Thursday, April 17, 2014

Social Anxiety

I was always a social person – all through High School, College, throughout my career, which included living in two other countries.  I always looked forward to spending time with other people whether it be a one-on-one get together or a large social gathering such as a party or weekend outing.  That’s why it seems so strange to have to come to grips with my new situation.  I hate to say I have “social anxiety” because in my heart I still look forward to going out and being with other people.  However, I have this constant fear of what the situation is going to be like.  Will there be lots of people and therefore possibly too much noise?  Will there be music playing (even if just in the background)?  Will it be hard to concentrate with too many things going on at the same time?  Will there be lots of bright lights?  Will there be lots of windows allowing in sunlight?  Will anyone be wearing perfume? Will the people I’m with understand if I need to leave early or put on sunglasses or do something else that is out of the ordinary?  When I’m at home I can control my environment.  When I’m out in the elements it’s out of my control and I feel defenseless to my migraines.  However, I refuse to cower to my migraines so I will push forward & continue to try and venture out. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Witching Hour of Migraines

Have you ever heard of the witching hour in relation to babies?  It’s usually between 5pm and their bedtime or just the evening in general.  It’s when babies are fussy and you try everything to make them happy. 
Well, I have a witching hour of migraines!  When I worked FT I always went to the gym during my lunch hour around 11am and ate right afterwards.  Once my migraines turned chronic, I noticed that I always started to feel bad sometime between 11am and 1pm.  At first, I thought it was due to my workout or something I ate or something I didn’t eat.  Now I generally have pain all the time no matter the time of day, but they still tend to get worse between 11am and 1pm.  So, I’ve termed it my witching hour.  I do everything to try and make my migraines happy – I drink extra water, stop any activity that I think may be aggravating them, drink a caffeinated beverage, eat something warm and soothing.  If you’ve ever suffered from migraines, you know how it is – you’re constantly wondering what could be causing the pain.  Is it something you did, something you didn’t do?  The questioning can drive you insane alone.  There really is no answer.  I’ve had chronic migraines for about 2 years now and no matter what I do, my witching hour is still about 11am-1pm.  Some days I sail right through and for those days I’m always grateful.  But for those other days when the witching hour persists – no matter the fact I know the outcome, I try everything in my power to keep the extra pain at bay.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Getting Reacquainted with Pain

On day 12 after my first Botox treatment I went virtually pain free for three glorious days.  It wasn’t until the third day that I truly realized – “Wow, I feel great!”  I just went about my days and was happy with everything I could do without having to rest, medicate, shut the blinds, etc.  Then, on day 15 I went back to what had become my normal state of being.  However, it seemed to hit me like a ton of bricks – as if I’d forgotten how to live with chronic pain.  It was shocking to me how quickly I seemed to forget how to handle even just a moderate amount of pain.  I remember that morning I woke up and the sunlight hit my face as soon as I entered the living room.  I scrambled to shut the curtains and get to the coffee maker.  All day I just kept waiting to feel better.  I never got super sick, but had a moderate steady level of pain all day.  That’s how I have lived each day for the past 2 ½ years with the exception of a few glorious months while pregnant.  Even though I had been in that state many times before, I just couldn’t understand it.  I have had good and bad days since having the Botox, but somehow no matter how many good days/moments I have, that pain when it returns to its normal levels is shocking to my system.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Let There Be Light

I’m on my third day in a row of a very low pain level.  And to be honest, I’m not really in pain, I just still mark it on my scale of 1-10 because I’ve still had some sensitivities and issues.  However, in the big scheme of things I have felt great for the last 3 days.  I haven’t had to take any meds, lay down or use ice.  Last night, I even caught myself saying, “It’s dark in here, we need to turn on some lights!”  That’s a VERY rare statement for me as I am normally the one turning off all the lights.  Today I was able to open some blinds and even sit outside.  I still wore sunglasses while outside, but I wasn’t squinting behind those sunglasses.   

I can’t even begin to describe the elation I feel for how well I’m feeling.  Unless you’ve been in pain for as long as I have been and tried the number of medicines, treatments, supplements, etc. I’m just not sure one can truly understand.  I didn’t sleep well at all last night and woke up early unable to go back to sleep.  Normally by noon I would have been medicating or having to lie down.  It’s 8pm and I’m still going strong.  Of course I’m tired and have that kind of hungover feeling when you just haven’t gotten enough sleep, but I’ll take that ANY day over having chronic migraines!

I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch, but today it’s been two weeks exactly since I had my first Botox treatment.  I’m hoping this reprieve from pain is not short lived and I can begin to enjoy my life fully again.  I have so many things I want to do…but that’s another blog post.  For now – Let there be light!!!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Today's the Day!

So today is the day that everything could change…or stay the same.  I’m getting my first treatment of Botox for my chronic migraines.  It’s possible that it will take a couple of rounds of Botox before I notice any difference.  (Botox can only be given every 3 months)  I always prefer to err on the side of optimism though.  I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket, but I’m hopefully optimistic that I’m soon going to be on the road to some kind of recovery from the chronic daily pain that has marred my life for the past few years.

In just one hour from now I will be sitting in front of my Doctor allowing him to inject me 31 times with a needle all over my forehead, head and neck in the hopes that this “celebrity drug” is the answer I needed.  A few years ago I abhorred any type of shot.  When I first started having to go to my Doctor for an emergency shot of meds to help with my migraine pain, my husband always went with me and held my hand.  Now after all the numerous injections/procedures I’ve had – countless blood draws, near daily IV treatments for 3 weeks to help with migraines, a c-section to deliver my son, I know I can do this!  Ideally, I’d have my husband with me to hold my hand through the pain, but he’s going to watch our son.  Having our son at home, on his schedule in a comfortable setting will give me peace of mind.  I know this is going to hurt, but I truly believe in mind over matter!  I don’t meditate or anything like that, but I’m hoping as long as I go into this with positive thoughts I can get through it.  I CAN do this!

Monday, February 24, 2014

To Botox or Not to Botox

About a year after I was diagnosed with migraines, my husband and I decided we wanted to try and treat my migraines as naturally as possible.  I started seeing one of the only Naturopaths in my city and followed every recommendation she suggested – from taking Vitamin D (apparently I’m deficient)to yeast pills to restore my gut to completely abstaining from corn and dairy (a special food allergy test showed I was allergic).  Even once I started at the Headache Clinic we tried to treat it as naturally as possible as the Doctors were aware I was anti-medicines.  I started taking high doses of magnesium and tried almost every supplement that’s ever been known to help migraines.  Finally, the one thing that took away my migraines completely (although temporarily) was being pregnant!  About 5 months into my pregnancy, my migraines disappeared.  It was a magical time!  Unfortunately, they came back 3 days after my son was born.   After that, I was willing to try any medicine they’d give me just to get rid of the pain.  Several pills and attempts later, I’m still in chronic migraine mode.   So now my Doctors have suggested Botox.  If someone had asked me two years ago about Botox, I would have said NO WAY.  I don’t like the idea of a bunch of chemicals being pushed into my body without long term studies being done about the effects.  However, I’m in pain every day and some days it’s unbearable.  I want to be a good wife, I want to be a good Mom, I want to be a good ME!  I figured it’s worth a shot – 31 shots to be exact!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Waiting To Feel Good

I’m sure a lot of people can sympathize with this feeling whether it’s while struggling with a cold or also a chronic pain condition.  Frequently I feel like I’m in a holding pattern – circling the activity I want to do – just waiting to feel better so I can actually do it.  Activities such as cleaning house, cooking dinner, grocery shopping, or going to the gym are generally “tasks” for most of the population.  When you don’t feel good though, it becomes a mountainous task.  Today I put on my yoga pants at 10am.  It’s 1pm now and as I walked into the bedroom to put on my socks & shoes I decided to blog instead of putting them on.  I wipe my eyes, rub my head, take a deep breath – think good thoughts.  Some days I can push through, but when every day you have to push through just to get any kind of task completed it can begin to feel overwhelming.  I may or may not end up at the gym today, time will tell.  Some days are better than others.  Let’s hope this is going to end up being one of the better ones.