge for 7 to 10 days and all I have to do is let is sit on the counter until it reaches room temp. Meat shouldn't be kept in the fridge for more than 2 days, so what have they done to this meat to make it good for 7 to 10 days. And you tell me that heating the meat will only dry it out. I may not be a meat eater myself but still I'm not about to serve 2 day old, over processed, room temperature meat for Christmas. As if all of that wasn't bad enough, you had the nerve to charge $60 for this small ham!

Yeah, I don't think so.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Hostess

Looks like my husband and I will be hosting Christmas day festivities at our place this year. The head count will be 9, which isn't a crazy number. It'll be his parents, his sister and her husband, his cousin and her husband and daughter, then us.

As a HUGE fan of Christmas I'm excited at the opportunity to share our take on the holiday and all our decorations. As a migrainista the whole idea of hosting a Christmas party is terrifying on several levels. What if I don't feel good that day? What if my rescue meds don't help? What if I don't feel good enough between now and then to properly prepare? What if our guests are disappointed by our party?

I'm repeating my new mantra over and over in my head: perfection is NOT happiness, perfection is NOT happiness, perfection is NOT happiness. With that frame of mind I see how silly those worries are. These folks are my family and they know about my migraines. They are going to help out as much as I need. I just need to communicate with them.

With just two weeks to go, planning is going to be the key. With a solid plan in place I'm certain, no matter what is going on with me, our guests will be well fed and enjoy their Christmas day.

Have you ever hosted a party with your pain? How did it go? What did you learn? Any advice?

Monday, December 10, 2012

December Migraine Blog Carnival

The December Migraine Blog Carnival is now available. This month's topic is Pets as Therapy. Check out all the great posts here.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Ode to Our Animals

I can't imagine having to endure these past 6 years or so since the onset of my chronic migraines without the laughter, love and companionship of my pets (aka my babies). I've seen the stats before about how petting an animal helps us to produce positive chemical reactions in our bodies. They can lower stress and help us to increase our activity level. Based on my personal experiences, this is all true. My pets have made a huge difference in the quality of my life.

Ode to Lucy: Lucy was my husband's dog when we first got together. She was the kind of dog who was fiercely loyal to her owner and spent a great deal of time and energy making sure nobody else got too close. Frankly, she didn't care for other people at all. For some reason she liked me from day one. It was like she knew we were going to be a family.

When I had to stop working, Lucy and I grew very close. We were together all the time. She seemed to know that I was fragile and was always very careful with me. She even took it upon herself to make protecting me her number one job. I remember when my mom came to visit after I had surgery a few years back. Lucy was okay with her stopping by but made sure to place herself between my mom and I - getting angry if she got to close. Obviously, I didn't need protection from my mom but everyone agreed they appreciated her level of loyalty.

She was such a sweet dog. So smart. So loyal. So loving. She certainly made all those long hours when my husband was working much brighter. I still miss her. I think I always will.

Ode to Rupert: Rupert is the mini rex rabbit we adopted about a year and a half ago. He's super cute - I mean he's a rabbit. He sits quiet and unassumingly just off to the side of all the activity. If you didn't know better you might think that is all he is. But rabbits are quite intelligent and Rupert is certainly evidence of that. He knows exactly what's going on. He knows what he likes, what he wants, what he doesn't like and what he doesn't want.

Some might say he is high maintenance but I say he's full of personality. He makes me laugh and keeps me challenged. For example, he doesn't like to be picked up but on occasion we have to pick him up to give him medications or clip his nails. Basically you have to figure out a way to trick him and pick him up. But each trick only works once. You just can't fool him twice. Sometimes he figures out what you're up while your just thinking about it. Make no mistake, he doesn't miss a thing. He knows exactly what's going on and he has an opinion about all of it.

Ode to Gypsy: Gypsy joined our family this past summer and quickly wrapped us around her little paw. She is the quintessential lap dog, full of love and oh so very tired. She looks up at you with those great big ears, her big eyes welling up, her little tongue sticking out, her one paw lifted up and your heart just melts. All she wants is to be snuggled up beside me, preferably under a blanket. And that's pretty much how it goes most of the time.

Her constant presence is so comforting. She's there if I want to pet her. She's always willing to snuggle up and nap if I need to lay down. She's so happy to see me when I come home and she's even happier when I just stay home and hang out with her.

She's so small and so cute that everything she does is cute. I love her cute little prancing walk and the way she making little cooing sounds when she's snuggling up. I love the way she twirls when she gets excited and how she bounces with Rupert.

The fact is that our pets are part of our family. We love them. We want them with us wherever we go. They Lift our spirits. They have enriched our lives and have been the best therapy I've tried.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thank You Thursday

Dear Free Market,

Thank you for making nuts so expensive. I can't for the life of me figure out why a 1/4 lb of unsalted cashews could possibly cost $8.00. They are not plated in gold. They are not magic. They don't come with 10 postage stamps. What the heck?!?!

Cashews are not exactly an anomaly here. Pine nuts, almonds, walnuts and others are also crazy expensive. Even when you buy them from bulk bins. They are so tasty and so very healthy, I love them. I just can't get over how expensive they are.

Dear Sweet Potato Pie,

Thank you for being kinda healthy. You are the best kind of sweet treat because you are almost entirely made of wonderful, tasty, sweet potatoes. I feel better about eating so much of you this time of year because of your health factor. Plus, you don't leave me with that woeful heavy feeling many other sweets do.

I'm so very happy your season has just begun as you have been such fun to have around.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas Birthdays

December is a busy month for most people. Holiday parties, shopping, decorating, baking and other festivities seem to dictate the entire month. While we don't necessarily have the busy social lives that some have, we do have 3 birthdays to contend with. The birthdays gear up on the 15th with my mother-in-law, then on the 21st with my husband and the 26th with my father-in-law.

That's a lot of birthdays in one family, awful close to Christmas. For some reason I find myself feeling a bit thrown by it all. It's hard to think of two great gifts so close together. Perhaps it would be in the best interest of my sense of sanity if I started thinking about their birthday gifts earlier in the year. Avoid the whole end of the year craziness that catches me a bit unprepared every year.

As for this year, well, I just hope my head cooperates long enough to get me through my lack of preparations.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Hot Holiday

It's been downright warm here the past 5 days. I've even had turn the air conditioner back on. As much as I enjoy moderate temps I want the cool air back for the holidays. All this warm air just dampens my holiday spirit and takes all the fun out of Holiday baking. I don't want to be sweating in my short sleeves and sandals as I prepare for Christmas.

Worst of all, the ups and downs take a real toll on my migraines. I'm spending way too much time bogged down in pain, fatigue and brain fog here in the middle of this long run of migraines. Still, I'm sure it'll cool down again before long and the holiday spirit will again come alive in me. In the meantime I'll hang on the couch more, distracting myself with end-of-the-world programming courtesy of the History Channel.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thank You Thursday

Dear Christmas Decorations,

Thank you for making home feel all the more cozy and warm. Pain is still very present and my days are being spent much the same as before, but now I get to go through it all while looking at the festive wonderfulness of the tree, wreath, garland and nick-knacks. My baking is even enhanced by Christmas music playing in the background. I especially appreciate how you take up a space in the dining room I otherwise have no idea what to do with.

Now if only I could find a way to capture it on film. Since that doesn't seem to be happening I will just have to sit and drink it in as much as I can between now and January when you will have to all come down.

Dear Migraines,

Thank you for ruining yet another week. You always find a way to remind me that my life isn't normal. Take me down a peg, if you will. You try so hard to make me believe you will never leave me. You hang on so tight, keep me so close. Then, you start to loosen your grip for a day, sometimes two. And just when I start feeling downright upbeat, you pull me close again. You reassure me of our strong bond and smother me with your affections.

You've ruined so many of my week, this is just one of them.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Just For Fun

After more than a week of migraines my brain has become quite scrambled. So I thought today I would share a great clip from Saturday Night Live. 

I couldn't find it on YouTube but this link will take you there. Enjoy!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Holiday Annoyances

As much as I love the holidays there are parts of it that are pretty annoying to this Migrainista.

- LED lights are obnoxiously bright compared to the soft glow of traditional Christmas lights. While I can control what lights shine in my own house I don't have any say over the rest of the world, who seem to be moving more and more towards this energy efficient option. Not so good for the head.

- Salvation Army bell ringing. Don't get me wrong, I fully support the Salvation Army and their annual Christmas campaign. What I hate is being forced to walk through the ear assaulting ringing to get into the grocery store when my head is already pounding. Not so good for the head.

- Scented candles and such EVERYWHERE. Seems like everywhere I go this time of year strong scents are are there to assault my nose. It used to be just the mall but now it's at the drug stores, grocery stores and even big box stores. I'm sure they intend to get shoppers in the mood with this simple tool but it's not so good for the head.

Basically the holidays present a full on assault of the senses, which makes going out in public an even bigger challenge than it usually does for me. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving Change

What a relief to be home again. My husband, our dog and I traveled up to Minnesota to be with my mom and sister for Thanksgiving. Going to Rochester always feels like going home. It's all so familiar and comforting. But, with the blessed passage of time, things inevitably change. We all live in different homes. We all have different animals. We continue to get older and change.
For the first time in my 34 years I'm feeling like the whole traditional Thanksgiving meal is, well, played. I've always loved our holiday meals; turkey, homemade stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, gravy to top it all and pie to end the meal. Preparations are quite time consuming and require a good deal of time management. Normally I enjoy the preparation process is just as much as the consumption but this year was different. 

Obviously, since I no longer eat meat, turkey doesn't have the appeal it once did. But that has been the case for the past 3 years so doesn't explain my reaction this year. I love mashed potatoes in any circumstance so that wasn't it. I guess it was really about the stuffing. It's a very Thanksgiving thing this stuffing, tasty and special because of it's rarity. Perhaps my taste buds have changed or perhaps living with chronic pain have changed how I view a meal that requires so much time and prep. 

I feel like I would be fine with holiday meals that are tasty, healthy and full of beloved people coming together to laugh and eat no matter what the meal is. It's special to me because I was with my family and would have been just as special if we ate take-out from Noodles & Co. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thank You Thursday

Dear Readers,

Thank you for being readers. I really appreciate you taking the time to stop by. I wouldn't have kept up all this time if not your support and kindness.

No matter how hard I've tried to come up with words to describe what you all mean to me I have been unable. Let me just say, I appreciate you and look forward to many more years together.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thank You Thursday

Dear Hubby,

Thank you for leaving for work today with my keys. I was going to run several errands but without keys to the condo or my car I won't be going anywhere. Since I'm not actually feeling so good, errand running wasn't something I was looking forward to doing. What a relief.

The plan for today is now much simpler and more relaxing. A welcome relief for this tired body in pain.

Dear Gypsy,

Thank you for spending your days so loyally by my side. You are such a comfort. Always excited to snuggle and take a nap when I need to. You follow me around, just waiting for your opportunity to get back on my lap. You seem to find great comfort in me but I don't know that you realize how much comfort you bring me.

You are so cute and so sweet. You bring me so many laughs. You even remind me to relax my muscles. I couldn't have asked for a better doggy companion.

Dear Skype,

Thank you for allowing me to both see and talk with my family and friends online. It's hard being so far away and talking on the phone just isn't the same. With your help I can see their body language, pets, and can even have multi-person conversations. It's almost like I'm sitting down and talking with them.

Maybe the best part is that it's all free. Precious few great technologies are free to utilize. This fact makes you all the better. Thank you.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Preparing for the Big Day

With Thanksgiving just a week away I'm bursting with excitement for Christmas. I can hardly wait to start putting up my decorations and listening to festive music. Fortunately, I'll actually be fairly busy until after next Thursday getting ready to travel to Minnesota, my appointment at Mayo, a pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving meal with the in-laws and such.

It is my preparations for the actual Thanksgiving dinner that are perhaps the most complicated. We'll be at my mom's house with her 3 dogs, our dog, my sister and her friend from work, and perhaps a couple of neighbors and an old family friend. The potential for all the non-family members being present means that I need to put more into my preparations.

Now if only I could figure out a way to control my migraines and ensure that they won't be making an appearance. But since that's not one of my skills I'll have to make due with what I do have.
 - rescue medications
 - the ability to opt out of meal preparations
 - sunglasses and a hat
 - comfy clothes
 - my sweet little lap dog
 - understanding family
 - time to rest in advance

These are my only ideas but I'm open to any suggestions. What will you be doing to manage your pain and optimize your fun over Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

November Headache Blog Carnival

The November Headache Blog Carnival is now available. This month's topic is Giving Thanks. Check out all the great posts.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Blessings and Distractions

Life with chronic migraines is hard - very hard. It has taken so much from me, but I still have plenty to be thankful for. I still have so much.

I have a wonderful husband and a couple super cute animals. I have clothes on my back, food on the table, shampoo in the shower, a roof over my head, blankets on a bed and Internet under said roof. I even have projects to keep me occupied. 

Finding things to be thankful for is the easy part. Finding a way to focus on my many blessings is the tough part most of the time. The pain can be so big that seeing past it is a real challenge. On my worst days the best I can do is distract myself. The rest of the time I can usually talk myself into remembering my blessings. The trouble is that it's just so easy for that mountain of pain, confusion, nausea and such to pop back up and block out those blessings. 

Distractions are great for taking the focus off whatever pains and such that I'm having but they don't do much to help me focus on all that I do have. I guess the very nature of distractions is that they are not discriminating. They distract you from both what you don't want to think about and what you ought to think about. I guess I ought to find more tools in my toolbox so that I don't have to lean so heavily on distracting myself. 

Any suggestions?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thank You Thursday

Dear Voters,

Thank you for turning out to vote and re-elect President Obama. I can't say that all the results turned out the way I wanted but I certainly feel a sense of relief that the health care bill is not going to be overturned. This was honestly a source of anxiety for me since I now have two preexisting conditions that would make health insurance a real problem for me in the future. Obviously the system is still broken but I can hardly wait to be able to join up with others to get a lower premium rate.

Beyond all of that, I can't imagine someone with such little understanding of us 47% of Americans being the one representing us. No thank you.

Dear Luck/Intuition/Divine Intervention,

Thank you for stopping me from walking head first into a spider in its web. I was looking down while walking to avoid stepping in a pile of dog poo left by one of the many irresponsible dog owners in the neighborhood when suddenly I stopped walking. After a beat, I looked up and directly in front of my eyes was a web between a couple low hanging branches and right in the center was a thick spider bigger than quarter.

If I had taken one more step that spider would have been in my hair. IN MY HAIR! My spider phobia would have made that a very ugly scene. I don't know if it was luck or intuition or divine intervention, but I am so thankful that I stopped when I did and saw the web/spider so I could change course and avoid that area in the future.

Dear Standard Time,

Thank you for finally returning. I know most people are huge fans of daylight saving time (DST) and the "extra" hour of sunlight you pretend to give us but I love returning to standard time and most of all I love that the sun is going down earlier each evening. I honestly feel like DST is an unnecessary annoyance in this day and age. How I wish we could do away with it entirely. After all, no matter what name we assign to an hour we cannot impact the amount of sunlight in a given day.

As a migrainista I always look forward to this time of year because the sunlight causes my head so much trouble and because I love having more dark hours to use candles and such to light our home. This kind of lighting is a real kindness on my eyes, plus it carries a certain romantic/cozy feeling with it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day Ditty

My vote has been cast.
My part is done. 
Unfortunately the ads continue 
and the coverage has just begun.

If you haven't already, please vote.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The "Busy" Weekend.

This past weekend was rather exhausting. We had plans on Saturday with my husband's side of the family so I showered, did my hair, put on some light make-up, got properly dressed and had lovely food and conversation. After which I was quite worn out and in pain. 

Sunday we went to Penney's and had our pictures taken. We actually had intended to do it last month for our 5 year anniversary but the timing just didn't work out. So again I showered, did my hair, put on a little more make-up, got properly dressed, had our pictures taken and had to make all kinds of decisions about which poses and how many, etc. After which I was quite worn out and in pain.

I feel such a sense of relief that the pictures are finally done and now I'm just excited to get them back. We've never really had our pictures taken before but I think we'll start doing this every year from now on. It might be fun to look back and see how we change over the years. 

Waking up this morning I was relieved to not have any plans. I took a shower, put my comfy clothes on and am doing what I can around the house and recovering from the busy (for me) weekend. The word busy has taken on a whole new meaning over the past 6 years. I think most of the world would see my weekend as slow and relaxing. Heck, I would have seen it that way back in the day.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thank You Thursday

Dear Lush,

Thank you for making such wonderful products. I can't necessarily afford a buy much of them since they are all hand made from natural ingredients but sometimes I'll grab a little something for a special treat or receive you as a gift. Your products are a special luxury and often make me smile to use. I especially love the shampoo bars and hand lotions.

Part of me wishes you were more readily available and at a price point that was more accessible. However, I'm well aware that in order to do that you would have to be mass produced and made with cheaper ingredients, which would defeat the very thing that makes you so special. Besides, there is something nice about a luxurious treat and that is what you are to me.

Dear Oddities,

Thank you for being so delightful. After Netflix recently made you available to watch instantly I started watching. What a wonderful surprise. You are like an odder, slightly darker version of Pawn Stars. I hadn't even heard of the Science channel and I certainly hadn't been watching it. But there you are. All odd, interesting and full of surprises. I hope more people learn of you and you are on for years to come.

Dear Migraines,

Thanks for putting a real damper on my Halloween last night. I was so excited about snuggling with hubby and watching TV and even though I still did those things, it wasn't quite the same with you there. You may not realize this, but you're a third wheel and you wore out your welcome years ago.

 Can't you just let me enjoy the plans that I make once in a while? I think that's a reasonable request.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Very Migraine Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone!

I'm a big fan of Halloween. I love the colors, costumes, decorations, candy and even the scare factors. We don't have kids so we don't go out and do the whole trick-or-treat thing. Then again, that was always my least favorite part of Halloween. Growing up in Minnesota it was ALWAYS super cold by the end of October and usually raining, sleeting or snowing on the day. It almost didn't matter what you dressed up as because you ended up covering up with coats and such. But inside it was all kinds of fun.

These days my Halloween celebrations are much more low key. I like to decorate a bit and snuggle with hubby while watching scary shows or movies. My favorite Halloween flick is Edward Sissorhands. I guess it's not really a Halloween flick but it's what I like to watch this time of year. I've actually been celebrating most of October. We carved a fake pumpkin and watched all kinds of shows about ghosts, vampires and the history of Halloween. We don't hand out candy because our dog will just bark the whole time and frankly my head can't take that.

The only thing I miss is dressing up. I loved dressing up. And I'm not talking about the sexy costumes women are expected to wear these days. I'm talking actual characters or scary make-up and such. It's fun to pretend for an evening. Even if I had an adult party to dress up for the process of getting ready would wear me out. The party would be more than my head could handle. It might be worth doing once or twice. Maybe someday I'll have a reason to dress up again.

Do your migraines or other pain conditions impact how you celebrate or don't celebrate Halloween?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hello, My Name Is...

Hello, my name is Emily.

This is me. Well, me and our little dog Gypsy, who you've seen before.

I've been meaning to do this for a couple months now. I guess I wanted to be a little less anonymous to all my readers. So here I am. You now have my name, my face and my continued promise to be open and honest here.

Thank you go everyone who has been following along. I appreciate your care and support. Looking forward to many more years together. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurry Up

Is this election over yet? I don't know how much more of this din I can stand. Between the signs, the constant commercials and news coverage it seems like I'm swimming in the lies and half-truths of political campaigns.
For the most part I try to tune it out except for the humorous coverage of it all on SNL, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. This is the only palatable way to consume this madness for me. 

I have my moments of fear. Afraid of how the outcome will impact health care and social programs. This quickly leads to feeling overwhelmed. There is only so much I can do. I have write legislators, I can vote, I can educate those around me about how these issues impact me and others like me. In healthier days I was involved with the League of Women Voters and a campaign volunteer. But I don't exactly have much control over the outcome of these election or what happens after.

I'm left with my prayers and hopes that things will be okay and that this final week before election day goes quickly. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thank You Thursday

Dear Dryer,

Thank you for breaking down a mere 3 months after being purchased. While waiting to see if the receipt can be located, laundry must go on. With only enough room in the condo to hang one load at a time, only one load can be done a day. Once dry they are wrinkled and stiff, despite the fabric softener.

Hopefully that receipt can be found this weekend and we can get someone out next week to repair it free of charge. After all, a 3 month old machine should not be breaking down.

Dear Color,

Thank you for your transformative powers. No matter if you are on a wall, furniture, pillow, blanket, or other decorative item you can really change the mood in a room. Even better you can change yourself when paired with other colors. You can be muted and subtle. You can be intense and loud. You can be calm. You can be fun.

If only you could make my pain go away...

Dear Nail Clippers,

Thank you for making nail trimming so much easier. It may sound trivial but I honestly don't know what people did before nail clippers. My nails grow so fast and even though I hate clipping them I'm always glad that I can just clip and file them, instead of...what? I can't imagine.

Thankfully we have nail clippers.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Saving Money

I've always considered myself pretty frugal. Some might say cheap. Either way there are skills that I've developed through the years that help me be this way: watching sales, using coupons, using washable towels instead of disposable ones, etc. There are probably more things I could do but I do tend to draw the line - mostly as a result of growing up with a step-mom who is a hoarder.

Recently I've been drawn into the show Extreme Cheapskates. Originally because I thought I might be able to pick up a couple workable techniques to save more money. These people are not flushing their toilets very often, they are washing their clothes in the shower, they dumpster dive for food, they don't use toilet get the idea. What I've found is that this is too extreme for me. I've not yet picked up a single new idea that I could see myself doing.

Yet, I can't stop watching. I am so curious about who these people are and what makes them go to such extreme measures to save a couple dollars. But it did get me wondering if anything I do to save money others might consider to be extreme. Perhaps the most "extreme" thing I do is turn glass jelly jars and such into glasses for drinking out of.

What about you? What the most extreme thing you do to save money?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Migraine Mack Truck

I got hit by a migraine Mack truck this morning. Was doing fine and then all of a sudden BAM! So much for all my plans. Scraping plans is nothing new of course, after all I am a migrainista. There is one thing I will force myself to do this afternoon: measure.

We have figured out a super cheap way to redo some of our floors and have been waiting for the fake wood, laminate stuff to go on sale. Yesterday I saw some for $0.68/sq ft. Score! I want to get it before it's gone so I need to measure so we can go get it tonight.

Measuring could actually be a challenge in this state and accurate measuring, well we'll see how it goes.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thank You Thursday

Dear Me,

Thank you for standing up for yourself and not feeling a bit bad about it. Something has begun to switch inside me and I'm suddenly feeling empowered. Increasingly I'm unwilling to be pushed into doing something I don't want to or feel up to just to be polite. Suddenly being kind to myself is a higher priority and, this is the biggest part, I don't feel guilty about it.

For years I've been hearing that women tend to come into their own as they age. It just takes years to unlearn the gender etiquette and such that we are brought up with. I guess, for me, 34 years of age is when this process has begun. I'm so thankful, grateful and excited about these changes in me.

Dear Cardinals,

Thank you for bringing it during the post season. I'm not exactly a big baseball fan and certainly don't watch many of the Cardinal games during the regular season. Let's face it, the games go on way too long and so little of the time is actually play action. But come post season suddenly you guys are playing with a little magic and charisma, which makes watching your games with husband (the big Cards fan) palatable and even a little enjoyable.

You may not win the World Series again this year, or even make it that far. But you have made the October road an interesting one. I really do appreciate it.

Dear Mad Men,

Thank you for finally coming out on DVD. I can hardly wait to get all caught up on season 5 so I can watch season 6 on AMC when they are finally ready. I can't get enough of you. My only real complaint is that we have to wait so long between seasons.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

More Downsizing

In a continued effort to downsize and simplify I'm starting to consider getting rid of some of my wall hangings.  For years now I've had more things ready to hang on the walls than I've had wall space to hang it all. I have my favorites that always make the cut to the wall and others that never do. 

I'm not quite sure why I've hung onto all these for so long, why it has never occurred to me to get rid of some before. Don't know why, but I can't blame this one on the migraines or the fibromyalgia. 

I plan to give some away, rescue some of the frames and maybe try to sell a few. The very thought of getting rid of some of these items has given me a sense of freedom. Each time I realize I don't need, want or enjoy some of the stuff we own a little weight is lifted. 

My final goal is to own nothing that isn't useful, beautiful, or productive. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Too Many Meds

I want to stop taking a couple of my medications. Seems like I spend way too much time taking pills, too many pills. The rescue meds are the rescue meds and I'm not ready to part with any of them. The "preventative" meds on the other hand have never done a single thing to help me. All they do is make my mouth drier, mess with my energy, generally making me feel funky in a number of ways. There is no point as far as I can tell.

I'm on an SNRI that, of course, isn't making any real difference. I think I was put on it to help with the fibro pain and possibly with the migraines a bit. My Bachlofen used to be the only thing that allowed me to get some sleep (poor in quality as it may be) but recently the only manufacturer who made a version that worked  for me stopped making them. 

My gen doc doesn't want me to stop either but I want to stop both. She thinks I should just do higher doses, which has only made me feel funkier. I feel like she just wants to push more meds on me when the problems don't improve. I guess that's about all I can expect from a doctor. Their tool boxes are limited. 

I get that the fibro management is all on me and I'm cool with that. I just wish the chronic migraine prevention and management was a little more clear cut. Nothing I've tried has made any real impact. I don't know that there is much left to try but I guess I'll have that discussion with the migraine specialist at Mayo in November. 

In the meantime I just want to stop taking these other meds. More is not better. My body is saying no. 

If only I could find another kind of healer to help guide me through these issues. I wouldn't even know where to begin or how to tell the good from the bad. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thank You Thursday

Dear Clueless,

Thank you to all those who made the very funny "90s movie Clueless. Comedy Central has been airing this classic recently and I have been watching. Even though I know it backwards and forwards because I watched you more times than I can count back in the day, you still make me laugh.

It's been years since I've enjoyed your silliness and sarcasm. Thanks for being funny enough to make me laugh despite all this time.

Dear Bean Stew,

Thank you for being so good. You are a healthy, tasty, one-pot comfort meal. I'm trying not to make you too frequently for fear of growing tired of you, but it's hard. Your yum factor is so high and once made you feed us for two days. Your leftovers being just as good, if not better.

I can hardly wait two weeks to enjoy you again.

Dear Brain,

Thanks for failing me again today. I don't know what you have done with my ability to recall basic things. Well done, I can't seem to find it anywhere, even when I can see it. Words don't seem adequate to describe the frustration and chaos you leave in your wake. Heck, even if there were words, I wouldn't be able to recall them anyway. So I leave you with a simple thank you.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October Migraine Blog Carnival

The October Migraine Carnival is now available. This month's topic is Venting About Migraines. Check out all the great posts.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Small Comfort

At times the most mundane tasks bring me satisfaction, comfort even. I've had a couple of bad weeks here and during this time I've been doing some small tasks around the house: dusting, vacuuming, laundry. All the while paying special attention to the doing, noticing how I bend, which muscles I use, how the task is coming together, etc. Of course, any time I can get things done and make things look nice is satisfying, but the satisfaction is greater when accomplishing tasks despite feeling so bad. That all makes sense.

What's surprising is how these tasks seem to bring a little comfort too. Perhaps it's the familiar motions of household chores, the small sense of normalcy they imply. I'm not entirely sure, but am very thankful for any bit of comfort.

Does anything in your days make you feel this way?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thank You Thursday

Dear Antique Mall,

Thank you so much for every one of your 50,000 sq. ft. just one exit down from our condo. Even though I only had a few minutes to walk around earlier this week I happened upon a real gem - this mirror for just $27. Okay so it wasn't an antique, who cares. It's beautiful and affordable. I totally wasn't planning to buy anything, just walk around and check it out. But there it was.

And there you are - so close to home. I can head down any day and just walk around, taking in all the wonderful old stuff. It's like going to a museum, only you get to touch everything. It's been far too long since I've lived near a cool antique mall. I can't believe I didn't stop in sooner.

Dear Brain Fog,

Thanks for making writing so difficult. Without you I might be able to actually put together some thoughts. You are forcing me to wrap up early because you have decided to shut down.

Yeah, thanks.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


I'm dealing with a big question. Better said, my husband and I are dealing with a big question. We want to have a baby. The natural way is not going to happen. I am not willing to put my body through fertility treatments because my poor body is going through enough. We've been thinking about adoption but that has been financially unrealistic - until recently.

Since moving into this condo a couple months ago we're finally in a position to save some money. We want to save money so we can buy a house and really settle in. We can stay and save as long as we want so we got to thinking perhaps we can also save for an adoption.

Now that it's a more realistic possibility I'm feeling very torn. Having a child is something we both really want. There are so many reasons we want to do it. But I'm also so scared about it. Something inside me tells me that when a baby comes into my life I will rise to whatever challenge out of love. I feel that sometimes with our pets. Besides I know my in-laws are close and I'm sure they will be a wonderful support for me when my husband is at work. Plus, with time, a baby becomes a child and becomes increasingly independent.

But what if a couple years in he or she develops autism - I don't think I'm capable of dealing with that with all the pain, brain fog, fatigue, etc. Or what if he or she has colic - another situation I don't think I could deal with.

What if no matter how much I love him or her, I'm just not able to be a good mom because of the migraines and fibromyalga?

Even if I can - who would choose to give their baby to us. I wouldn't, when there are other "healthier" couples to choose from. So what right do I have to even ask?

I go back and forth. I just don't know what the right thing is here.

What do you all think?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Top Ten

Here are the top ten reasons October is the best month of the year:

1. The leaves are painting the landscape with all the warm fall colors.
2. I get to switch out my warm weather clothes for cool weather clothes.
3. It's the start of sweet potato pie season.
4. Halloween is the start of the wonderful holiday season.
5. Oct. 13th is our 5th wedding anniversary.
6. The smell of pumpkins, spices, leaves...
7. Bubble baths ;)
8. Time to fire up the fire place.
9. Big comfy blankets to snuggle under.
10. Mums are in bloom.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Healthy Venting

My daily life presents me with all kinds of material to vent about. Admittedly, I've verbally vented to my husband many a time but I wouldn't exactly call that healthy or productive. Although there may be some value in the long run to occasionally verbalizing what's going on and communicating that to my husband.
In order to avoid being constantly crabby and unpleasant I needed to find ways to vent just to release the negativity that inevitably comes with living with chronic migraines and fibromyalgia. So here are some of the things I've been doing to vent:

1. This blog has been a wonderful space to vent, get support, exchange ideas, express myself and organize my thoughts and feelings. 

2. Finding ways to laugh about aspects of living with chronic pain. For example, I have several cartoons on my fridge poking fun at doctors, prescription drugs and migraines. Laughing in general is such a great release. Laughing specifically about my conditions feels more like venting as it helps me reframe my perspective. 

3. Celebrating the small victories also feels like venting. This is my chance to show myself that the pain hasn't won and that there is still plenty of good. Times like this past Tuesday when after almost a year without a haircut I went in and the stylist said she couldn't believe what great shape my hair was in considering how long it had been. That little victory deflated so much of the frustration I had been feeling when I woke up. 

4. My active imagine will at times help me to vent. I'll picture doing or saying something that I would never do or say in real life to someone who just doesn't get it. Like last weekend when my we had breakfast with my husband's side of the family. My sister-in-law's husband asked if I would be driving down to their place during the day to let their dogs out during the week my husband is staying at their house to dog sit. Their house is about a half hour from us (one way) and so it would be a ridiculous waste of time, energy and money for me to do that for 7 days straight. I said no and he gave me this look, made a sarcastic sound in his throat followed by "what else do you have to do?" I politely smiled and said that I was going to be taking care of our dog, rabbit and myself. Then I spent time imaging egging his smug face, beating his body in such a way that he would feel all the various pains I get to experience on a daily basis just to watch...and of course, imaging the things I would have liked to say. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thank You Thursday

Dear Clouds,

Thank you so much for blanketing the sky today. I absolutely love it when the entire sky is wrapped in you all day. Rain or no, just not having to deal with sunshine at all today has been so wonderful. Most especially because I'm not feeling well and had errands to run. It wasn't hot or cool, it was bright or rainy, it was just a perfect muted sky.

Most people don't appreciate the relief you bring to people like me, preferring the bright sunshiny days. They get their way more often than not. But I wanted to make sure you know that I love it when you stick around all day like you did today. You brighten my day.

Dear Migraines,

Thank you so much for ruining yet another week. You have made me extra nauseated, tired and crabby. Perhaps best of all, when you act up as much as you have this week, you bring on all kinds of spasms in my neck and shoulders. Nothing like feeling like you've just been in a car wreck to top off all the migraine pain and make for an extra special week.

If only I could find a way to repay you.

Dear Pillows,

Thank you for supporting me in comfort throughout the day. Thank you throw pillows for supporting my back when I'm sitting and for providing extra cushion for my head if I need to lounge a little more. Thank you bed pillows of varying sizes and lengths for supporting my head, arms, torso and legs. You help my body to stay aligned and comfy while I sleep. I can't imagine life without all of you helping to make my days a little bit easier.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Bad Spell

I'm having one of those days when I just just to curl up surrounded by comfy pillows and covers, in quiet darkness and just sleep through the next several days of migraines. That's right, I'm in another bad stretch of continuous migraine pain. It's exhausting and tends to make me irritable and pessimistic. No matter how much progress I've made in dealing with my chronic pain issues it is during these really bad stretches that everything seems to fall apart.
If only I could sleep through these times, but since I can't I'm forced to cope with it. Far too often that means snapping at my husband and then apologizing for being in this state. It means taking more meds and escaping into the droning of the TV. It means I don't feel like doing anything, or going anywhere, or talking to anyone but my husband. It means I begin to feel like I'm wasting my life and then the guilt and sadness set in. The longer it goes on the worse I feel mentally and emotionally.

Okay so that's not exactly healthy coping but it is usually how these stretches go. I still go ahead and do the relaxation practices, stretching and such but it all feels empty and unproductive. I know it will pass eventually but that knowledge doesn't do much to stop it from wearing me down.

Do any of you go through these periods of times? How do you deal with it?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Adventures in Bowling

After discovering a smoke-free bowling ally oasis here in smokers paradise, my husband and I decided to go play a game. While it may have been a bowling ally it was also much more than that with a full restaurant, arcade, two full rows of bowling with full service at the lanes including shoe delivery. And being the ONLY smoke-free place in this very large area it was full of families.
We just wanted to play the one game and so we signed up for a 1/2 hour and started bowling. About 10 minutes in an announcement was made that they were going to be starting cosmic bowling in 10 minutes time so anyone who had trouble with strobe lights, smoke machines and such should make their way out in that time. We decided to stay because by the time it was scheduled to start we wouldn't have much time left anyway. 

Unfortunately 10 minutes turned out to be 2 minutes and cosmic bowling started at the very random time of 1:40 in the afternoon. Long story short, we both ended up with a headache. 

Either we are too practical or too old to enjoy this kind of thing. When I go bowling I don't fog covering the ally, I don't laser lights dancing on every surface, I don't music blaring and I don't want strobe lights. I know full well there will be a pain price to pay for bowling due to the very nature of the game and I don't mind because I do enjoy it. But I'm frustrated that these completely unnecessary environmental factors always ruin it for me. 

These adventures in bowling make me long for my hometown of Rochester, Minnesota. This progressive city  has been smoke-free since I can remember. You can go to any bowling ally on a Saturday afternoon and never have to worry about cigarette smoke, crazy lights or blasting music. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thank You Thursday

Dear Fifty Shades Trilogy,
Thank you for being interesting enough to keep my attention and get me back into reading more regularly. I had been in a reading rut due to a lack of the right book. You see, my fibro/migraine brain often struggles to concentrate for long periods of time, making books a bit daunting. While you may not be brilliantly written, your subject matter is compelling enough to keep those pages turning. 

Thank you also for the fun ideas you have given me and continued entertainment. I know you don't need my endorsement as women and couple everywhere have already made you incredibly popular, but I'll go on the record anyway saying it's worth a read.

Dear Socks,

Thank you for waiting so patiently for me all summer. You have no idea how much I've missed you and the weather that calls for your use. Now I can do all the things I love to do with you like putting lotion on my feet  before putting you on or curling up under a blanket without worrying about cold or dry feet. 

You are one of the many things about fall that I love.

Dear Old Navy,

Thank you for taking an additional 30% your clearance items. I actually bought several short sleeve shirts for less than a dollar each. This brought me a great deal of satisfaction and joy - sad huh? But so true. Especially  since losing several of my summer shirts to a funky smell that I just couldn't get out of them from our previous closet. You see, there was a dead animal in the walls and the management just didn't care to do anything about it. Almost all of my summer stuff absorbed the smell and no matter how much I wash them and spray them with Fabreeze I simply cannot get it out. 

Maybe if I didn't have such an acute sense of smell this wouldn't be such a big deal. After all my husband claims he can't smell it but when your shirt smells, just below your nose it drive a woman a bit mad. And drive me crazy it does. Replacing some of these items so cheaply has made it all better.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Neighborhood Busy Body

There is an older retired man who lives in the same condo building we live in. He spends a good deal of his afternoon walking around just outside waiting to ambush anyone who is coming or going with lengthy discussions about absolutely nothing. Small talk with strangers is incredibly taxing and I need every bit of energy just to keep up with life. To make matters worse he is often smoking. Yikes!

Don't get me wrong, he's a perfectly nice man who is just super social. But I work hard to try and avoid him when taking the dog for a walk and running errands. Avoidance isn't always possible I think the time has come to tell him that I just can't be around the smoke and that I'm dealing with chronic pain so can't have lengthy conversations.

I'm working on the wording. I don't want to be rude but I also want to be clear.

Ever had a neighborhood busy body? How did you deal with it?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Social Awkwardness Complements of Migraine Brain

My husband and I got together with another couple on Saturday night. He has been friends with them for very long time and since moving to Missouri a little more than a year ago we've hung out a few times. They live a little ways away and have three small children so it can be difficult to find time that works for all of us. They are a great couple. Very easy to be around because they are not trying to project an image of perfection. This makes me feel like I'm off the hook and that is wonderful.

Even though our time with them was fun and pressure free, after they left I began to wonder if years of living with chronic pain. so far from family or friends has actually left me socially awkward. I certainly wasn't feeling awkward at the time. I made sure they had plenty to drink and munchies. We talked and laughed and I know my husband and I enjoyed ourselves. Still a part of me wonders, in hindsight, if there were some social graces we missed? Was there more we should have done to make our guests feel more comfortable?

I am aware that sometimes when we get together with people my brain will fail me, surly sparking some to wonder about what's with me. For example, someone will suggest we all go out to a festival next month. Instead of responding affirmatively right away or saying we have other plans that weekend, as would be appropriate, my brain begins to wonder what the environment will be like, what the weather may be like, where will I be in my cycle, how will I feel when the time comes... Questions that really can't be answered. Then I begin to feel the pressure of not wanting to make plans that I can't keep, having to bow out at the last minute, etc.

My mouth doesn't receive a good response in a timely manner because my brain doesn't always work the way it used to. It's little things like this that I guess I haven't adjusted to quite yet. With some forethought I'm sure I can come up with a couple staple responses to prevent some this sort of awkwardness. But there may always be a level of awkwardness to my social interactions because my life is so different from what is normal.

Do any of you feel like your chronic pain has made you socially awkward at times?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Trouble in Design

Design is important to me. The space my family and I live in is special because this is where we create memories and spend a great deal of our together time. Beyond that, home is where I spent most of my time so it needs to be comfortable and migraine/fibro friendly.

The condo we moved into at the end of July has been kind of a design challenge. Often times a space can dictate a style and feeling even without any furnishings or personal items. With enough money, time and energy the space can be adjusted to fit whatever style and feel you desire. The thing with this space is that we don't own it and we don't plan to live here more than 2 or 3 years so it just doesn't make any sense to invest much money, time or energy into changing the space. 

We did the basic stuff like painting and cleaning but that's about it. Despite these small projects making a big difference the truth is that the space is dated and as such has been difficult to design. I've done what I can by adding lots of pillows, putting stuff on the walls that are inspiring, putting low wattage bulbs in and making the most out of the space we do have. But it just doesn't quite have the right feel. 

I've sat on the sofa and looked about day after day trying to figure out what have I done wrong, or not done that I have not yet been able to achieve the desired feel. Then I realized, it's just the space. It's just going to feel a little off until we are able to buy our own space. 

I'll continue to work on making it the best space it can be as is and just be thankful that we have an affordable place to live that will also allow us to save up for our home. After all we have many blessing and I bet I can still find some great opportunities to jazz the place up. I'll post some pictures when I've found these opportunities. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thank You Thursday

Dear Comedy Central,

Thank you for making me laugh. Between South Park, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Tosh.O, celebrity roasts, and a myriad of stand up shows you always provide me the magical powers of laughter; the wonderful, fun, healing. distracting power of laughter.

I may not like the logo redesign but I love to watch your programming.

Dear Rug Doctor,

 Thank you for coming to our rescue today. Our rabbit has been taking a toll on our carpets and, by extension, my nose and migraines. Even though our rabbit is little box trained and our dog is house trained there has still been some peeing happening on the carpets. How does that happen? Well, when the rabbit gets upset about something he takes it out on us by peeing. Since we added Gypsy to the family about a month ago he has been particularly mad and this bad bun behavior has been frequent.

While it may be too early to know for sure how helpful you have been in addressing our bad bunny's behavior, the initial results are positive. Coupled with some big changes in our bun's routine hopefully this will be the end of it.

Dear Bad Pet Owners,

Thank you for not picking up after your dogs. I love having to avoid these stinky, sticky landmines when out walking our dog. Clearly your pet's waste is someone elses responsibility. Heaven forbid you should have to pick up your dog's poo.

You all have sparked my imagination. I imagine how wonderful it would be to know who you are, pick up your dog's poo, and smear it all over your vehicle. Being careful to get the poo in the door handle so you can get some on your hands.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September Blog Carnival

The September Migraine Blog Carnival is now available. This month's topic is all about talking about migraines with others.

Monday, September 10, 2012


During my most recent trip to my general practitioner doc she noticed that my cuticles are inflamed. She didn't really indicate why she was concerned and I didn't ask. Probably because I just don't need one more health thing to think/worry about. She took some blood and if anything is awry I'm sure I'll hear about it at my next appointment.

I went ahead and thought and worried anyway, but not about what else may be wrong. I started to think about inflammation and noticed that in lots of small ways it seems like my entire body is a little inflamed and has been for some time. I've noticed it on the inside of my mouth, my feet, my hands and even my intestines. For now I refuse to google these symptoms but I've been wondering about it.

Until I'm ready or the doc tells me somethings up I'm going to cut back on my dairy and hope to see a turn about.

Have any of you experienced systematic inflammation.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Migrainista Explains It - Sort Of

Inevitably the questions get asked. What do you do? How are you feeling? Are your migraines better yet? Responding to these questions is always a bit tricky but over the years I've settled into a pattern. Most people fall into one of three categories: people I don't know who I either won't see again or won't see much of again, people who are in my life but really don't want the details, and people who are close friends or family who are sincerely interested.

Each category gets a different response. With people I don't know or rarely see I just glaze over my situation and give the most superficial responses. With people who are really in my life but clearly don't want the details will get honest but fairly superficial responses. Those close friends and family who are really interested will get the most details as these are the only ones who really want to hear it. 

Learning the difference has taken some time both for me and for others. 

The place I am most open is online as Migrainista. It is here on my blog/facebook/twitter accounts that I've really opened up and have been as honest as possible. The support and sharing from you all has been such a blessing for me. It helps me to feel less odd and alone in all the craziness that is chronic migraines and fibromyalgia. After all, truly explaining this madness is very difficult.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Thank You Thursday

Dear Schnuck's,

Thank you for deciding to move everything around after I just got used to where things were located. As much as I hate grocery shopping I honestly didn't think anything could make it worse. Boy was I wrong. Showing up in the middle of the move made getting what I needed nearly impossible. Between blocking most of the isle space, lack of signage and confused employees my trip was lengthened and stressed much more than necessary. Seems to me this is the sort of work that should be done overnight when customers are not present, don't you think?

Dear Washer and Dryer,

Thank you for just being you. I so appreciate your presence and hard work. Please don't think for one minute that I take you for granted - I don't. In fact, each time I use you, I think about how lucky I am to have you here, where I can do the wash no matter how bad I feel or look. You save me time, money and the hassle of having to travel to do all our laundry.

Dear Mylan,

Thank you for making an easy to swallow version of Imitrex. I've tried 8 other manufacturers of Sumatriptan and none have gone down as well as yours did. To make matters even better, you have packaged them in pill bottles with just 9 pills instead of the usual hard to access press-packs. I no longer have to struggle to get at my pills and try to get them down when I'm already feeling terrible. Any small thing that makes my life a little easier, especially when I have a migraine, is a big deal to me.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Dog's Life

In pain, curling up on the couch, TV on whatever isn't so boring that I can't stand to listen to it or so interesting that I care about drifting asleep during it. Weekend hoopla recovery continues and I try to not take any meds (the old conservation game - you know). Keeping me sane is this sweet little dog.

In the 3 short weeks since she joined our family she's become a tremendous source of comfort. She will spend all day laying with me if that's what I need. She's super cute, sweet and affectionate. She doesn't reduce my pain but between the joy she brings me and the distraction she provides, she surely does help me through it.

She is actually helping me to live a little better life.

She fits in here almost as if she's been with us since day one. Perhaps it's because she spent the first 6 years of her life with an elderly woman who only gave her up because she went into a nursing home. I guess I can see how there may be similarities between these two households. After all we're pretty quiet people and I'm usually home, only able to be active for short periods at a time.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day

My mom just left this morning after our long weekend together. It was fantastic to have her here, with an agenda to relax and visit. Relaxing is something I need a lot of too so that worked out perfectly. We did manage to get out a bit and do a couple low key things but mostly we hung out here. This choice was helped by lots of rain and clouds Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

As wonderful as it was to have her here and as little activity as we actually did I still got exhausted and had a fair amount of pain. I guess this is just my reality right now. Fortunately my mom is very understanding and just wanted to spend time with me, wherever it was.

Her visit really prompted the completion of a couple projects related to the move in that I had really wanted to get done around here so I will have some time now to recuperate and figure out what's next. And more importantly get back into my routine and blogging.

What have you-all been doing with your Labor Day Weekend?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Guest Prep

I've had a migraine for the last week now and I need it to stop soon. My mom will be arriving tonight for a long weekend visit and I would really like to be a good host while she's here. Of course she is mom and there is no real pressure to put on a brave front if I'm struggling, but still I want to do all I can for her. After all she is mom.

I've laid out fresh fluffy towels, I picked up a lavender scented candle for her room (her favorite scent) and am washing the sheets as I type. It's been a while since we've lived in a space large enough to have her stay with us so I'm quite excited. I think it will make all of us more comfortable and allow our visiting to be more relaxed.

Speaking of relaxed, I've invited the rest of the family that lives in the area over for dinner on Saturday (8). For some reason this hasn't caused a panic in me as I would expect. They can come and if I feel good I can cook, if not we'll get take out. If I feel okay I can sit out and visit with them. If not then I can hide in my room and they can manage without me.

Don't know why I feel so relaxed about the whole thing. It's sort of freaking me out a bit, proving that no matter what I can find something to stress about. I just hope that come Saturday I still feel this way.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Migraine: The Reality Show

Seems like anything can be made into a reality show these days. There are shows about couponing, moving large objects, having big families, chasing down critters, haunted animals...the list goes on and on. Some are actually kinda interesting to me while many others I can't imagine watching. Something for everyone I guess.

This got me thinking, what if there was a reality show about living with chronic migraines? Would it be interesting? Would there be an audience for such a show?

I can't imagine having cameras and people around all the time. When I'm not going out my attire is functional but not terribly aesthetic. I just want to be as comfortable as possible and that means no bra, no makeup, no tied shoes and not messing with my hair. Not exactly camera ready. Plus, I imagine I would get annoyed with all of that hoopla.

But it would be nice if people had a better understanding of what it's like to live with chronic pain - invisible pain. Perhaps some of the many misconceptions could be cleared up and general awareness could be raised. I think it would be a really positive thing. But I wouldn't want to do it myself.

What do you think about it?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thank You Thursday

Dear Workmen,

You have been drilling, banging, beeping and creating general ugliness right next door for 2 weeks now. I can't seem to tell how close you are to finishing up over there but I know you are headed here next where surely the dust and din will be louder still. Then you'll be onto the condo on the other side. I shudder to think about how long you will be disrupting my days.

I know, I know. The work you are doing is necessary and I'm glad it's being done. I just wish it could have been done before we moved in. You see, all that noise and smoking you think nobody can see you doing is super hard on my head. Not to mention I have no intention of picking up your spend cigarette trash when you are done. Trust me I will be watching.

Dear Brown Recluse Spiders,

I'm coming for you. The bug man will be by in a few days. The glue traps will be set. And all holes will be plugged. You dirty, creepy, insidious, dangerous selves will have to move into someone elses unit. Preferably the smokers next door, but really anyplace else is okay by me. We will not tolerate your presence here. Period.

Dear Migraine,

I'm putting you on notice. My mom will be here in less than a week. Do what you need to right now but know that I expect you to be at least a little cooperative during her stay so we can do some fun stuff. That's not asking for too much, is it?

If memory serves me, you were quite ornery during her last visit, which neither of us appreciated. I'm not asking to let me stay out all day each day she's here. Just allow me to do something fun with her each day. If you cooperate with me, I'll cooperate with you and take it easy each day.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Fall Tease

The Halloween decorations and even some Christmas decorations have made their way into the stores. School is gearing up as all the back-to-school products dwindle from shelves. If I didn't know better I would think fall was here. A simple walk outside and the weather quickly reminds that summer is not quite through torturing me.Seeing fall in all the stores just feels like a huge tease. 

This month has been mild by August standards and almost cool at times by comparison to June and July but it's no fall. Despite my best efforts I've actually begun dreaming about the wonders of fall and the stuff I want to do to enjoy it. No doubt all this dreaming will lead to many moments of disappointment as summer marches it's final parade. 

Monday, August 20, 2012


I seriously over did it yesterday. This crash of activity, which would only wear out the average person, has completely taken me down. With all of my ailments screaming at once it's been near impossible to get much done. Today is a day for medications and snuggling on the couch with Gypsy, who frankly wants nothing more than to do the same.

It seems she is not only a loyal little lap dog but she is also small, dainty, easily overwhelmed and quite exhausted after yesterday's activities. She's like me, only without all the pain issues. So the couch is where we will spend our day, napping, watching TV and taking short breaks to eat or drink.

I'll leave all the punishing thoughts of, why did I let myself overdo it again, until tomorrow.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thank You Thursday

Dear St Louis Senior Dog Project,

Thanks for being a great rescue group and hooking us up with our sweet new doggy baby girl. Even though we are still getting to know one another she has already brought us many wonderful moments of "oh cute" and smiles.

Dear Showtime,

Thanks for finally releasing the latest season of Dexter on DVD. Even though it's been some 9 months since you originally aired the episodes and a full year since we saw last season's DVDs it was, as always, worth the wait.

Dear Vinegar,

You are such an amazing cleaner. Despite having a rather unpleasant smell, you are quick and effective, ultimately saving me all kinds of time and pain from scrubbing. I'm actually becoming quite accustomed to your odor and making positive associations with it. The only thing that vexes me about you is how you can be such a good cleaner AND be an ingredient in many dishes.

Dear Cold Front,

I can hardly even believe how reasonable you are making the weather. You have actually left me with a big enough window of time to do a long awaited project that requires both the ventilation of the outdoors and temps below 85 degrees. I thought I would have to wait for late September to see a block of days this nice but here you are in August of all months. You are welcome to stick around for the rest of the summer if you want. Please.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

August Blog Carnival

The August Migraine Blog Carnival is now available. Check out all the great posts and find out how to participate in next month.

Monday, August 13, 2012

New Addition

Our little family grew by one on Sunday when we adopted this sweet little girl Gypsy.

We had been looking for just the right dog. One who was low-key and willing to be a bum with me on the many days when I don't feel well. He or she also had to either not care about the rabbit or be easily redirected when becoming inappropriate with him. With more than 2000 available dogs in the area I was certain we would find one and on Sunday we did.

We brought her home to do an introduction with Rupert and to our relief she just didn't care that there was a rabbit running around. They got to sniff each other but that was all either of them wanted from the other. Perfect :)

She's a snuggle bug and I think that she'll make a perfect little companion for me and my husband. I'm feeling very lucky today.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Keeping Up

I like things to be fairly tidy. My stress level goes down, my energy level goes up, I can think more clearly and be more productive when things are in place and there isn't too much visual clutter. It's just how I am.

This was a pretty easy thing to achieve when I was single, working full time, participating in an active social life and before chronic pain came along. Life's vicissitudes have brought me an amazing husband, chronic migraines, fibromyalgia and have taken away my career. Now keeping things neat and clean is a struggle. I can't even imagine trying to do any of it and work.

Truthfully, it's hard. As soon as you dust, the dust starts to build back up. As soon as you do the dishes, we eat and more dishes need doing. As soon as you do the laundry, more laundry is produced. All housework is like that. There is always more to do. BUT, I've found that by doing two, not so simple, things I can manage fairly well.

1. I pace myself, trying not to do too many things each day. "Too many things" is a fluid concept. Some days doing anything besides a couple loads of laundry is too much. Other days I can do 3 or 4 things. The idea is to just not overdo it and end up paying the price the next day. Sounds easy enough but I've found the practice is both challenging for my type A personality and an art that takes time.

2. I must try to be more flexible. I'm fortunately that my husband doesn't really care how things look at home (which is a double edged sword) so on days when not much gets done, or if things pile up he honestly doesn't care and likely won't even notice. The good news is that all the pressure I feel to make things nice comes 100% from me so I know that someday I'll actually be more flexible. I'm working on it - baby steps.

Like all things in life, I guess it's all about the journey.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Thank You Thursday

I wanted to try something new: Thank You Thursdays. A time for me to reflect on the week that was and express gratitude sometimes with sincerity and sometimes with sarcasm. So here goes my first installment...

Dear Weather,
Even though you have been excessively hot this summer we have actually had several overnight storms and even a rainy day this past week. This much needed rain has been more than welcome during this drought. Please bring more of that in the weeks to come.

I've spent several hours looking through your 98 pages of available dogs in the area. So many homeless dogs, just in this area and you really do make the searching process much easier with all your pictures, links to websites and easy navigation.

Dear Migraine,
You have been a big ol' pain in the rear this week. You have gotten in the way every day making things much more difficult than necessary. Despite your efforts to the contrary, I've managed to have a fairly productive week (well productive for me) and even had some fun. Take that!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Getting Back To It

The past several days have been tough as I've had one of my bad migraine cycles. The kind where I wake up feeling bad and am never really able to get on top of the pain. As expected I'm exhausted, nauseated and gettin' pretty crabby. To cope I've just been hanging on and doing what I can when I can - getting very little done.

This morning it occurred to me that with all the craziness of the move and such I haven't been doing all the things I usually do to try and manage my pain. I haven't been practicing my relaxation techniques, or doing my exercises, or even stretching. No wonder my body is in an uproar.

Starting today I'm going to get back on track and get back into routine. To kick things off I took some video of Rupert wearing himself out washing his face:

So here's to reestablishing good health practices...