Monday, June 4, 2012

Summer Fun? #NMAM #NMAMBC

If you're anything like me the long, bright, hot, humid days of summer present all kinds of challenges when all you want to do is have some fun. The very nature of these activities (BBQ, beach/pool day, picnic, outdoor patio, concert/festival, vacation, etc.) make managing my pain extremely difficult - well impossible.

The problem is really two fold. First, all that hot sun and humid air changes the pressure in my head, which jump starts a migraine. Couple that with being out in the bright sunlight, which causes enough strain in my eyes to really galvanize that migraine. Second, doing these things disrupts the routines I have in place making it difficult to maintain the delicate balance that help optimize my comfort. For example, keeping hydrated, eating the right kind of foods, taking all my vitamins/medications at the right time and moderating my activity level all become nearly impossible.

Like everyone else, I still want to have some fun over the summer. I want to socialize with my friends and family, but these days all plans for fun are coupled with varied levels of anxiety. I worry about having a really bad migraine before I go that prevents me from participating at all. I worry about getting a migraine during and what my escape plan will be. I worry about ruining a good time my husband or others might be having. I worry that I'll be judged by my brain fog or muted affect - after all I don't look sick (sarcasm).

Being well prepared for any summer activity helps me to mitigate the inevitable anxiety.
-resting beforehand
-taking a bottle of water with me
-wearing a hat and dark sunglasses
-planning for recovery time afterward

After moving closer to family and friends last summer, I found that these things I used to do were no longer going to be enough. These days our plans often involve many more people than when we lived far from home. This summer I'm going to add some new strategies. There are some activities that just no longer sound like any fun such as going to outdoor concerts or shows. Fortunately my husband doesn't enjoy these kinds of activities so we just won't do them. Other activities still sound like fun but I know I can only handle them for shorter periods of time, such as BBQs or picnics. There is no reason we can't go and have fun but I will need to be able to get out of the sun and we need communicate that I can't participate in something like this for extended periods of time. (plus I'll need to eat in advance and have food available after because BBQs are not designed for vegetarians like myself).

Hopefully by the end of this summer I'll be able to better manage summer fun. What are your strategies?

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


  1. I would imagine that being a vegetarian means just the smell of meat bbqing would be enough to launch the migraine rocket!

    1. The smell of raw meat has always bothered me but interesting enough - I love the smell of grilled meat (not hamburger). Don't know why...

  2. My strategies sound a lot like yours: water, shade, ability to get away when needed, preparing food and being emotionally strong enough to eat it without feeling embarrassed by my special needs.

    Most of my difficulty lies in not wanting to appear needy and having to eat "special" foods or requiring time out for regrouping at longer events. Over the years I have realized that many many people have special challenges and that, like mine, these trials build strong character and resourceful minds. We are less and less being defined by our other abilities and more and more by who we are and what we do with our talents.

    Sorry if this is too's taken me a long time to adapt and i hope others can learn tips and techniques sooner in their disease process and make the journey less stressful for them and their families.

    1. No such thing as too long Lynda :) You have such a great perspective on this - thank you for sharing!