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…..

EnviroKlenz review, products for chemical sensitivity and allergies

As a follow-up to Migraine and Allergies I have changed a few things in my house to lessen our allergens.

·         For the summer, we will keep the windows closed and use the air conditioning

·         We take our shoes off when entering the house and wash hands immediately

·         When coming in from playing outside, my son showers and changes his clothes before bed and nap

·         All beds are covered with allergen pillow cases and bed sheets

·         We installed a new HVAC air cartridge

I was given the HVAC air cartridge as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.

 

EnviroKlenz Natural Cleaning Products

The first thing that struck me about EnviroKlenz, was the variety of products I can use in my home.  They are geared for chemically sensitive like myself, along with those with allergies and suffer from respiratory problems like my son.  I have a lot of problems with many cleaning agents that trigger my migraines through smell and harsh chemicals and generally look for natural cleaners and eco-friendly cleaning products. I don’t like my children and dog smelling fumes so EnviroKlenz sounded like what I need for my house.

Being very sensitive to odor, a mom and pet owner I was interested in their odor neutralizer and eliminator.  The neutralizer is a green cleaning product that can be used for cleaning and removing vomit odor, spills and odors from carpets and solid surfaces, liquid spills in cars, pet mess, pet urine and more. 

I was also drawn in by the laundry enhancers. EnviroKlenz works along with normal detergent to enhance its ability to remove tough odors but contains no masking agents or fragrances.

The product I chose to review was the HVAC air cartridge. I was most excited about how the air cartridge removes VOCs and odors from my home. 

What are VOCs?

“Volatile organic chemicals (VOC) encompass a wide range of compounds. These chemicals range from slightly hazardous organic solvents up to highly toxic and corrosive acids. They can be found in most industrial and household settings, and can pose a serious hazard for a prolonged period of time in an indoor environment. In addition to organic compounds, there are also a wide range of additional toxic volatile compounds which are commonly found in the home.”

EnviroKlenz HVAC filter destroys noxious chemicals and odors.  It is a non toxic air cleaning product.  Their HVAC filter neutralizes odors and VOCs preventing them from returning into indoor air space.  Their products are made from metal oxides which are considered safe compounds found in safe consumer and food products.

I feel at ease knowing my HVAC air cartridge is providing me with clean air.  At home, I want my children to be their safest and healthiest being I control their environment and what’s in it.  With EnviroKlenz I have taken one step closer to doing so.

I recommend EnviroKlenz for anyone looking for odor elimination products, air purifier for allergies and eco-friendly home products. 

 What do you do to lessen the allergens in you home?

Check out their products here:  EnviroKlenz

*This post contains affiliate links which mean that if you purchase a product from clicking here I will be given a small compensation.  Thank You!  Enjoy!

EnviroKlenz Non Toxic Cleaning Products

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

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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.

American Migraine Foundation, “Move against Migraine” initiative

American Migraine Foundation Launches Move Against Migraine Initiative

One of my favorite foundations, American Migraine Foundation, is starting a new initiative.

About The American Migraine Foundation

The American Migraine Foundation (AMF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of research and awareness surrounding migraine, a disabling disease that impacts 36 million men, women and children in the United States. The AMF was founded in 2010 to provide access to information and resources for individuals living with migraine, as well as their loved ones. Working alongside the American Headache Society, the AMF’s mission is to mobilize a community for patient support and advocacy, as well as drive and support innovative research that will lead to improvement in the lives of individuals living with migraine and other disabling diseases that cause severe head pain.

AMF launched the Move Against Migraine initiative to help educate individuals about migraine, as well as resources, such as information on treatment and experts. 

Check out the full press release here

  • Move Against Migraine integrates advertising, public relations and social and digital media, as well as radio and television public service announcement.
  • Through the initiative the AMF intends to change the conversation around migraine and mobilize a large community to advocate for themselves and others to increase funding for research.
  • The initiative aims to help individuals:
  • Learn more about migraine and the treatment options via AMF online research and education library – visit https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/
  • Find help by visiting our website to connect with migraine experts (there is a Find a Doctor tool), learn from content developed by renowned migraine experts, or searching for a clinical trial investigating new treatment options
  • Get connected by joining our Move Against Migraine community on Facebook, and use your voice on social media to join together with others living with migraine and other diseases that cause severe head pain.
  • The Facebook group, Move Against Migraine, connects leading migraine and headache specialists with those living with migraine and other diseases that cause severe head pain. The platform features regular Facebook Live events with migraine experts, information and research updates.

Sprinly, plant-based meal delivery

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This week I got another delivery from Sprinly, my favorite vegan fresh delivery meals.  If you live in the Cleveland area, I highly recommend them! Although Sprinly rewards me for my recommendation, I only write about products and services that I truly love and use!

I fully admit that I am not vegan.  Nor do I particularly love vegetables.  But Sprinly is some kind of wonderful and somehow gets me to love both!  I order them when I need a break from cooking, when I’m feeling like I need a reset in my diet and when I’m craving them.  I end up craving them because their meals are so delicious.  I feel so full from their meals and often can’t finish them in one siting.  I’m always so surprised by how satisfied I am after each meal but I guess that’s what clean proper nutrition tastes like.

What an inspiration to try!!!!!

To read more about Sprinly, here’s my review

If you are already a Sprinly customer (possibly by my recommendation;)) please vote for them for “Best of Cleveland 2017.”  Nominations are in and Sprinly has been nominated for “best local startup.”  Please go to the link, fill in the information and vote for Sprinly to receive this much deserved title.

If you live in the Cleveland area or know someone who does, please let them know about this amazing company.  It’s a great feeling knowing I’m eating good food, made my good people, trying to spread good vibes, all delivered to my door. YUM!

 

Tranquility Salt Cave for allergies and stress relief

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I have had a ton of response about my Himalayan Salt lamp post.  The main question being, “Did it help your migraines?”  The simple answer is no.  With long term benefits, possibly yes?!

After I found that it wasn’t giving me particular relief, I placed it in my son’s room.  My son suffers from seasonal allergies, coughs, congestion, sinus infections and ear infections.    Within 2 nights I noticed that he was coughing less.  I was shocked!!!  My husband (who tends to medicate over natural therapies) saw a difference also.  I leave it on in his room next to his bed and feel that the purifying salt is helping him breathe better and have less congestion throughout the night! YEA!

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After this, I had renewed faith in my Himalayan salt lamp.  After reading the benefits, I realized that it doesn’t help with inflammation which is most likely what is triggering my migraines.  What it does help with is

  • Asthma
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Coughs and chest congestion
  • Exzema and dermatitis
  • Improves lung functioning
  • Sleep disorders
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Depression

 

With this knowledge, I found Tranquility Salt Cave of Columbus, Ohio.  I had a trip planned to visit a friend in Columbus and I always get sick when I travel.  My friend was traveling from Denver and under stress with a new baby, preschooler, her job and running on little sleep.  I knew I would be suffering from allergies, was experiencing stress and anxiety from my last migraine attack and was ready to try it.

“Tranquility Salt Cave is not your average spa. With the powerful use of salt from the Himalayas, only 45 minutes are needed to feel cleansed, inside and out. With pure salt lining the walls, ceiling, and floor, you’ll experience an effortless and pain-free total-body cleanse.”

Our experience was quite relaxing.  The owners are extremely nice and have a daughter who suffers from migraines also.  They were happy and eager to help me with my issues and hopeful that I would feel benefits from their beautiful facility.

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The salt cave is a beautiful place.  You enter through a grand wooden door walking onto warm salt at your feet.  The ceiling is twinkling with lights in a cave like surrounding. 

“The salt cave is lined with Himalayan rock salt boulders, and literally tons of granulated salt rest on the floor of the cave.  The Himalayan rock salt is millions of years old and it contains over 84 trace minerals which are readily absorbed by the human body. As pure salt is diffused into the salt cave, the healing begins.  Negative ions are released into the air, helping to promote calmness and toxins begin to be removed from the air which you breathe. The salt is anti-bacterial and begins to clear clogged mucous and debris from the lungs.  Skin conditions may even improve after repeated salt sessions.” 

Salt Cave

You find a chair with a blanket, turn off your phone and relax for 45 minutes with meditative music.

My friend and I both found it easy to relax yet difficult with the person snoring next to us.  Next time I think I’ll book the room with more friends and less strangers.  With that being said, it obviously was relaxing.  My friend had been up with a preschooler and baby all night and enjoyed the quiet time.  I used my time to relax from the stressful snowy drive and breathe in the salt to help my allergies from the change of climate.

Overall, it was a time for us to relax, recover and just breathe.  It was a great way to treat ourselves to a spa experience while reaping the benefit of Halotherapy. 

Thank you Tranquility Salt Cave for showing us a spa day can be so much more!

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*I was not paid or given my services for free.  I am writing this review with my own opinions in hopes of shedding light on the benefits of Halotherapy.  Please see a doctor for any guidance in your medical needs and be advised that my experiences are my own.