I am Thankful Despite Migraine

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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.

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 understand 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 and if I can’t walk, he’ll carry me.

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 and is one of my strongest therapies. (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 amazing women as my friends. They are great examples to my children on what true friendship means.

Up until last year I had been a stay at home mom and it was the most challenging and incredible experience.  I now have 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 how it alters 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 while keeping my migraines in check during school hours has been a blessing. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever be able to go back to teaching and it fills a void I had while being at home.

I’m grateful for the Migraine community and MyMigraineLife.  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.  We have laughed and cried together while sharing stories, advocating for foundations and making steps towards greater health.

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!!!  Without your feedback there would be many days that I would not be able to continue my blog.  It is difficult and uses spoons I may not have.  Your comments, likes and shares motivate me because I know I’m helping you or someone who may stumble across this page.

Please add to my Thankful list.  I will compile the answers and post the list for Thanksgiving. Come back everyday and add something you are thankful.  Showing gratitude, even for the smallest things, gives strength.

What are you Thankful for?

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Chronic pain, Migraine and having fun in my own way

 Today I am having a higher pain day but am happy I am able to participate in the U.S. Pain Foundation’s month of empowerment post.

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The picture I am posting is of me at my son’s 3rd birthday party.  I have a migraine on almost all birthday’s and holidays.  His birthday was a Paw Patrol party and I was really suffering while setting up for guests to arrive.  We were all wearing masks so I decided to ice my head while staying in the spirit.  While I looked like I was having fun, I was treating my pain and trying to lower my migraine so I would be able to stay at the party.  Although I was not able to fully enjoy the day, I was able to celebrate with loved ones and look cute and festive.  Although I was not able to forget about my chronic pain and “just have fun” I was able to sing happy birthday, watch my baby open his presents and enjoy loved ones.

Share a day that you were able to have fun.  Even if you weren’t able to fully forget about your pain, maybe you were happy about a time you weren’t taken away from an event.  I am grateful for small things.  I may not have been pain free, but I was able to watch my sweet boy blow out his candles.  No matter the pain, seeing him enjoy the day that I had planned was fun in my own way!

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*Love my ice headband?  It’s a Headache Hat Ice Halo.  Use code MYML for a discount and go here to purchase one now.

Migraine Awareness Band GIVEAWAY

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As the last week of June continues, so do the GIVEAWAYS!  To end the month, I encourage you to continue advocating throughout the year.  But how do you advocate?  How do you show support for migraine awareness and continue to help?  It’s not as hard as you think.

I simply wear purple.  Purple is the color of migraine awareness.  I like to wear purple in hopes that someone will comment on it and I can explain how purple represents migraine awareness.

Another way I show support is by wearing migraine gear.  I have t-shirts from events that I have supported and donated to.  I’m a walking advertisement for the cause when I simply wear my tshirt.

I also wear a  migraine awareness band from The Migraine Cause

What if you don’t have gear?  Here comes the giveaway!!!!!

I have partnered with themigrainecause to giveaway 3 bracelet bands

The migraine cause was created almost a year ago. The mission has always been to raise migraine awareness and to help find a cure through bracelets since 15% of sales are donated to the National Headache Foundation. The main goal is to expand the online shop with many more items that help support migraineur’s and spread awareness. She started the migraine cause because she realized how many people suffer from migraines and how many people don’t realize how debilitating it is to have them. The creator has had migraines for 5 years and her life hasn’t been the same ever since. She knows a lot of her triggers now and avoids them as much as she can but still finds it hard to manage. The one thing that has really helped with her migraines is eating cleaner and healthier. What you put in your body is very important because it will cause your body to react in a positive or negative way. Barbara really hopes to accomplish her mission and goals for the millions of people that are suffering. “ www.themigrainecause.ecwid.com

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I have been  given 3 migraine awareness bands to giveaway!

To Enter:

  1. Visit and Like My Migraine Life on Facebook (liking is not mandatory for entry but recommended)
  2. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook.  By entering, entrants agree to a complete release of Facebook
  3. Leave a comment on How you try to spread awareness?  And who you advocate for?

Additional entries

  1. Follow @mymigrainelife on twitter
  2. Tweet about the giveaway

Follow also on Instagram

ENTER HERE!!!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

U.S. residents only.  Starts today and ends 7/6/2016

Good Luck!!!!! Please share with anyone who may want to wear a migraine awareness band and continue to spread the word of how serious living with Migraine is.

 

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

 

 

The Excedrin Migraine Experience commercial

I have to say, I have not been happy with Excedrin Migraine commercials and advertising over the years.  I have not taken over the counter medication for my migraines in years.  Once I discovered it was giving me rebound headaches and causing my migraines to cycle, I stopped.  They never worked for the intensity of my migraines anyways, so it was not a problem to stop wasting my money.  I have been insulted by their, “shhhh mom has a migraine, not anymore now that I took an Excedrin Migraine” commercial.   It extends the stigma by saying I can pop one pill and my neurological disease will go away.

Things seem to have shifted in their advertising and understanding of migraine sufferers a bit more.  They have made a series of migraine experiences for a mother, a husband, a friend and a co worker.  This allows the person to experience the visual part of migraines a bit more.  Telling and seeing are different.  The experience cannot provide the pain that comes along with the visual disturbances but it does a good job of trying to break down some doubt in the “it’s just a headache” world.  I honestly would not want my loved ones to experience the pain that I have.  It would be ethically wrong to voluntarily torture someone.  The pain is an indescribable excruciating horror scene!   The focus of these commercials is on some of the other stuff that goes along with the pain. 

Overall, I have to say, bravo Excedrin Migraine.  You are moving in the right direction.  It’s more than just a headache.  It’s more than just a pill.  It’s my life.  It’s breaking down stigma, explaining and being judged by others, and suffering daily.  If you have a loved one, a spouse, a coworker, a friend or someone who may better understand by these commercials, please feel free to share it with them.

The Migraine Experience

Migraine Research Foundation fundraiser, “Haturday for Heads”

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Recently I was contacted by a woman named Katherine (Katie) Janquart. She lives in Boise, Idaho and is a fellow migraine sufferer. She was first diagnosed with migraines in her teens and has had chronic migraines for the past 15 years. She decided early on in her migraine journey that she wanted to be an advocate for people like me.

Last year she formed a group called Migraine IDAHO and launched a page on Facebook. Her vision for Migraine IDAHO is to offer support, awareness and information on migraines. She also believes that one of the biggest ways she can help people with migraines is to help fund research. Last year Migraine IDAHO did an event on the second Saturday in April called “Haturday for Heads.” She had a local restaurant donate part of their sales for the day, a silent auction and a crazy hat contest. All the proceeds went to the Migraine Research Foundation and they worked with the Chronic Migraine Awareness organization.   I love this idea and the Migraine Research Foundation.  Last year I ran my own Jamberry fundraiser for MRF and feel that research is crucial in helping migraine sufferers.  I am happy to support “Haturday for Head” and hopefully you will participate too. 

This year she will still have a get together at the local restaurant where part of the food purchased will be donated. She wants to blow last year out of the water and make “Haturday for Heads” an event that people will remember and look forward to in following years. If you are in the area, please stop by to support.

Since the event is named “Haturday for Heads” a hat with a special design specific to this event will be available for purchase. On the day of the event anyone who has a hat, can post pics in their hat no matter where they are in the world and be a part of the event.

We believe that this event can raise awareness. We both are dreamers and reaching for the stars hoping to unite migraine sufferers all across the word so that their voices can be heard. I am happy to support Katie and her efforts to raise money for Migraine Research Foundation. Please share this and participate in whatever way you can.   If you are unable to participate please share it and spread the word.

Thank You!

“What would you do if your dream of a pain and a completely symptom free life, came true?”

Life without pain? First thing I’d do is travel. I’d jump on a plane, not care what foods I packed and get off in a tropical location. It wouldn’t matter that the barometric pressure or weather was dramatically different. The sun wouldn’t bother me, I may even walk around without my sunglasses. If I was dehydrated or stressed from the flight, that’s ok, I’d drink a glass of water, take a deep breath and not need to pop pills and go lay down. I’d drink and I’d drink a lot. Red wine? Why not? I have never been able to drink it, so bring me a bottle. And while you are at it, bring me all of my trigger foods. I would lay out in the sun and not have sensitivity to the heat and read all day because the words wouldn’t be blurred in pain. Maybe I’d go shopping. I would have more money since I wouldn’t be spending it at the doctor’s office and I would have a ton of room in my suitcase since it wouldn’t be filled with medications and other various therapies. After my long day of eating and drinking I would go dancing. The louder the music, the better. Strobe lights would be fun if they didn’t make me feel like I was going to pass out. No worries, I would be pain free, drunk, and unrestricted. I would stay up all night. Sleep deprivation wouldn’t trigger a migraine, so why not? The next morning I’d wake up and not assess my pain level. I wouldn’t have plan A (what I’d like to do today) and plan B (what I’m missing today). I’d drink coffee because I like it, not because it helps speed up my meds. I’d call everyone I know and speak really loudly. My brain wouldn’t be unpredictable and foggy. I wouldn’t feel like I was yelling inside my head. Then I’d head to a CAVS event. Maybe even a really exciting game where the jumbo-tron is alive and the crowd noise is being pumped up. While I was there I’d drink a draft beer. I haven’t been able to drink those in years, and it would accompany my energetic sporting event well. On the way home the street lights wouldn’t flash like auras in my eyes. I’d be tired but the excitement of the day wouldn’t send me into a tail spin.
Living pain and symptom free would be completely foreign for me. I’d go a bit crazy for a short time, I think. I’d have to rebel a little bit after being restricted for so many years. That is, if not drinking enough water and enjoying the sun and a basketball is rebellious. But once I calmed down, I’d enjoy just the little things. A 3D movie or anything super high definition I have never seen. I can’t work out at the intensity or duration that I would like to. Even concerts have become more and more difficult for me to attend (even in the grass). Small things I guess. But it’s the small things that I appreciate now, with the pain, that makes me live my life to the fullest. I appreciate each pain free or less moments with my family. I am able to sit quietly and breathe in my kid’s sweetness because I don’t know when I’m going to be rushed away with a migraine attack. Do I stress about the small things, yes of course, I’m human. But when my health is unpredictable I live cherishing the moments. If I was pain free would I still live like that? I wonder….but I may never know.