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Crank up the volume on the brain current

Sometimes I think of a migraine like out of control brain current, all that buzzing neurons causing such a buildup it can only be expressed via pain and brain hiccups.  What is going on with me lately is more like a full on surge.  When my hands went numb and my doc said it was likely a prolonged aura I did not agree or disagree, but I knew it was possible.  Now with this constant vertigo which my doc says is also due to my migraines, I am beginning to wonder how valid that statement is.  Isn't it damned unusual for two symptoms, that most definitely can occur with a migraine and do, have become prolonged symptoms?  And if those are in fact related to the migraines, which I can't be sure of, then what the hell is different about my migraines lately such that suddenly these neurological symptoms are persisting?  And who knows?  I have no clue on an answer to explain this random crap.  Thankfully in mid January I have that neuro apt which hopefully means he might have a better c…

Unwell

There are times were you just feel unwell for no particular reason.  Particular symptoms rise up but they made no sense.  I am eagerly awaiting up neuro appointment because, damn, I feel unwell.  First the whole numb hands thing which got a fraction better but is definitely still there.  Now this vertigo thing that just won't quit.  I can be standing or sitting and all poof a sudden it feels like I am moving, when standing it feels like I suddenly lose my balance because my foot feels like it is falling down.  I move and the world swirls for a moment.  My eyes are not tracking so well and my right eye keeps hazing up.  I'm not new to dizziness or vertigo but this is just not going away.  Nor are the migraines, although the physio helps keep the neck pain under control until I get a migraine that is.  It is hard to stand for more than a few minutes without leaning on something because it gets so disorientating.  And I've had two damn sick days cause of it.  I'll make a …

Accupuncture fun

Acupuncture is weird.  It is doing something, I can tell that, because it is giving me bouts of vertigo right afterward and then sporadically for the next day.  Which is weird, but obviously that means it is in fact doing something.  I am also bruising around the needle marks on my hand, which I thought odd and my fingers are swelling a bit.  Hard to say it if it working on the migraines because it is just one of those killer migraine weeks right now. 

Now the physio is definitely helping.  Got rid of the neck pain and now we are working on exercises to keep it that way, and improve posture.  My employer, the head honcho, said they will get me a chair and a proper keyboard to continue to help with my posture to prevent the neck pain from getting that bad again.  And if the numbness in my hand is due to the neck pain and nerves it might help with that too.

So I feel good that I am doing something.  Instead of going on a leave of absence I am trying things that I hope will help me get …

First acupuncture appointment ever

Yes today I did my best impression of a porcupine to date.  I've always been intrigued by the theories behind acupuncture... and always very willing to try absolutely every single thing possible that has the slightest possibility of improving my chronic migraine situation.  Although one may think getting needles stabbed into your head is painful (and if that thought sounds painful then you've never had a migraine) but this was completely painless.  Although after when I sat up I was the worst case of virtigo ever and it took a bit for that to get better... hard to walk when it feels like your left foot is falling through the floor.  I think that had more to do with the migraine I had, the fact the table was tilted at a downward slope causing the blood to pool in my head and because I'm getting over a nasty flu that was causing a great deal of dizziness.  Or getting needles stuck in your head causes vertigo.  Either way it is a preventative technique I've been meaning t…

Impressive aura

I have to admit the visual aura manifestations can be quite spectacular and infinitely hard to describe to someone who has never seen them.  If you pressed against your eyes for a few minutes and then released the sort of pulsating sparkles you might see are very close to what I call a classic visual aura... a distorted area of positive or negative colors that through the course of the aura gradually expands through the visual field. Then there is visual snow which is a billion specks of white, gold or eletric blue that fill the entire visual field like white static on a TV, sometimes just making everything sparkle and sometimes making everything distorted like a bad image on a TV where the reception is very bad. If you catch me staring vacantly at the sky or a white wall it is because I am distracted by the sparkles. 

I was impressed by an aura on Thursday.  All day I was getting the most impressive sharp sparks of blue light just periodically flashing and drawing my attention for s…

Less than perfect timing

I'm trying to quit smoking... again.  I've mentioned I have troubles with it because, well, when I get a boat load of pain smoking helps me feel relaxed.  Also there is the benefit to having a bad habit that will not prolong my life, which in my more self destructive moments seems like a dang fine idea. I can't use most quit smoking products since they seem to have the side effect of constant migraine-ism. So I have been using the nicorette 2mg mints and it has been working decently I must say. Granted for no real reason I get randomly irritated through the day and feel like snapping, berating, snarking or choking people who talk, touch or look at me. In all honesty it has just been some mild irritation and that is quite a bit better than the last time I tried to quit, so that is good. I don't have any smokes around me which is also good, since I don't have the will power to not smoke them if they are right there, but I can certainly resist the temptation to warm u…

It hurts when I move like this... well, then stop moving like that

I went to my first physiotherapy appointment today for the assessment stage of things. First, I suspect the physiotherapist is like eighteen max but since he had to have had some training he must just look young... or I'm getting old and relatively speaking he looks young. Not that it is important, just thought I'd share that. Secondly, I had a migraine at the time, which, obviously, it hardly surprising. But it was fairly bad since I'd treated it with a triptan earlier in the day but it was one of those ones that comes back, stronger and nastier about five hours later. So I was rather... fuzzy headed and really just focusing on getting it done.  Naturally he asked me a lot of questions and naturally the answers I gave were less that concise.  Especially with time.  People should not ask me anything to do with time-lines.  I am really not aware of how much time has passed since the pain was more than the usual pain because the pain part is pretty damned consistent. A month…

When things get worse...

There is always a time that comes where the pain begins to own me. Preventing me from doing anything and greatly tormenting me when I choose to anyway. Sometimes I ignore it and think it will get better, I just need to get through this bad spell... and it does not get better because things become extremely stressful from missing work and just plain stressful from trying to work.

So I have made a plan to do things that will help get me through this rough spell without having to take another medical leave of absence.

First, I will be going to physiotherapy to help with the bad neck pain I have that is making my migraines so much worse.  It is not even describable how painful it is when my neck is like this and I have a migraine.  And physio was the only thing that helped the last time my neck was out if sorts and causing pain down to my shoulders and restricting mobility.  They have the massage on the neck, heat bads and other techniques.  They also give you exercises to do yourself.

Se…

What a pain in the neck

I was in way too much pain today.  Way, way too much.  So much that I think it was an insanely bad idea to go into work, yet missing two days in a row is an insanely bad idea for entirely different reasons.  So I went and the lack of sleep and migraine I have had since Monday made it all rather unpleasant.  The nasty neck pain that is constantly bad but horrifically bad when I move a certain way brought the pain to a level even I with my super human pain tolerance was having a real hard time with.  By the way, I think I am immune to pain killers  or  this pain was way beyond what they could handle.  Also, Tiger Balm arthritis rub is not a lovely perfume to wear to work but feels rather nice.  I should have slathered it all over my head.  I think there is a possibility I broke my neck while sleeping  or  the migraines broke my neck from their existence.  There is honestly not much more I can say about it.  Just Insanely Bad.  I did make another doctor appointment because I feel my doct…

Paint me discouraged

I've been trying my damndest to get to work every day, missing hopefully only one day a month.  It has been very diffiuclt and I am failing.  Like always I think I'll just keep trying till my neuro appointment and then hopefully things will get better.  But my neuro appointment is always so damn far away and I need help now.  It makes me fustration and guilty and I can deny it is bothering me all I want, but the fact is, it is a real struggle.  Monday was a bad day for me, one I barely got through with a lot of painkillers.  I could not sleep that night, the pain kept me awake, then a horrible migraine nightmare when I finially fell asleep woke me up and by 4am it was clear it was not going to be a restful night in any sense of the word.  So the wicked migraine in the morning caused me to miss work.  I had hoped to make it till Wednesday because if I could make it that far it would have been all right as I work the later shift on Thursday and an extra couple hours of sleep usu…

It is all about timing

I was lucky this month when I caught that hormonal migraine stretch early.  As I have said before hormonal migraines are brutal... a trigger that keeps on going for a week, such that the migraine is continious and very difficult to treat.  The most effective treatment I have ever had for these was strong anti-inflammatories taken for that week, unfortunately, strong anti-inflammatories can do some damage to the digestive system and in my case they did, such that I can't even take an Advil these days.  However, triptans just don't seem to cut it for these migraines and if these migraines are not treated aggressively they can lead to a status migraine that far outlasts the trigger itself.  The best thing to do is take a triptan as soon as this sort of migraine begins, but, with chronic migraines treating them is all about timing and knowing when to treat a migraine and knowing when to just endure because to avoid the risk of a rebound headache not every migraine can be treated. …

I love darkness

It is no secret I loath light and avoid it at all costs.  I wear the darkest of sunglasses right up until it is too dark to see with them.  I wear my pink tinted glasses at work to filter out the nasty, nasty florescent light that was invented by the devil.  I decrease the brightness and contrast on computer screens to the extent others cannot see the screen.  I read in very dim lighting better than in regular lighting.  I use low wattage light bulbs away from my direct line of sight.  My house may have windows but they all have the blinds closed and tilted upward to eliminate any light seepage.  In the bedroom I keep the blinds closed, have curtains closed and have those curtains pinned to the wall... so it is a bedroom I could process film in if I desired.  When driving at night I see better without traffic signs and other headlights, other headlights obscure everything and it is simply faith the road is still there that keeps me from diving off of it to get away from that light... …

When in pain do what you can not what you think you should

Here's the thing: we all struggle to cope with chronic pain while trying to live a functional life to some extent.  No one said it would be easy or fair and man I wish we all could get a break one in awhile, but it is what it is.  However sometimes we get lost in the struggle to do what we need to do.  It is taxing and draining and there is never anything left over to do something just for ourselves.  As I said in the past I think we need distractions and hobbies to just do something we enjoy doing for the sake of the enjoyment.  Not what we need to do.  Not what he have to do.  Not just for pure survival.

For me that is writing.  I write novels and self-publish them.  I write articles and post them on my hub page.  I enjoy both imensely and it gets me out of the pain a bit.  No matter how 'distracting' work may be it is always fighting to work through the pain, because I need to, because I have to.  Writing is about absorbing myself in an activity I take pleasure in, that…

I hope my doc can schedule a bit better than Friday...

So I got a call Friday morning at about ten after 8, when I need to be at work at 8:30.  So this lady asks me if I'm going to be making my 8AM appointment that day at the inpatient hospital thing my doc arranged.  I said no of course.  I mean, yeah I wanted to go because anything with the slightest bit of potential to decrease the frequent migraines lately would be awesome.  But I had to be at work in less than half an hour and I'd already called in sick Monday and once more this month (or more? It is a little hazy) so obviously I could not call in sick for a migraine or migraine related treatment or an ER visit for that matter.  Work is always touch and go about such things.  Legally they have to permit me to go to the ER or likely in this case a schedualed treatment... but they most certainly don't have to be pleased about it.  I am trying my hardest not to strain their good will because I don't like adding stress to my stress.  So I told them I had to go to work and…

Disibility insurance on my mortgage

I was just told my disability insurance on my mortgage has been declined once again because I have Fibromyalgia.  Which I find ironic because any time I have been disabled it is from chronic migraines.  Although FMS certainly does not help, I have never taken off work for it.  But I knew I would be declined.

My spouse likewise was turned down.  Two and a half years ago he had kidney cancer, in the first stage, they chopped it out and that is that.  Recently he had surgery on his toe for arthritis.  And I suspected not enough time had passed since his cancer for them to sign off on that, so he was declined for that.  he was also declined because of arthitis.... his toe arthritis.  Insane.  And he is the one I would want insurance on because he is the high income earner.  And therefore insurance on such a large amount is something I want coverage for. 

I do put coverage on everything else though because when I do go on leaves from work it is not a 100% coverage for long, so having some…

November Blog Carnival: One Word... Hermit

"Migraine Disease & Friendship: How has living with migraine disease or a headache disorder impacted your friendships? Has it shown you who your true friends are? Have you made friends or become closer to people because of your life with this disease? Please share your thoughts on friendship & chronic illness."

Chronic migraines have impacted my friendships completely and utterly.  Friendships require a certain amount of maintenance, some give and take and effort.  I have always considered myself to be a very loyal friend and I still am.  However, I have become increasingly isolated from the world.  The only way I actually interact with the world is through two venues: work and the internet.  Work is a source of pride and also the main source of stress and guilt.  However, it does get me out of the house and I do interact with customers and co-workers.  Therefore on the rare occasions I leave the house for social reasons I tend to socialize with co-workers o…

Sort of saw the unpleasant stigma on the other side today

Everyone knows there is a stigma associated with chronic pain.  It sucks but we have to deal with it.  For example my employer told me that other staff members had been complaining about my sick days, which in the particular case she sited that staff member was not.  I was understandably hurt when my boss said this and I said 'not to me'.  But she said there had been complaints.  Which made me feel like shit.  Because at the time I assumed her to be telling the truth which meant that co-workers who I thought understood the battle I go through and expressed sympathy were in fact lying to my face and complaining to the boss.  It devastated me.  Because I really appreciate that they have my back when I need them, because trust me, my employer never does.  Now whether there was numerous complaints or not, the stigma in this example is on the boss not the staff, although in some workplaces it can be both.  In my case, although I am told she sympathizes with my situation somehow, it…

For once I sure would like to not perplex my doctor

All my life I've had odd health concerns and symptoms but it was not till I was in my twenties that most of those were shoved under the FMS umbrella.  So I got a lot of blood tests and had a lot of doctors and a few specialists confused as to what was going on.  I have some FMS symptoms since early childhood, and joint pain due to hypermobility and a high ANA blood count and some other weird things that led to blood tests every six months and a few specialists.  And they always had a name for whatever it was, but not a reason why they were all coinciding together and some reasons were 'sometimes a high ANA is normal for 1% of the population'.  So you sort of get used to not knowing and then ignoring symptoms yourself.  Which is never a good idea but with FMS it is hard not to, I mean, literally any random symptom you can think of its under that syndrome.  And just because you get a diagnosis, which is its own relief, does not mean it is treatable, so you have to ignore all…

I don't feel Well

There is the normally don't feel well that I would use if a migraine is bothering me or if FMS is flaring in some way.  And then there is Not Well At All.  Which is this whole numb hand situation, which I am going to the doctor about tomorrow.  But also just Not Well.  Extremely tired, bit of a cold I think and for some reason these sharp pains in my chest which feels like either chest wall pain or lung pain, but since my cold is not that bad not certain where that is coming from.  All in all just rotten.  I missed work yesterday because I also felt rotten, I had a nasty migraine, was so confused by what time it was I was even late calling in sick late and my bloody hands were swollen.  I hope my doc can figure out this hands puzzler.

This is what I'm thinking...

Yep.  I got the Sunday blues cause I know tomorrow is Monday.  Mondays are particularly loathsome because it is the first day of the workweek and migraine hell.  Although I also dislike Wednesdays because after two days of migraine hell I'm totally drained and Wednesday as a result takes a lot of will to get through, or if Monday and Tuesday have been particularly painful, then Wednesday is extremely hard to get through knowing I have two days to go.  But Mondays... definately my least favorite day of the week.

*Sigh*

Okay numb hand syndrome is starting to freak me out.  So my right hand is still numb, except for this oversensitive sharp tingle I feel when I apply pressure to my fingertips.  And left hand is now numb on three fingertips and part of the palm... progressing slowly but consistently.  It is only a matter of time when it becomes as numb and clumsy as the right, which will further restrict my mobility.  Obviously since I have not heard from my doctor my blood work was fine, which means not from hypothyroidism or a vitamin deficiency.  So it could be neurological.  When it was one hand there were some possibilities that made sense, now that it is both, not so much.  I feel like I should go to the doctor again but what is the point?  The CAT scan will either reveal something or eliminate some other possibilities, so I think why not wait till that is over... but then I think maybe I should go back and mention the fact it is getting worse.  I thought it might be the Reynold Syndrome thing th…

Guilt: Pervasive, horrific and sometimes deadly affliction

Somebody Heal Me:guilt-two-steps-forward-one-step-back is a blog post I can really relate to.  Guilt is the plague of my existence.  The one thing of value I learned when I had to endure a therapist last year was when she questioned why my self-worth was tired up in how productive I believed myself to be.  In other words, I felt pretty damn worthless when I am unable to work.  And damned guilty when I dared to call in sick to work.  And often agreed with any claim my employer made about my absences because I felt guilty for being sick, even though obviously that is one thing that is not in my control.  It is a big deal for me.  I feel like I am not contributing enough.  That I have no purpose beyond my pain filled existence... and who wouldn't want to be more than just 'that chick with horrific migraines'?  I don't want to be defined by my illness, so when the one thing I try so damn desperately to hold onto, a job and one I have compromised a great deal on to have and…

Comfortably numb

Well, not so comfortably, but still very numb.  Numb right hand is still very numb, completely.  Left hand now numb on three fingertips and getting noticeably worse.  I Googled the symptom and that is never a good idea and gave me no insights except a lot of things can cause this.  Lovely.  My CAT scan is set up for early November thankfully, but since this is getting worse I am not sure how long I am going to wait before I cave and go back to the doctor.  Because already I am starting to think of unpleasant things that could be causing this and would rather not get freaked out.  Hopefully he gets my blood work in soon.  I told a co-worker if it comes back clear he won't be giving me a call and she said 'So no news is good news then' and usually that would be the case... except I want to know what is causing this so potentially it can be taken care of.... Not one of those elusive symptoms doctors cannot find a reason to so just add it to the insanely large file for future …

Medicine is the best medicine- laughter only goes so far. I never laugh at peoples remarks about opiate use for chronic migraines

The Scary New Migraine Mistake is an article about migraines.  Guess what the scary migraine mistake is?  The surprising amount of people undertreated? Nope.  The fact that man chronic migraine sufferers feel so let down by their doctors that they have no hope of achieving pain management? Nope.  That some of these people kill themselves?  Definately not, because obviously those people no longer have to manage their pain and are no longer included in the discussion. 

Most of us know for a fact that doctors are extremely reluctant to provide pain killers for unmanaged chronic pain conditions, but will rain a shower of painkillers down on those people with temporary moderate pain.  No it makes not sense.  I did not make the rules.  So this article, is rather the opposite of that fact.... " While no one knows for sure how many migraine sufferers go on to overuse addictive painkillers, the problem is “epidemic,” says Joel Saper, MD, director of the Michigan Headache and Neurologic…

Bad pain day ending a bad pain week

You know I sort of lose track of how much time I lose when I am in a bad pain cycle... but I know it has been for a bit now.  Just violent long lasting migraines.  They are making me mind numbingly tired.  For one thing they are all acute, so acute migraine + work = take a triptan ASAP.  Unfortunately, the environment ensures that triptan cannot do its job all that well and in order to survive the rest of the day I rely on barely sufficient pain killers.  Anyway, triptans can only be used three out of seven days in the week, so that leaves two really sucky work days where I have little to no treatment.  Just plain bad.  Not the sort of pain I would wish on my worst enemy, unless that enemy is making it harder for me to endure the pain in which case, yeah, they would benifit a hard lesson in compassion via feeling the same pain themselves.  Being in this much pain is so draining on me physically and mentally it is probably a good thing I don't have the energy to form any sort of em…

Just couldn't be easy could it?

My right hand is still numb and uncooperative and clumsy. Although having an actual physical manifestation of how brutal that migraine is sort of interesting. Maybe it will give those morons who think chronic pain is not a disability something visible and tangible to grasp the illusive concept. Because of course 'just pain' no matter how severe is apparently not sufficient to be classified as a disability, even though migraines and/or FMS are certainly not 'just pain' anyway. Migraines have caused me to lose my vision, severely limit my vision, lose my hearing, severely limit my hearing, caused angina, made me pass out, throw up, tremble, speak in tongues and to be about as close to brain dead as possible... but still, not considered a disability. I would like to take those people for a long drive on a bright sunny day when I can only sort of see out of one eye and kinda hear out of one ear and have no depth perception while the objects around me warp and shift...…

Thanksgiving day... for us Canadians anyways

So things to be thankful for....

1) Being alive is always a good one.

2) That my family is doing well is definately number one.

3) That it was a long weekened which was a nice breather and I got rid of that uber intense migraine

4) That whatever the hell is causing the numbness in my hand is not affecting my entire right hand, given I am right handed.  So I can still type with my thumb and one finger, which is how I type anyway, that I can still write, or at least not any worse than I usually do, and I can still point, which comes in handy and when i forget the word of an object.  My pinkie is the worst affected and really how often do I need that one anyway?  Until this goes away I might not be able to pinkie swear but I can still do a good game of thumb wars.

5) That it is not snowing here yet and the weather is just that right state of gloomy to be nice on the eyes.

6) That it is very near the end of the fiscal year at work and I made it through with only two days over what they al…

Fibromyalgia and migraine medications

Always nice to have a combo medication... considering we are on a boatload for chronic migraines.  Used to be FMS was just not treated.  Sort of the 'suck it up, buttercup' approach, which I for one did not appreciate.  For some reason when you are in loads of pain whenever you do anything you tend not to do anything which then increases the pain... and those of us with FMS just have to muddle through it and find our own treatment plan.  Now there are three meds that can be beneficial for FMS and can be used, off label, for migraines.  Kind of nice when you figure in how many  migraine 'preventatives' we are on, we might as well take one that helps with our other chronic pain.

1) Lyrica- the one I am on now.  And it actually works for FMS, as in I can walk more than fifteen minutes without increasing crippling pain, and pain does not endure as long.  So I like this one.  Whether it has helped me with migraines is debatable but my neuro left me on it because it is good …

Weird symptoms... how I loath them

So after my wicked Thursday/Friday migraine of which I remember little of... I have this persistent numbness in my right hand, or specifically three fingers and half my palm.  Like it fell asleep and won't wake up, but not completely numb.  Since it did not go away with the migraine it is hard to blame the migraine for it, although we do sometimes get numbness and tingling in the hands, feet or face.  I used to get that bad as a side effect from Topamax.  Anyway it is a concern.  Could be a pinched nerve... all that pain does a number on my neck, which then migrates to my shoulders and down my arm.  That can get serious enough to restrict mobility, as I can attest to after having six months of physio therapy to correct that compounding problem a few years back.  What concerns me is that it could be a symptom of a TIA.  I always said I'd be the last person to know if I had a stroke, because all those symptoms are what you tend to get with a migraine, especially the wicked ones.…

Phew, broke the migraine

Broke that migraine from hell last night, finally.  Although three of my fingers on my right hand remain numb... I rather hope that goes away.  I did get another migraine today, but it was a different migraine and so far a manageable one so that is a big difference.  It has been a long, rather bad season of migraines lately.  Maybe they will get a bit better now that it is cooler.  Sure would be nice to predict these things.

I lost another day

I did not misplace it but nonetheless it was another lost day.  Statistically I do wonder how much of the year we lose to just surviving pain. I'm sure I actually really don't want to know the answer to that.  Facts make me sad.  Today was spent suffering the same intense migraine as yesterday, so it was a waste of a day and I did call in sick to work.  But I don't feel as guilty as I usually would because the pain was that bad, such that no sane person would think about moving.  We just lose days sometimes.  We lose hours and minutes quite often.  We miss parties and events.

Funny how when we are in intense pain time is infinitely slow but when you look back you have to wonder where did the day go?  The year?  The decade?  Because the normal things that would define time passing are either not there or blurred by the pain.  It can be depressing but I don't feel like being depressed right now.  My head aches too much for the effort to morn another lost day.

Off the chart migraine pain at work...

These days I usually develop a migraine right around 1 pm and I am already at work so I treat it as best I can and carry on.  Sometimes I get full blown acute migraines in the morning, of which I am far more likely to call in sick from because the motivation to move is really not there.  Today I woke up groggy and stupid, running late for work with a slight ache in my head.  I had an acute migraine yesterday, but well into the evening and it responded quite well to my triptan.  But my lungs and heart did not respond so well to that triptan, so I have those achy chest pains and naggy breathing issues that likely compramised my sleep.  But I got to work fine.  I got through the first hour or two fine.  Then one of those horrific monster migraines hit.  So intense I could barely take it.  When I drove back to work after lunch it was so insanely painful, the slowing down and speeding up.  I should not have been driving but I took my triptan and I could not exactly not go back to work... t…