Are we sexier?

Oh the perks of having migraines... they are so plentiful, well not really, but this artcle mentions one interesting affect. First of all some of us experience a higher sexual libido as a migraine aura... which I have noticed as an effect of my 'manic' migraines, where really my energy level is totally spiked. And then there is the fact that an orgasam is god's migraine abortive... and that is also true, sometimes, other times it can increase the pain... but I say go for it (assuming you are of age, and if not block this from your mind), since at the very least it is a darn good distraction.

Migraine Sufferers: Are they sexier

How to survive the holidays with chronic pain

1) Consider your options: Choose the events that you wish to go to, and make lame excuses for all the other ones.

2) Consider distance: When choosing Christmas parties always consider the distance to and from the said event. Just because you can get somewhere does not mean you will be in any shape to get back.

3) Conisder beverage choices: As in no booze. And trust me out drinking a migraine backfires with a uber migraine that cannot be treated.

4) Consider your shopping methods: Malls are horrible. Full of mobs, noise and so forth. And then there is getting there and then the walking about. So use the internet... it is your friend.

5) Consider which relatives you like best: Family are great, but lets face it there is so much of them. Your not Santa Claus, you cannot zip around at the speed of light to see everyone. So pick your favorite relative, or the one that cooks the best meal and go there. Never host a family gathering, because that is just a slippery slope of house cleaning and cooking.

Side Effects: Steve Martin

Side Effects
by Steve Martin

The New Yorker
April 13, 1998

DOSAGE: take two tablets every six hours for joint pain.

SIDE EFFECTS: This drug may cause joint pain, nausea, head-ache, or shortness of breath. You may also experience muscle aches, rapid heartbeat, and ringing in the cars. If you feel faint, call your doctor.

Do not consume alcohol while taking this pill; likewise, avoid red meat, shellfish, and vegetables. O.K. foods: flounder. Under no circumstances eat yak. Men can expect painful urination while sitting, especially if the penis is caught between the toilet seat and the bowl.

Projectile vomiting is common in thirty per cent of users-sorry, fifty per cent. If you undergo disorienting nausea accompanied by migraine and raspy breathing, double the dosage. Leg cramps are to be expected; one knee-buckler per day is normal.

Bowel movements may become frequent-in fact, every ten minutes. If bowel movements become greater than twelve per hour, consult your doctor, or any doctor, or just anyone who will speak to you. You may find yourself becoming lost or vague; this would be a good time to write a screenplay.

Do not pilot a plane, unless you are among the ten per cent of users who experience "spontaneous test-pilot knowledge." If your hair begins to smell like burning tires, move away from any buildings or populated areas, and apply tincture of iodine to the head until you no longer hear what could be taken for a "countdown."

May cause stigmata in Mexicans. If a fungus starts to grow between your eyebrows, call the Guinness Book of World Records. May induce a tendency to compulsively repeat the phrase "no can do." This drug may cause visions of the Virgin Mary to appear in treetops. If this happens, open a souvenir shop. There may be an overwhelming impulse to shout out during a Catholic Mass, "I'm gonna wop you wid da ugly stick!" You may feel a powerful sense of impending doom; this is because you are about to die.

Men may experience impotence, but only during intercourse. Otherwise, a powerful erection will accompany your daily "walking-around time." Do not take this product if you are uneasy with lockjaw. Do not be near a ringing telephone that works at 900 MHz or you will be very dead, very fast. We are assuming you have had chicken pox. You also may experience a growing dissatisfaction with life along with a deep sense of melancholy-join the club! Do not be concerned if you arouse a few ticks from a Geiger counter. You might want to get a one-month trial subscription to Extreme Fighting.

The hook shape of the pill will often cause it to become caught in the larynx. To remove, jam a finger down your throat while a friend holds your nose to prevent the pill from lodging in a nasal passage. Then throw yourself stomach first on the back portion of a chair. The expulsion of air should eject the pill out of the mouth, unless it goes into a sinus cavity, or the brain.

WARNING: This drug may shorten your intestines by twenty-one feet. Has been known to cause birth defects in the user retroactively. Passing in front of TV may cause the screen to moiré. Women often feel a loss of libido, including a full-octave lowering of the voice, an increase in ankle hair, and perhaps the lowering of a testicle. If this happens, women should write a detailed description of their last three sexual encounters and mail it to me, Bob, Trailer Six, Fancyland Trailer Park, Encino, CA. Or E-mail me at

Discontinue use immediately if you feel that your teeth are receiving radio broadcasts. You may experience "lumpy back" syndrome, but we are actively seeking a cure. Bloated fingertips on the heart-side hand are common. When finished with the dosage, be sure to allow plenty of "quiet time" in order to retrain the eye to move off stationary objects. Flotation devices at sea will become pointless, as the user of this drug will develop a stone-like body density; therefore, if thrown overboard, contact your doctor.

(This product may contain one or more of the following: bungee cord, plankton, rubber, crack cocaine, pork bladders, aromatic oils, gunpowder, corn husk, glue, bee pollen, dung, English muffin, poached eggs, ham, Hollandaise sauce, crushed saxophone reeds.)

Sensations of levitation are illusory, as is the sensation of having a "phantom" third arm.

Users may experience certain inversions of language. Acceptable: "Hi, are how you?" Unacceptable: "The rain in Sprain slays blainly on the phsssst." Twenty minutes after taking the pills, you will feel an insatiable craving to take another dose. AVOID THIS WITH ALL YOUR POWER. It is advisable to have a friend handcuff you to a large kitchen appliance, ESPECIALLY ONE THAT WILL NOT FIT THROUGH THE DOORWAY TO WHERE THE PILLS ARE. You should also be out of reach of any weapon-like utensil with which you could threaten friends or family, who should also be briefed to not give you the pills, no matter how much you sweet-talk them.

Migraine art- Olea Nova

Olea Nova-Migraine art- while the artist is painting based on research and interviews with people with migraines, I do find her paintings interesting. Sometimes it is simply impossible to express things in words. Words become limiting and even at times self-concealing.

Dancing on thin ice

You know it all circles around. I have made numerous compramises for this chronic pain, many career changes, not continuing my academic studies. You always get to that point where you are forced to alter your life because of your health... until you become a hermit. And it is always difficult, but in the end you put up with it because the change is benificial, as in less suffering. I really thought I would not have to do that again, because I landed a job that is desk work, no shift work and while interesting does not require the full capacity of my intellect on a daily basis, so typos and completely unreadable handwriting asside, I can still do my job effectively with a mild to moderate migraine. Certainly I had less troubles coping when I had abortives. It was all down hill without the abortives. If becomes exceedingly hard to cope when you cannot get rid of the pain or the aura symptoms. It rapidly goes from problamatic to impossible, no matter how hard your doctors scramble to find something to help out and no matter how accomadating your employer is. In the end no one is happy, least of all me, becuase I am in a situation I cannot fix and cannot tolerate.

So my employer has explicitly told me if I miss one more day I will be either fired or I offer my resignation. She says she would not like to fire me and by doing so it would affect me unemployment insurance. I am not worried about the unemployment insurance because a) I can get medical unemployment and b) there are jobs a plenty around here, so getting hired is not hard, although keeping the job would be equally difficult at this point. One of my co-workers suggested that I seriously consider another work leave, as then I can keep my job and my place in this chosen career field and hopefully find a resoultion. So really here are the problems:

1) I cannot stop a migraine from happening, nor abort one when I do. I am basically gaurenteed three migraines a work week, but maybe more, and obviously I cannot predict when.

2) I can very accurately predict hormonal migraines, and they last at least a week and are very acute. However, I also get painful PMS symptoms. I can't take two anti-inflammatories at the same time and as a result I get very sick with the whole nausea/digestive issues and the pain is not well managed. And I cannot choose the med my doc puts me on, or overcome her reluctance in giving me pain killers... so this time of the month is a citical time and no matter what assurances I make that I will go to work, it becomes impossible with that sort of onslaught of pain.

3) There is nothing I can do about the aura symptoms. My vision can be very impaired, at least recently that is the case. I have ringing, thrumming all the time and occasionally hearing loss. I have problems with concentration, typos, writing, speaking and walking. All of these are important factors no matter the level of pain and thus there when I am at work.

4) Morning migraines combined with sleep disturbances make it very difficult for me to function in the morning. I have a sort of intense fatigue, I am mentally not there and the pain gives me all the more reason not to do anyting when the arthrotec does not work right away, or at all.

So what solution is there? Well the one I offered is at best a weak compramise. Keep in mind my boss wanted me to train for a position that is needed due to staffing issues and now she cannot because I am not dependable. So she is not pleased, nor are my co-workers and the added guilt makes me feel just dandy. So I offered that I continue to do the job I know well with some altered hours. Starting a little later, so that when I get up at the same time in the morning, I can take my med right away and by the time I need to go to work, I assume it would actually be working. I said I would talk to my doctor about a additional med, even T3s or something, to add to the anti-inflammatory so that even if I am at work and I have an acute migraine I can take enough meds to dull it... and this is not a great option, but it would work as a band-aid and I don't get side effects from pain killers, so it will not make me any more fuzzy headed than the migraine itself. I even suggested at the start, I don't have morning appointments, that I do calls or paper work instead, thus reducing the risk of morning cancelations.

While my boss accepted this solution, dependant on my doctor and her advice, it really depends on my head, which obviously has not been dependable. But I want to keep working as I want to establish a routine and I don't want to sacrafice my position or career. I need to just maintain. Just last until some better treatment is offered. I am not really hopeful or depressed at this point, rather numb and detached.

On the plus side my eye doctor said my eyes are perfectly healthy (and at this point that is somthing). I have a extremely mild astigmatism and slightly near sighted on the right side. I don't need glasses. Unfortunately, it would have been better if I did need glasses, because then, I would be able to see. The visual snow is intense and in certain lights it is imensely sparkly and warpy, in other lights I can barely see and everything is hazy and grainy. Even close up there are the sparkle, the double vision and this problem with focusing, so that the more I look at a letter on a screen the less I can see it, it kind of shimmers. And then there are the normal auras, the blotches of blue or white that appear and disappear, the warping blue/black at the lower and upper part of my visual field. I read up on this prolonged aura a bit and there are some particular drugs that might decrease it

It is like a paradox, no matter how you look at it is is imposible for me to work and impossible for me not to work (the whole unable to pay bills and all that). So try my compramise and hope works, or get fired, or go on leave again.

All the misc stuff

Not everything has to do with migraines. Some of that neurological jumble is the FMS, much like the migraine aura stage. So when I forget the names of objects, mis words up, transpose letters and numbers, confuse left with right... that is all actually the FMS. Sometimes I can not tell if it is a migraine coming on, or just one of those days. Some days I find it difficult to pick out voices if the back ground noise is distracting and sometimes a migraine aura is my hearing becoming muffled.

Here are the areas FMS effects:

Sleep disorders (e.g., restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea)
Gastrointestinal (e.g., abdominal pain, bloating, gas, cramps, alternating diarrhea and constipation)
Numbness or tingling sensations
Chronic headaches (may include facial and jaw pain)
Heightened sensitivity to odors, loud noises, bright lights, various foods, medicines, and changes in weather
Painful menstrual periods (dysmenorrhea) and painful sexual intercourse (dyspareunia)
Frequent urination, strong urge to urinate, and painful urination (dysuria)
Rapid or irregular heart rate, and shortness of breath
Sensation of swelling (edema) in the hands and feet, even though swelling is not present


So when my eyes have been acting up, aside from the visual migraine aura, it is not neccessarily migraine related, or even physical, rather it could be just the FMS. A lady at work made a comment that I seem to be having troubles everywhere and I tried to brush of this visual issue by saying it is mostly migraine related issues... but there is only so long I will be able to pull off blaming everything on migraines without sounding like a hypocondriac. While I believe it would be a good thing to inform some people at work I have FMS, even acknowledge how it affects work, I don't really want to. It leads to explaining it all and having too much advice and sympathy or the opposite and no understanding of the complexities. What is in a name anyway? They all know I have migraines, hypothyrodism, chronic insomnia and asthma... what difference would it make if I said I have a syndrome rolling all those into one condition? I think the thing is, that it makes no difference if people know or not... it does not change my functionality, my pain tolerance or my treatment or lack there of. Besides I am a great deal better at pretending I am feeling half decent when people are not actually aware of how much pain I am in, otherwise you have to be honest and can never really get away with saying you are 'fine' when you look tired and strained or are walking a little off or speaking a little wierd.

That is the thing about invisible disabilities, is that they are so darn invisible. You can pass as healthy, if somewhat sickly with random disorders that seem statistically off for the average person. You do not have to tell any one, so you don't have to worry about discrimination, yet at the same time it does affect work and there are things in the work enviroment that can improve the situation. But you naturally, after a dozen years, begin to find ways to cope with the communication issues, the pain issues, consentration issues and memory issues. Tricks of the trade, all part in parcel with living with FMS. Yet I have never been comfortable with the whole bluntly honest about my daily physical state, because by doing so it makes it harder to lie to myself and makes it all that more real and tangible... very much like how working with a moderate migraine is actually easier than sitting in silence with a moderate migraine, cause when there is no distraction and nothing between you and the pain, it is quite a bit more present in your mind.

No one wants to be part of office gossip, but I know if I told one person it would just get around, so would rather not go there. However, I really would like to get rid of the florecent lights in favour of the ones that mimic sun light... and I believe if I was classified as a employee with a disability I could swing that.

Ah, the migraine made me do it

The migraines, which are more sudden but not as long lasting since the daily arthotec dosage, have been messing with my head. I get these ideas to do things in the middle of the night, that seem rather odd in the morning. And I have been quite befuddled in the morning, because due to my random activities, have not been sleeping. So befuddled, confused, drunk looking, stumbling and not seeing very well.

It had been a bad few days with the whole not smoking thing combined with the weather thing plus the horrific hormonal migraine thingy... all conspiring to make me have a nervous breakdown because I am not par on my work performance lately, the more I try to be, the less I am and the less I want to take that promotion the boss seems inclined on pushing on me. So I have a appointment to chat with her tommorow whereby I will apolagize for something I cannot control, express my firm and earnest desire to be present and functioning and still manage to feel both useless and as guilty as a teenager skipping class.

So I would have to say todays migraine, which thankfully did not hit until much later is the reason why I have smoked 3 1/2 smokes. I have to say in my defense that is not that many and that I really did not enjoy them... icky really. Something about pain brings out my self destructive nature... you know, the sort of haphazard concern for your health, because you already feel like crap all the time and have no desire to change eating habits or bad habits to prolong the whole crapola-ness of it all. However, it is a counter productive attitude, because although smoking seems to calm me when I have a migraine, it makes the asthma thing worse, which makes me extremely fatigued, which in turn causes headaches... all just a slippery slope.

I feel crabby. I feel tired. This migraine is not going to go away, since I have nothing to take to make it do so. I want some refreshing sleep. The courage and strength to get out of bed. Some clarity when I get out of bed, so I am not confused at how to put on a shirt and what I was doing. I want to go to work with a false smile and hoepfully accomplish something worthwhile, to keep be busy. I want my boss to understand I am lagging because I do not want to do the weeks of training and months of learning... I just want the job I had, manageable, easy, but enjoyable. You can't force ambition on someone... expecially someone who because of these chronic pain condidtions has learned the ability to deny herself any such career goals in order to appease her poor health... pushing usually means, struggling for a long time and then just crashing into more pain than I can handle. Is it so hard to understand I don't want to go there again. I was good at the other job, it would have been a fine position for me, satisfactory for years.

I have been looking on because if worse comes to worse I hope to find a job at a different bank, that is similar to the one I had, preferably with flexible hours. Or if I am in dire need, something that will do. Cause I don't need much money to be content, it is more important by body is content. To manage my pain means to manage my lifestyle and my career choices.
Cortex area of the brain thicker in people with migraine article

Yes, it seems my brain may be thick on the surface, perhaps why nothing sinks into it. It is a common fear of people with migraines, because of the craziness of the neurological symptoms, to wonder if there is any damage going on from the constant assult of migraines. The seizure activity, the excitation of neurons, is not as intese as epilepsy, but at the same time you wonder how that affects your brain over time. And it seems it does and may show a connection bwetween migraines and comorbid pain conditions like FMS.

Anyway, all I can say, is when I got my cat scan my doc said my brain (cortex) looked smooth, as in younger than my age, which I found oddly flattering really.

A study published in the November 20, 2007, issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, indicates that people with Migraines have differences in part of the cortex, an area of the brain that helps process sensory information, including pain. The study found that part of the cortex area of the brain is thicker in people with Migraine than in people who do not have the neurological disease.
“Repeated Migraine attacks may lead to, or be the result of, these structural changes in the brain... Most of these people had been suffering from Migraines since childhood, so the long-term overstimulation of the sensory fields in the cortex could explain these changes. It’s also possible that people who develop Migraines are naturally more sensitive to stimulation... This may explain why people with Migraines often also have other pain disorders such as back pain, jaw pain, and other sensory problems such as allodynia, where the skin becomes so sensitive that even a gentle breeze can be painful.”
study author Nouchine Hadjikhani, MD
Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging
at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston

The emotional migraine crap

The prodrome (pre-migraine) phase is not all that bad usually. A little yawning, craving of chocolate and carboydrates and some neck pain. It is prior to the aura, which is obviously more annoying and spectacular in its variety. But sometimes the prodrome is a bitch. In particular the mood swings. It is either all the way one way or the other. The euphoria side (jittery, trembling, nervous energy, extreme insomnia, but elevated mood in a almost manic sort of way) is not all that bad... not really going to complain about a neurological high, when it helps get you through the day. The other side of the spectrum is far from pleasant. A all consuming, prodoundly deep and spontaneous depression. Hits you so hard you can't see it coming, while you are aware that it is highly deeper than would ever naturally occur, at least not without a darn good reason. You have to sjake it off like a blanket. And the fatigue that comes with it can drag you like lead. Anyway, I would not recommend it. Totally a drag. And not all that predictable.

Anyway, I would say the best treatment for these abrupt episodes of depression would be anything that can ride you through it. I prefer to minimalize all human contact, read sappy romance novels, listen to depression music and sleeping... sometimes all in one day.

The last couple of days have not been that bad pain wise. The aura has been mostly visual, like looking at a bad photograph with blotches of bright blue coming and going as long with some impressively bright visual snow. My doc decided to put me on the arthotec twice a day. I suppose it is an attempt at pain management and so far it is not that bad. However, although she seems to understand painkillers can cause rebounds, she does not believe this will, which of course is not true. However, I am determined to actually be able to work, so I am going with her idea to see what happens.

Living between that rock and that hard place

Somehow, I have ended up exactly where I was and that is not the best place to be. I can rant and rave about not having effective migraine treatment, but when it is all said and done the doctors do what they please and every once and a while I am good for about six months before it all goes down the crapper again.

Essentially, my position is missing work, getting fired and being very poor


a crap load of pain tolerance, weak meds, working and training for a more stressful position.

Obviously, neither of these options is good. What I would like is to maintain the job I had before my medical leave, possibly with a decrease in hours (a shorter work day, even if it means a shorter lunch), no training for a new position at this point in time and medication that is half-assed benificial to help me get to work. Unfortunately, that is not one of the options available. So, basically I have to keep going to work, no matter the pain, taking too many OTC meds and risking serious rebound to do so and pray my doctor comes up with something extremely brilliant before this gets the best of me. And there really is no need to say that chronic migraines, without abortives, really drags you down quickly, no matter what you do. My temperment and moods have been all over the place these last few weeks because it is extremely difficult to get to work on time and stay through the day. Natually, when I get home any energy I had to maintain a facade is gone and I have nothing left in me, so I have been taking long naps after work just to have some relief really and because I can't do anything else... but hey, at least my boss is happy and I suppose that counts for something.

And one thing I can say is that these daily vitamins and herbal treatments I have been taking make absolutely no difference... but in theory I am 'healthier' for it.

I'm broken

I had an imensely bad day at work today, from the very start to the very end. For some reason I also found it very emotionally upsetting, when usually I just let this sort of thing roll off me. I think possibly it was not just the pain of the migraine, but the prospect it is going to continue like this with no relief for the indefinate future that got to me. Got to me good as well. I am not the sort for public displays of emotion, as I find that entirely embarassing, but I was brimming with tears for a good few hours, trying to distract myself from that thundering realization and the pain.

The day started with my being late for work. After hitting the snooze button a few times for some reason I turned it off, but realizing this I turned it back on... but of course it would not ring again after that, yet I thought it would. So you see, that is a bad start. The migraine was there from the moment I woke up, but I thought it was a tolerable amount of pain to endure until after work, and I was wrong. Shortly after getting to work I was called into the managers office where I was informed I had to attend every day of work, have the ER phone if I was incapable of showing, as missing work as I have been (and the numbers don't lie there) is reasons for dismissal. So I can't go on leave and I can't miss work. It is a perfectly reasonable judgement on my bosses part, but it is also reasonable that it would affect me emotionally. Maybe that is what amped up the pain. So I had to take one of those anti-inflammartores and choke back my emotions. But the pill did not work and it was just a steady increase in pain. I could not even manage a facade of well being, which at least prevents people from looking at me funny. So I let the river flow at lunch time, for some cathartic release and pushed through to the end of the day. And the moment I stepped outside into the strong wind, I nearly fainted from the flare of pain. And perhaps I was close to fainting, as my heart was doing quite a few ka-thunking today. I tried to mellow out this evening, in the dark, but it has been hard. And the anti-inflammatory while not helping with the pain, hit my hard in the stomach and so the last few hours have been filled with additional abdomenal pain.

So you can see how this was one rotten day. And also how tommorow might be exactly the same, excluding the late part and the office talk. I don't know how I am going to do it. But I have done it before... while I was learning the difference between acute migraine and tolerable mild to moderate migraines where I can suffer through work. The problem is, the lack of any way to control them, any pain relief and any way to abort an acute one. The additional problem is that this is upsetting me... not just as a fact that I must deal with, but on a profoundly emotional level. Two emotional outbursts of pure undilluted sadness have hit me hard this weak. Pain with no relief is disturbing, pain with no relief while trying to function is very difficult. So this day broke me, I fell hard and I am not sure I am going to bounce back as easily as I usually do with a flippant joke of a bit of well times sarcasm.

My bad mood is intensify with the pain

Bad mood turning into frustration and a bit of the 'why me' blues and some 'When will the pain fricken end today. I am in so much pain now, from fighting all day with semi-successful pain killer and then moving onto not at all successful ones. I am not sure I am going to be able to sleep.

I have tried two T3 to get me to work half way, then for the other half I turned to four Tylenol and three advil at migraine strength. And now I wish I could bash my head against the wall, it is so friggin intense. My eye sockets feel like they have been gouged out, the ligh sensitivity was bad but now diminished, my hearing cut out then came back with a piercing ringing in them. My chest hurts with piercing pain, which is not angina, but might be from the smoking it did not like me and vice versa. The back of my neck is killing me, with spiking pain upward when I move. Or spiking pain from the left to the right when I move. Trying not to move my head. When I lay down it hurts even more. I can't try the new med yet as it would conflict with the advil and my stomach already hurts. So tomorrow  after what can only be a crappy sleep, I am going to try nothing... unless it is a wake in the morning bitch of one, otherwise I will hold off as much as I can. To clear the othe meds out, make sure I am not rebounding... which is possible I rebound on T3s, cause you have to take more to get the job done. When it hits that severe point, or if it does, I will try the anti-inflammatory and see if it works. If not, after how painful it got tonight, might have to go to the ER.... actually maybe I should and just ask for a prescription of Maxalt, I mean no Imitrex, just Maxalt, it might not have that effect and I get my abortive.

I am getting upset over the lack of control. Too much pain, too little to do about it. Means it will be a very tough week and I am so damn tired of trying to endure these things. And I am angry, I don't care what they give me, as long as it works. I do remember a visit to the ER where I took an ergotomine, which made me severely nauseous, but it worked... so next time I should just as for that. Get a doctor note, go into work late, and say this is all I could do in order to come to work at all. Or use the Imitrex again and hope it is not as bad this time.

My shaky mood is not helping either. At a certain level of pain, my moods are all over the place, and not in any of the good places.

Migraine connect: For those that do not get it letter

We all get people who do not get it. And when you are struggling with treatment, work and the pain, the last thing you need is people not getting it. Sometimes it is the boss, I have a great one, but she is getting as fustrated as I am that we cannot resolve this treatment satisfactory fast enough. Sometimes it is a co-worker thinking you are using 'headaches' as an excluse... I thin k my co-workers are great, but they also are stress by now knowing when I will be at work and working for me. And sometimes it is actually the spouse who does not get it, which I also do not have thankfully, because I believe that would be the worst. Also doctors can not get it, they can be mis-informed and they can think you need a shrink or lower your stress. So this letter is for them all, give them the facts.

These are the key points in the letter, followed by the web link to it (that site is awesome for support and information.)

"Based on the most recent U.S. census statistics, Migraine Disease affects nearly 36 million people in the United States alone.
Migraines are NOT headaches. Migraine is a genetic neurological disease, similar in some ways to Epilepsy. The head pain of a Migraine attack is only one symptom of an episode of Migraine Disease, just as a seizure is only one symptom of an episode of Epilepsy.

Migraine Disease is NOT a psychological disorder. The Disease and all it's symptoms are neurological in origin and very, very real. Migraineurs are not neurotic, lazy, "high-strung," overly emotional, or faking. They are in very real pain and physical distress.

Not all doctors have the experience and knowledge to properly treat Migraine. Finding a doctor to properly treat Migraine is one of the most important, and sometimes most difficult, steps in treatment.

There is NO CURE for Migraine. Most Migraineurs, with the help of a qualified doctor, can find preventive regimens that will prevent many, but not all, Migraine attacks.

Migraine abortive medications such as Imitrex, Zomig, Maxalt, Amerge, Axert, DHE, and Migranal, do not work for all Migraineurs. It is sometimes very difficult to find medications that will relieve the pain and other symptoms of a Migraine attack.

Migraine attacks can be dangerous. If the pain of an attack lasts more than 72 hours with less than four pain-free hours while awake, it is termed Status Migrainousus, and puts the sufferer at increased risk for stroke. A Migraineur in Status Migrainousus needs immediate medical attention.

A Migraine attack can, in rare cases, actually be fatal. An otherwise healthy 21-year-old member of our community died of a Migrainous Stroke in November, 2001.

Migraine Disease can be disabling for some Migraineurs to the extent that they qualify for disability income or qualify for the Americans with Disability Act provisions. There are many whose Disease is so severe that doctors are unable to control the attacks, and the Migraineur is unable to work or participate in "normal" daily activities. When a Migraine attack strikes, most Migraineurs desperately need a dark, quiet place to lie down.

Migraine attacks can be triggered by many things:
Perfumes and fragrances from other sources are a very common Migraine trigger. If you live or work with a Migraineur, please refrain from wearing fragrances around them.
Bright and/or flickering lights, especially fluorescent lighting -- some Migraineurs need to wear sunglasses, even inside.
Many foods can be triggers, especially foods prepared with MSG.
Loud noises and crowded places can also be triggers.
Changes in weather are triggers for many Migraineurs.
Cigarette smoke, exhaust fumes
Each Migraineur's triggers vary. There are many other potential triggers. This list is just a beginning.

Stress is NOT a Migraine trigger. It is what is called an exacerbating factor that makes Migraineurs more susceptible to their triggers just as stress makes anyone more susceptible to the virus that brings on the common cold.

The Migraineur(s) in your life need your help and understanding. They need you to realize that they cannot help being ill, they are not "having headaches for attention," and they are sometimes unable to care for themselves. If they need medical attention, they need someone to take them and be with them. As well as being extremely painful physically, Migraine can be devastating emotionally and to relationships and careers. Since the disease is so misunderstood, Migraineurs often feel alone, isolated, and desolate. They also often feel guilty because they are not able to "be there" for their family and friends as much as they want to be and because they may have to miss days of work. The Migraineur(s) you know need not only your help with getting their medicines and any medical care they may need; they need your moral support every bit as badly. A good, solid support system is as important to Migraineurs as their health care teams. YOU are very important to them. That's why it's important that you understand Migraine."

By Teri Robert

RE: Understanding Migraine Disease and Migraineurs

New York Times migraine article

An interesting essay and rather reminds me of me, except I have tried many more drugs and concoctions. It is a good thing to see though, an article written by someone who actually has chronic migraines. It helps with awareness of this disease and so people can comprehend it can be something that is chronic, difficult to treat, life altering and not just a 'headache'.

Migraine Diet

Earlier this week, I went to see my neurologist, who for months has been trying to get me to increase my dosage of amitriptyline or go on topamax, an anti-seizure drug that also prevents migraines.
“Are you enjoying your suffering?” he asked me.
Eagerly pocketing my topamax script, I asked him if he thought that food elimination could hold out any last hope.
Maybe, he said, smirking down into his notes; you never know. “You could always go up to Baltimore and ask Dr. Buchholz.”
Many people who take daily medications come at some point to hate them. Teenagers with ADHD routinely rebel against their meds. Long-term users of anti-depressants risk relapse because they can no longer stand the way the drugs make them feel.
Some people do manage, through diet and exercise, or by protecting themselves from their worst “triggers,” to free themselves from their drugs. But many can’t do it. Many find they can’t accept living in the compromised condition that drug-free existence requires.
A smart high school girl I know switched a few years ago from a mainstream school, where she was struggling with dyslexia and ADHD, to a school that specializes in teaching kids with severe learning disabilities. Being there has permitted her to function without her ADHD meds. But now she’s bored. She’s dispirited by the lack of academic challenge and she wants out, because she’s afraid that, without academic challenges, she won’t be able to get into a mainstream college.
That’s the tradeoff: taking daily drugs, or living a life that feels not quite worth living.
Halloween is coming, and Emilie and I have a ritual: While trick or treating, we eat exactly one piece of candy after every house. She gives me the Snickers bars. She keeps the Hershey’s Kisses and the M&Ms. We split the caramel creams and the Starbursts and pawn the dark chocolate off on her sister, Julia.
It’s from routines such as this, I am convinced, that the childhood roots of adult happiness are formed.
This year she’s anxious. I’m not eating chocolate. Or peanuts. This week, with her babysitter, she baked me a cake, white with white frosting, sprinkles, multi-colored flowers and candy corn. But, she asked me, what will happen on Halloween?
I told her not to worry; I’d eat my Snickers bars.
In fact, I think that I’ll sanctify Halloween by eating every single forbidden food on the migraine diet, all in the space of a couple of hours.
Somehow, I doubt that I’ll end up in the emergency room.

Women, migraines and brain activity- Aug 15/07

Take a look at this:

Click here... article

Women may get more migraines than men because their brains are quicker to release the trigger that begins the migraine cycle.
Women are three times as likely as men to suffer from migraine headaches, and a new study suggests the reason may be that their brains are faster to activate the cascading waves of activity thought to cause migraine pain as well as other migraine symptoms.
Researchers say migraines were once thought to be caused by constriction and dilation of blood vessels. But advances in brain imaging technology now suggest that migraines may start as a result of brain excitability.
People with migraines show dramatic waves of brain activity that spread across the surface of the brain -- known as cortical spreading depression (CSD). This depression is thought to trigger not only the severe pain associated with migraines but also the visual symptoms, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating often associated with migraines.

In a study published in the Annals of Neurology, researchers found that compared with male mice, female mice had a much lower threshold for releasing the CSD trigger.
"The results were very clear," says researcher Andrew Charles, MD, director of the Headache Research and Treatment Program in the UCLA department of neurology, in a news release. "The strength of the stimulus required to trigger CSD in males was up to two or three times higher than that required to trigger the response in females."
Researchers say many factors may reduce the CSD threshold in both sexes, such as genes, hormones, and environmental triggers like stress, diet, and changes in sleep patterns.
"Our results suggest that the female brain has an intrinsic excitability that predisposes them to migraine that may not be simply linked to a specific phase of the menstrual cycle," says Charles.

It suggests that women get migraines more frequently because of the threshold to the trigger, that is for the excitation of neural activity. So women's brains are more exitable... is that some sort of vieled insult? Or is it just that women have more brain activity? :)

Botox- July 8/07

I can say one thing about botox for migraine prevention. It certainly does not work right away. I am not about to give up hope that it will work, but lets just say so far I have been enduring three days of nasty migraines. If you say 10 is the worst migraine I have ever experienced, then I have been on average a 7.5 these last three days... well beyond functioning. So no decrease in intensity so far nor even frequency.

If you are curious how getting a neurotoxin injected into your head muscles, rather than say directly into the brain, would have any effect on migraines there is actually no clear answer. I can understand how certain drugs affect migraines... affect the excitation of neurons firing and then the inflamation of blood vessels. But botox? Don't get it. Maybe for tension headaches. Anyway here is what I found about the how:

"Why does it work?Based on the mechanism of action of Botox, it is unlikely that anyone would have thought to try it for migraines. Its success in treating some patients has caused problems for those who would attempt to explain why it would work in migraine. One possibility is that muscle tension may act as a trigger for migraine in the same way that light and odors do. By reducing muscle tension, Botox would be eliminating an irritant to the nervous system, which would then reduce the chances of a migraine developing. More recently, studies have shown that Botox may affect other nerve cell signallng systems that have to do with the perception of pain. In an animal model of pain, injection of Botox under the skin resulted in decreased response to painful stimuli. Traditionally, scientists have thought that the pain of migraine was due to swelling and inflammation of blood vessels, but perhaps muscle tension is more of a factor than previously appreciated."

So in other words who knows? Based on this explination I can be certain it will not help with my monster migraines, where certainly the pain is not reflected in my scalp.

Anyway, needless to say I am not in a good mood. At least the toradol is sitting well with me right now, cause the last thing I need is pain from that. I have one week before I go back to work and I am fine with that as long as I get some slight indication this botox is doing something... anything. Even if it just does a little, we can add to that with other preventatives.

Botox in the brain- July 6/07

So getting needles in the head is decidedly unpleasant. Who would have thunk it? But I am not afraid of needles or minor fleeting pain. I am no sissy girly. Okay, I did cry a little and there was some begging for mercy, but other than that, super cool.

So looks like I am going to have a numb forehead for six months. Even if you scare the jeejeebee's out of me, I will not look suprised. The neuro warned me explicitly not to rub my head in the next 24 hours, or a might push the botox down and thus have an eye lid drooping for three months... not a sexy look on anyone really. And this makes me a little paranoid about sleeping... given I smoosh my head into the pillow and toss and turn erratically all night long. I just might wake up with drooping eye lids and an ear at my chin.

The neuro said we should see results in two weeks, although I should see some change by the time I go back to work. He said it works on 3 out of 4 people, although not everyone can afford it (400 bucks a treatment and even I am not sure if I will see a refund). Of those that see a result 25% will be migraine free for the three month duration, while others have varying results. So I can anticipate some sort of positive result, although I don't think so much for the hormonal migraines. Depending on the results we might have to change my pain killer, because toradol so does not do much on acue migraines and seriously not so good on the tummy.

The allergic reaction of death did not happen and so that is all good. It would rather suck to find out your allergic to botox at that point, the point of dying from it. Any other some bruising any cardiovascular side effects will likely present within the first week if I have any.

Basilar artery migraines- June 2/07

I am curious as to whether I am getting migraines of this type. It is one of the more rare ones, so not likely. Still makes for an interesting post, there are types of migraines and types of treatment, always a good thing to keep in mind. I was originally diagnosed with transformed migraines, because of the changes in symptoms and varying intensity of attacks, as well as increasing frequency. Which makes a lot of sense when you consider the sleeping disorder I have. However, it does not make much sense when you consider the whole angina chest pain symptom or the loss of consciousness episode. Nor even some of the more profoundly neurological migraines I have had, since generally you are looking for a decrease in symptoms overall, not an increase in some and a randomness to others.

Basilar artery migraines:

"The neurological deficits accompanying BAM usually include partial or total greying or loss of vision, disturbances in oculomotor function (such as double vision), vertigo, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), ataxic gait (difficulty in walking), paralysis on one side of the body, altered consciousness (may include amnesia, confusion, stupor, and/or syncope (loss of consciousness)), ptosis (drooping eyelid, usually on one side of the body). and parasthesias (altered sensation and tingling) on one or both sides of the body.

In making a differential diagnosis for Basilar Artery Migraine, neurologists should look for the presence of two or more of the typical symptoms, which include vertigo, tinnitus, decreased or impaired hearing, ataxic gait, dysarthria, visual symptoms (normally in both eyes), diplopia, bilateral paresthesias or paresis, and impaired consciousness. These symptoms are usually, although not necessarily, followed by a throbbing headache in the occipital region (the back of the head). The vertigo that accompanies Basilar Artery Migraine normally lasts between 5 minutes and one hour."

So I do get,
-partial or total greying or loss of vision (kind of foggy vision which can be bad, and sometimes an aura that knocks out one eye completely.)
-double vision (This is a consistent symptom for me, with every migraine, although at times quite a bit worse than others.)
-vertigo (spinning head, feels like your moving when you are not, or so intense you can't even stand and it feels like you are spinning one way and the room the other)
-ataxic gait- if they mean walking into walls and door frames like a drunk then yes.
-altered consciousness- yes to intense confusion, and once I did faint.
-parasthesias- most definately, but I think this is a common migraine symptom
-decreased or imparied hearing- yep, mostly muffled hearing, the ringing or sensative hearing, or that cutting in and out of hearing.
-throbbing headache in the occipital region- my migraines do cause a lot of pain in that area, from throbbing to a spiking pain.

Now this type of migraine is a migraine with aura, so it is easily misdiagnosed. And also this type of migraine should not be treated with triptans... because it can cause a strong case of death, or stroke, heart attack or coma. And obviously I have had problems with triptans.

This would be speculation however. Just a little concerned about my treatment if I do have this type. Given botox should not be given to people with heart related issues. *drama alert* I would rather not get the whole death side effect to that. Whereas anti-seisure meds are fine, whether it is this type or not, and thus I would prefer to go on something that may help without causing a stroke or a heart attack. But that is just me; better safe than dead. It is a bit of concern, since the neuro who diagnosed my migraine type did not actually know much about complicated migraines. And given the increase in symptoms since then, some seriously freaky symptoms, I just wonder if he might have missed something. An MRI might have been a good idea.

Really I am just concerned over the angina, which is hardly something to ignore. While I do not get it as much now that I do not take Imitrex, it is still a symptom. Add that to this fainting episiode which was not looked at by my doctor, but she assures me it can happen with migraines, I am just a bit on the wary side. Fainting does not seem like something that regularly 'just happens' with a migraine. Not when you consider such things as possible seizure activity or heart related problems, and to simply brush it off without considering either of these does not sound like a great idea. Again, maybe that is just me.

My doctor is determined to send me for the botox, because well, she has no clue what to do with me. And I am pretty determined to try it, since this neuro has other suggestions to try if it does not work. So it is a moot point really. However, before I get the botox I am going to ask him to make sure it is a good idea in my case. But if I wake up dead a week after it, I will be so pissed.

Types of Migraines - May 25/07- My personal classification

I have an aura so bad right now I have lost the vision in half my left side. It is a warping, flashing, twisting light. I rarely get auras this intense. Although once in awhile I will lose sight in one eye, for about fifteen minutes. When this one started it was just at the lower left of my visual field, and I kept looking that was because I kept thinking I saw something move. Then it expanded and I could see the sparkling edge of it throughout, as well as this flickering and liquid part of it on the left. With an aura like this, it would be a very good time to take an abortive. Pity I do not have one. We will see what kind of dent these painkillers have on this type of migraine.

Let me educate you on my types of migraines. There seem to be certain types that hit me and I have personally made my own classifications.

1)The migraine without aura- Mild, moderate or acute. Can have any of the other symptoms (nausea and light sensativity) or none at all. Tends to grow in strength slowly over an hour. With plenty of time to treat it before it gets acute, or endure it if it does not.

2)The migraine with aura- your warning is the visual fireworks. Negative, poitive, sparklesa, blotches, waves of light. And any other aura symptoms, like tingling, numbness, hearing problems, blurred or double vision, problems speaking, thinking moving...

3)The midnight migraine- A migraine that starts when you are alseep, gives you the most vivid and spectacular dreams and then pulls you awake from the pain. Gotta love waking up like that.

4)The manic migraine- a migraine that instead of making you lethargic with a brain of pudding, it gives you a jittery boost of energy and creativity prior to coming on. Often with trembling hands and twitches, making you look like a recovering crack addict.

5) the right side surprize migraine- 90 percent of my migraines are left sided or both sides. Once in awhile I get one on the right side and it feels quite a bit different than the others. If it hits on the right side, it will not hit both sides. It is more piercing than throbbing. Often it does not last as long.

6) The dang it is bright out migraine- a migraine induced very quickly from the exposure of light. Comes with a heavy dose of eye pain, double or blurred vision.

7)the monster migraine- this migraine will start quickly, with a piercing electric pain in a very specific spot. It will get rapidly worse with movement, until you cannot move. Most often it lasts exactly 8 hours, but no abortive has ever managed to get rid of it faster. It can also last days, where it becomes a status migraine (a migraine that lasts three days with no relief) and this is due to the fact it does not respond to abortives. And so it can cause an ER trip or two. Also may come with piercing chest pains.

8) the silent migraine- I have only had a few of these, maybe three. This is a migraine with all the neurological fun, but no pain. The tingling and numbness can be felt throughout the whole body. The aura can be very intense. You may feel very odd, may even feel like you are having a stroke, but there is no pain. Kinda odd, but hey, no pain.

Short term disability leave- May 25/07

The leave of absence I have been trying to avoid at work, is, well, here. Which is a really good thing considering the whole inability to sleep thing, the midnight migraines and the not so pleasant nausea I have going on. As soon as I can arrange to get the botox injections I will be set and hopefully they are covered on my plan. Just in case you are looking to get botox for other reasons, it costs 400-500 for the botox and my neuro said for cosmetic botox they tend to charge about a 100 bucks to inject it, but since he does it for medical reasons he does not charge. I still need to set up a chiro appointment and... remember to go to it. And I still need to get my hair cut... again remembering the appointment helps. And just because life is like that, I also need to make a dentist appointment asap, since I have some killer pain in one tooth. I speculate it is a cavity, but since I have never had one I can't be sure, just going on that theory due to the pain.

Now I have filled out all the paper work for this leave of ansence. My boss has filled out all her paper work. But my doctor is really slacking, of couse apparently she was off on Monday. So I will be getting the paper work tommorow when I go in for my doctor appointment, which would be three days later than I would have liked. It is possible because of this delay I might be sans a pay cheque, but thanfully there are three paydays in June, so it will not hinder me in any way.

So what have I been doing with my spare time? Well, extremely little. I have not had the energy to do any housework, which would at least make me feel awake and functioning. Leaving the house is a trial I have been avoiding, because you know it is bright out there. Since the sleeping thing has been so very erratic I tend to catch up on it in the afternoon, which is the best way to get rid of a afternoon migraine anyway. However, I find myself wide awake very late into the night, unable to sleep because of a nasty migraine, then when that is gone, nasty nausea, and so I tend to blog or update my website... anything to distract myself really. I will, of course, need to adjust this sleeping pattern, but I figure once we can dampen these migraines then those lovely sleeping pills will be in working order once again. And really when your stomach is upset it is not a good idea to drink five bottles of nice refreshing cold water, because then you will not be sleeping, just peeing. Also, if you have nausea that will just not quite, don't take Toradol, becuase that is worse, way worse. So I have been sticking with the codiene, but trying not to take it too much, lest I get into a rebound cycle.

I would love to just redirect you to the new site...

But sadly the redirect function doesn't function. I will continue to persist hitting it and see if it will eventually do something. Or s...