Sunday, June 29, 2008

MC Comic

Here is one of my latest comics.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Retro Pain Game

More migraine friendly images modified for the pain game.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Summer Buzz

The June Pain-Blog carnival is up at How to Cope with Pain This month’s theme is summer/vacation. Lots of other great reading there, too, including my post about The Golden Rules for Migraines.

Other buzz includes, Migraine Expressions-The Book is going to be released in July. Teri Robert, migraine educator and advocate, provided a lovely foreword and they listed Migraine Chick under the Informational Sites, Blogs, and Forums on the migraine resources page on the Word Metro Press web site.

"A beautiful, hardcover, full-color volume of breathtaking migraine art and intimate prose and poetry. Open this book to enter the world of life with migraine through the art and words of the most precious and trusted sources – those who live in it. This collection of personal expressions from people around the world impacted by this disease illustrates some of the ways millions upon millions of migraineurs and their loved ones feel, love, work and play while trying to manage symptoms and live as well as possible.

Migraine, as horrendous as it can be, does not define who we are; and the poetry, essays, art and photography in this book illuminate the hope, optimism, and accomplishments in our lives as well as the painful, dark and lonely times.

As a platform for migraineurs and their loved ones to share experiences, this book also inherently promotes awareness and a real understanding of migraine and exposes the urgent need for more education, research, and effective treatments."

Through July 1, books can be purchased at a pre-publication price of $25 (retail will be $35) through the Web site, and this first, limited-run shipment will have matte dust jackets. The book is featured on Word Metro Press"

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Serial Rescheduler

Since I'm a serial appointment rescheduler due to my migraines, I finally decided I was going to get my ass to the hygienist one way or another on Saturday because I haven't had my teeth cleaned for nine months. I woke up with a bouncing brain and a bouncing stomach to match, so I took all my drugs and I took some things with me to the dentist, including my sleepy eye mask, my I-pod loaded with relaxation music and a can of ginger ale.

The hygienist didn't seem put out at all with my migraine kit. She said lots of people use sunglasses because of the bright lights, so I rigged myself up for my cleaning and I made it through it without chucking on her once.

Afterwards, I sipped my ginger ale to calm my bouncing stomach. I always feel nauseous after a cleaning anyways, so this really helped. The bad news is that I need a crown in July. Who knows how much my migraine kit will really help when they start drilling on my teeth??

Friday, June 20, 2008

June Cleaver’s Secret Shame

I’ve been avoiding the uptight woman at work, who reminds me of June Cleaver, ever since she yelled at me for accidentally yawning without covering my mouth.(Sometimes when my migraines are bad, I get these very painful yawns.) I wrote about it in my post No Yawning Allowed. It drives me nuts listening to her eat her baby carrots for snacks at her desk, chewing them like a hamster, and how she glares at me whenever I eat something sugary.

Yesterday, a vendor came into work for a visit and they brought us ice cream sundaes and brownies for a treat. Not wanting to tempt the migraine gods at work, I went upstairs to the lunchroom to see if there was anything sans chocolate, when I spotted June Cleaver sitting by herself at a table in the corner. I was surprised to see her actually partaking in the goodies.

Of course, I had to breeze by her to get some water. To my surprise, I saw she had a sundae with hot fudge and whipped cream with two brownies on her plate beside it. Holy cow!

Since the sundaes were pre-made and the only topping was hot fudge, I decided to pass and I headed back to my desk. A while later, June Cleaver returned and she was looking quite peaked.

“I think I may have over indulged,” she said.

No shit, I wanted to say, but instead I said, “Really.”

“I have a bit of a problem with sugar. Once I start eating it, I can’t stop.”

I couldn’t resist.

“So what did you actually eat?” I asked.

“Well, the sundae was topped with whipped cream, nuts and cookie bits, and I ate two brownies. And it turned out there was another brownie at the bottom of the sundae cup, so I ate that, too.”

“Wow,” I said. “That’s a lot of sugar.”

Looking paler, she nodded and started working again. Suddenly, I had an image of her hiding in the pantry when she was a kid and spooning sugar into her mouth before her mom found her and yelled bloody murder at her. She was a secret sugar binger! No wonder she looked at sugar the way she did.

I can’t say that I like her anymore after learning this, but I think I’m starting to understand where she is coming from a little better. I guess all of us have secret lives in one way or another.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Golden Rules for Migraines

I am working on my own list of golden rules for migraines. It may seem like most of these are common sense items, but when it comes to chronic pain and trying to survive everyday life with a migraine, most of my common sense seems to go out the window.

Here are my rules so far:

Do not take hot pizza pans out of the oven without being positively sure you are wearing an oven mitt.

When you are slightly nauseous, do not try to eat anything that you wouldn’t mind seeing again slightly digested in the near future.

Do not write out greeting cards during a bad pain day, or you might end up sending your father a greeting card, which is labeled “Dead Dad” instead of “Dear Dad.” (This just happened)

Always take earplugs with you whenever you are going to any type of music event.

During outdoor events like art fairs and strawberry festivals, always bring what I'm now calling The Migraine Protection Trinity with you: Floppy hat, sunglasses and bottled water.

Make sure you check your shampoo bottle before you pour shampoo on your head. You maybe washing your hair with Dove Night Body Wash, and it will take you forever to get that so called calming scent out of your hair.

Do not watch zombie movies right before you go to bed or you may dream about zombies chasing you all night and the increased stress may make your head hurt worse.

Does anyone else have their own rules??

Friday, June 13, 2008

Pain Game

I changed the text on these retro images to make them more migraine friendly. What do you think?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I Hate Mother Nature!

Just when I think it's bad enough dealing with a squirrel in my head, mother nature comes along and kicks me in the head, too. There have been thunderstorms rolling through the area, which is driving my migraine nuts, and there is a ton of fluffy seeds from cottowood trees floating everywhere in the air, which is setting off a huge sinus attack. Nothing I'm taking drug wise is helping. I feel like I'm trapped in a bad fairy tale like this illustration from artist Scott Altmann.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Chocolate and Migraines!

I love The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn so I leapt at the chance to go to see the new exhibit Chocolate: The Exhibition with a couple girlfriends. I was hoping the exhibit might cover some of the science of chocolate and the effects on the human body, like a plastic brain with highlighted parts, but they stuck with the history of chocolate and the origins, etc…

I am still torn if chocolate is a trigger for me. After eliminating it for several years from my diet, I’ve been adding it back in with mixed results. Sometimes it bothers me. Sometimes, it doesn’t. The more expensive stuff seems to do the less damage.

At the end of exhibit, there was a large souvenir section with lots of chocolate. I ended up buying a stuffed monkey. Why were there stuffed monkeys for sale? Apparently, there are monkeys hanging around the cacao trees and they break open the pods open to get at the sweet gooey stuff inside. They throw the bitter chocolate beans to the ground. I named my new stuffed monkey “Chocolate.”

In addition, there was a Chocolate Café where you could indulge in chocolate treats on the spot. There was a chocolate fountain, a huge brownie slab plus cookies and cake. My friends all bought something. Worrying about my melon, I decided not to buy anything because the humidity, the cottonwood from the trees and finishing my pms zone were already dancing around in the inside of my head.

Then Satan spoke to me, or rather my friend, and she offered me one of her chocolate covered strawberries. It looked so good. I told myself it was a gamble, but I couldn’t resist. I ate one! Super Yummy!

Everything seemed fine until four hours later when my melon went Kapow!

So was it the chocolate? Was it the humidity, the cottonwood or PMS? What about the combination of everything? On the other hand, was it perhaps the fact that my melon just likes to go Kapow! Why does having migraines have to be so darn complicated?

At least, I had my new stuffed monkey to comfort me!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Part Two-The Baseball Hat Saga

While I was waiting to hear back from the HR lady about The Baseball Hat Saga, I was getting more and more irked about the fact that I've seen my company purchase ergonomic keyboards for people with carpal tunnel and I saw a large chair special ordered for an extremely obese co-worker, but meanwhile they were hassling me about wearing a free baseball hat to keep the fluorescent light glare out of my eyes.

I decided to go on my company's website and do some digging around to see what I could find to strengthen my argument about how they can accommodate these people, but not me. That was where I found an ergonomics program, where there was a section on "monitor and mouse settings and adjustments” with a list of ways to reduce glare problems with your monitor. To my surprise, one suggestion was to "Wear a visor to keep the light out of your eyes. It can be an effective way to reduce eyestrain and headaches."

Holy cow! Since my new visor has been working great for me, I immediately printed the page and I gave it to my team leader who said "great news." Then I finally got in touch with the HR Lady who said she was glad that I had found something that worked for me and she hadn't been aware of the reducing glare section in the ergonomics program. Therefore, the whole ADA claim thing has been dropped and it seems like it's approved for me to wear the visor for now.

I'm truly relieved about all this, and a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders, but there is still one thing that bugs me. Why did I have to find this information on my own? I'm really starting to learn that being your own advocate is the only way to protect yourself.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Conquering the Dreaded Migraine Monster on Vacation

Last year, I was in a huge panic about planning my vacation to Mackinaw Island, Michigan because I was terrified my migraines would ruin my trip. A couple weeks prior, I had a major freak out at a local strawberry festival, where I only lasted 33minutes before I expired and begged my friends to take me home. Luckily, with a little planning and some help from my online friends, I came up with a plan of attack to survive the migraine monster during my trip to Mackinaw Island and it actually worked.

Now I am working on planning another trip in July. This time I’m heading to the west coast of Michigan to see places like Saugatuck, Holland, Grand Haven and Muskegon, and once more, the fear of the dreaded migraine monster ruining my trip is creeping into my thoughts. Therefore, I thought I would dig out my plan of attack from last year and start working on a new one.

This is what I have so far: I need to wear my floppy hat with my dark sunglasses every day. I need to drink lots and lots of water and take frequent breaks. In the morning, I need to drink a juice like a V8 and make sure I eat lots of protein like scrambled eggs. I need to bring snacks like Lunar Bars in my tote bag for a quick fix between meals. Also in my tote bag, I need to bring all my medications, etc…

On top of all this, I need to remind myself every day with my favorite saying, “I do what I can and no more than that.”