Saturday, October 30, 2010

Saddest Face Ever. And a Picnic! Yay!

This has been an eventful week.

I woke up way too early this morning and am feeling all stiff and foggy and GRUMPY AS HELL. I'm supposed to have plans tonight, but the kitchen is trashed and I am so wiped from a 7.6 mile bike ride yesterday, that I really have no idea how I am going to do it all without melting down.

Speaking of melting down. That 7.6 mile bike ride was to our local Aid office to try again for food stamps. We were issued a card many months ago, but we only got to use it once before it was deactivated due to budget cuts. It was very sad. So, we went to the office and the worker said that we may not qualify for it after all but she is going to "look into it". It may or may not help that my boyfriend is trying to get all my medical expenses together as proof of broke-ness. We'll see how that goes. We opted to go ahead and take pictures and fingerprint while we were there, to save me another trip if nothing else. I had full earplugs in, a hat on, and was constantly guzzling water, so I was doing pretty good until they needed to take my picture and I had to remove my hat. As soon as it came off, and those fluorescent lights hit me in my weakest spot, I crumbled into tears. The woman tried to take the picture anyway and ended up with a pic of me making the saddest crying face ever.

I drew a really terrible picture to portray the saddest crying face ever. My hair is long and brown and sticking up wildly. It is labelled "hat hair". My eyes have stress lines drawn around them and so does my zig-zagged mouth. There are blue drops falling from my eyes and they are labelled "visible tears". Another label points at the head vaguely and says "Saddest face ever" In case it was unclear.

She gave me a minute to try to compose myself and I managed not to bawl through the next attempt but I didn't even look at the picture. It can't have been pretty but I could not have cared any less at that moment. So, then we went to a very close park and had a picnic with the lunch we'd packed. This gave me time to medicate and calm myself, drink more water and stretch the tension out of my body.  I took out the earplugs and relaxed. Decadent. I definitely needed the break before throwing myself back on a bicycle and back into traffic. It's like Frogger out there. But it's amazing what some down time will do for my head because after about an hour or just being quiet and focusing on the moment (trees! tuna salad!), I was ready to go. I must have done something right because the ride home was much easier than expected. But I'm still so tired I could fall over.

I made some glorious zucchini and sun-dried tomato enchiladas which you can read more about here.

I made a new internet friend. I do have a few real life people with whom I can discuss my health, and I love and appreciate them for supporting me as best they can, but very few have chronic pain, and even fewer have migraines. My new internet friend knows the chronic migraines well, and it's been really fantastic comparing stories and sharing ideas. I highly recommend it. It's like blog-reading, but more interactive.

And I am finally on an effective antibiotic for that stubborn UTI. It's still not gone, but it's finally improving.

My head? Nothing exciting. There's been pain, but it's been manageable with mindfulness, meditation, and meds. And ice, but that just ruined my nice alliteration.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010


A few items about the blog.

About a hundred years ago, I got a couple blogger-endowed awards. A very belated thanks MigrainePuppet, Tallis, and Jessica. There's nothing better than mutual blog love. But I am once again going to ignore the rules and not make a list of people to pass it on to.


I tried a few times, but it was like picking a favorite song or movie. There are too many greats, and my favorites change with my mood. Also, I kept flashing back to being picked last for basketball, which broke my ten-tear-old heart and has made it extremely uncomfortable for me to ever express preference over one person or thing over another. (Like when I used to feel bad for Pepsi because I only drank Coke, so I used to buy a Pepsi every tenth time or so, to make them feel better. (Now I drink water. It's just easier.)) You can see how choosing favorite writers might be difficult for me. So, instead of stressing myself out, let me again direct you to my blogroll, down there on the right, which is chock-full of fabulous writings and interesting people. And a few weirdos.


I love the idea of a business sending me free stuff to review it on my blog. How do people normally make this happen? Do the bloggers email companies asking for free stuff or do we wait for them to find us?

I actually did try something once, they found me in this case, and a product was sent to me to try for free with the idea that I would write about my positive experience. But the product didn't work for me and I didn't want to write a bad review, so I don't think I ever mentioned it. But I really do like free stuff. And having an opinion. So, there you go, Companies With Migraine Related Products To Sell, send me your products (at your expense, of course) and if I can't say anything nice I won't say anything at all.

What a pitch. Yep, the free samples will be lining up. Aaaaaany day now.


Migraine blogging tip of the day: Since my brain went haywire, I've found it nearly impossible to sit down and write a coherent blog post from start to finish. (Haveyanoticed?) I get confused or distracted or tired before I manage to finish a thought. I've found it works better for me if I keep several pieces going at the same time. And then, whenever I feel like writing (like randomly for 3 hours at 4 am. Good morning!), I can flit around my drafts, editing, adding and deleting at whim, moving on to the next, starting a whole new post, or stopping writing mid-sentence without feeling like I left anything half-finished. Because everything is half finished! And sometimes I'll wrap up several posts at a time and save them up for the weeks when I can't string together two words. This somewhat scattered technique has served me well. Looking back, I've been pretty consistent with my posting, despite the rollercoaster ride of cognitive ups and downs I deal with daily.


I posted some pictures over at my other blog, Focusing On Reality. It's been months since I've posted there, so why doncha pop on over and give my stat counter some activity. It'll make me feel good and I'll owe you one. :)


Friday, October 22, 2010

Of Late

I was just thinking that halloween is like a kick-off party to the massive weight gain olympics that are The Holidays and I am really hoping that if I derail that train by not buying any candy that I like for the trick-or-treaters (read: buy stock in candy corn) that maybe my caboose won't end up so overloaded at the end of the line.

Oh hey, looks like this is going to be another random, blurty post. I feel like I should apologize for these, but mah hed hertz, so screw it.

I got myself a urinary tract infection (uti). And the antibiotics are only semi-working and are triggering horrible headaches. And I can't afford pyridium. Per my doc and the antibiotic manufacturers, it should be cleared up in about a week. Only seven more days! (she cackled crazily)

I got an idea to decoupage a couple of boxes to make myself some cute little cubbies. The great thing about decoupage is that it comes out really well, really easily. So, despite my haphazard cutting and my messy flour/water glue, they came out really cool. Better, at least, than the plain brown boxes I'd been using previously for the same purpose.

I had my first real biking migraine incident. I wasn't feeling great but we needed to go to the food bank and it's only a few blocks away, so I decided to risk it. I made it about a block before my migraine impaired aim careened me over a few sharp sidewalk elevation changes, which gave me several hard jolts in a row. I stayed upright, didn't even need to stop the bike actually, but my head felt every bump and I suddenly felt very sick. Then of course, noises got louder, the sun got brighter and hotter, and I felt like I was possibly floating several feet behind my body. I made it there and back, but I've been off-kilter since. My head is waxing and waning and making me moody as hell. I'm confused and nauseous one minute and making zucchini brownies the next.

Though, that might also be due to my current lack of meds. I'm having to ration and go without, so I'm less able to work through the pain. But when I do indulge in pain relief I can't stop myself from being productive, which triggers more pain, for which I can't medicate, and then I'm back where I started.

Forcing relaxation is an uncomfortable feeling. But I think a cuppa, a heat wrap, and a massage from my man might be just the ticket.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

And Taking Names

I just got home from a six mile bike ride, my furthest yet. And I am exhausted. So here's some lazy stream of consciousness. This is always fun.

I've been alternately super-healthy-raw-foodie girl and junk-carb-binger-lady, often within minutes of each other. I don't know if it's pain, side effects from the drugs, or just my desperation and frustration at being trapped inside the house for days at a time during that last heat wave, but I am having serious problems regulating my portion sizes and frequency of meals. The other day, I kept eating something I wasn't even enjoying, despite a full and unhappy stomach. I could hardly stop myself. It doesn't help that I've always had a loaded relationship with food. I really hate when I have problems that feel entirely of my own making.

My laptop died, so our internet was down for a few days while my boyfriend cobbled together a desktop for me. This left me naked without my usual bevy of distractions. I kept myself sane by reading, sewing, crocheting, cleaning, cooking and just a smidge of anxious wall staring to fill the time during which I would normally be sucked into the internet. I felt like a pioneer girl. It was character building.

My head's been pretty relentless, though, which has been inhibiting any sunshiney ventures. There has been very little bike riding, besides my triumphant comeback today. BUT, I have managed to have my first moving collision. Ruts are tricky.

I think the Vitamin D has improved my energy levels. Even when I felt well enough, head wise, to do stuff before, it was always a huge struggle. I was so tired all the time that before I'd even get out the door I'd be wiped from just the prep of leaving. But since getting my weekly high-dose (50,000 iu!) I've been leaving the house consistently, if just for a walk up and down the street. And that has worked wonders for my mental health. I feel less trapped, scared, and helpless when I can participate in grocery shopping. And i tell you, mopping the floors feels like the greatest accomplishment ever when you haven't done it in weeks.

In fact, I am so proud of myself every time I accomplish something I haven't in a while, I've taken to calling myself an asskicker. As in:

I'm riding my bike in figure eights, almost perfectly keeping to the same path. I am not falling over. I crow, "(Boyfriend) look at meeee! I'm an asskicker!"


Boyfriend walks in the kitchen, is blinded by the unusually clean and shiny surfaces. He comments on the difference and I grin, "I know. I'm such an asskicker."

Or today, there was a hill. And it was hard. Actually, it was a little too hard, so I need to wrap this up and ice my dome, but at the top of the hill, I couldn't stop myself, I yelled to my boyfriend, "Did you see me kicking ass?? I am such a freaking asskicker!"

I have no idea whose ass I'm kicking (maybe my own?) or why that phrase even came into my head, but it makes me feel good to say it.


Say it.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mushrooms for Migraine? Meh.

Anybody remember when I posted that link to that hallucinogenic mushroom page and we didn't ever really bring it up again, cause WOW, what a crazy treatment for migraines, right?!


**The disclaimer: I, not being a doctor or scientist of any kind, am not recommending that anyone try hallucinogenic mushrooms, for any reason. I did my own research and took my own risks, knew the possible consequences and made my own choices. These may not be the best choices for you. Also, psilocybin (science talk for magic) mushrooms are illegal everywhere that I know of, so don't go roaming the streets, or the woods, trying to score them because some woman on the internet said to. I absolutely did not say to. And we're going to call this whole post fiction just in case someone wants to arrest me.**

As the disclaimer suggests, I didn't enter into this lightly. I found a lot of anecdotal experience on the web, which detailed various methods of ingestion, frequency and results. I compared this information to the few studies I could find about migraines and hallucinogens. It is mostly recommended for cluster headaches, but is occasionally mentioned as being helpful for other chronic pain conditions and some psychoses. After a year of talking it over, off and on, an opportunity presented itself and we took it. Well, I took it. My boyfriend mostly babysat me and rolled his eyes.

I actually ended up trying it twice. The first time, I noticed no real change in my pain, and very little change in my perception. From what I'd read, the dose doesn't necessarily need to be high enough to cause hallucinations, so I'd decided to start low and increase the dose if needed. I tried it again a few weeks later, with a slightly higher amount and a more effective delivery system and I definitely had a reaction. It actually reminded me of a migraine, with the first hint of wooziness and visual distortions and then the full on assault of sensory overload, nausea, confusion and just a dash of panic. It was not an enjoyable experience, for the most part. Interestingly, I endured the majority of the trip without a noticeable headache, but as soon as the rest of me returned to normal, so did my migraine.

I'm unlikely to try it again. Like with many other treatments I've had to abandon, I didn't see enough positive results before the side effects became too much for me. Also, there's the whole illegal thing.

Though honestly, if it had worked, I'd take them as often as necessary, side effects and laws be damned. Now, wouldn't that be a trip?


Friday, October 1, 2010

Happy Things In My Life

This last (fingers crossed!) heat wave has really beaten me down. I've been reclusive and snappy, exhausted and lethargic, depressed and bored. So, here's a list of the recent awesome, which has been helping me set my head back on straight.

**I have now been on several successful bike rides. I haven't crashed yet, but I did topple over in a highly dramatic and painful way that was surely a joy for all who witnessed it. The fall left strange-looking parallel bruises on my ribs and hip, and some huge purple welts on my shins that make me look all beat to hell. I'm kind of enjoying it. I mean, they hurt a little, but I haven't had a good bruise in a long time, and I feel like that scrape on my right shin and the two bright lumps on my left are badges of pride, well-earned scars of triumph over adversity, or something like that. Every time I bump them, I wince, but I'm also reminded of how much fun it is to bike and how much more exercise I'm getting and how much healthier I feel. I love my bruises!

**I've caught up on last season's Top Chef, am happy ANTM is back, and can't wait to hijack someone's cable for some quality Dexter time. (Hi mom!)

**I've been slowly rereading The Once and Future King, which is one of my favorites.

**I've been looking into school again. It's a constant fantasy of mine, to eventually get a degree (or ten!). I would need quite a few accommodations and would be taking only one class at a time for now, but it would be progress. Which is the goal. Unfortunately there is a mountain of paperwork that goes along with the application process, which really challenges my poor, migraine-addled brain. And then I get discouraged, how would I possibly do well in school if I can't even manage to apply? Which is just fear talking, and frustration. Baby steps.

**I've been hanging dry our laundry as much as possible lately. Now, not using the dryer uses more spoons, with the hanging, and can trigger my head a bit, with the reaching, but I like using less electricity and since I stopped using fabric softener the static cling has been making me crazy. I still dry my towels and blankets in the machine, though. It's an indoor rack, they'd take a week.

**Despite the recent heat wave, I've been smelling fall on the wind. At night, a chilly breeze will kick up, sending the first waves of fallen leaves scraping along the streets. I can't wait for rain.

**I cut my own hair over month ago. I'm not sure if I ever mentioned it, but I'm still proud of how it came out every time I catch myself in the mirror. Hopefully, this'll mean that I'll be able to avoid the perils of a salon for a while.

**My boyfriend. I am ever-impressed by his patience, compassion, and ability. He takes care of me in ways I never thought I would need and never lets me feel shame for it.