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Showing posts from March, 2015

#migraine and #stroke #study

People with migraine with aura are nearly twice as likely to suffer the most common form of stroke; ischemic stroke. The risk more than triples for migraineurs who are smokers. Seven times more likely someone with migraine with aura uses estrogen based birth control and smokes. Migraines also increase the risk of heart attacks and leg pain due to poor circulation.

"The biology underlying the relationship between migraine and stroke is poorly defined," Drs. Star and Biller write.

Researchers have proposed several possible explanations for the migraine-stroke association:
Migraine sufferers are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including low levels of HDL (so-called "good cholesterol") and high levels of c-reactive protein.Specific genes may predispose people to suffer both migraines and stroke. Medications to treat migraines may increase the risk of stroke. A phenomenon that occurs during migraine aura, called cortical spreading depressi…

Accepting there is more to #treatment than #medication

When I see an ad for a migraine cure or a fibromyalgia cure I know it is crap because chronic pain is complicated. I have read enough about it to know they barely understand it. Treatment for it is a complicated thing as a result. There is no magic bullet.

That is why medication is never enough. We might get a little somewhere with it but it will never be enough. It took me a long time to realize this of course. The way specialists make it sound, well, you believe medication will do something it simply will not do. So you believe them for a long time. Until you do your research. Realize it is more complicated than that. You realize what your best case scenario is and that is not what they said at all, assuming you get this best case scenario.

We have to accept life is pain and anyone who says different Is selling something.

What else we do to manage our pain though is really entirely up to us which is a frightening aspect to the whole thing. We don't often get a lot of guidance.…

When I am #silent, I have thunder hidden inside

We all react differently to pain. When my pain gets to that high 8 and above it tends to make me silent. I lose my laughter. My communication skills. I sort of internalize it and pay less attention to the external world, even if I wanted to, my focus just isn't there. I see it as my brain is filling up with pain and just doesn't have the capacity for social interaction. Hardly surprising in an introvert as we tend to internalize at the best of times.

So normally what I do, is keep my pain to myself. I am not one to tell people I am in pain or what level it is. If it is a 'functioning' level I believe most people are not even aware of it but if it is this higher level then I do exhibit my pain tells, such as suddenly becoming quite quiet.

I never saw this as a bad thing because a) don't want to be that 'chronic complainer' and b) saving loved ones from knowing the pain I am in. Everybody wins.

However, upon reflection from the pain class I have been in I se…
The pain that you experience in life shouldn't make you look down on yourself"- We should not feel guilt or shame due to our chronic illness. This is our life, but not our fault.

Or make you look backward and lose sight of your tomorrow."- We cannot dwell on the past. Not our past healthy selves. Not this image we have of who we used to be that was so much more functional than we are now. We cannot compete with this person. We are the person now. We should complete with our current selves and try to improve based on that person.

It is difficult to see the wisdom in the scars they leave behind. But once you discover them, you will realize it is your attitude towards them that will make or break the rest of your days"- So much of coping is our attitude and perspective we have on our illness and coping itself. I have seen how I handled things at my worst with a very negative attitude and my perspective was that the pain consumed my life and would never, ever end. And tha…

#ChronicIllness and the #Future

Life can hold a lot of frustrations for the chronically ill in our past and our present. It is a constant stressor to us. Best laid plans... yeah, never seem to work out so well. We always plan though because we always have to be prepared. Anxiety comes from the fact that in some things we have no control over the outcome. No power. And it frightens us, that nothing we can do can change a thing. Such with dealing with doctors, insurance companies and so forth. We also make a lot of compromises for our health, so our lives take different paths than we ever intended. However, these changes are good things because we need to accept that compromises needed to be made.

The problem is we learn from experience. From the past and from the present. It gives us a lot of fear for the future. It is uncertain. We cannot know where we will be. What we will be doing. What our health will be like. If we will be financially stable. We can even get lost in the fact that there will Always be pain in th…

What is your #pain #teaching you?

It is pretty obvious that we learn from emotional and physical pain. It is a great teacher.

However, I have to remind myself sometimes it teaches me the wrong lesson. That is to say we learn to cope in positive ways and negative ways. We learn positive habits and negative habits. Often when we are learning to cope we are all on our own for the process so we do what works, so of course we sort of just figure it out as we go along. Sometimes I think the severity of the pain gets to us and then pain can just teach us some lessons that don't do us any good in the long run, but they seem like the right lesson at the time.

I make a perfect example for what I want to demonstrate. When I leave the house I get a migraine. Or the migraine I have gets much more severe. Therefore I do not like to leave the house. Therefore I do not leave it often. Therefore I became a hermit. Pain taught me to Avoid. And avoidance is the one lesson we do not want to learn, even though it seems like that is e…

My low blood pressure suggests I am now a zombie

Once again my blood pressure concerns me. While at the pharmacy my spouse and I checked ours.

His: 121/80 and perfect is 120/80. His is Always like that. Every single time. Perfect score.

Mine: 74/45 A new Low Score! Not good. Mine is always low, but it fluctuates from 117/70 to 90s/50s. (and in that lower zone I tend to feel cruddy.)

I checked it because I have been feeling very, very fatigued. So tired I could sleep every minute of the day. And have been sleeping in excessively. Just that tired. And when I stand I get dizzy, which had stopped when I was put on my calcium channel blocker but with obviously with BP this low is back. My heart is going weird things when I lie down at night, which is freaking me out.

I suppose what I should do is go test it again. If it is still that low I should go to that walk-in clinic because some of the causes for low blood pressure are serious and should be looked into. And this is pretty damn low. Usually it is my second number that hits the too l…

Help you help You: #Caring for myself is an act of #Survival

I think it is fundamental that people with chronic illness understand they need to take care of themselves first. That they are in fact a priority as well. If they feel good other things will follow from that. If we push through the pain and fatigue to get things done because we feel we should, for our family, for our loved ones, because society demands it... we will suffer for it and feel worse off. It is a lesson we learn over and over again but it never seems to stick because of one simple thing: Guilt.


We feel guilty when we do not live up to our own standards of what we feel we should be doing. What we feel societies standards are. What we believe our loved ones deserve. Guilt does us no good at all.

We are chronically ill. And we need to take care. Just take some Care.

There are two fundamental things I believe we all should do and remember, always.

Rest: Fundamentally chronic pain and chronic illness is exhausting. We need to take more regular breaks. We may need a nap in ther…

The red pill or the blue

I saw this on Facebook. And I would go back ten years as long as I  know all the things I know now. I think I would handle the pain better with a second go at it. Maybe even never have a suicide attempt at all. Or a long term leave from work. One could hope.

Whereas going ten years into the future, who knows where you would end up and what you would have missed of your life?

#pain behaviors and #perception

An interesting topic was brought up at the pain clinic class today. We were talking about pain behaviors. He wanted us to think about our pain behaviors and how they are perceived by others.

I have always been of the opinion that with chronic pain, well, it dampens our pain behaviors. First of all we are not as free to express them as are people with acute temporary pain, where it is perfectly acceptable to moan, groan, cry or otherwise exhibit pain behaviors while you recuperate. And people have genuine sympathy for that. Not so much with chronic pain. People get a little tired of that and we learn to muffle them pretty good.

Yet, as we discussed in this class, that certainly does not mean we do not have pain behaviors. We just change them. Pain is represented by new signals. Signals our loved ones, co-workers and friends can usually pick up pretty well. Not all the time if we do not verbally express it, but more than we might realize.

I have often been called stoic by doctors and E…

#pain and the twisty path of dark thoughts

Sometimes when the pain levels are high it is hard to get beyond that. It is just you, your thoughts and the pain. I find this to be the most difficult of times because distraction techniques are hard to come by and thoughts are always dark ones. Often the worst time is at night I find.

There are times I don't even try to escape it all. I just blog it out. Get it out of my system. A journal works for this purpose as well. It is just that sometimes when you express yourself, just get it down it gives it less power over you.

There are other times only sleep will be the cure. However, sleep is a hard commodity to come by with high pain levels and insomnia.

Other times, if I can take it, I will write some fiction. Get myself out of that head space. Anything you can do to get yourself out of that mental head space is a good thing. Even if it is just listening to music you find soothing.

There will be days and nights when nothing works. When you are stuck in that acute pain that drives…

What do you disclose about #illness

I wonder if this is something we could say to people to understand chronic illness. "The difference between you and me is that when you wake up, your nightmare ends." Or does it sound too dramatic? Not dramatic enough?

I heard somewhere today that it is not a good thing to hide behind this facade that we have perfected so well. We smile to hide the pain. We say we are fine when we are not. This leads to isolation. Isolation leads to depression.

Rather it was suggested we be more upfront we how we feel to avoid this cycle. I am not sure about how upfront we can be. I have this fear of being labelled a chronic complainer or a hypochondriac. A long history of being ignored by doctors or their adamant disinterest in my symptoms has led me to be rather stoic. Would honesty be the best policy in all scenarios? I always feel some level of disclosure is good. Good for us and our loved ones. I just feel bluntly honest about the impact of this pain might be a little hard to take all …

Thinking a little on #Lifestyle #changes

One should never compare yourself to how others are doing when it comes to chronic illness. That being said there are some people that I really admire for the things they have accomplished. I read some comments about some people who are doing phenomenal with exercise programs. Others doing well with massive changes to their diets. Others who have quit smoking, are exercising and doing changes to their diet all in one massive go.

I love these stories. I like to think they say 'suck it chronic illness!'

I also like them because they are inspirational for those of us struggling to make lifestyle changes. It suggests to us that a) it is possible and b) we might in fact get a positive result from it.

Lifestyle changes are very difficult because we do not see a result right away. Often we see the opposite right away. Things get worse before they get better. Not exactly encouraging. Also it takes a lot of willpower. And not in the ordinary sense of the word either. It takes chronic …

Look at that I am #smiling in #pain

I have chronic pain ever minute of every day. Right this minute. And you know I am perfectly capable of being happy. Of smiling. It does not negate my pain. Right now I am kind of mellow with pain on a 7. 7 is a decent pain day really. 6 would be better, but far less common.


It is also true that I can really, really fake a good smile to mask that pain. But then we learn that trick very well.

However, I can be happy. I can be in a very good mood. This is not impossible. It is just seriously strained and difficult to maintain when the pain level gets up in the 9 area on the pain scale. But that would be the same for everyone.

This is not to say that chronic pain does not affect mood because it definitely does. The pain itself does. The lack of sleep does. They both affect serotonin so maintaining mood can be difficult. And sometimes we have to actively try things to just boost our mood in different ways. Or just actively not spiral down the black thought road and distract ourselves.

Pa…