Why I’ve joined up with Miles for Migraine and Increased My Advocacy

I recently got a flashback of one of  my first posts ever.  It was super exciting to see how far I’ve come and how I’m meeting my goals from  4 years ago.  This post explains how I want to help children and be part of a charity that raises funds for migraine and lowers stigma.

I’m proud to say I’ve found it and I AM saying “Wow, look how far we’ve come.”  If you see me post about Miles for Migraine it’s because I feel strongly that it is making a financial and community difference.

After the 2 races we  participated in, Team My Migraine Life raised $2,192.91.

I was asked to give my patient perspective at both races.  I also donated 9 inches of my hair between this time!  We  raised funds, raised awareness and lowered stigma for migraine.  My children were at both events to hear me speak and are not only learning about their mom at each event but how it affects so many others!  We will be the ones to make change and we will be the ones to pave the way for a less painful stigmatized future.  I’m so proud!

Check out a post I wrote in the first week ever of blogging…..

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Miles for Migraine Cincinnati Results 2018 race/walk

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This weekend, I was part of Miles for Migraine race in Cincinnati.  It was a beautiful and warm day filled with love, support and a group of people fighting stigma and raising money for Migraine and headache disorders.

 

 

The race raised $3,550

Team My Migraine Life raised $567.37.  Thank you to all those who donated.

We were the top team!!! I’m so proud of us 🙂

The day began with fighting a 3 day migraine that I had traveled with but had huge inspiration to make it to the event.  When I got there, I was surrounded with some migraine advocate powerhouses.
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Michelle Tracy, Migraine Warrior, represented the INVisible project with her smiling face and sharing her inspiring personal stories. She also spoke to the group about being a patient advocate and how we can all be one ourselves.

Not only is Michelle an amazing and strong advocate but she was brave enough to sing the National Anthem to begin our race.  She has a strong voice as a patient and as a singer!

Katie Golden, GoldenGraine, brought sparkle to all of our days.  She is the senior contributing writer to the INVisble Project and a fierce advocate.  I can’t possibly list all of the things she is doing for the migraine and pain community but check her out and follow along.  She was kind enough to run the race with my daughter and then touch up her sparkles…..because there is no such thing as too much glitter!

IMG_3555 I once again gave my patient perspective.  I was shaky and read my speech because I could not guarantee that I could string my words together and make sense.  I felt so proud that I stood up to the pain and was able to put a face on what migraine disease really looks like.

We also heard from Dr. Andrew Hershey, the chair and director of the division of neurology at Cincinnati Children’s. He is a professor of pediatrics and neurology.

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After that, we walked.  At the Miles for Migraine events you are welcome to run and be a fierce competitor, walk and enjoy your team or stay at the tents to mingle or relax.  It’s all about building community, moving how you can and raising funds so we all can live a healthier life.

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The best part of the day was being with the ones that I love.  Spending a morning for a good cause with good people is always a great way start to the day.  I woke up in pain, shaky, sick and not sure if I could make it.  Thanks to effective medication, endorphins and a bit of luck, I was able to enjoy the day.  I walked with some of our best friends, my husband and our mini me’s.  It was a day that we  plan on turning into a tradition.

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Wondering about the Brain Hat? The Brain Hat Society is for people with migraine, their caregivers, friends and family while recognizing  their heroic efforts.  If you raise $50 you can be a member.  Purple is for migraine sufferers and pink is for the caregivers and loved ones.

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Thank you to all that supported and continue to fight.  We are fighting not just for ourselves but for future generations.

IMG_3582Also, a BIG thank you to the sponsors and these hard working ladies!  Shirley Kessel is the Miles for Migraine president while Katie MacDonald oversees operations.  They work tirelessly on bringing these events to more cities and raising funds to benefit so many.

Check to see if Miles for Migraine is coming to your city and how you can participate virtually!

 

 

 

 

 

The Start to Migraine Awareness Month and Miles for Migraine walk/run in Cincinnati

Happy June!  Today marks the first day of Migraine Awareness Month!!!

I know a lot of you are thinking, “But how can I help?”  This month I will be sharing information and advocacy opportunities from a variety of migraine organizations that I am involved with and follow. I can’t wait for you to get involved also.

The simplest way to participate is sharing information, following on all social media and virtually “making some noise.”  Share with your followers how you suffer, important information and help break down the stigma.

To start the month out, I’d like to ask for your donation and participation with an organization that you’ve heard me talk about…..Miles for Migraine.

Miles for Migraine vision is ” to create some “big noise” in the migraine community and raise awareness that migraine and headache disorders are more than “a headache”. We are making great strides by growing our signature event, the Miles for Migraine 2-Mile walk, 5K/10K run; and by expanding our newer programs –  a day camp for adolescents who have  chronic migraine, and our adult seminar series”

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On June 10, the Cincinnati walk/run will be at Otto Armleder Memorial Park

How can you participate?

There are a few ways to support:

  1.  Join My Migraine Life Team.  If you live close enough to walk/run, please join my team!  I’d love to see you there.  Go here and join team C0F0B55B-F24F-4204-9928-E32EFED679D8.JPG
  2. If you’d like to donate and support my fundraising efforts but won’t be able to make the walk, go here and donate A9A554EE-1C69-463A-9846-ACD72F425E9D
  3. If you are unable to walk/run but want to participate.
    1. If you are local and want to participate but are unable to walk/run we’d love for you to come anyways!  Join my team and come to meet all the wonderful advocates and migraine supporters.  There will be a quiet tent to rest and you are not obligated to walk.  Your donation and presence is much appreciated!  We are all doing what we can do and any effort are spoons well spent. 30A7FB9F-D0E4-41D7-A0E1-9DA39E84FE15.JPG
    2. If you don’t live locally but would like to support.  Please donate to my page and participate virtually.  You can walk and raise money without being at an event.  Join the team and ask others to help raise funds.
    3. Ask a friend, co worker or loved one to help you raise money.  You’ll be surprised at how many are affected by migraine and are happy to help make a difference.
  4. If you want to donate but don’t have the funds.  I totally get it.  Between the price of medications and therapies and difficulty with keeping a job, it can be even harder to donate.  Remember that $10 makes a difference.  Each dollar goes a long way and any donation takes us a step closer to helping many!
  5. If none of these are an option, please share this post.  Sharing is caring and if you can’t support maybe a friend can.  It’s all about not being alone and spreading a message.  Everyone can share!

Please consider donating to My Migraine Life team and my personal fundraiser page.  Follow along on all social media and share, share, share this month.  Teaching your audience/social media followers how strong you are to be fighting migraine for yourself or for others will go really far.

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To the Dog Who Helped Raise My Kids and Watched My Illness Grow

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I have this picture in my room.  One day, my daughter asked me, “Mom, is that the day you married Lucia?”  My answer was, “No baby, Lucia and I were already together forever.”  You see, my dog and I began it all….

I bought my dog to celebrate my first job out of college.  I had been lonely from leaving my college town and thrust into real life and big responsibilities.  It was love at first sight.  After I brought her to the vet, I was told she would most likely die from Parvo.  That fluffy little ball of fur proved them all wrong.

My Golden Retriever was my life.  She was part of my engagement, watched me get ready for my wedding and moved to an apartment and 2 different homes over time.  She was our first child.

When our first human child arrived, she didn’t feel pushed out.  My sweet dog thought our baby was hers.  She had paced the floors with me and pregnancy insomnia.  She sat with me during round-the-clock feedings.  She was there for me as I had meltdowns about being over tired, over worked, underfed and overwhelmed.  It was years of blurry joy and hustle and she was there through it all.

 

As a stay at home mom with a husband who traveled, Lucia was my constant companion during some lonely times.  I had days where I spoke to no adults.  I spoke to my babies and my dog.  Conversations can be had without words and my dog was always my biggest cheerleader and best friend.  Her tail, ears and eyes spoke volumes to me.

 

There was no better big sister for my humans than Lucia.  She was patient while they played vet and poked her in the eyes.  She was smart when she learned how to stand under the high chair to avoid flying sippy cups while reaping the benefits of fall out food.  She was even ok with squeezing hugs and the occasional ear tasting.  She was sensitive to yelling and was always a reminder for us to use our talking voices.

She was the emotional equalizer.  As I walked into the house with 5 bags on my arms, screaming children chasing behind me from the car and everyday chaos we entered a home of love.  Our Golden Retriever always came running with a stuffed animal in her mouth, a wagging tail, and an attitude that said ”Leave it at the door.”  We all changed when we saw her sweet face.

 

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Do you know those moments before Tick or Treating and everyone is melting down?  I  always had someone to laugh with

 

She put my children to bed every night without fail.  She’d lay on the carpet as I read to one and get up and move to the next room as I did the same.  There was never a night she missed tucking them in.

 

As my oldest became school aged, my dog started picking her up from school.  Everyday when my alarm went off, she went running for the door.  She knew it was time to pick up her girl and go for a car ride.

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Over the years, my dog had 2 knee surgeries, many teeth pulled, growths cut off and more.  Even as she was recovering, she still took care of me.  (link)

As she grew, so did my struggle with migraine.  She became a therapy and emotional dog to me that no one will ever fully understand.  She got to a point that she sensed my pain spikes.  She learned how to comfort me and held my hand very early on and never let go.  Her eyes were always on me.  No matter how many humans we added to our family, I was her number one.

 

Feeling like number one when I give my full self to my family was priceless.  I don’t even put myself first, yet she always did.  She followed me from room to room.  My shadow and my protector.

Over the years we spent countless hours in a cold dark room with my chronic migraine.  There were many nights where I collapsed to the bathroom floor and she slept pressed up against me.  She spent hours unmoving from my bed while I thrashed in pain.  I’d be covered in ice and wiggle my fingers to feel her little kisses on my tips.  She’d do anything to make me feel better and she did.

 

In her last days, our only concern was making sure she wasn’t suffering and that we showed her all the love that she provided for us over the years.  I had a vet once tell me, “Goldens will wag their tails and eat until 3 days after they die just to please their owners.”  On her last day, she did just that.  We bought her lots of treats and threw her an early 13th birthday.  She wagged her tail and cuddled us while we knew it was time for her to go.  She knew and her eyes told us so.

Saying goodbye was, without a doubt, the most gut-wrenching moments of my life.  I feel so blessed that it was in her best interest, we didn’t allow her to suffer, she went without panic and pain.  As I laid with her, I felt God take my best friend, my four-legged soul mate, my first child and migraine warrior.

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The days after, I saw her everywhere.  I heard her everywhere.  I felt her everywhere.  My son was sick and I was trapped in my house and grieved over every hair, nose smeared window and inch of my house.  My house was no longer the home I was at ease in.

She went to God on May 8th.  On May 11th my turtle of 20 years passed away.  He has lived in my family room of every home I’ve had since I was a teenager.  My pets passing away in 3 days was extreme! The numbers 8 and 11 are hugely relevant.  I was born on 8/11.  My favorite numbers have always been 8 and 11 along with being my numbers in sports and more.  It was not a coincidence that these were the dates they went to the rainbow bridge.

A week exactly from the day we said goodbye to Lucia my baby boy graduated preschool.  I thought it would feel totally different, but it just felt like a tremendous loss.  I’ve dedicated my life to my children and animals  and it just felt like everyone was leaving me.   It was as if my pets were saying, “We started this family and raised your babies and now it’s time”.  It felt like an end of an era and one I was not ready to say goodbye to.

I’ve heard the phrases:

  • Our pets don’t live long enough
  • When it rains it pours
  • You’ll never get over her but someday it will hurt less

I’ve been told to get another dog not to replace my four-legged soul mate, but to find another love.

I’ve been told that another dog can learn to be a therapy or emotional support dog too.

Here’s my answer to all of this:

This next dog will have a distinct difference from Lucia.

  • My family belonged to Lucia. We started it all!  I was her number one.  Our children were hers.
    • The next dog will belong to them. They will see her as their childhood dog when I will forever know Lucia as the dog who gave my babies joy and me sanity.
  • Lucia watched my migraine become chronic and she evolved as my therapy and emotional dog.
    • The next dog will hopefully see me get better. Her focus won’t solely be on me.  She is coming into an already made family and connections will be totally different.
  • There will never be another being on this earth that can complete me.  Right now I feel this painful hole in my body that physically hurts with every breathe.
    •  With Lucia went a piece of me that I will miss forever.  Yes, I will love another dog, but I know I won’t get that piece back.  She will be missed each day! I know it will get easier but everyone has been honest with me in saying, it will never go away.

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Miles for Migraine race/walk Cincinnati 2018 with My Migraine Life

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Please join us on June 10, 2018 for the inaugural Cincinnati Walk/Run

Date/Time: Sunday June 10, 2018 8:30 AM
Location: Otto Armleder Memorial Park
Distance: 2 Mile Walk / 5K Run / 10k Run

 

“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.”

This years Cleveland’s race was such a success and I hope to make Cincinnati’s inaugural walk/run the same.  Here’s some highlights:

To sign up to the Cincinnati walk/run please follow these directions:

Follow this link

If you are donating:  click on  “donate to participant” on left side bar

  • Look up name: Sarah Rathsack and donate to my page 🙂

If you are registering: “view teams” on left side bar

  • Join team My Migraine Life

If you donate or register, in general, I will not get credit for my referral.  Miles for Migraine tracks their top fundraisers and referrals.  Please donate to my page or join team My Migraine Life to give our great community a voice and show how  united My Migraine Lifers can be.  Whether it’s for you, a family member, a friend or co workers.  You are fighting and walking to make a difference.  Your support is so appreciated!!!!!!

 

*Please notify me if you have donated or joined our team!  I would like to thank you personally and know that your donation has gone to my page and team.  I really am grateful for your consideration!!!

A9A554EE-1C69-463A-9846-ACD72F425E9DThank You

 

Saying goodbye to my dog

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This week I said goodbye to my best friend, my migraine fighter, my heart and my soul.

Words can’t express the painful, excruciating grief I feel wandering around my home without my shadow. I see her, I hear her, I feel her everywhere.

On her last day, we celebrated her 13th birthday a few weeks early. She left with a smile on her face, a belly full of treats and her tail wagging.

I will be pouring my love out for her when I’m ready.  I have so many things to say about this magical creature that blessed my life.

As for now, I could  use support.

There is a hole in my heart and everyday life. She made me a mom and has walked with me through the best and hardest years of my life.  If you’ve followed me or known me at all, you know Lucia was my smile, my healer, and soul.

If you have any advice on how to take steps forward or support, I sure could use it.

Is it OK to Get a Medal When You Don’t Win but Feel Like a Winner?

Another year, another Miles for Migraine walk completed.  Last year I participated virtually and received a medal for my participation.  This year, I was at the race and again received a medal.  I wasn’t a winner in either race (although I was the top fundraiser and team My Migraine Life was also so I consider that a win!!!).

It begs the question, are participation trophies ok?  Here is my answer 

What do you think?