Why I’m thankful, grateful and blessed the day after a Migraine

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This has been a tough weekend for me.  Friday I spend all day in bed and rode out a level 8+ pain level for over 5 hours as just part of my day fighting Migraine.  It was one of those day……

Along with all the people I listed in my Thankful post, yesterday I was simply thankful that I could leave my room.  Not many people understand the isolation of being chronically sick and the literal battle that is done within one’s self.

Yesterday I felt like a super hero for just being able to leave my room.  Small victory for most but for those of us who understand…..a reason to be THANKFUL!

Please continue to add to my list on how your are thankful, grateful and blessed.  Just setting the intention of finding something positive in each day may change your outlook altogether.   Comment here on the blog, on facebook, twitter or Instagram.  You don’t need to have migraine to comment.  Everyone should find gratitude in their day!

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Count Other’s Blessings as Your Own

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Friday Feelings

Yesterday was a hard day for me.  It was one of those days where I had a bunch of things on my calendar and they all turned out a little worse than I had expected.  I had 2 doctors appointments, one of them leaving me in tears.  I had a conference about my child that left me more worried than usual (and let’s be honest, all I do is worry about them).  I wanted to treat myself to a smoothie after one of my doctors appointments and even that didn’t work out.  It seemed like an “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day.”

Then I got a text from a dear friend that my prayers had been answered.  I have had her on my prayer list for many months and her news once again brought tears to my eyes (in the best way!).  It was such a reminder to stop feeling bad for myself.  I say it to my children often and the text reminded me the same….you are not the only one who needs help!

While one of my appointments left me incredibly down about myself and the future of my health, I was lifted with news that my lovely friend was given the health and strength I needed.   My pain can be so consuming that some days it’s hard to see through the dark clouds.  My deserving friend broke through those clouds to rain sunshine on so many of us with her text.

So here’s my Friday Feelings and vibes for the weekend…….

Count other’s blessings as your own. 

Knowing my loved ones are surviving and thriving is a blessing upon myself.  It’s easy to feel bad for myself but allowing myself to feel joy in others blessings is a gift.  It allowed me to step away from myself and towards the greater good.  It doesn’t make my big issues disappear but it sure does make a smoothie seem silly.

 

Does Acupuncture Work for Migraine?

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This year I tried acupuncture.  I have heard about acupuncture for migraine for years but was hesitant.  I get on average 75-90 shots a year to treat my Chronic Migraine.  The thought of trying another doctor putting needles in me didn’t sound appealing.

I was recommended to an acupuncturist by a family member who was a physician shadowing an acupuncturist who was described to me as brilliant.  The office was about an hour away while the appointments lasted about 20-30 minutes.  As always, I had a driver because the results could cause feelings of “drinking a 6 pack of beer” and I didn’t need to be driving an hour after my treatment.  I was also hesitant because my insurance didn’t cover acupuncture and it was going to be more out of pocket costs.

With all this, I tried it anyways.  The doctor I saw gave me an immediate calming feeling.  After years of doctor’s visits, I tend to start a new treatment with a bit of trepidation.  Retelling my history gets tedious and after 30 years I feel like I’ve heard it all.  But this doctor was special.  He believed me!  He didn’t give me a list of things to try that I had already attempted, he didn’t judge, he just believed me.

The coolest assessment he did on me was to have me hold my middle finger and thumb together while he pulled them apart.  He did this with ease.  After asking questions and putting a few metal discs with band aids on he tried the assessment again.  This time my fingers held tight.  He looked at my mom and said, “See, she’s really hurting.  This would not have happened if she wasn’t able to tell me where she hurts.”  This was not saying that my mom did not believe me (she knows I hurt) but to say that my pain was real.  Having a doctor ask me and not tell me what to do to be helped was profound.

Each time I walked out of his office I felt optimistic.  I felt lighter and less pained.  This was something new for me being I’m used to walking out of offices with a script and pumped full of much needed meds but mentally down.  I was pricked with very few needles that were essentially painless.

While I was there we talked not only pain but triggers, emotions and concerns.  Once again he was letting me talk and treating me from there.  It wasn’t a protocol that the medical professionals deemed for everyone, it was specific to me.  I’ve always fought to be treated as an individual and not just one of 57 million Migraine sufferers.  It was refreshing, I felt heard.

Did it help my migraines?  Each time was different as I find with all treatments.  The optimism was the same.  One treatment I felt no “6 pack” feeling, while another my head was swimming on the way home.  One time I felt it lasted a week (which for someone who gets migraines daily at some point) was a relief.  Another time I got hammered with a 3 day severe migraine the next day which made me want to give up on my acupuncture treatments.

These results seem to be on par with all of my treatments.  Nothing works every time in the same way every time.  After several months my doctor retired.  This was the end of my acupuncture treatments.

Why did I not follow up with another acupuncturist closer by?  While loving my doctor and the incredibly interesting ways he treated me, I’m shelving acupuncture for now.  I feel that I got lucky with this amazing doctor and know that every doctor is not created equal.  I fear disappointment in finding another doctor and losing the little bit of magic that acupuncture and this brilliant doctor provided me.  It’s expensive and not a long term fix for me.

If asked if I would recommend acupuncture, my answer would be the same as always…..follow your own path.  You can read about the benefits of migraine treatments from many different resources.  My goal is to give you my experiences and hope that you will learn from my stories and listen to where your heart takes you.  After saying no to acupuncture for so long I finally said yes and it was the right decision for me.  I’m glad I tried it and would try it again in the future.  I don’t think it would be around for thousands of years to treat hundreds of things if people hadn’t had success.

 

Have you tried acupuncture for Migraine?  What did you think?

Throwback Thursday to Indians World Series 

I’m so excited for game #1 of the playoffs tonight! Here is my experience from last year.  ⚾️⚾️⚾️⚾️⚾️⚾️⚾️⚾️⚾️⚾️⚾️⚾️⚾️⚾️⚾️⚾️⚾️✨Sports can teach so many lessons and provide memories that last a lifetime! ✨


https://mymigrainelife.wordpress.com/2016/11/05/thankful-thursday-indians-vs-cubs-world-series-2016/

Last year’s birthday and migraine motivation

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This week is my birthday! As I looked back at where I was last year, I was struggling but happy. I’m about the same but can say I’ve seen growth. I strengthened my time management this year and really focused on doing things that make me happier and healthier.

I started a new job that inspires me to feel better, gives me a new sense of purpose and the people there make me smile and laugh.  Being a teacher and changing lives is very motivating and the families I work with are incredible!

My Migraine Life has done a lot of great things and I’m very proud of my blog being so unique and well received. I had never read a blog when I began this journey and I’m proud that I created this community and am helping so many in my own way.

Please endorse My Migraine Life for Wego Health Awards. It’s a nice thank you for all my hard work!  Just go to the link and scroll to the thumbs up!

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I still have a lot of “bad days” and feel better knowing that on my less painful days I’m helping and teaching so many.  I’m using my good days for the good and that is the best I can do.  On those bad days…..I’ll “just keep swimming!”

Last year’s birthday post!

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. The bad

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Every good side has a bad side. I was happily surprised that I saw little bad while I visited Disney World.  The bad thing that I did see was ungrateful people.

My experience with meditation didn’t go well but something I find easy and beneficial to do every day is to show gratitude.  It comes easily being I have a disease that keeps me in a cold dark room and even the littlest bit of relief allows me to be grateful.

I also was a special education teacher for children with severe needs.   I can tell you that when you’ve worked with a child that is severely Autistic or is multiply handicapped you see the world in a different way.

So here’s the bad about Disney World….ungrateful adults.  I have always been able to work with difficult children because of the reminder that they don’t know any better.  I don’t give adults that benefit of the doubt.

As I was standing waiting for my family after a bathroom break (I told you we were hydrating!) I saw a most ungrateful man. He literally stopped in front of me and screamed at his daughter (or could have been his granddaughter, I couldn’t tell) about her band aid falling off her hand.

First of all, band aids fall off a moving hand.  Secondly, shame on him for yelling and embarrassing his daughter about such an insignificant thing.  As she hung her head I could feel the anger rise in me.

I texted my best friend and told her I considered tripping the man (hopefully scrapping his hand) and handing his daughter an extra band aid to put in her pocket.  I don’t go anywhere without band aids.  Kids fall and when they fall they need a band aid.  Even when there isn’t blood, sometimes a band aid just makes them feel better.

You know what doesn’t make them feel better, getting yelled at in a group of people.  How ungrateful!  He was worried about this tiny detail of his day and I am sitting there thinking of the Make a Wish family that had just walked by me.  I bet that family wasn’t worried about a band aid.  I bet their worries were real and powerful and that they would give anything to have their biggest problem be a band aid.  That family was smiling and laughing and  not worrying about such a small thing because they know BIG problems.  I wish that family could talk to that man and tell him about real anger.  Not anger at their child but anger at what they were suffering from.

Another time I saw the bad side of Disney was when we were on a ride. At one point the ride stopped and they made a statement about the ride stopping and that it would start again in a moment.  I heard a woman behind me groan and start loudly complaining about how she couldn’t believe it was ruining her ride.

It’s a funny thing about perspective.  My first thought wasn’t to complain it was to hope.  I sat there hoping that the boy I saw in a wheel chair with a feeding tube was being carefully wheeled onto the ride.  While this woman was complaining I was hoping that this sweet child would be able to experience the beauty and wonder of the ride that I was getting to enjoy.   While this woman was complaining with her working legs and loud mouth I would be interested to hear what that dad I saw pushing him would think.  I’m glad he couldn’t hear her and hope they got to enjoy!

Are these people bad people, of course not. I only heard and saw a small moment of their day.  No one is perfect and I ‘m sure they were dealing with their own issues.  Everyone has problems and everyone expresses them differently.  But from my perspective the bad thing about Disney is the ungrateful people.

I can’t go anywhere without negative people surrounding me and some days it bothers me more than others.  On a day that I felt OK and was literally looking to the sky being grateful for everything this world had provided me.  Then, I heard such nonsense of “band aid gate” and “let’s pause for a moment and complain.”

Let’s all show gratitude!

Part 3 of Disney World is coming.  You know it had to come…..the MIGRAINE!  This one has a great lesson.