Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Migraine Bear

I'm home sick from work today with a huge migraine. I usually get a big one a week before Aunt Martha (aka my period) comes to visit. Of course, it's the day after a holiday so I'll look even worse tomorrow when I go back work.

I've been trying to cut back on the pain medication I've been taking, because I'm worried about what it might be doing to the rest of my body, and I've been worried about rebound headaches. It's not going very well.

So, I'm hugging my "Migraine Bear" in bed and trying to get through it.

This maybe a little immature, but I can’t live without my stuffed bear. I use him whenever I’m home sick with a migraine or when I can’t get to sleep at night. If he makes me feel better, why not? He’s also good for blocking the light when eye masks are too irritating to wear and a pillow is too heavy on my head.

At first, I was using another stuffed bear, which I had bought in Mackinaw Island. He was expensive, and I was crushing the crap out of his fur.

Then at Brookstone, I spotted The Nap Bear. He is a perfect fit.

I’ve been meaning to give him a better name than "migraine bear" though.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

too much PMI

Does anyone else have a problem with what I call PMI, perfumed magazine inserts in women's magazines, you know those sample pages sprayed with perfume, and being a migraine chick? After the lilac incident at work, I've been really trying to avoid anything perfumy or too flowery that really sets off my head and makes me nauseous.

Last night, I went to Barnes and Noble to find some women's magazines for the weekend, but then I remembered the PMI drive me nuts sometimes. I have to rip them all out before I can even read it.

So in front of the magazine rack, I started smelling the covers of the magazines. I figured if I can smell the perfume from the cover, this might not me the magazine for me. It is probably beyond saturated and I won’t be able to read it.

Boy, did I get some weird looks.

Maybe next time, I should just buy the ones I want and try to Febreeze them later.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Voodoo Migraine


Sometimes while in the middle of a migraine, I find myself wondering where did these damn things ever come from. Although I've heard they are hereditary and perhaps genetic, no one else in my family has ever had migraines. So why me? Does someone out there have a voodoo doll of me and they are sticking pins in my head, because that is what it feels like sometimes.

That's why I took this picture. I bought this doll in New Orleans a while ago, but she didn't have a migraine listed on her forehead, so I made her one. Hopefully, I didn't jinx myself and made it worse for my head.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Going No Where Fast

A friend of the family recommended a family doctor who she said had helped with her sinus headaches, and she thought this doctor might be able to help me with my migraines.

I decided to see this doctor the other day. She seemed nice enough, but she said my migraines were so complex and with my sensitivities to side effects, she could only recommend that I see a neurologist or go to a headache clinic.

Then she told me that her sister had bad migraines and she had gone to The Michigan Headache & Neurological Institute, but the waiting list was long. It could take three to seven months to get in. Her sister had ended up spending thousands of dollars with not much migraine relief, but it might work for me, although insurance typically doesn’t cover it.

That was an encouraging story, I thought.

I told her I did see neurologist a few months ago, but she had just pushed Topamax on me, even though I expressed how concerned I was about the side effects from anti-seizure medicine. In addition, it didn’t make me feel very good, watching her eyes glaze over as I told my medical history. It was as if she had already put me in a diagnosis box and that was that. Then when I said I didn’t really want to take it, she acted as if I was a pre-schooler who didn’t know what was good for me.

So I guess seeing how I don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on a headache clinic on a chance it might work, I think I need to try to find another neurologist who I might actually be able to talk to.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Migraine Barbie!


Migraine Barbie gets ready to face the day!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

At war with myself

Sometimes, I feel like the programming in my brain does remain from my life before my migraines. I need to do all this stuff to feel like I'm accomplishing something, and if I don't, I'm a great big failure. It's a constant battle between my old self and my new self. It's hard to live my life one way for so long, and suddenly everything has changed.

It's almost as if this other person (migraine chick) has moved into my head, and I'm in charge of taking care her. It's a great big pain in the butt. I'm not even sure I like her, but I'm stuck with her 24/7. It is a very slow learning process.

I really miss my old self.

Monday, May 14, 2007

To Do List Addiction

Ever since my migraines started, I’ve been addicted to “To Do Lists.” Not only do I have to make a daily list, but a monthly list as well.

During bad days, I write down anything I can on my list to make me feel like I’ve accomplished something, like “empty dishwasher” or “scoop the kitty litter box.”

This weekend, I was trying to figure out why these lists make me feel better. I think it's because they make me feel as if I'm in control of something.

Frequently, I'm plagued with “I’m forgetting something” thoughts, especially during the weekend, when I feel I’m forgetting something all the time. The level of importance doesn't matter to my brain. It can be anything from filing a rough finger nail to paying the rent.

In addition, I think it combats the “I can’t get anything done anymore" blues as well. I remember a time when I was working full time, taking three college classes a term at night, taking care of myself and having a social life. Now it's all I can do to work and take care of myself.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Attack of the Lilacs

Yesterday, a co-worker brought in a bunch of lilacs to keep at her desk. She is a super nice person and everyone at work loves her. The lilacs were from her grandmother's garden. Normally, I love lilacs. I even tried to plant some lilac bushes in my backyard a few years ago, but the seedlings didn't take.

Everyone at work kept going on about how good the flowers smelled, but they were killing me. My head was banging away with a migraine that started on Monday, and the flowery smell in the confined space was making me dizzy and nauseous.

How do you complain about one of the most popular people at work about flowers from her grandmother's garden?

She passed me in the hallway later and asked how me how I was doing. What was I supposed to say:

"I'm not so good. Your flowers are making me want to puke"

This reminded me of the air freshener incident of 2005 when another co-worker decided to plug in an air freshener under her desk right next to mine. I ended up getting sick in the bathroom and a supervisor found me, wanting to know what was wrong. I confessed. The air freshener was removed and I got dirty looks from that co-worker for months later.

So I decided to tough it out yesterday. At this point, what is one more bad migraine day at work. Just another day of the week.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Artistic Pills


I went to London back in 2004, and I remember seeing an exhibit about how many pills we take in a life time. The significance really stuck with me, making me wonder about how many pills I've been taking for my migraines for the last ten years, but I could never remember where I had seen the exhibit.

Yesterday, I was watching a TV show about London, and they were featuring the British Museum. They flashed an image of the pill exhibit in the Living and Dying Gallery, so I looked it up online. It is called the Cradle to Grave by Pharmacopoeia.

"Cradle to Grave explores our approach to health in Britain today. The piece incorporates a lifetime supply of prescribed drugs knitted into two lengths of fabric, illustrating the medical stories of one woman and one man.

Each length contains over 14,000 drugs, the estimated average prescribed to every person in Britain in their lifetime. This does not include pills we might buy over the counter, which would require about 40,000 pills each.

Some of the treatments are common to both: each starts at birth with an injection of vitamin K and immunizations, and both take antibiotics and painkillers at various times. Other treatments are more specific. The woman takes contraceptive pills, and hormone replacement therapy in middle age. The man has asthma and hay fever when young, but enjoys good health until his fifties. He finally stops smoking after a bad chest infection when he is seventy. He is treated for high blood pressure for the last ten years of his life and has a heart attack and dies of a stroke in his seventies. He takes as many pills in the last ten years of his life as in the first sixty-six.

Cradle to Grave also contains family photographs and other personal objects and documents. The captions, written by the owners, trace typical events in people's lives. These show that maintaining a sense of well-being is more complex than just treating episodes of illness."

Monday, May 7, 2007

Hobby Time?

I went to a hobby store this weekend with a friend, and I decided to see if I could find a new hobby that could co-exist with my migraines. I'm hopeless with any sort of sewing, needlework or crocheting. Plus, if there is counting or numbers involved, like Sudoku or counted cross stitch, my lack of concentration makes it almost impossible to complete.

Imagine my delight when I found Paper Fashions by the editors of KLUTZ at the hobby store. It's sort of like scrapbooking and paper dolls rolled into one.

"Plastic stencil shapes make it simple to trace perfectly proportioned pants, purses, skirts, scarves, sweaters, shoes and more. Cut each piece out of the array of double-sided, acid-free patterned papers and then mix and match them any way you like. Embellish your designs with sequins, ribbon and other decorative doodads. Finally, hang your outfits on the included tiny hangers."

Sure it's for girls, but the little outfits look super cute. And I'm thinking maybe I could make greeting card decorations with them.

Does anyone have any other hobby ideas for migraine chicks or chronic pain chicks?

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Note to Self

Do not watch a zombie move before going to bed when my head is pounding with a migraine. I woke up several times during the night, thinking zombies were coming to get me, and my head was banging away with the increased stress.

This may sound weird, but on some level, zombie movies make me feel better when I’m having a migraine along with a migraine chick pity party (poor me). Maybe it’s because then I can think at least I’m not a zombie right now.

The same thing goes for those VH1 Flavor of Love reality shows. When I’m watching them, I tell myself at least I’m not one of those crazy ass bitches.

I think I am definitely going to start blaming my migraines for my declining taste in television shows lately. I used to watch shows on The Learning Channel and The Discovery Channel, but now with my lack of concentration, I find myself watching more and more VH1 programming, like the worst of all, Flavor of Love Charm School.