Saturday, May 10, 2014

Moving to WordPress

I am moving my blog to WordPress.  You can find the new posts here.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Sleep Study Results

On April 26th, I had a sleep study done.  The purpose of this was to see if I had sleep apnea and if that could be part of my migraine problem.  I received the results of my sleep study yesterday.

I do not have sleep apnea.  I do, however, snore.  It gets worse if I have a cold, sinus infection, or allergy flair up.  This leads me to wonder if maybe I should see either an ENT or, more likely, an allergy specialist.

I know I have allergies, I just don't know what I am allergic to.  I also know that my migraines get worse when I have any sort of sinus pressure/buildup.  There was also the talk of having my tonsils out when I was younger, but it never happened.  While I don't want to go through that process as an adult, if it will help the migraines, I'm all for it.

All I want at this point, is to NOT have a near constant headache with daily migraine flair ups.  Reducing my migraines enough to go back to work would be nice as well.  I guess I need to be calling one of my doctors so see what we can do.

Out of the Fog

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Another Nasty Migraine

Sinus infections don't feel good. Migraines hurt. Combining the two is downright misery. Especially if it involves coughing. That just adds to the head pain. Then there is the stuffed up ears adding to the migraine dizziness.  Not sleeping well is bad for migraine sufferers.  So when nighttime coughing severely interrupts your sleep, there are some unpleasant consequences.  Since all of this came right after a very nasty 4 day migraine, I'm plum exhausted. 

All of this started on Saturday, April 26th.  This was the start of the 4 day migraine. So after getting some relief on Tuesday, I woke up Wednesday with what felt like a sinus infection. (I never ran a fever, so it probably wasn't.)  Between the sinus pressure and the coughing, I was not a happy person.  The pressure made my head hurt.  The coughing made my head hurt.  That led to a migraine.  The pressure is gone, but the coughing has been waking me up every night.  The last 2 nights I've actually gone out to try sleeping in the recliner, hoping that the elevation would help.  No dice.  This morning, I am already dizzy and having a hard time focusing on anything.  Looks like a trip to the doctor is in order.

Here I told you about a smoothie I tried in the hopes of helping.  It tasted wonderful, however, I didn't notice any difference.  I'm not saying it doesn't work, it just doesn't work for me.  

Yesterday was so bad that I just wanted to cry.  If I'd had the energy, I probably would have.  I hate feeling like I can't do anything.  I'm worn out from the pain and lack of sleep.

**As I was trying to add images to this post, I noticed that all of my pictures were gone.  I will explain more about that here.  I am trying to replace those that are gone, but I don't remember all of them that are missing.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Multiple Triggers = Nasty Migraine

Yesterday showed me what combining triggers will do for pain.  Wow!  What a nasty one.
Trigger: Exercise Stress.  On Saturday, Almira had a town yard sale.  While that can be very fun (and it was), it was also a bit stressful.  Our town is 7 blocks by 7 blocks, so driving to each of the yard sales just wasn't feasible.  While walking that might not seem like much, for someone as out of shape as I am, it was difficult.  Between all the walking and the small hills in town, my body must have thought I was trying to kill it.  This also leads to the next trigger.

Trigger: Dehydration.  All that walking kept us out for quite a few hours.  Not thinking, I didn't put on any sunblock or take any water with me.  By the time we got home, I was feeling almost feverish.  I worked on drinking water while cleaning and filling the dresser we got for my girls.  I'm still feeling a bit dehydrated, but it's not as bad as it was.

Trigger: Rough Sleeping.  Saturday night was my sleep study.  That wasn't bad, but it sure didn't offer any real rest.  Having wires attached to my face, scalp, chest and legs was not comfortable.  The breathing sensor inside of my nose and taped underneath it was not at all pleasant.  The oximeter wrapped tightly around my finger made placing my hands comfortably even more challenging.  The band around my chest was just shy of painful.  Add to all of this was a strange bed, different pillows, and lights I am not used to.  This all adds up to a rough night.  While I slept fairly well (I only woke up a couple of times), I didn't really get any rest.  So little rest that when I woke up at about quarter to 5, I thought it was closer to 2 or 3.

Trigger: Weather.  On my way to the sleep study, a storm came in, sort of.  It was more of a light sprinkling.  Sunday morning, however, was very different.  Cold rainstorm.  That hurts my head more than just about any other trigger I have found.  And it continued most of the day.

By the time I got home yesterday, I was ready to drop.  Unfortunately, I had a few things to do before I could.  Once I did, however, I took a 3 1/2 hour nap.  I felt almost normal when I woke up, though by the time dinner was done, I was back to being in pain.  I actually sent myself to my room because I was so very cranky.

I know triggers are bad.  When you combine a bunch, it's so much worse.  Hopefully, that won't be happening again.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Medication Shuffle

I saw my neurologist again today.  He got to see me have a bit of a breakdown.  I'm not sure if that is a good thing or not, but he is aware of my mental state and how these constant headaches and migraines are affecting me.  

We have decided that the Topamax is not helping.  Since I am already having side affects at the relatively low dose I am taking, he wants me to stop taking it.  I am to start taking Trazodone instead.  The hope is that helping me to sleep better might help lessen the number of days I have migraines.  Right now, I am at a state of near-constant migraine and it's wearing me down very quickly.

I know there are many (100+) medications out there that are used for migraine prevention.  Since I haven't taken very many different ones yet, I know that finding the right combination could take some time.  It's just hard to be patient while in pain.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

New Symptoms or New Awareness?

This will be a longish post. Please bear with me and thank you very much if you make it to the end.

Less than a week ago, I told you about a new symptom I'm having. It's still there. Since I will be seeing the doctor on Monday, I plan to ask him if it's migraine related or if it could be a side effect of the medication I'm taking.

I've also started to notice that I'm hearing things that either aren't there or just that no one else is hearing. I don't know if this is a new thing or if I'm just becoming more aware of it. It's got me to thinking of all of my migraine symptoms.

First and foremost is the headache. This can vary from day to day. I know that the most common is on one side. For me, that is actually the least common. Mine is usually all over. It is still the throbbing/pulsating of a migraine, but it is almost never just on one side.

Nausea seems to cause me the most discomfort, after the head pain (sometimes more than the pain). I do not like to throw up. Luckily, I can usually avoid it. Unfortunately, the nausea makes me not want to eat. Since I tend to have low blood sugar, this can be a bad thing. It also doesn't help the headache.

I also get sensitive to light, sound and smell.

Photophobia, or light sensitivity, makes it difficult to be in bright rooms and
almost impossible to go outside. My optometrist actually explained it best to me a couple of weeks ago.  A child's pupils are normally larger than an adults.  When my girls and I got our eyes checked at the same time, my were larger than theirs, before dilation. I get dizzy and feel like I'm going to faint. When I was working as a cashier, this was a scary thing. Passing out at a cash register was not a thing I wanted to experience. Driving this way is even scarier. I'm finding that I prefer having others drive more and more.

Phonophobia, or sound hypersensitivity, is another one that plagues me. This is a difficult one in my house. I have 2 young daughters and 2 young step daughters. Young girls have high pitched voices, especially when excited. My 4 also like to sing. Now I don't mind that they like music; in fact, I love it. However, when I have a migraine, it's excruciating. They also have toys and electronics that make beeping noises. Those are to me what nails on a chalkboard are to most other people.

Osmophobia, or psychological hypersensitivity to odors, tends to affect me all the time, but especially during a migraine. Strong smells, whether good or bad, have always bothered me. Cleaners, perfumes, and fish are the worst culprits for me. I don't have to deal with perfumes in my house, yet. (With 4 girls, it's only a matter of time.) However, my fiance and his dad both like seafood. As for cleaners, I've yet to find one that my fiance likes to use that doesn't bother me.

The symptom that bothers me the most, I think, is the extreme irritability. This usually hits at the beginning of a migraine. Kerrie Smyres said it best in her blog post on For me, every little thing my children or the cats do starts to absolutely piss me off. I become downright mean. I try to catch these mood swings before they become so bad that hurt someone. I don't mean physically. I don't want to yell at my kids when they don't really deserve it. I'm so very grateful to have Ted, who has put up with my temper while I have worked on learning to notice when I'm getting a migraine. If not for him, things might have been so much worse these last few months.

There is also the aura. This has been a recent discovery for me. I've always had it, but I've never know it was my aura. The closest description I've seen for what I experience is the Alice in Wonderland syndrome, though on closer reading, it doesn't seem right either. My aura is only experienced with my eyes closed. My imagination/brain sees things and then expands and shrinks them constantly and rapidly. This has recently started to cause me some anxiety.

I recently read a blog post on called "What's your strangest migraine symptom?". There is a picture with a bunch of different symptoms that other migraine sufferers have experienced. I have found a few more of my own there.

Speech difficulty is one of my more frustrating ones. This one tends to work against me during my irritability phase, especially when dealing with the children. There have been a number of times while trying to scold them I have had to walk away and let Ted deal with it instead. The words won't come out right, this causes them to laugh, which only infuriates me further. Bad combination.

Hunger has either become a recent one or recently come to my attention. I find it strange. Either I'm nauseated or I have the munchies. I don't like it. I'm desperately overweight already. I don't need any encouragement to continue this fashion.

Restless leg is a symptom others have noticed. When I asked my neurologist about this, he was of the opinion that this is not a migraine symptom. However, it is family trait. Since my mother has both migraines and restless leg syndrome, it makes sense that I would also have both.

Then there is what is called the postdrome. I call this the “migraine hangover”. With my migraines coming so frequently now, I'm not sure that I really experience this anymore. I will, however, tell you what they were like for me. You are drained. You have just come from being sick for what feels like at least a week and your body is still recovering from it. Your head hasn't fully recovered, your stomach hasn't fully recovered, and your mood hasn't fully recovered. You are truly not at your best.

As you can see, this is a lot to think about.

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Another Day in the Migraine World

I think I have a new migraine symptom, though I'm not sure. In the last few days, I have noticed a vibrating sensation in my body. I only notice it when I am lying down or completely relaxed. I'm not sure if it is happening at other times, I just don't notice it then. I've also noticed that the anxiety that I get from my aura has gotten worse. I don't know if it's because I'm getting the aura more often, if it's because the aura seems worse, or if there is some other reason.

I'm getting nervous about my sleep study next week. I “know” what to expect, both from what I have read and what my fiance has told me. Since I have never gone through one myself, however, I find myself a bit jittery over the prospect. I've also never been away from home overnight on a school night. I know that Ted and the girls will do just fine, but it's just one more thing for me to worry over.

I have a surgery scheduled (finally) in June. The check in time is 6am. That means either leaving my house at 4am or finding a way to stay overnight in Spokane the night before. If it was just myself to worry about, I would just deal with the drive. However, I won't be able to drive myself home and I don't want to ask Ted to get up and drive 2 hours then sit for however long it will take and then drive us both home.

I'm trying not to worry about all of this, but it's not an easy task.  

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