Disney World. The Good, the Bad, and the Migraine

Disney World

Disney World!!!!!!

 

I went to Disney World for 3 days and I could probably write a book on it.  Instead I’m going to focus on three things. The good, the bad, and my migraine.  So let’s begin with the good……

Where to begin. Disney World is called the happiest place on earth for a reason.  If you’ve been following me from the beginning, you know this is not the first time I have written about a Disney princess (A Whole New World?) I have loved all things Disney since I was a child and have been so happy to see my children fall in love all the same.  We spent an entire day at Magic Kingdom.  I had planned and saved like most families do and was eager to see how my dreams would come true for my family.

My personal favorite thing was to ride the rides.  I used to love rides but now enter them with a bit more trepidation.  I fear flashing lights, jerking motions and all those other triggers that come along with my migraines.  I also feared the weather, my diet, the stress, dehydration, and exhaustion.

But Tinker Bell sprinkled her fairy dust on me that day and I lived in a fairytale land.  I did however, prepare.  I had water bottles for all of us that I filled at every water fountain I saw.  I didn’t care about how many bathroom breaks we were going to stop at, we all were staying hydrated.  I also brought portable fans for my family that tends to sweat and me who tends to overhead.  I had snacks galore that were healthy and filling enough to stop us from stopping at every food stand we saw.  I had hats and sunglasses for everyone while we waited in the sun.

I didn’t stress at all because we were on vacation, we were together, and somehow I was feeling OK.  OK for me means super duper terrific on a day like our day at Magic Kingdom.  One of my highlights was watching my children meet the characters and waving to them at the parades. IMG_4327IMG_4332

Is there anything sweeter than a tiny hand waving at floats singing to music?  I found myself waving at everyone also, it was contagious. IMG_2246IMG_2186

I actually got to feel like a normal person that day.  I spun around in tea cups laughing and only feeling dizzy.  Feeling dizzy from your kids joyfully spinning you verses feeling dizzy from standing up on an average day is very different.

I felt shaky from my daughter “steering” a car on a track slamming from side to side and laughing from the depths of my gut.  This shaky is wonderful compared to shaking from pain masked by medication yet not masking muscle contractions.

At the end of the day I felt truly tired.  Not exhausted from fighting a migraine, tired from a long glorious day.  I was able to sing with Ariel in her grotto, the way I love to sing (Feeling better makes me sing)IMG_4360

I flew like I could fly

I flew like I had wings.  I took selfies without thinking how my smile was a mask for how I really felt.

The laughs, the joy, the magic was all from a low pain day.  From the opening song that made me feel butterflies in my stomach to the last firework that gleamed in my eye, I was feeling low pain.  Whatever it was; the adrenaline, the preventatives drugs, the preventative living, or  the intoxicating bubble of love and joy, I call it magic!

I could go on and on and on about how our day at Magic Kingdom was one of the happiest I can remember in a very long time (and I consider myself to live a happy life) but I will stop at saying it was perfect. For those of you who can’t relate to a perfect day, I thought it was impossible for myself.  But just like every perfect day comes reality.  Stay tuned for the bad and migraine party of my trip.

Tranquility Salt Cave for allergies and stress relief

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Salt Cave

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

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

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

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

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

Letdown Migraines from Stress, Weekends and Events

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I get letdown migraines, have you heard of these?   I get migraines from the down slope of the week landing on the weekend and from stressful events.

During the week, I have a schedule.  I run things like clockwork in order to keep my children and me on track Monday through Friday.  Being on a schedule is huge for children and good for my migraines.  We know what to expect, are able to prepare and we all go with the flow.  But on the weekend, it’s a free-for-all.  Free-for-alls are sometimes fun but usually end in meltdowns and migraines in my house.

I am a  teacher and at some point during the  weekend spend time  in bed with a migraine.  I also get spikes during the week after school and in the evenings before bed.  These are letdown migraines from school and in preparation for the next day.  This happens to me most days.

Once the weekend comes, I get freedom, let down my guard and spend most of my time with a migraine.  My sleep schedule is off, I go to bed later, try to sleep in but mostly am thrown from too much or too little sleep.  I eat unhealthy and at different times than I do during the week.  I go to events with my family that often trigger me through light, sound, and activity.  Everything adds up to a migraine.

Along with letdown migraines from the week, I get migraines from the letdown of stress.  This means, when I am stressed, I can get through the event relatively well but once it’s over, my migraine spikes and I’m bedridden.  Think holidays, vacations, work events etc.

When my husband travels, I get a migraine both before and after his trip.  I get one in preparation of being on my own for a week with two small children and have one once he gets home for the same reason.  During the week, I go into what I call “turbo mode” and face life as it’s thrown at me.  I am super scheduled and exhausted but typically can make it a few days before the migraine letdown of stress. Even if I’m not worried, had a typical week and have no issues during the week of travel, a letdown migraine occurs.  Even when I think I have things handled, my body still punishes me for pushing through “turbo mode.”

Letdown migraines come from life’s many ups and downs.  A spike in life results in a spike of migraine pain.

Do you get letdown migraines?  

Music Therapy: Chronic Pain, Migraines, Children and Special Needs

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I have experience teaching children with severe special needs.  It was an extremely difficult job while so rewarding at the same time.  During my time teaching these special children, they received Music Therapy.  I have written about how much music helps me (feeling better makes me sing) but have seen the actual clinical side of how it can benefit many.  The American Music Therapy Association has provided fact sheets and extensive information on music therapy.

After reading many informative articles on Music Therapy, I thought I’d share some information I found intriguing and hope you will follow the links to learn more about how Music Therapy can benefit so many.

Music therapy is using music to address physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs of an individual. Treatment includes creating, signing, moving to and/or listening to music.

Music therapists are more than music teachers.

To be a music therapist, one must “complete one of the approved college music therapy curricula (including an internship) are then eligible to sit for the national examination offered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists. Music therapists who successfully complete the independently administered examination hold the music therapist-board certified credential (MT-BC).” [1]

What can one expect from a music therapist?

“Through a planned and systematic use of music and music activities, the music therapist provides opportunities for:

  • Anxiety and stress reduction
  • Nonpharmacological management of pain and discomfort
  • Positive changes in mood and emotional states
  • Active and positive patient participation in treatment
  • Decreased length of stay

In addition, music therapy may allow for:

  • Emotional intimacy with families and caregivers
  • Relaxation for the entire family
  • Meaningful time spent together in a positive, creative way” [2]

How does music therapy make a difference for medical patients?

“Music therapy has been shown to be an efficacious and valid treatment option for medical patients with a variety of diagnoses.  Music therapy can be used to address patient needs related to respiration, chronic pain, physical rehabilitation, diabetes, headaches, cardiac conditions, surgery, and obstetrics, among others.  Research results and clinical experiences attest to the viability of music therapy even in those patients resistant to other treatment approaches.  Music is a form of sensory stimulation, which provokes responses due to the familiarity, predictability, and feelings of security associated with it.” [3]

Not only am I interested in how it can help migraine and chronic pain sufferers, but I am also interested in how it can help children.  I am a firm believer in teaching children through music and think it can benefit them for mild to severe needs.

How Does Music Therapy Make a Difference with Young Children?

“Music stimulates all of the senses and involves the child at many levels.  This “multimodal approach” facilitates many developmental skills. Quality learning and maximum participation occur when children are permitted to experience the joy of play.  The medium of music therapy allows this play to occur naturally and frequently. Music is highly motivating, yet it can also have a calming and relaxing effect.  Enjoyable music activities are designed to be success-oriented and make children feel better about themselves. Music therapy can help a child manage pain and stressful situations. Music can encourage socialization, self-expression, communication, and motor development. Because the brain processes music in both hemispheres, music can stimulate cognitive functioning and may be used for remediation of some speech/language skills.” [4]

Natural treatment

“Research in music therapy supports its effectiveness in many areas such as: overall physical rehabilitation and facilitating movement, increasing people’s motivation to become engaged in their treatment, providing emotional support for clients and their families, and providing an outlet for expression of feelings.” [5]

 

This post is inspired by the U.S. Pain foundations 30 day challenge during pain awareness month (Septmeber). The focus of the challenge is a month of empowerment!

For more information on how you can participate and support the U.S. Pain foundation please go to: http://uspainawarenessmonth.com/30-day-challenge/ #PAM16 #PainAwarenessMonth #USPain

For more information on Music Therapy please go to the referenced links or visit: http://www.musictherapy.org/about/musictherapy/

References:

[1] http://www.musictherapy.org/faq/#39

[2] http://www.musictherapy.org/assets/1/7/MT_Medicine_2006.pdf

[3] http://www.musictherapy.org/assets/1/7/MT_Medicine_2006.pdf

[4] http://www.musictherapy.org/assets/1/7/MT_Young_Children_2006.pdf

[5] http://www.musictherapy.org/about/musictherapy/

Emotions triggering migraine (sadness, stress, excitement, anticipation and more)

Image result for scarlett o'hara i'll think about it tomorrow

This summer was fun, fast and filled with migraines.  In the last few weeks, my emotions have been building for the fall excitement.  My first child is entering Kindergarten.  For some that may not be a big deal, but for a stay at home mom it’s momentous.

On top of this momentous moment, I am also starting a job after 6 years.  Over the last 6 years my only focus has been on my babies, family, dog, and home that we make.  It’s the biggest and hardest job to stay home and I’m so lucky to have had the opportunity.   One of the luxuries of staying home is that I can deal with my migraines on my own.  With a job, my migraines are public and open to scrutiny.   Absences require subs and placing responsibilities on others.  The stress of missing work, throwing off schedules and not being a good employee is huge!  I love the position I was hired for and really want everyone to grow and thrive.

So between the stress of starting a new job, the devastation of my baby leaving me all day and a change in our whole dynamic, I’ve been walking on needles to avoid a migraine.  Here’s the thing with migraines, they don’t care who, what, where, when or why you don’t want it, it comes!  In fact, sometimes it feels like my migraines know the worst time and hits me right then.

That’s because emotions trigger migraines!  All emotion filled events I get a migraine anticipating, during, or after the event.  I have had one on most holidays, many weddings, baby showers, birthdays, concerts, sporting events and more.  Events bring migraines, change brings migraines.

So with all these events and change, I have tried to numb my emotions.  I remind myself of Scarlett O’Hara saying “I’ll think about that tomorrow.”  I haven’t allowed myself to fully feel the change because I just can’t.  I cried a bit when I dropped my daughter off but had a staff meeting and needed to pull it together.  I didn’t sleep the night before and lack of sleep is another trigger I was trying to deal with.

The excitement of my job is huge and setting up is a trigger also.  The heat, the lights, the cleaning, and the reorganization takes a lot.  It’s all wonderful and fun but those things can also be a trigger.

So I sit here thinking to myself, how do I fully feel these emotions without being sick?  I can’t.  I can’t sit and cry about how yesterday I was holding my baby in the hospital and now she’s waving goodbye to me for the day.  I have been with her, planned every event and known exactly where she is for the past 6 years.  Now I just wave and don’t hear from her for almost 7 hours!  The worry just sends me through a tail spin.

Next I throw myself into a new job and I don’t have time to be in my dark room.  I need to be planning.  Once I’ve planned I need to be well enough to fulfil those plans.  I have such high hopes and my ambition scares me in that I will not be able to live up to it.

Bottom line is, emotions trigger.  I can’t imagine being able to feel how I feel and not worry about it.  As if emotions aren’t complicated enough, controlling them is imperative.  So I’ll just worry about that tomorrow, shake off those tears, numb the fears and just keep swimming.

What do you do to control your emotions from triggering you?  How do you do it?

Image result for scarlett o'hara i'll think about it tomorrow

 

 

Migraine is a neurological disease

Migraine is a neurological disease caused by genetics and a hypersensitive brain.

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Photo by Karen Eh, content by Teri Robert

This is an especially important fact for me.  My mom and grandmothers both suffered from Migraines.  I remember my grandpa being very sensitive to me suffering after he saw my grandma suffer on the couch with a wet cloth for so many years.

I  am a mom that worries daily about the fact and  possibility of passing it on to my sweet babies.  It was one of the first thoughts I had when I found out I was having a girl and knowing her chances would be higher.  I observe her constantly for signs of Migraine.  I make sure my children eat well, have a constant sleep schedules, show them stress relief techniques and more.  I try my best to teach them the importance of health but am fully aware that I can not change their genetics that I passed on.

The hypersensitive brain is something that makes me feel sane.  For many many years I felt crazy for the ailments I have.  I always thought it was an abundance of different things, the idea that I wasn’t truly sick or that everyone else felt that bad and it was normal.  Once I learned about the scope of migraine and that it is my brain being hypersensitive, I was able to understand myself.

When I get asked why all the treatments I have tried don’t work, the answer is clear…..I can’t change my genetic makeup.  I can try to control it, prevent it, treat it, and live with it.  I won’t be cured.  This is a fact that many need to understand.  I suffer and many generations suffer.  It’s genetics and a hypersensitive brain.

I am hypersensitive to light, sound, touch, smell, heat, cold, weather, stress, hormones,  and more.  I get triggered by things people would never notice.  Once I’m triggered my brain becomes more sensitive.  Once I have had a migraine, I am at a higher risk for another one since my sensitivity is heightened.  This often throws me into a cycle because of medication rebound and my hypersensitivity not calming down.  It is very complex and difficult to deal with.

The brain is a very tricky thing.  A migraine brain seems impossible!

Migraines and working in a restaurant

My favorite restaurant is closing!  It is a place I worked at in high school and have spent countless family meals.  Four generations of my family have known it and the owners.  It’s my personal “Cheers.”  There are too many memories to list.  My husband asked my parents to marry me there.  When I was pregnant I craved their potato skins.  At that time, the cooks would see me in the parking lot and would bring them out to me with our drinks so I wouldn’t have to wait a second longer.  It is a place my children yell out the window and wave at and a place I have sweet memories with my grandpa at.  I am sad that it is closing and that all the memories I have will be in the past.

While I think back at all the years at my “Cheers” I remember hostessing.  I believe everyone should work in the food industry and retail at some point to learn countless lessons.  When I was a hostess, I learned a lot.  Mostly that people are rude and when they get stressed they like to yell at someone for uncontrollable reasons.   I remember one particularly slammed Saturday night.  My station was in between the smoky bar and the smoking section which meant every night I was triggered.  In high school I was episodic and not the chronic walking migraine that I am today so I could handle it.  As the night progressed I had a waitress yelling at me about seating her section too often even though patrons requested to be seated at a particular table.  Then the line began.  Here’s the thing about wait time…..it’s uncontrollable.  If I saw a check on a table, I could only estimate if the person would pay right away or sit and have a drink for another 20 minutes.  So at one point I was running to help bus tables, expedite food and seat people.  The volume was growing, stress built and the smoke thickened.  At this point, a man came and got in my face to yell at me about the wait time.  When I say he yelled at me, I mean he actually bent down to get into my 16-year-old face to scream!  His intention was to embarrass me, make me cry and somehow make himself feel great about doing so.  I look back and get even madder that I was so young and this man who puffed out his chest was able to send me over the edge.  I started crying and the migraine went from about a 5 to an 8+ instantly.  The owner who was helping with crowd control saw me crying and immediately put her motherly arm around me and settled things down.  It was one of the first times that I realized other people had control over me.  I’d like to say I have control over myself but in reality I could not control my triggers or emotions and therefore allowed the macho aggressive man to win.  I’d like to say that I learned from this man but I already knew not to be a jerk to other people.  I thought it was common sense to treat others the way you’d like to be treated (It was the motto of my elementary school).  I thought seeing the crowd and that checks were on tables was obvious.  The thing I learned that night is that people think they are better than you are when being served.  How odd.  I learned that compassion can come from a boss.  This was an important lesson because working as an adult I have seen very little compassion from my bosses.  It was a day I remember so vividly because I didn’t understand migraines and how they worked, just that they hurt and disabled me.  In hindsight I would tell my 16-year-old self that I can’t control others.  I can only control how I react.  It is something that I allowed to happen just a few weeks ago and still struggle with today. I can’t control people getting mad at me but allowing myself to get thrown into a migraine is allowing them to win and that’s defeating.  I am a people pleaser and don’t like to be yelled at or surrounded with negativity.  I don’t do well with stress.  I think it’s the fact that others attitudes can bring me to heightened pain when they can walk away and enjoy life like nothing has happened that bothers me the most.  When people mistreat me, I get sick.   The power that others hold over me is really frustrating and makes me want to avoid people who have nothing nice to say. 

The lessons I learned while working at my favorite restaurant are endless.  But here’s the short list:

  • Treat others the way you want to be treated
  • When I am not treated the way I want to be treated, I can only control how I react the best I can.  This lesson is something I’ve been working on for almost 20 years later.
  • Everyone has bad days and everyone will do something to make someone else mad.  The way you react to that madness is important.
  • Bosses can be human and kind
  • Tip your waitresses and say thank you to your hostess.  You don’t know how their day is going and they don’t know about you.  It’s just right thing to do.  Be kind or at the very least don’t be rude.  Passing on negativity is poison.  It literally makes me sick.