Migraine and Allergies


Several years ago, I had sinus surgery.  I have suffered from sinus issues and infections my whole life (just like Migraines).  After many sinus infections, this year I decided to look for more answers on why I’m still suffering so much from allergies.

The first doctor I went to I had seen as a child with the same issues.  He dismissed me after speaking at length because I was “too knowledgeable” about my migraines and triggers stating that allergy testing wouldn’t teach me anything.

I wasn’t surprised, so I moved on to an immunologist that a friend and fellow migraine sufferer had suggested. He stated that allergy sufferers are 33% more likely to suffer from frequent migraines and he was incredibly interested in helping.  I was pricked with lots of allergens and waited in his office wanting to scratch my arm off.

Once the results came in I received a lot of feedback that I found helpful.

1.       Food allergy- I found out that I was allergic to corn.  For those of you that don’t know, corn is in EVERYTHING processed.  I asked “how allergic” I was and how careful I needed to be.  As always, it depends and he suggested to experiment with foods and how I felt.   This was an “ah ha moment” for me being I feel sick 95% of the time I eat.  I have never known why but corn is a good clue.

2.       Indoor allergies- I found out I’m allergic to dust and mold.  I like to think I keep a clean house but with a Golden Retriever, 2 small children and a busy life, a dust free home is not possible (is it for anyone?). 

3.       Nasal allergies- This year I have suffered from endless sinus infections.  My doctor told me that I had not been receiving the correct treatment.  I had been going to a “Minute Clinic” when I had a sinus infection and couldn’t stand it anymore.  The medication that was given was, according to my doctor, was not strong enough or for a long enough time to rid the sinusitis.  Therefore, my sinus infections just kept cycling because they were never really gone.

Going forward the things I am implementing are:

1.       Reading food labels more carefully.  Looking at them, it seems corn is in everything so I’m trying to eliminate foods that have it as the first 5 ingredients listed.

2.       I got allergy pillow cases, mattress cover and installed a new air filter in my house.

3.       I took the medication to rid me of my sinusitis and now have preventative medication to take at night to hopefully help with the migraines I am waking with each morning.

4.       I now have an appointment for my son to be allergy tested for his chronic breathing and upper respiratory issues.  He is currently on preventative medication and breathing treatments.

5.       After playing outside, we are showering my son and changing his clothes before nap and playing in the house.  We were told that the allergens stick to his hair therefore leaving the allergens around the house.  We have always washed hands upon entering, don’t wear shoes in the house, vacuum a lot and dust.

Follow up:

1.       I will now be going to my immunologist for my sinus infections.

2.       I will be learning more from my son’s allergy testing and be able to accommodate both better once the results are back.

3.       I will be posting a review of my new air filter

Do you suffer from allergies and migraines?  What are you allergic to and how do you treat them?  The more ideas to live preventatively the better!

How to travel with a chronic illness

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After my Lessons your children learn or miss on vacation post, I was asked how I can travel with a chronic illness.  Not easily, is my answer.

As always, I prepare….

I saw 3 doctors the week before I left.  I was on a 20 day antibiotic, taking sinus meds, was treated by an acupuncturist, got a massage, made trips to the pharmacy and had a follow up the week I returned home.  I was able to make it until day 4 before my migraine spiked.  Typically, I get a migraine on day 2 so this was good for me.

I had a suitcase and carryon filled with natural products that I use.  I didn’t take a picture but check out my reviews and it will give you a good idea of some things in my purse.

I had a few days of migraine but only my evenings were consumed with pain.  I was able to stop a level 7/8 from going to a 10 and was able to enjoy the next day at a reasonable level.  These are all victories for me!!

As for returning home….

I have now had a migraine for 12 days straight with no relief.  My pain fluctuates between a 4 and 7 most days but mostly is a constant never ending full body fatigue and heightened stimulus sensitivity with brain pains. My cravings have been out of control and I’ve been packing on weight that makes me even more uncomfortable. 

It’s hard to describe to a non-sufferer, but I’ll just say it’s tough mentally as much as physically when I am in a cycle that isn’t being broken at all. It’s just this wet blanket over me that I really only feel in my down time.  I’m a busy teacher and mom and have been able to do these well but the second I need to do anything other than childcare, I just don’t have it in me. 

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Priorities of my spoons is the best way I can describe it.  I had to cancel plans this week, was like a rag doll this weekend and generally just felt crappy since I’ve been home.

Traveling comes at a huge cost for me but one I’m willing to pay.  When I live with a migraine daily, traveling and spiking it seems bad but I’d rather get a few days of glory than a week missed in my hole.

Here’s some good examples on how I feel this week: 

 

Oh the joys of traveling

One step forward two steps back

When everything stops working

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How do you get through traveling, before or after? 

Lessons your children learn or miss on vacation

img_9212I just came home from vacation with 4 children under 9.  When we left for vacation I was reminded that school districts look poorly on unexcused absences.  My answer was, “My children learn endless lessons on vacation and I’m not apologizing for showing them the world.”

While on the cruise I noticed lessons learned and missed everywhere.  Being a stay at home mom and teacher makes me see the world through different eyes.  I see my children and nieces as students in the real world.  I don’t have them in a classroom but I take opportunities to teach them as often as possible.

Waiting in Lines

Traveling requires a lot of waiting.  I’m writing this from the airport with a canceled flight and 8 hours of airport sitting.  When we travel, we wait in line for security, baggage, departure, arrival, check in, check out, and events that we attend.  Everyone waits in line but how they wait is crucial. 

As a teacher of three year olds, a line is a completely foreign concept.  We work on it all year long but it’s up to adults to show them how.  Are you waiting in line complaining that it’s not moving?  Are you pushing people?  Are you cutting and stepping in and out of line?  Patience my dear…..patience.

Eating

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On a cruise, food is endless.  With this, are endless options.  We don’t encourage our children to order mac n cheese every night (although my son would love it and cause me less issues).  I will fully admit my son is an insanely tough eater.  He cries through most meals and only eats about three things by choice.  I have a picky eater who ruins most meals for me.  This does not mean he gets what he wants.  On vacation we aren’t shoving veggies down our kid’s throats and we eat lots of desserts. 

We mainly focus on trying new foods.  What better time to try new things than an all-inclusive meal package?  They tried escargot (gross!), lobster, crab legs, fruit soups and more.  If they don’t like it, ok.  If they do, it gets added it to their vast pallet.  We take “No thank you bites” which mean they try it and say no thank if they don’t want more.  Try new foods.

Along with this comes table manners.  Even my three year old orders for himself and has for years.  Look at the waitress, order politely and wait patiently.  We look at how a table is set, why there are so many forks and put napkins in our laps.  At home my children set the table and having a beautifully set table is something they recognize.

Different cultures, languages and social studies

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Our children have classmates who are bi lingual but only hear them speak English in school.  When we travel, we see adults and children speak in their first languages and it’s a great learning experience.

 My son played with a little girl in the pool and neither one of them knew they were speaking different languages.  I sat and laughed watching them play in the water while joy and giggles spoke for them.

We saw different bathing suits, hair coverings, dress styles, jewelry choices and more.  Talking about differences in cultures is different than seeing it.  Both on the boat and on the islands we saw every color of skin, eye and hair color. 

They saw homes that look a lot different than ours.  Telling a child to appreciate their home and showing them a shack where children their age live is a lesson that lasts.  More is not always more and location dictates dwellings.  We don’t have brightly colored houses like the Bahamas and they don’t have snow barriers like Cleveland.  Location, location, location.

It was diversity at it’s best.  We rode in elevators with a swirl of languages around us.  We tried to identify where they may have been from and where in the world it was.  It was fun to problem solve and see social studies come to life.

Maps.  Maps can help teach scale (additional math lessons below).  It can teach location, direction, elevation, landmarks and more.  Wherever we travel we get a map.

Math

Math surrounds us everywhere.  Money is always an easy lesson.  Change, dollars, prices etc. are all opportunities for lessons.

We found lessons in walking the stairs when the elevators were too crowded.  How many floors till we get to where we need to go?  Addition, subtraction, counting stairs and more.  Active math can be better than paper pencil math.

At dinner we had my niece making patterns with the utensils.  Fork, spoon, fork, spoon, fork…  Now try spoon, spoon, fork, spoon, spoon, fork, spoon….

We had a ton of events to go to.  What time is it?  What numbers are on the clock?  How much more time till we need to go?  What time do we need to get up and what numbers will be on the clock?

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Technology

HERE COMES THE JUDGEMENT…..

Get the ipad out of your kids hands!!!!!  I was sickened by how much other children were missing life lessons.  If the schools are referring to those kids and missing school, I agree.  How you vacation with your children should dictate if you can miss school or not.  If your child is handed an ipad for a week, keep them in school!!!!!!  You aren’t doing them any favors by “showing them the world” when they are missing the world around them.

I sat at dinner for an entire week next to a family who gave their son an ipad at dinner and I did not see them speak to him ONCE!  It actually distracted me from my own family by staring at this poor child holding a screen 1 foot from his face for an hour straight each night.  Literally……NOT ONE WORD WAS SPOKEN TO HIM!  A generation without being spoken to or speaking was screaming in my face.

Do people say to themselves, “Let’s have a baby and not talk to him.”  I know this is super judgey but it’s the truth.  It’s easier to give technology than to speak to your babies, I get it (but I don’t do it).   We talk to our children and they speak to us.  Language development is hugely lacking due to technology.  Children should not have difficulty in conversation, in fact, they should be difficult to stop from their inquisitive natures.

We ask open ended questions that provoke thought…What was your favorite part of the day?  What was your least favorite part and how did it make you feel?  Who made you laugh today?  How did you feel when (a situation) happened?

Our children colored, did actual homework, read menus, played with characters and were aware of their surroundings.  Are my children perfect?  No child is.  Most nights we had multiple trips to the bathroom and walks around the halls while waiting for food. 

Like I said, my son is a picky eater and my husband and I battled him every night to cut his attitude and sit with us whether he was eating or not.  We left most dinners exhausted and frustrated but we didn’t take the easy way out.  He’ll thank us some day and onlookers thanked us as they left for the polite lovely children that we are raising.  I’m not kidding, we get complimented most places we go for their manners.

Technology is easy being a parent HARD.  If you got into being a parent thinking it would be easy, check the definition again….it’s HARD and requires real work.  Technology is not work.

As we waited in those lesson teaching lines, I mentioned above, I saw dozens of children with ipads again.  These aren’t educational games that my kids play at home on rainy days, they are manic, ADD producing, mind frying, delusion creating games (cue the negative feedback).  There is a time and a place for shows, movies and games and it is NOT ALL THE TIME!

Like I said, this is  judgey and I’m not perfect.  I typically try to be politically correct in my posts because I tend to lean towards: Everyone is different.  But in this case, if you want to battle me in saying that ipads are good to be in children’s hands at all moments I’ll take that challenge.

A generation that can’t self-entertain, don’t speak and are missing life lessons around them is frightening.   Children playing games sitting in diapers instead of playing in the pool is wrong!  Not talking to your son at dinner is not OK.  Waiting in a line and frantically searching through a purse to quickly soothe a toddler who needs to be swiping his finger while rewiring his small brain and is losing potential with each passing minute is tragic.  Kids who are only comfortable “talking” through their fingers saying things that they wouldn’t have the nerve to say out loud is their “reality”.

I can go on and on and on and on about this.  As a teacher, as a mother, as a human being watching my babies surrounded by robots is nothing short of terrifying!

 Conclusion

Circling back to the comment of schools not liking personal vacations, I ask you this…..Are your children learning and living lessons or missing them as a world passes them by?  Enjoy life and be present.  Being a parent is hard and a lot of my vacation consisted of cranky kids and not being easy.  We read books at bedtime, we talked, we grew together and we all had moments of tears and difficulty.

Life is hard and vacation should not consist of ipads and missing life.  Life is real, it’s fun, it’s different, it’s people, it’s tantrums, it’s conversations, it’s exhausting, it’s living school.  They can look and speak to adults, entertain themselves, use their imaginations and be kids the ways kids should be (the old fashioned way).

I’m not perfect, my kids aren’t perfect and I know no one is.  But together we enjoyed vacation and learned lessons that school or an ipad could not teach us………LIFE.

RANT and JUDGEMENT OVER…..

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Chronically Box review for chronic illness health and beauty

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If you haven’t guessed by now, I love to try products that make me feel good?  Why?  Because I suffer and don’t feel well daily.   Why not fill my life with things that make me better?  I like getting mail that’s not bills.  I like using things that aren’t medication.  I like treating myself with love when I often times give so much to others that there is little left for me.

In comes ChronicAlly box…….

I was given a box of “allies” to review.  My opinion has not been influenced in any way. The post contains an affiliate which will notify ChronicAlly of my referral.

What is ChronicAlly box subscription?

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 The original Chronic Illness Woman’s Health and Beauty subscription box, ChronicAlly Box, contains lavish and necessary products for the Chronically Chic Woman’s life. Every month, you can expect a treasure box full of 3-6 full sized health and beauty products to make your beauty routine possible in a pinch, with little effort. Health products for your body and mind, giving you the ability to unwind.”

 

There are lots of options to fit your needs.  “ChronicAlly Box contains more products and has a higher value of total products than the ChronicAlly Treat Box. The ChronicAlly Box contains 4-6 full sized products. ChronicAlly Treat Box contains at least 3 full sized/treat sized products, but product quantities vary depending on the cost of each product in the box.”

I really love the idea of treating myself.  Mentally, it’s important.  Physically, it’s important.  Emotionally, it’s important.  I spend so much time and money on my children and feel somewhat guilty spending money on myself sometimes.  Well, this is the year I’m giving up guilt.

My children are better off with a healthy happy mom.  I can’t always be healthy with my migraines, but I can be kinder to myself which helps everyone.  I’m happy when they are happy and they feel the same.  I treat them often, why am I not treating myself?  The boxes are great as gifts to those who need a few “allies.”  So weather it’s for you, a friend, or someone you know who loves to be pampered…this is the box for you (and me!) 

Check out ChronicAlly Box and let me know what you think!

Here’s somethings that I got in the November basket

 

What do you do when your doctor isn’t listening?

 

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I need a team that will Rally Together!

I have been going to the same neurologist for over 10 years.  I love my doctor, my nurse and the front office.  My nurse  was the first people to know I was pregnant.   There were hugs, excitement and nervousness, of course, but they were with me all the way.  They were the first to tell me “I’m not nuts.”  They were like family to me.  They have kept the office open on holidays for emergency visits, called in scripts and made me feel like we were a TEAM.  These are things I’ll never forget.

 

Unfortunately, recently the front office has changed and most dramatically, my doctor left.  I was totally dismayed when she left but understood her reasoning and believed that I would be left in good hands. 

Without bashing the new doctor, I will say that she and I don’t seem to mesh.  She has been sarcastic with me, didn’t acknowledge what I had been doing for the last 10 years, didn’t listen to my concerns and passed them off as unimportant.  I had a knot in my stomach leaving after the few times I saw her.

I have not looked for a new neurologist yet because I still LOVE my nurse and plan to only work with her.  Does this sound crazy to not want to see a doctor?  At this point, I figure, my nurse knows me well.  She listens to me, understands me and I can move forward with her.  I trust being in her care and that’s what I need right now.

With this said, I found it to be an opportunity to try different options.  Maybe I’ve been relying on my doctor too much.  Maybe I should seek answers elsewhere and get a bit uncomfortable stepping away from what I know. 

So here’s what I’ve done:

Acupuncture

Immunologist/Allergist

Massage (which I have been doing for a while but will report on)

and am continuing my search

 

In an effort to continue my New Year’s “resolution” to solve a problem, dispute, or contentious matter, I’m looking in new directions.  This is my year of discoveries!

Who else have you seen besides a neurologist/headache specialist to help with you migraine and headache concerns?

My Migraine Life 2016 highlights

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Happy New Year’s Eve 2016!!!

Time to reflect……..

My Migraine Life has become more than I could have ever imagine and helped so many this year!  The feedback, comments, shares, and personal emails have touched my heart, THANK YOU!!! I have tried to give back as much as I’ve been given, and that’s a lot!

Here’s a look back at some of your favorite posts and mine of 2016.

The Real Housewive’s experience with Lyme disease (and how she speaks for invisible awareness)

Himalayan Salt Lamp

Excedrin Migraine Commercial

Botox, Topomax, and preventatives

Weather swings

Stomachaches and migraine

Spoon theory

My dog and migraine

When everything stops working

What’s your diagnosis

Please check out some of the posts you may have missed, re read your favorites, share with others and keep passing on that migraine is more than just a headache.  It’s my life.  I hope that people are learning, finding comfort and knowledge through all that I share.

To a Happy Healthy New Year!

Christmas and holiday migraine gifts

Every year I get migraine related gifts.  Why?  Because I need them!  The cool thing is, I learn and find new products that work each year.  The wonderful thing about doing product reviews is that I have the opportunity to find some products that really work for me.  I’ve answered a few of my own questions since last year and have updated my list in ALL CAPS in the gift list from last year.

*Some links may contain affiliate links

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Last year I received:

“Heated neck wrap

Headphones

Essential oil-  I still have not found a brand and type of oil that I’m in love with so I use a variety in my search. (I LOVE ORGANIC AROMAS! LOVE LOVE!

Yoga pants- I know it’s a running joke about wearing workout clothes out but I’m busy and if I’m dressed to move, I do.   Working out helps my migraines and sometimes escalates them so it’s a balance. (I SPORT MY PRETTY IN NINA B ROZE DISCOUNT CODE INCLUDED FOR A DISCOUNT!)

Love, hope, migraine tshirt

Infusion water bottle” (SEE ORIGINIAL POST)

 

This year I received more migraine related gifts

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Massage and heat neck massager.  I will be returning this…not a good fit for me

Heated boot socks.  I live in a snowy location and can never seem to get my hands or feet warm.  These will be well used!

“I got rid of my headache” tshirt.  Sometimes taking off my head seems like the only option

Car diffuser.  I get sick when traveling so my best friend sent me a diffuser to use with my favorite Organic Aromas oils.

I also gave and received 3photo-jpegOm products that I love!

What did you give or get that you love to treat your migraine or headache pain?