A Migraine Saga Part 1

Hello Steffi! This is most likely going to be a boring post, but if you are interested in reading about my history with migraines, please continue. And if anyone reading this has or knows anyone with migraines, I hope this helps in some way or gives you ideas of what to try if you haven’t already. Here’s my journey; it’s long and it’s not even over yet.

What’s a headache?
I got my first migraine…I don’t know when. I probably didn’t realize it was a migraine because I never even had headaches. I wasn’t even sure what a headache felt like until almost 4 years ago. I started waking up with these dull aches in my head that wouldn’t subside until 2pm. They weren’t miserable, but I would be relieved when they finally went away. Then I started getting them once a week, and then a couple times a week, and then 2 days in a row. And it sucked. This went on for several months and somewhere in there I had a migraine. Blinding pain that makes me throw up. Got it? Great.

Constant Possible Causation Analysis (CPCA) don’t look that up, yes I just invented it.

  • People would tell me I wasn’t drinking enough water. So I sat at my work desk with a brand new water bottle in front of me. It even had a straw.
  • Then someone said it’s because I look at the computer all day so it might be my eyes. A doctor visit and $300 later I had a pair of glasses and a solid “I suppose you might possibly have a slight need for reading glasses.”
  • Then it was because of the weather. Oh, it’s cloudy today? That’s why I have a headache? What about all the other days I have a headache and it’s NOT cloudy?
  • Sometimes it was because I slept too long, or not enough. Even laying in bed too long after I was awake.
  • If the sun would shine in my eye at just the right angle for long enough…
  • Working out too long
  • My time of the month
  • Doing handstands, trampoline jumping
  • Sitting in a car too long

Basically it seemed anything could’ve caused it and there was always too many variables to try to prevent it from happening again. Keeping a headache diary is very helpful when trying to narrow down the causes; it’s even more helpful to keep a food diary with it in case your headaches are caused by certain kinds.

Let’s cover it up.
Since these headaches starting happening all the time I had to try to actually stop the pain even if I couldn’t prevent it from happening. I hate taking pills so I started with just drinking caffeine. Some days that helped. Then I took tylenol and advil and usually those would work. But since I woke up with most of my headaches, it was a long process to go from waking -> eating -> pill taking -> relief. When I’d have a migraine I’d feel so sick, I couldn’t eat anything so I’d stumble to the excedrin and hope I wouldn’t throw it up. I would. Sometimes they’d go away easy and sometimes they’d last over a day. The headaches just kept coming and I’d eventually start missing work and I would pray before bed that I didn’t wake up with one the next day. I dealt with this for almost 2 years.

TO THE DOCTOR WITH YOU!
At the advice of many friends and family I finally went to the doctor. He diagnosed me with migraines and at 4 or more a month, plus additional headaches, he suggested I try medication. He also wanted to do an MRI because he didn’t like the fact that I woke up with them. (I did the MRI, almost fainted, but I did it. It came out clean, no worries.) I was prescribed a blood pressure medication, Propranolol, because of its popular adverse effects on people with migraines. I was warned about being medicated right away, but at this point it’s been 2 years and I wanted to try anything. He also gave me Sumatriptan, which could be used to cure a migraine at the first symptom. Since my first symptom is simply waking up in agony, I asked for it in non-pill form. It was either nasal spray or a shot so I took the nose juice. We’d try this for 6 months and see where I was at.

The meds.
Propranolol lowers your blood pressure. I didn’t notice any side effects except weird dreams at first and easily getting lightheaded. I took it in liquid form at first because I didn’t know how big the pill was and if I had to take it twice a day and it was any bigger than a grain of quinoa I couldn’t do it. Turns out it’s really quite small so I switched to the pill and took it twice a day for 6 months. It worked. On the rare occasion I would have a migraine, I could spray medicine up my nose and I would have relief in 20 minutes. I had a few headaches too but they were manageable. So I went back to the doctor and reported my findings and he said I could take the medicine the rest of my life, or stop later or stop now, and the headaches might come back or they might not. I really hated taking 2 pills everyday at scheduled times and there was also being terrified I’d lose my pills and die because my blood pressure would spike from lack of the lowering of the pressure. So I opted to wean myself off of it and see if my headaches came back.
Coming off of this medicine is terrible. I’ve had fluttering heartbeats before, but once I was no longer taking any of it I endured a month of random and frequent heart flutters. It sort of feels like your heart forgot and hadn’t been beating and then all of a sudden it remembered so it fires off a few real quick. It was scary.

Once that was over I had one blissful month, May of 2015, where I wasn’t taking any medication and I was headache and migraine free. Then they came back and one day every week I either had a headache or a migraine for the next 2.5 months.

To be continued.

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Too Much

Steffi, it’s Tuesday.
There’s 10 days until Christmas.
I’ve just shipped out the last big batch of crochet orders.
The new Fantastic Beasts trailer came out today.
Seeing a new Star Wars movie this weekend is a thing.
Christmas cards are mailed.
Presents are all purchased, but not wrapped.

There’s a lot going on and a lot of it is done, so I’m going to reward myself but doing nothing tonight but playing a new video game I bought for myself.

Writing this post was the last thing I had to do today. Sorry it’s so sad. ILY!

#DearMe

It was Steffi’s idea to have us join in the #DearMe project this week. So this is going to be a letter to my teenage self.

Hi. I’m going to give you some advice. You may try to ignore it, but I’m from the future so listen up!

Good for you for being a nerd and proud of it. You’re twirling flags in high school and you love it and you think it’s really awesome and anyone who doesn’t think it’s cool doesn’t matter. You love that you love Harry Potter and even if all your friends stop liking it, you continue to obsess. You honestly think that not being nerdy is lame. Good for you!

I would like to remind you that those ideas that you have about what you want to do, like working on movies and art, are really good! I don’t even think the words, “You only think you’ll like it because you like watching the Lord of the Rings appendices and you won’t be working on stuff like that” were ever said to you. You’ve made them up because that’s what you think people will say. Maybe they will, but who cares, you can do it anyway. Pursue the things you are interested in! Stop thinking that you have to have a fancy, official job. You are allowed to have a fun job and you are allowed to try. Don’t be scared of taking a path that isn’t quite clear. The clear paths to “successful” jobs will get more difficult if you aren’t fully passionate about them and trust me, you can’t get by just by studying. Still go to NAU though, or you won’t meet your loving husband.

I would also like to remind you that you don’t have to agree with everything people tell you. Not everyone has to like you and if you have a different opinion, it’s ok to say so. If they don’t like it and they don’t want to be your friend because of it, it’s probably best you don’t have them as a friend. You can also stop thinking so much about what other people think about what you wear, your hair, who you hang out with and your myspace page. Care about what YOU like and focus on that. Everyone else and what they are doing will disappear and you’ll be so happy because you’ve surrounded yourself with people and things you love.

A last thought, you might want to look into a few things. Like conventions. Nerdy people like you gather and meet each other year after year to cry about Harry Potter and such. You’ll make so many friends from places you’d never go and you’d realize you’re not the only one. Yes, there are others like you! You might even realize that people can be nerds forever and make a job out of it.

Keep being weird and awesome, keep your sense of adventure, keep staying true to who you are!

-Your 26-year-old self

Less Is So Much More

Hi Steffi, this post comes to you in three parts. And will probably make you think I’ve gone slightly overboard.

Part 1: LIFE IS BETTER WITH LESS STUFF.  I’m on a constant mission to make our life less cluttered. I hate when every possible surface is covered in stuff. We have too much. I watched missglamorazzi’s living with less video and although I already try to do this occasionally, it inspired me to really want to go through the whole house. The less I have the easier it is to clean, relax, and focus on the important things. If something isn’t directly causing us happiness, there’s really no reason to have it. This also means we have to stop getting stuff. Grayson and I are very lucky to have what we have. But owning a house doesn’t mean we need to fill it with everything! I want to be more conscious of what we bring home because if it doesn’t have a place, its place becomes the kitchen counter. And I HATE when things are on the kitchen counter.

Part 2: THE PLAN. I went through my closet last week and filled a bag of clothes for donation. I should have had before pictures, I mean really. Anyway, I’m going to make my way around the house making donate piles, throw away, and reorganize piles. It helps to tackle just one area at a time or you’ll get exhausted real fast. I like to ask myself when I’m deciding on keeping something, “Does this make me happy?” It’s pretty easy to get rid of things after that. I’ll be instagraming all the stuff I’m getting rid of so you can see the mountain of excess stuff we have. Part of this process does include us getting a few more things, but they are things that will make us happy and add value to our lives. Like getting a full size bed for our spare bedroom so our friends and family can visit us and not have to sleep on a futon ;). I have to make room for the bed first, but you see how this will work. Getting rid of the excess so we can be happier with less and add things of value.

Part 3: PUNISHMENTS. As you saw last night on instagram, I am torturing myself by attempting to beat the evil gold blob boss on Pikmin 3. I’ve killed about 200 pikmin so far and have already spent 5 days. Grayson was pretty amused by my constant gasps, screams, and whining. I’ll play it every night this week until I beat it! You truly are the worst.

A Serious Post: My Experience with Eating and Body Dysmorphic Disorders

Hi Keddah,

So, I feel a bit weird. I want to talk about something important (to me) and serious, but I’ve never really spoken about this in any sort of coherent or public way. And we’ve never been serious on the blog before. But I feel compelled to talk about this and I don’t think I’ll be satisfied with anything I put up here until I do.

I guess I’ll just jump into it. Also, trigger warning? Cuz that’s a thing on the internet.

Continue reading