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Showing posts from November, 2013

Laughter is the best medicine I have

Humor, laughter and smiling one of the greatest weapons of the chronically ill.

Smile on: The mighty power of the smile is held in the fact that when you smile your brain thinks hey there must be a reason for that smile and so I should be happy..."Facial feedback works because the brain senses the flexion of certain facial muscles (like the zygomatic major, which is required to smile) and interprets it as “Oh I must be happy about something.” Similarly, if that muscle isn’t flexed then your brain thinks, “Oh, I must not be happy”. In addition to the direct neural feedback, in the real world you also get the added advantage of social feedback. Smiles are infectious (perhaps another post on mirror neurons in the future). So even if you don’t feel much happier, the people around you are more likely to smile, and that can improve your mood as well." (Psychology today) And released endorphins even when the smile is forced. I never knew this but I knew that I could not go…

Productive day? Lame or not lame? Hard to know sometimes.

I woke up very late today. Just one of those days where my brain just really wanted to catch up on the whole sleep deprivation deal. I don't like it because it feels like you have then wasted the entire day. Yet at the same time I wake up feeling like I got sleep and without a migraine. So there is that.

Waking up feeling rested yet also like you wasted the day means I wanted fill time with something productive. I got myself into an organizational mood and re-organized the books in my library. This was very time consuming as I have a crapload of books stuffed onto five bookcases. It was essentially a task of Tetris book style... getting all the harcovers, in genre, onto separate shelves instead of messing up symmetry being mixed with other. Then this artform of double-layering on tall shelves, so you can see all the books and utilize all the space. But some shelves are double-layered on short shelves, so you cannot see the layer in the back. And some are triple layered, they are d…

I still cannot tolerate #NSAIDs

Every once in a while I test whether I can tolerate NSAIDs by taking an OTC pill. I actually threw out all of them the last time because it is not a fun experiment. But if you follow the theory that NSAIDs caused ulcers... somewhere that caused the pain, diarrhea and bleeding to occur... and you were then treated for said ulcers for some time, then one would imagine that you would have the capacity to take NSAIDs again. Especially an OTC one and not the prescription strength ones that caused the damage in the first place. For me the damage occurred, must have been seven years ago now? Plenty of time for recovery there one would think.

I assumed the long term adverse reactions I was getting had something to do with what caused the adverse reaction in the first place. The fact I had IBS to begin with and it was worse after. So I was now overtly sensitive to them. But I don't see why I would be if there is no actual damage there. But it is in fact the case that I get a boatload of pa…

Migraine treatment guidelines and treatment recomendations

The American Headache Society (AHS) released a list of commonly treatments or tests for migraine and headache that are not always needed. The list comes about as part of the Choosing Wisely® initiative of the ABIM Foundation. It aims to target five areas, supported by evidence with an effort to support conversations between doctors and patients about what is really needed or necessary. This will be published in Nov-Dec 2013 journal of Headache.

American Headache Society Releases List of Commonly Used Tests and Treatments to Question
“All of us on the front lines of medicine know we have the opportunity to improve the care we deliver by engaging our patients in conversations about what care is really necessary and beneficial to their health. The recommendations in migraine and headache treatment released today provide valuable information to help patients and physicians start important conversations about treatment options and make wise choices,” said Elizabeth Loder, MD, MPH, Pr…

Epilepsy and migraine comorbidity

Epilepsy and migraine comorbidity in this case means people with epilepsy can be more likely to have migraines, not people with migraines are more likely to have epilepsy. Certain conditions often come with these comorbid links... other conditions more likely to occur with them but not linked to them necessarily. And studies in the past have suggested with epilepsy migraines are a comorbid condition.  One would think there would be some sort of genetic link there somewhere considering the nature of the conditions, but this study specifically looked at the possibility of a shared genetic susceptibility to epilepsy and migraine.

New research reveals a shared genetic susceptibility to epilepsy and migraine. Findings published in Epilepsia, a journal of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), indicate that having a strong family history of seizure disorders increases the chance of having migraine with aura (MA).
Medical evidence has established that migraine and epileps… The state of chronic migraines The state of chronic migraines 
"So people suffering from chronic migraine have more headache days than not. It is estimated that between two and three million Americans live with chronic migraine. But what is the real impact on their daily lives?
The Chronic Migraine in America study was conducted to find some answers. The survey was open for 30 days and includes the input of more than 1500 chronic migraine sufferers. Participants were required to be American citizens aged 18 or over, and meet the criteria for chronic migraine. What exactly did they have to share?"

It is great to see a study on chronic migraines specifically. I was intrigued to see the details on this.

Obviously these symptoms are not restricted to chronic migraines, but it is good to think about. You have 15 to daily migraines in a month... and it is not just the pain you are contending with here. It is this mix of neurological symptoms... and other symptoms such as digestive or nausea…

Just some ideas on how to relax

I think this guy is a genius. I see a psychologist who specialists in pain management to help me with all that lack of pain management. It is all about relaxation techniques, meditation, biofeedback... blah, blah, blah. There is a fundamental flaw in all of this and that my failure to grasp the three steps outlined above.

Fundamentally along the way with chronic pain we figure out to mask the pain and to push through the pain... all in the aim to function on some level. Often a crappy un-fun level, but what counts is that we do things. And doing things is what is important to people. Other people mostly. Other people who do not have a pain problem. You suck other people. Anyway, we get this mental line. We have Intolerable Pain and Tolerable Pain. Functional Pain and Non-Functional Pain.

That just seems like a chronic pain fact of life. The chronic pain life-style. Obviously one that does not work well when the pain exceeds our coping but for the most part it just is the way it is.


Did the barium test on the stomach and upper GI system today... walk it off, walk it off

For those of you that have never done the barium x-ray series on the stomach and upper GI tract it is unpleasant. What makes it unpleasant is the barium itself, a white, radio-opaque powder, used to light up the digestive system to show up on the x-rays. I have had the stomach one twice in the past. I believe they were looking for ulcers... which i found odd at the time because the symptoms I had would suggest the ulcers I had gotten from NSAIDs, or damage from them, was in the large intestines but whatever. I suppose they wanted to rule it out. Point is I have had experience with the first part of the test... the stomach version, which is shorter.

Now, barium shakes taste like chalk. I have never eaten chalk before but that has to be what it tastes like. Like a thick paste. It is revolting. That is the first aspect of this test that is a problem. The stuff is nasty.

When I had first taken the barium stomach test it actually was worse than it is now. I had been put on a tilt table tha…

Sometimes these motivational posters irk me... but there is a little truth in everything

This is so true.

As soon as I stop having migraines every day my life will be changed. The routine is getting so tiresome.

Sometimes these motivational posters irk me.

Yet at the same time the fact is daily routines are important. And the fact is when you have chronic illness daily routines are very important. And the fact is when you are chronically ill daily routines can also be very problematic.

Sleep routines for example are vital and also very problematic for me. Damn you sleep my eternal foe. Sorry. I did not mean that. I love you, sleep, I love you so much i crave you more than I crave chocolate. I mean it. Just because you hate me doesn't mean I will stop loving you. Point is with fibromyalgia I have horrible sleep, even if I try all the best sleep routine advice in the world. And I have. Since I was a kid. And sleeping pills now that I am older and those do not even work like they do for healthy people, who don't even need them, but at least they help enough to get m…

My migraine relate Bitstrip cartoons

I have had a great deal of fun with Bitstrips on Facebook where you can make little cartoons of yourself and others. These are my migraine creations.

It just won’t quit- poem

I wonder where I went

This can't be me I think sometimes. This is just the pain. The fatigue. This isn't me. I am smart and articulate. I am not here anymore. And I don't know where I went.

This can't be me I think sometimes. I had goals and ambitions. I wanted to get my phd and teach philosophy. Those days are so long ago and that person is long gone. Replaced with a realistic person who just wanted a job she could hold down. I was proud I could make that into a career but I yearned for that abstract theories and research life I had to leave behind. That part of me I had to crush in order to survive.

This can't be me I think sometimes when the pain consumed everything and it exceeded my ability to cope. Took my desire to live. Took my job that I struggled to hold onto just to hold onto something.

Where am I, I wonder? Do I exist in those small pain gaps? But no those have the fatigue constant from this battle and the post-migraine and the pre-migraine. No, there is very little me to be…

Brain on meditation and me on meditation

There is a lot of research on meditation. You don't need to show me brain scans to prove to me it has benefits.
I do however suck at it.

It is partly that I never feel I should pause long enough to do it. There is this concept that I should use my time doing something 'productive' and if I don't I should be 'guilty' about that. I know it would be more productive to take the time to do something that might actually help me in some way. But there you go. You spend decades of your life trying to push through the pain every moment of the day to function and work that you feel guilty for any downtime. Perhaps all that time with untreated pain, 'pushing through it' creating all that stress just trained the brain to feel it more. Perhaps we should take the time to train our brains to calm down a bit. Perhaps people should give us a moments peace to do so. There are many things we could do that might improve our existence... but damn doing all those things ins…