Eating, Working, and Living with Chronic Migraine

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Using fresh peppermint as a part of your wellness plan: How to plant peppermint.

Using fresh peppermint as a part of your wellness plan: How to plant peppermint.

Chances are you’ve already discovered peppermint as a medicinal tool in your overall health plan. In addition to relieving headaches, peppermint has been known to cure a plethora of ailments such as relieving stomach aches and soothing the digestive system, releases tight muscles (when used […]

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Why meditation can be good for migraine

Why meditation can be good for migraine

The practice of meditation is one that is specific yet personal. While there are some guidelines out there on how to meditate, once you begin, the practice itself becomes most beneficial when making it your own. So, what is meditation? Meditation is a practice where […]

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Why Keeping a Migraine Journal is Essential for Your Healing

Why Keeping a Migraine Journal is Essential for Your Healing

Keeping a migraine journal is an essential tool in your health journey. After you have gone through a migraine it is not always easy to recall the small details of what could have triggered the migraine in the first place. Especially, if you are new […]

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Five minutes of yoga can help lessen migraine frequency

Five minutes of yoga can help lessen migraine frequency

Developing a yoga practice is generally beneficial in a multitude of ways. While yoga can help you burn calories and tone up, this ancient, 5,000-year-old practice has health benefits ranging from improving flexibility, muscle, and bone health; lowering blood pressure; boosting immune system functionality; and…wait […]

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Use essential oils in your diffuser for migraine and headache relief

Use essential oils in your diffuser for migraine and headache relief

Many essential oils provide pain relief and relaxation. A common way to use essential oils is through a cold air diffuser. These diffusers transmit tiny oil particles throughout the air to aid in your migraine and/or headache relief. When I feel a headache coming on […]

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The love of reading

The love of reading

Give me a book, and I’m lost for days. I’ll read almost anywhere, except in a moving vehicle, you know, that “little” issue of headaches that come from motion sickness. Often, a doctor would explain something to me about migraine, and I wouldn’t immediately grasp […]

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Why deep breathing will be your lifeline

Why deep breathing will be your lifeline

It’s 7am Tuesday morning and your alarm goes off, but this time it’s raging at you. The blaring and pulsating of the alarm feels like it’s begging for your head explode. You open your eyes. Everything is blurred, you feel disoriented, and the ache beneath […]

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Let food be a part of your migraine prevention plan

Let food be a part of your migraine prevention plan

The Lifestyle, Eating, and Performance (LEAP) program can help address your chronic migraine symptoms. LEAP is a specifically formulated eating plan that aids the healing of your body’s sensitivities and can help reduce (and, for some, even eliminate) headaches. The release of mediators in the […]

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Five book recommendations on migraine and persistence

Five book recommendations on migraine and persistence

These book recommendations are for migraineurs, people who love and take care of us, and anyone curious about migraine. I’ve also added some of my favorite reads on pursuing your dreams and not giving up. So much of the migraine journey mimics life – it’s […]

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Blogging process: What I learned from my first year of blogging

Blogging process: What I learned from my first year of blogging

Plan, plan, plan. The best advice I’ve heard about blogging is “keep blogging.” One way, maybe the only way, to do that is to have a plan. Over the past year, I’ve developed a planning and blogging process that works best for me. I usually […]

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Blueberry gluten-free pancakes

Blueberry gluten-free pancakes

I used a pancake recipe from Bob’s Red Mill for inspiration (of course). They have some of the best recipes with gluten-free flour. I modified it a bit and added in the blueberries. You can replace the blueberries with your favorite fruit, chocolate chips, coconut […]

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Sweet potato hash

Sweet potato hash

Ahh… good mornings. They seriously make the whole day better. I had one of them recently. I woke up on time, refreshed, and (mostly) prepared for the day. I also remembered that I made a sweet potato sausage hash the night before! After dicing a […]

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My Migraine Story

My migraine story

My migraine story

As far as I can remember, I started getting bad headaches when I was 16. The summer before junior year, I remember my parents having a party at our house. I remember I wanted so badly to hangout with the guests. I remember it so vividly that I can picture the green shorts outfit I was wearing. My hair was in a ponytail, and I had on low, strappy sandals. It was a backyard party─good food, loud music, and people talking, dancing, and swimming in our pool. As much as I tried, I couldn’t take it anymore. My head was pounding, and I needed to go upstairs to my room. Laying down wasn’t working. The music seemed to be getting louder and louder. Unbeknownst to me, my dad had unwittingly started blasting the music inside (no longer just using the outdoor speakers). The music was now playing throughout the house. It reverberated throughout my room. My head was pounding even harder. It was like I could hear my headache pounding to the beat of the music. I eventually got up enough energy to barely crawl out of bed and walk downstairs. I found my dad. I squinted through the pain and the bright, blaring sun to tell him the music was too loud, and it was making my head hurt. This was our family’s first experience with migraine. We didn’t even know it was migraine, at the time. We would find out much later the depths of symptoms, treatments, and countless trials and errors.

Of course, he apologized and turned the music off inside, which helped, greatly. I went back to my room and finally went to sleep. When I woke up, I went to a party at a park with some people I knew from school. Why did I do this…go to this party when I was sick? I can’t really explain it now. Maybe I didn’t want to miss out, maybe I was too embarrassed to admit something was wrong with me, maybe I didn’t consider I could actually say “no” after I’d already committed to going out. What I do know is that it was the first of many situations where I pretended everything was okay, that I wasn’t in pain, and that I didn’t have a debilitating disease.

Fast-forward almost 20 years later, when I learned I have hemiplegic migraine─a rare form of migraine that presents with stroke-like systems. For me, this includes complete numbing of the right side of my body. I develop unbearable head pain (a level 10, if you know anything about measuring pain), again, mostly on the right side. I have extreme difficulty speaking, not just saying words, but also saying the correct words. For example, if I’m trying to say, “I need my prescription and water,” it may come out as, “med…water…in…can’t…” and that’s it. Thankfully, I have a caretaker, my husband, who is now completely aware of my migraine symptoms. We have a migraine protocol and plan, which is essentially to help me to bed, bring me my medication and water, and check on me every 30 minutes. If I’m still in the same condition after an hour and a half, it’s time to go to the ER.

I don’t remember talking to my doctor about hemiplegic migraine. I love my neurologist. He and his team are hands-down, the best headache specialists I’ve seen. (Note: I cannot stress how important it is to see a doctor who specializes in the field you need care. If you have headaches, see a headache specialist. Not a neurologist that knows about headaches, but specializes in Parkinson’s disease, make sense?) I obviously knew I had hemiplegic migraine symptoms, I mean, I’ve been experiencing them for over half my life, and my doctor treats me for these symptoms; however, I didn’t know the medical term until I learned about it through a blog post. See how beneficial we bloggers are? (wink, wink). Knowing the full name and description of my rare disease brought me comfort and gave me confidence. I thought, “someone knows about what I’m going through and is sharing it with others that may have no clue.” It also encouraged me to continue to share my story, the best I can, in hopes to comfort others.

Then, I read The Migraine Brain by Carolyn Bernstein, M.D. I learned that during the writing of her book, which was copyrighted in 2008, less than .01% of the population had hemiplegic migraine. After some quick research, I realized this percentage is still accurate today. Studies suggest hemiplegic migraine occurs in roughly one in 10,000 people. NOT comforting. That number sent me into a downward spiral. I immediately ugly cried and wondered “why me?” I wondered this for a long time. Why am I in the .0001%?!? I mean, if I’m going to be in the top .0001% of anything, can it at least be of fee earners, professional athletes, or pop stars?

I was sharing my angst with some close friends, and one turned to me and said that often the people who experience rare diseases are those who also experience the greatest the triumph. I’m heeding that statement and believing it into reality. I’m going to continue to be confident in my migraine story. I’m LIVING with chronic migraine. It doesn’t dictate who I am. There are risks and rewards in life, and I believe me and my fellow migraineurs have a special opportunity to make a big impact in all our endeavors. This is my main purpose in sharing my migraine story─to make an impact on migraineurs and non-migraineurs alike. To show how living with chronic migraine is still living but maybe with a few modifications. I share more on this and other funny, emotional, and uplifting stories in my personal migraine journal. Subscribe get access to these heartfelt, authentic stories.

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