Monday Munchies and Meals: Pumpkin Muffins

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I love to cook!  I don’t always follow the directions, I use what I have, I avoid trigger ingredients and I go from there.  It has become part of my family’s lives.  My children love to measure, get out ingredients, mix, taste and see the results of their hard work.    And I love all the math, science,  reading, social, fine motor and even cultural lessons it provides.

Although cooking deliciousness is my goal, the process sometimes seems like  so much!  It’s a commitment to shop, prep, cook and clean up.  Often times it takes way longer than I’d like and uses way more energy than I have which is frustrating.

So I’ve decided to start a Monday Munchies and Meals series.  I hope to post a recipe each week in hopes of inspiring you to make something healthy and feel good about, being a  a snack or meal.  Why am I posting on Tuesday then?  Because life happens and I’ve been in bed with a killer migraine for the last 36 hours.  I wrote this post on Saturday after making  it last Monday and I couldn’t even open a computer to press “publish” for 2 days.

It isn’t always possible to cook everyday with having Migraines and living a busy life.  One recipe a week will be enough to share, make and encourage you to do the same.  So whether I post on Monday or Friday, you can make it whenever it fits your schedule and health also.  It’s meant to inspire, if you have an ok day, try it!  If you don’t, try again another day. 

If you like the recipe, please make it and share it with me.  I’d love to see your results and adaptions to Monday’s  munchie or meal of the week!!!  Post on facebook, twitter and Instagram and comment on the post to inspire others.

I do not follow a strict diet.  I avoid trigger foods but have not cut groups out of my life (gluten etc.).  I try to find recipes that are clean, real ingredients, that are anti-inflammatory and nutrient dense.  I am not a nutritionist and fully admit I eat way too much sugar.  I hope to share recipes that make me feel better and taste good.  If you have one you’d like me to try, please email me at mymigrainelife@gmail.com

This month I’m focusing on pumpkin.  Everyone loves pumpkin in the Fall and the benefits of it are great!

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Here’s the recipe I followed:

http://www.makingthymeforhealth.com/healthy-flourless-pumpkin-muffins/#_a5y_p=4349482

We ate these for breakfast, in lunches and as an after school snack.  Easy and great for grab and go.

Pumpkin Muffins

 

 

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Miles for Migraine virtual walk and race dates 2017

miles for migraine swag

In June, I did a virtual challenge to raise money for Miles for Migraine.  “Miles for Migraine is a registered 501(c)(3) Non-Profit with the mission of improving the lives of migraine patients and their families, raising public awareness about headache disorders, and helping find a cure for migraine. Miles for Migraine produces fun walk/run events, typically 2 mile walk and 5k and 10k race to raise money for migraine research. We also host youth camps for kids and teens impacted by migraine or other headache disorders.”

I made the goal of raising $300 for the 3 years I’ve been blogging and I’m happy to announce we met that goal and exceeded it!  Thank you to those who donated!  Migraine is terribly underfunded and every dollar goes a long way towards fellowship programs for training new doctors as well as research. THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

For those of you that missed the fundraiser and would like participate yourself, I have a few more opportunities for you.

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Philadelphia                October 7, 2017

Washington, DC             October 15, 2017

Virtual Race                       Anytime!

 

Keep moving!  I have more race dates coming for Runnin’ for Research in which I participated last year.  I hope you are motivated to take one step at a time and each day get a bit stronger.  As a chronic migraineur, I feel like one day I step forward, the next I’m knocked back down .  The most important thing is that I take that step forward again…..

Straight Outta Spoons and Chronic Illness

straight out of spoonsThis weekend was my birthday!  What an amazing time it was!  My best friend sent me this tank and it’s a perfect way to describe me after the celebration.

After traveling, staying out late and having (gasp!) a few celebration drinks I was Straight Outta Spoons!  I just wish I could go through an event without being totally depleted.

With this said, I’ll use my spoons on family, fun and celebrations any day!  It’s the days that I use up my spoons for doing mundane things that gets me really frustrated.

Not familiar with the Spoon Theory?

Here’s how it applies to my life and explanation on how it may applied to yours.

Thank you for all the presents, texts, calls and social media messages.  I’m so lucky to have you all in my life and looking forward to another year filled with joy and discovery.

Starting school, making friends and my hopes for my children’s future

As the school year begins, I have been thinking about my childhood a lot.  I actually have a friend who I have had since I was 5 and a neighbor that became family when I was in 4th grade.  Since then, I have gathered a great group that have made me who I am today.  My “oldest” friends are the ones who know a little piece of me that no one else knows does. They have been there since the beginning.

As the school year begins I think about how my children are starting their “beginning.”  When they go to school they hopefully will find forever friends like I did.  All too soon they will be listening to those friends more than they listen to me and that is terrifying.  Other influences will guide them through school, sports, nights out, big dances, academics and everywhere in between.

These are the people that they will laugh, cry, and grow with.  They will think that the world has ended with a break up and think that missing a party will ruin their lives forever.  They will lie to me, hide things from me, and grow in a blink of an eye.  I just pray that we have raised them well and that their choices in friends have had the same.

They are growing up in a world that is filled with so many more challenges than I ever had to face.  I think we are the first generation to say, it was easier when we grew up.  Social media didn’t run our lives.  Our bullies said it to our faces.  As cruel as it was, it wasn’t the massive amounts of people who can hide behind a screen to say words that crush someone’s soul.

Our football players fought with their fists.  Now they fight with guns.  I wasn’t fearful for my safety.  Columbine shook our lives with the unheard of massacre of many.  Now it’s a part of life that you can’t fly, go to school, the movies, work or a playground without being on high alert.

We didn’t sit at home searching the internet.  We were out riding our bikes and playing endless hours of baseball.  My neighbors watched me and an army of adults were in contact with my parents.  I was held accountable for my actions by everyone.

If I got in trouble at school, I would be sure to hear about it when I came home.  Being a teacher, my student’s parents would blame me for their child’s actions.  They had  little follow through with accountability thus raising an entitled generation with little remorse.

I trusted the teachers and coaches that I spent countless hours with to strengthen and make me a better person.  Are teachers even allowed to do that anymore, or do they just hand them standardized tests?

The only person taking pictures of me was taken by my mom to be put into a family album, not spread on the internet for the world to see.  I grew up with privacy and felt safe.  I have happy, happy memories of my adolescence but remember it not being easy.

My children’s lives will not just be uneasy, it will hands down to hard.  And as a mom I’m so worried about it all.  Right now their tiny hands fit in mine when we cross the street and I pick their play dates.

Some day they will be embarrassed of me and go places that I’m not sure exactly what that they are  doing.  At that point I will rely on the way that we have raised them and their  forever friends that they have chosen.

My babies will always be my babies and they will be thrown into a grown up world well before they will be ready.   As my daughter stands before me in her princess dress I can practically see it as a homecoming dress. I can only hope she wants a beautiful ball gown that makes her glow from the inside out instead of a skimpy dress that she feels appropriate in this overly sexualized world.

As my son runs around in his super hero shirt, I pray he will be safe and this world won’t need saving.  He thinks he can fly and has super strength.   He already has made everyone’s lives better that knows him.  I just hope his ambition and spirit never fades.

I see their innocent smiles and I just want to freeze these moments in time so I never have to see them cry.  I just want to hold them and keep them with me forever.  But I know I can’t do this.  I want and need them to find those forever friends to be something that I can’t.

I need my daughter to understand that although boys are great, every girl needs really good friends.  Men try their best to figure us out, but friends don’t need to.  They just get it!

Their friends will get them through things that really matter when they really matter.  I want them to accumulate all of the wonderful memories that I had and continue to have with my friends that I love so much.

I don’t feel old enough to say that I have friendships almost 30 years but I do.  I’m not sad about my age.  I am proud that I have achieved so much and created so many important relationships during this time.  I’m so happy that I am secure, confident, loved and stable in so many ways.

I no longer have people in my life that are unimportant and as a girl it takes a long time to be happy with yourself and I am.    Life can be so hard yet so wonderful.  I can just pray that my children find people to get through the hard parts of life that I can’t be there for and make the wonderful memories all that sweeter.

May they grow to be happy and healthy.  May they find forever friends who guide them to make good choices and as they guide others.  May they laugh and value people for who they are inside.  May they teach others while they learn so many lessons.   And please God, may they be safe!  As they leave my nest of safety I trust you will watch over them and that the good people of this world will do the same.

Chronic pain is too much for too long and too often

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The last 3 weeks I have been in a migraine cycle from hell. Hell is the only place to describe it. I suffer from chronic migraine and even this rattled me. Here’s the thing I’d like to tell you about chronic pain, it’s too much for too long and too often!

You never get used to pain. I have found ways to mentally deal with it better, to alternatively treat it more naturally and ways to adapt my life but the reality is it hurts….a lot. With my migraines, I get insane pain (on all sides) that resonate throughout my entire body like a lightning bolt that never goes away. I throw up constantly (well, my body tries but at this point my stomach clenches so hard to keep any food in me that it’s basically violent painful heaves each time I sit up.) I have auras that consist of black dots, lines, zigzags, white light flashes and tunnel vision. I clench my teeth/jaw, fists, toes and thrash my body to the point I bruise. Light and sounds puts me at risk of passing out. The list of pains goes on and on and on while the minutes, hours, days and nights pass by.

When I was in labor, my nurse was able to tell me “Your contraction is at its worse, it’s getting better and going now.” The biggest battle besides the pain is not knowing how long the migraine will last. With this last cycle, I had points that I did not see the light at the end of the tunnel. The fear of living at a level 8/9 for the rest of my life was and is my reality. After an unending migraine, I don’t remember ever feeling better, can’t do anything to find relief and no one can tell me it’s going to be better soon because they don’t know that.

In comes the anxiety and depression that most chronic migraine sufferers experience. Anxiety about doing something to make it worse, about how long it will last, about missing out on life and about what will be missed in the future. Depression about being locked in a dark room alone for hours and feeling so alone. Alone. Alone to fight my pain because no one else can help. Feeling worthless and sad that this is my life and the way it will always be. Sadness from the things I can’t do and won’t ever do. The feeling of pain being the only feeling that I feel because nothing else can enter my mind is exhausting and unfair.

In fact, everything is exhausting and unfair. Even once the pain lowered, I was exhausted. Exhausted from fighting the pain and little sleep after days and days in bed. Looking at social media was too trivial. I can’t stand seeing moms complain about their kids when my children are my inspiration for everything and give me a reason to fight! Those moms are so ungrateful. In fact, the only reason I got out of bed was to go see my daughter for one hour at her school for an end of the year reception. I had spent the entire morning heaving from pain and used every bit of my energy to be there. One hour. One hour is where I spent all my energy in one day just to make my daughter smile and to make me feel human while other women are complaining that their kids are being kids….ugh, exhausting! (*Note:  I’m planning on writing a series on how my children are shielded from these episodes….**spoiler alert** lots of help and preparation!)

Once I emerge from a cycle, I always find it difficult to enter back into the real world. The world outside of my pain, outside of my room, outside of my head. I look in the mirror and don’t even recognize myself. My face is broken out and I look so weak and pale. My list of to dos is a mile long and the cognitive damage and physical weakness make it difficult to multitask like I normally do. I have trouble with just one task and focus on that alone. The anxiety stays with me because I never know when my migraine will return. I walk on egg shells and give myself credit for doing even the smallest things.

Chronic pain is too much for too long and too often. Before this 3 week cycle, I had made it 4 days at a level 5 pain level. This was good, but 4 days since my last major migraine? It’s not like I got food poisoning and thought, “Wow, glad that’s over, I’m never eating there again.” I’m going through this dramatic traumatizing event and thinking, when will it come back? Not if, when. Will it be tomorrow once I eat a normal meal again, will it be when I leave the house, will it be when my children scream and my stress raises, will it be when I try to get my list done and push myself too hard, will it be in a few days with my menstrual cycle, will it be when the weather changes AGAIN, or will it be for no reason? It will always come back….and soon.

I questioned if I should write this post. I like to be optimistic and show my readers hope. But the reality is, I suffer. I suffer a lot. Hopefully I help many with writing MyMigraineLife but there is no cure and I live with that every day. This is not a post to make you feel bad but to remind you that you are not alone. That maybe someone has it worse and to show gratitude for everything you can do today. To remind you that you never know what someone is battling with and to be gentle and kind. And to remind you that someday it will get better. My better does not mean I’m ok, it just means I’m out of my dark room today and I’m writing! That’s better! I still have a long way to go and am very aware that tomorrow it could be much worse. All I can hope is that it gets better…..

Disney World. My migraine

 

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This picture is intentionally blurry.  I may have been smiling but this is a small sample of the blur I was looking through that day.

 

There is no way I expected to make it three days without getting a migraine.  My day at Magic Kingdom had been perfect and low pain which meant for sure I was getting one the next day.  Sure enough, I woke up sick.  I immediately took my rescue meds, drank water and rolled around my bed in pain and anger.  I was really angry and not willing to miss the day that I had planned for my family. 

So when it was time to go, I loaded myself out of bed and got on the boat to Disney Springs.  With the experience I have, I had prepared our bag and stroller the night before and all my husband needed to do was get them dressed and lead us all to the dock.  At Disney Springs we got breakfast.  I sat outside of the busy crowded, loud, disorienting restaurant to save a table and hang my head in pain.  Everything around me was in slow motion and my body clenched.  I was barely able to stomach a sandwich and caffeine to hopefully speed up my meds. 

We next proceeded to the boutique in which my beautiful daughter would be turned into Cinderella.  As I approached, I  instantly felt fear of this magical place.  Picture a room filled with lights from every direction with air packed with hairspray, sounds of women talking in pitches I can only imagine a dog could hear and parent’s pushing you to get out of the way of their photo op.  Basically a Migraine’s hell.   I can still smell it just writing about it. 

As my son and husband were leaving to go to the Lego store,  my husband asked me if I was going to make it.  Let me tell you about the motivation of a stay at home mom watching her daughter turn into a princess.  My daughter had told me the day before that she wished on her “wishing star” that she could turn  into a princess.  I may not get money for what I do but watching my sweet girl’s wish come true is my salary. 

As I was very aware of the seats around me and garbage cans (I tend to throw up with my migraines) I decided to stay and immerse myself in the experience.  Let me tell you, if I had been one bit of a higher pain level I would have had to tap out.  Don’t think I’m telling you I can do anything if I’m motivated enough, but this was an exceptional occasion.  I should have been in bed and am not sure how I did it, to tell you the truth. 

Anyways, I decided to ask our “fairy Godmother” about some special occasions she has seen there.  She began to tell a story about an engagement but the story that moved me was this…...

A little girl Skyped with her father while he was deployed in Afghanistan so he could see her transformation.  I listened with tears in my eyes.  Tears of pain, tears of heartache for so many and tears of gratitude. 

I stood there with a smile on my face yet close to passing out and I thought of how thankful I was.  Yes, I was pained in every inch of my body yet I was thankful.  I was thankful to that dad, his daughter, her mother, and to everyone who sacrifices for our country.  I was thankful that I knew my husband and baby boy were safe next door.  I was so thankful to all of the men and women who put their lives on the line so I could stand there and watch my child’s wish come true.  It was a very profound moment to remind myself that my pain may have been all consuming but I’m not the only one suffering.  I think it’s a moment I will never forget!!!

So with this all said, let me say THANK YOU to all of the men and women in our armed forces.  Not only thank you to you, but thank you to your family and friends who also sacrifice while you protect us.  Thank you to generations past, present and future.  The job you do is something that is not acknowledged enough.  You allow the American dream and little girl’s wishes to come true.  Thank You!

Disney World. The Good, the Bad, and the Migraine

Disney World

Disney World!!!!!!

 

I went to Disney World for 3 days and I could probably write a book on it.  Instead I’m going to focus on three things. The good, the bad, and my migraine.  So let’s begin with the good……

Where to begin. Disney World is called the happiest place on earth for a reason.  If you’ve been following me from the beginning, you know this is not the first time I have written about a Disney princess (A Whole New World?) I have loved all things Disney since I was a child and have been so happy to see my children fall in love all the same.  We spent an entire day at Magic Kingdom.  I had planned and saved like most families do and was eager to see how my dreams would come true for my family.

My personal favorite thing was to ride the rides.  I used to love rides but now enter them with a bit more trepidation.  I fear flashing lights, jerking motions and all those other triggers that come along with my migraines.  I also feared the weather, my diet, the stress, dehydration, and exhaustion.

But Tinker Bell sprinkled her fairy dust on me that day and I lived in a fairytale land.  I did however, prepare.  I had water bottles for all of us that I filled at every water fountain I saw.  I didn’t care about how many bathroom breaks we were going to stop at, we all were staying hydrated.  I also brought portable fans for my family that tends to sweat and me who tends to overhead.  I had snacks galore that were healthy and filling enough to stop us from stopping at every food stand we saw.  I had hats and sunglasses for everyone while we waited in the sun.

I didn’t stress at all because we were on vacation, we were together, and somehow I was feeling OK.  OK for me means super duper terrific on a day like our day at Magic Kingdom.  One of my highlights was watching my children meet the characters and waving to them at the parades. IMG_4327IMG_4332

Is there anything sweeter than a tiny hand waving at floats singing to music?  I found myself waving at everyone also, it was contagious. IMG_2246IMG_2186

I actually got to feel like a normal person that day.  I spun around in tea cups laughing and only feeling dizzy.  Feeling dizzy from your kids joyfully spinning you verses feeling dizzy from standing up on an average day is very different.

I felt shaky from my daughter “steering” a car on a track slamming from side to side and laughing from the depths of my gut.  This shaky is wonderful compared to shaking from pain masked by medication yet not masking muscle contractions.

At the end of the day I felt truly tired.  Not exhausted from fighting a migraine, tired from a long glorious day.  I was able to sing with Ariel in her grotto, the way I love to sing (Feeling better makes me sing)IMG_4360

I flew like I could fly

I flew like I had wings.  I took selfies without thinking how my smile was a mask for how I really felt.

The laughs, the joy, the magic was all from a low pain day.  From the opening song that made me feel butterflies in my stomach to the last firework that gleamed in my eye, I was feeling low pain.  Whatever it was; the adrenaline, the preventatives drugs, the preventative living, or  the intoxicating bubble of love and joy, I call it magic!

I could go on and on and on about how our day at Magic Kingdom was one of the happiest I can remember in a very long time (and I consider myself to live a happy life) but I will stop at saying it was perfect. For those of you who can’t relate to a perfect day, I thought it was impossible for myself.  But just like every perfect day comes reality.  Stay tuned for the bad and migraine party of my trip.