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.

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Thankfuls to remember and add to


Thank you to everyone who participated in sharing your thankfuls during the month of November.  Here are a few that I hope to look back on during the year to be remind of how much there is to be grateful for!  Please feel free to comment and add on to our list.

“I want to thank you for opening up about your journey.  To find you and to know you can function as a mother, human being and to love life even after 25 years has been so encouraging.  I have not found this before.  But when I have read your blog I feel there is hope as a mother, a nurse and wife.  Thank you in many ways!”

“I’m so happy you made this post!  I think you have the most amazing positive attitude by always seeking out the good things in life despite the pain!  I am exceedingly thankful for the love of my son and two little bunnies who cuddle with me when I need to be touched.  I am thankful that I am able to live near the ocean and travel there to feel the healing power of nature when I need it most.  And I’m thankful for the empowering influence of woman like you on the internet!”

“I am thankful I found your blog!  I think you may be my migraine twin.  As I read your posts, it is like I wrote them.  I am a year older than you but have not had a baby yet, mostly because I am terrified of migraines during pregnancy.  It is encouraging to hear your stories.  Thanks for posting!”

“Thank you for sharing this!   I can relate 100%.   I am thankful for my pain and who I have become because of it.”

“I opened up two gifts this morning, my eyes.  I’m grateful for that.”

“I’m thankful to be alive.  A dear friend is in her final days….each moment spent with her is a reminder of how precious life is, even when living with pain.”

“I am thankful I have great friends that are here to celebrate with me even though we only see each other a few times a year.”

“I am thankful for a full day here and there without a migraine.  I cherish those and makes me more grateful for a pain free day.”

“The roof over my head.  My family and friends that I’m able to advocate for myself and others.”

“I am thankful that I still have my mom alive at 91.  And I am very thankful for my grandchildren.”

“I am thankful for a peaceful room and my medication when I have migraines”

“Bless you for your kind caring heart!”

I am thankful for:

“Loving partner, family friends, warm bed, and migraine awareness spread.”

“My fiancé, my family, good doctors (there are so few).”

“Food!”

“Your blog posts that make me cry”

“Waking up and eating”

“Food, husband, kids, best friend.”

 

“Sow gratitude. Reap. Joy”

What are you thankful 

for?

 

 

 

I am Thankful Despite Migraine

This is our family thankful tree. Each day was add someone we are thankful for.

This is our family thankful tree. Each day we add someone we are thankful for.

Happy November and welcome to the month of gratitude

My chronic illness has made me a thankful person in general.  I’m thankful when I’m not in my dark quiet room.  It doesn’t mean that I’m not in pain, but if I’m good enough to be out of bed, I’m thankful enough not to be.

I’m thankful for many, many, people who love me for just who I am.  I have had to weed out the people who don’t get me but isn’t that life and maturity?  I’m at an age now where my confidence is at its highest.  I know who I am and have surrounded myself with people who truly deserve my time.  I can be knocked down and dragged out by my migraines at any moment so I don’t waste my time with people who don’t make me happier or feel better.

I’m thankful for cuddling with my husband and eating dessert while we watch our favorite TV show.  It’s the small things in life that count and I’m so thankful that I get to spend my life with him.  Waking up to his face allows me to put one foot in front of the other during my worst days.

I’m thankful for my kids more than words can explain.  I’m thankful for my body that carried those babies and fed them.  I had never been thankful for my body before my two children. Not many girls are in love with themselves due to way too many unrealistic expectations.  With that added to being chronically ill, I never gave myself credit for what it can do.  It’s easy to focus on how much my body restricts me but  I’m now grateful that my body gave me children that motivate me every day.

I’m grateful for my third child, who came to me first, my amazing dog.  She’s so much more than a dog, she gives me love that a human can’t. (My dog my nurse my love)

As always I am thankful for my family.  My parents, my in laws, my sister and beyond are my rocks.  You don’t get to pick your family, but if I had the choice, I’d choose them.

The people that I have chosen and am so thankful for are my friends.  They are people who could have walked away from our friendships because of my illness.  Most of my best friends have seen me in a lot of pain, throw up, packed me in ice and have had me cancel plans due to my migraines.  But they love me, dry heaves and all.   I’m thankful to have the most loving, supportive, funny, intelligent and funny girls there are as my friends.

Up until this year I have been a stay at home mom and it was the most challenging and incredible experience.  I now get the opportunity to be a full time mom and part time teacher.  I am so thankful for the opportunity to join the work force again but mostly how I was received.  My boss and coworkers instantly became friends and confidants in life.  They are aware of my Migraines and not only are judgement free but are supportive.  They either have Migraines themselves, have a spouse who suffers or see Migraines as more than a headache and get what it really is in my life.  It is an accepting group and one that wants the best for each other.  My students and their family’s are people I go home each night feeling grateful that I get to be a part of their lives.  I love teaching and being able to go back to it and keep my migraines in check while doing so has been a blessing.

I’m grateful for the Migraine community.  My life and confidence, once again, changed when I began my blog.  Fellow sufferers are so powerful in their words and encouragement and I am confident that it has saved and improved lives.  That is something everyone should be grateful for!

My list of thankfuls and gratefuls can go on forever.  I am so blessed!  I guess I can complain about migraines, and believe me I do, but being thankful is way more fun and productive.  Migraines are depressing and many people get sucked into the pain hole that seems too deep to come out of.  Remembering my blessings keeps me mentally battling with pain, nausea, aura, weakness, fatigue etc. in a more positive way. The mental battle is incredibly difficult and I’m so thankful I have so much to be thankful for and motivated to fight for.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and commenting on my blog and thoughts.  I’m thankful for you too!!!  Please add to my Thankful list.  I will compile the answers and post the list for Thanksgiving.

What are you Thankful for?

Migraine and Headache Awareness Month 2016

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So here it is again, June!  And you know what that means……Migraine and Headache Awareness Month

I have a few things planned to raise awareness and have a little fun.

I’m going to show you how I wear migraine awareness (and giveaway some things to wear yourself!), I’ll mention some great causes you can donate to, give you other ways to support migraine awareness and Giveaway some of the things I use!

***********STAY TUNED DAILY TO SEE UPDATES***************

“This year’s Awareness Month theme is Rule Your Headache Disorder, with an additional message encouraging us all to be actively engaged in our treatment, a primary way to rule our disorders. To “rule” our headache disorders, we have to take charge of our health and health care and “be actively engaged” in our own treatment. “- See more at HealthCentral

Each day I will be posting a prompt for you to learn and pass on through social media.  Please be sure to follow me at:

twitter

Instagram

Facebook

I will be posting my facts and you can easily pass it on to make some “noise” and get people talking about migraine and headache disorders.

Here are some hashtags you may want to use. These have all been defined at www.tagdef.com.

  • #MHAM Migraine and Headache Awareness Month
  • #clusterheadaches Cluster Headaches
  • #migraine Migraine
  • #headache Headache
  • #chronicmigraine Chronic Migraine
  • #hemiplegicmigraine Hemiplegic Migraine

Special Thanks to Terry Robert and Tammy Rome for putting the prompts together.

  1. 75% of the world’s adults had a Headache or Migraine in the last year.
  2. The majority of people with Headache and Migraine are not diagnosed.
  3. Accurate diagnosis of clusterheadaches can take years
  4. @WHO says Migraine is the 8th most disabling disease in the world.
  5. Migraine can and does kill through stroke and suicide.
  6. Patients with NDPH usually know the exact date their daily headache started.
  7. Social Stigma increases the burden of living with Migraine.
  8. Migraine is a neurological disease caused by genetics and a hypersensitive brain.

All in Cleveland, All in Migraine, All in Hope

Here is my post from last year about the Cavs! Last year we battled injury and last night we lost a game. We may have lost a game but not the championship. So here we go Cavs….fight hard like I do with my migraines. They have defeated me for years but I still have hope. Just like I have hope in you! #Allin

My Migraine Life

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While watching the Cavs last night I had no choice but to compare Cleveland sports to my migraines.  I did this not because watching them gives me a headache and nauseous, although it has, but because it gives me hope.  When the TV flashed, “last time Cavs won a championship…NEVER” my heart pounded and head filled with thoughts of possibilities.  With the theme of Migraine Awareness Month being hope, I had no choice but to make a comparison.  Watching losing teams year after year can be defeating just like losing year after year of having Chronic Migraines.  I continue to change my line up and think positively but more often than not a season slips through my fingers.  This year we had hope.  I find it ironic that I started my blog a year ago and my fight changed.  When LeBron came back, things changed.  LeBron embarrassed me, angered me…

View original post 299 more words

The motherless mothers, mothered mothers and Mother’s Day

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As I prepared to write a Mother’s Day post about how much I love my mom and how much I love to be a mom, I read a very interesting article.  The article was about being a “motherless mother.”  I have never heard that phrase and it really got me thinking.  The phrase “motherless mother” can be a variety of moms.  It can be mothers who lost a mother, had an absent mother, a mentally ill mother, a narcissistic mother and more.  The baggage that a daughter has from being a motherless mother and becoming a mother must be huge.  How do you be the best you can be when you’ve had a bad example or not one at all?  The fears, the doubts and the lack of support must mold a mother into something new.

Although I know many motherless mothers, I can say that all of them have become wonderful mothers in their own right.  I know that many continue the cycle and that the cycle is circular for a reason.  But in my case, I have seen the motherless mothers in my life thrive.  I don’t see what happens behind closed doors, I don’t see how they feel inside and I don’t see all those moments that their mothers aren’t there.  What I do see is a mom that loves her son or daughter despite her past.  A mother that tries, sometimes fails and tries again.  Being a mom has no answers and not having someone to call for advice has got to be hard!  I have seen my motherless mother friends surround themselves with a different type of family.  Grandmas, sisters, friends, aunts, mother in laws, and neighbors all stand in for the motherly role.  Their children are surrounded with love and strong women despite and created by the absence.

On the flip side of this, I have been blessed with the most amazing, selfless, wonderful mother in the world! (Cue her tears as she reads this and mine while I write.)  I have had migraines since I was 5 and been sick basically forever.  My mom has never stopped helping me.  She has been to countless appointments, paid countless bills, read and searched out hundreds of possible treatments and above all sat with me while I suffered.  Now, as a mother, thinking of how it must have been to see me in the hospital, hysterical, sad, helpless, and in pain when she couldn’t take it away must have been torture.  I always felt guilty for how much I needed her but have learned that she really needed me just as much.  I now realize her sacrifice is even more than I ever imagined.  She has never judged me for my decisions and has guided me to make the best choices I can.  She has eased the pain of growing up and growing old.  Having the comfort that my mom is on my side has allowed me to go through life with confidence I would not have had otherwise. 

My house was always the place to go.  My mom was not only a mom to my sister and me, she was a mom to our friends and whoever we brought home.  They freely opened our refrigerator and helped themselves to the always stocked food.  They brought home homemade candy at Christmas and sat and talked with my mom in the kitchen laughing and getting advice for themselves.  She was at every game (and I played a lot of sports), she woke me up every morning (and I am not a morning person) and she volunteered for every event at school.  Her love stopped me from doing a lot of what my peers experimented with.  She was strict, knew where I was at all times and knew all my friends and their parents.  It would have been possible for me to rebel, like so many do, but with the way she showed me love, I never wanted to.  I have gone through life never wanting to disappoint my mom.  If I am a fraction of the mom that my mom is, I can die knowing they got the best.

Although I already have the best, I added another mother to my life.  Somehow I hit the lottery with moms in my life and marrying my husband meant getting another fabulous mom.  My mother in law is the mother to my husband that my mom is to me.  I give her credit for molding the man of my dreams.  He respects women, is affectionate and works hard all because of her example.  She now mothers us both.  Over the years she has seen and learned how much I deal with.  I am not an easy person to understand because of my illness and she has been willing to learn, help and rearrange her life to be our mother.  I am so lucky to have the best mom and add another that goes above and beyond for her children.  My children have grandmothers that spoil them and women that teach them lessons that I could not do alone.

And now for the reason I breathe the air I breathe………my babies.  All I ever wanted to be was a mom.  With a role model like mine, how could I not want to spread that love?  My husband and I decided even before we were married that I would stay home with them if it was possible.  I am educated and experienced in both early childhood education as well as special education.  If anyone was raising our babies, we wanted it to be me.  With that said, it is still so so so hard.  I dropped everything in my life to raise my babies and although it was difficult to find balance, it is a choice that none of us will regret.  I will never look back on my life and think “I wish I hadn’t spent so much time with them, I should have been somewhere else.”  I am exactly where I should be, with them.  I am hugely underpaid, underappreciated, overworked, and over triggered.  They literally make me sick from their meltdowns, lack of sleep, crazy diet, and abundance of energy (Where does it come from?  I’m so tired!)   

No matter how many migraines I have, the motivation from my two human beings is endless.  I look at their faces that came from my body and I fight harder.  The tiny chub hand of my son in mine is my payment.  The huge snuggles that my daughter only gives me is my medicine.  The belly laughs of them enjoying an event I have taken them to is my salary.  They wear me down while building me up to heights I didn’t know I could soar to.  I’m so proud over the littlest things and my heart pounds for their future endeavors.  Being a mom is the greatest responsibility I will ever have and I take it very seriously.  My kids don’t need to get me anything for Mother’s Day because I was given the biggest gift the day they were born. (But let’s be honest, I deserve LOTS of presents!!!!)

I may suffer daily but one thing I know is that I’m a good mom.  I have given my kids 110% since the day I found out I was pregnant.  I now see what being a mother is and it’s HARD!  I give and give and they take and take and I give some more.  I have doubt in myself, even with having the best role model.  I have days I fail, I have days I lay in bed with a migraine and feel helpless, I have days that I don’t feel like a good mom, and I have days where I raise my voice.  The guilt I feel for having chronic migraines is a heavy burden.  I am slowly seeing that even that will somehow benefit my kids.  I don’t speak a lot about what I deal with but when my children see me sick, they have compassion and the love I show them is reciprocated.  They will learn to be independent, care takers and value their health because of me.   They will see that their mom is in pain yet is such a fighter!  I hope that they will be proud of me.  When I’m down I remind myself that it’s a marathon.  My kids will never stop needing me and tomorrow is another day.  I need my mom as much today as I did growing up and I will do the same for my kids.

In conclusion…..Happy Mother’s Day!  To all you motherless mothers, mothered mothers, mothers being the best mothers they can be, mothers that suffer, mothers that are alone, mothers that have found motherly figures and more.  It’s not a pretty job, it’s not clean job, it’s not an easy job, it’s not a job everyone can stay home and do.  It’s hard for everyone!  But in the end…….it’s the best job!

Migraine World Summit

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The Migraine World Summit April 15-20, 2016 Register for FREE

* Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.”  This means if you purchase the item from clicking here, I will receive an affiliate commission.  This in no way alters my opinions or reason why I am referring you to them.  I use everything I recommend.

Recently I was contacted by the host of the Migraine World Summit.  It sounds like a great opportunity to get questions answered, a chance to learn about migraines and a way to participate in the migraine community from the comfort of your home.  Many of us have trouble traveling, can’t sit in fluorescent conference rooms or have the funds to participate.  If this is your case, the good news is….it’s FREE and from HOME!

 The Migraine World Summit runs from April 15-20, 2016

Anyone may attend for free, just register here: https://www.migraineworldsummit.com/

Dr. Rigaux, the CEO and inventor of Cefaly (the only FDA-device approved for the preventative treatment of migraines) as well as 30+ other doctors will be speaking. The doctor of Axon Optics will also be a doctor participating. If you don’t know who Axon Optics is, they are migraine glasses to help with  photophobia ! Shop migraine relief eyewear at Axon Optics.  *
I love them!   There will also be experts from Harvard Medical School, the Mayo Clinic, Stanford Medical, the Cleveland Clinic and the International Headache Society. It will feature interviews with Migraine Research Foundation experts, a group that I love and encourage you to support.

Here is a link to the medical professionals who are speaking: http://www.migraineworldsummit.com/speakers

Here is the press release sent to me:

 World’s First Migraine Summit Set to Relieve Pain Experienced by Millions

 Over 30 doctors, professors and specialists have gathered from world leading institutions to help answer some of the most difficult questions for patients in desperate need of relief.

Migraines are more common than diabetes, epilepsy and asthma combined. [i] There are 956,000 thousand migraine attacks every day in the USA[ii] with around 37 million affected.

Carl Cincinnato, host of the Migraine World Summit, sees how migraine can cripple an individual over time:

“Migraines can be devastating to someone’s quality of life. It can affect not only their physical well being, but their relationships, family life and in severe cases their ability to keep a job and have a career.

There is still a stigma associated with migraine. Many people feel guilty or ashamed to admit they have a migraine. Migraines can also lead to depression and anxiety as many struggle with the isolation, lack of progress and lose hope.

Research shows a direct link between the frequency of migraine and a person’s quality of life.”

Migraines were recently found to be the 6th highest cause of disability worldwide in terms of years lost to disability [iii] A severe migraine can be as disabling as quadriplegia or active psychosis.[iv]

Despite the prevalence of migraine, it remains under diagnosed and under treated with less than 50% of patients consulting a physician.[v]

For those who do seek help, finding the right doctor can be difficult.

Just 4 hours are committed to headaches disorders in undergraduate medical training worldwide.[vi]

The US is one of the few places where there are subspecialty certifications for headache medicine, yet there is only one headache specialist for every 85,000 patients.[vii] This shortage is consistent worldwide.

The Migraine World Summit provides unprecedented access to dozens of experts for those suffering from this debilitating disorder.

Dr Pierre Rigaux, CEO of Cefaly Technology and inventor of the innovative Cefaly®, the only FDA-device approved for the preventative treatment of migraines, is one of the speakers at the event.

Specialists require referrals, patients may incur significant costs and there can be waiting lists when treating migraines.  The Migraine World Summit is a great opportunity to jump the line and get into the room with doctors to hear the latest best practice and approaches being used from some of the best in migraine.

[i] Headache Disorders – not respected, not resourced. All-Party Parliamentary Group on Primary Headache Disorders. 2010.  Migraine Trust

[ii] Steiner TJ et al. The prevalence and disability burden of adult migraine in England and their relationships to age, gender and ethnicity. Cephalalgia. 2003;23(7):519-527.

[iii] Steiner, Timothy J., et al. “Headache disorders are third cause of disability worldwide.” The journal of headache and pain 16.1 (2015): 1-3.

[iv] Blumenfeld, A. M., et al. “Disability, HRQoL and resource use among chronic and episodic migraineurs: results from the International Burden of Migraine Study (IBMS).” Cephalalgia 31.3 (2011): 301-315.

[v] Pavone E et al. Patterns of triptans use: a study based on the records of a community pharmaceutical department. Cephalalgia. 2007;27(9):1000-4.

[vi] World Health Organization. Atlas of headache disorders and resources in the world 2011.

[vii] Mauser, Emily D., and Noah L. Rosen. “So many migraines, so few subspecialists: Analysis of the geographic location of United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties (UCNS) certified headache subspecialists compared to United States headache demographics.” Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain 54.8 (2014): 134