September 5, 2008

Over the summer I’ve had much fewer headaches than usual. I believe I owe it too getting up earlier (between 5-6:30am) on the days without headaches. Also for about 2-3 months I’ve been doing a workout in the morning consisting of 15-30 minutes uphill fast walking on the treadmill, plus an exhilerating 5-6 minute stretch of running. I cool down with walking, stretch my legs, arms, butt, neck…and it definately helps condition by body again over-sensitivity.

Today I had a migraine in class. It was the first day of a new class, new group, new teacher, new room…and I have permission to set up special lights (to avoid fluorescent induced hospital trips), but didn’t have enough time to arrange the room helpfully…and ended up feeing anxious. I keep meds with me, but didn’t take a tramacet until I got home. Thankfully the pain was not intense enough to ruin the class for me altogether. I just had to accept the pain and work with it. I used accupressure on my hands and face to reduce the symptoms and later put peppermint oil on my neck.


Much Progress

July 28, 2008

July 28, 2008
What I’m doing differently (that is WORKING)
-Exercising EVERYDAY – both lots of walking and bursts of cardio
-Lots of stretching, the more the better…increase circulation, reduce tension build-up
-Walnuts everyday (rich in omega 3s)
-Observing Anti-Inflmmatory and Alkaline dietary leanings
-Waking early (5am – 6am sometime)
-small frequent meals – trying hard not to overeat
-frequent herbal tea
-sleeping with a gel ice pack in the crook of my neck often
-Watching how much screen time I have…taking care of my eyes
-Taking care of my fresh air needs
-Being attentive to avoid excessive light at all times (I have ocular albinism in addition to migraines, so I am always highly photophobic, more so before and during a migraine)
-Wide variety of physical, mental, spiritual and social activities
-Deep breathing when I think of it

Hey everyone,
It’s May 28, 2008.
I’ve been without any serious migraine pain for a couple of days. It took:

  • Less screen time (computer, tv etc.)
  • Lots of ice – even when heat and throbbing etc were mild
  • Massage
  • Massaging eyebrows and face with electric massager
  • Eating less
  • Forcing myself to go without meds for most of the week
  • Forcing myself to go without caffeine as a treatment (or ever) for the week
  • Walking 2-3 hours a day
  • Some short bursts of rigorous exercise when I was feeling well enough
  • Noting the change in pain level and mood on a 1-10 scale
  • Drinking lots of water
  • Lots of fresh air when it’s been darker or cooler (the rare half hour)I’m trying not to be discouraged. My energy is low and I feel ripped off a bit…because the times without migraines are sometimes really crappy too…mood or energy wise… I feel like I only live 10% of the time….

    But when it’s good, it’s good.
    There is so much to learn, so many ways to become healthier…and it all benefits more than me….so pressing on.


  • Heat wave
  • Camping
  • Disrupted sleep, eating and schedule patterns
  • Social stress – too much intense conversation in close quarters
  • Less exercise – too much time in the car
  • Strain – too much heavy lifting of camping materials and supplies
  • MAIN TRIGGER: Too much sun, clear eyelids….burning eyes…sun burning through my $400 custom made glasses (for my condition)
  • Too many important appointments and events to prepare for during all of the pain…no migraine safe places for a whole week

What helped when I was in pain:

  • Spending time in the lake, hoping for a chill
  • Tramacet, zomig, ibuprophen, strong coffee…
  • Hugging bags of ice
  • Sleeping with ice behind my neck and on my forehead
  • Trying not to overeat during my pain cravings
  • Air conditioning in the car (THANK GOD THANK GOD)

I have had more or less constant low-grade migraine and headache pain for ten days. The sun (heat and light effects) has been the worst for me.

I did have some relief each day, in little spurts of calm and cool…
But most of those relief times were easilly triggered back into throbbing.

It was very difficult trying to communicate what was going on with me to my traveling partner…because I didn’t want to wreck her trip…guilt her or anything like that….but I need her to stop asking me to do difficult things when I was in pain….and to basically not expect anything from me when I say “my eyes are really burning” or “I can’t thnk right now…my head is throbbing”

She told me that it’s hard for her to understand and to remember…because she is not experiencing…and it’s not immediately obvious. Also, it seemed to annoy her if I reminded her frequently…because it seemed to add to the stress of driving, setting up camp etc.

I’m very glad to be home, alone in my cool, dark apartment. Glad to choose when you throw myself into the community, sun and unpredictable world…and when to draw back and heal from it all.

I haven’t written for a while. In the last couple weeks I finished my college semester, and have been spring cleaning since. I don’t have much work right now, so until that picks up, I am organizing my apartment in all the areas I haven’t gotten to yet.

The weather has been strange here. We’ve had snow, ice cold winds, rain, hot sun, ice wind with bright blue sky…and that has affected me a bit, but I’ve done pretty well. I’ve taken two zomig and three tramacet in the last two weeks. I’ve also taken some ibuprophen and naproxen.

Vitamins I am currently taking daily that seem to help overall:

  • B Vitamins – B100 once a day or 2 b50s
  • Lots of omega 3-6-9 – 3-9 gel caps

Other supplements I’m not sure about, but I am taking:

  • Vitamin E
  • Quercetin (digestion)

I feel ok. I’m a bit moody, easilly melancholy over weather, a tv show, an audiobook, photos…but not with good reason.
I may be fighting a virus because I am unusually tired and requiring a few more hours of sleep most nights.

WEEKLY PHYSIO and MASSAGE work well for me. I feel that these therapies help reduce tension, get my body in a neutral ‘ease’ state, so that there seems to be less of a problem with muscle memory. When I get a migraine it takes longer for the pain to become ‘entrenched’ and develop a fresh pattern of pain. Lately I can often subdue pain with just peppermint oil, ice or heat.

Other helpful items:

I have been walking a minimum of 45 minutes EVERYDAY as well as occasional high intensity cardio jogging, kickboxing, belly dancing, in short spirts.

I have also lost a pound or two (which is sometimes difficult for me). I believe that careful easy management of food intake and activity is consistent with reducing migraine frequency. When I eat 1700 calories instead of say, 2200…I seem less prone to migraines. There are multiple factors there. They may include reduced sugar intake, and/or more conscious intake of high protein and high fibre foods.
I am optimistic about the summer sun, heat and stress triggers – but I am taking precautions already to avoid jobs and events that could get me back into a pain cycle.

It’s April 11, 2008
I’ve had two physio appointments and two 90 minute massage appointments in the past two weeks. I have finished my four college assignments, awaiting my exam end of the month.

Today I had a dull, semi-nauseous, light sensitive migraine today. Lots of unnecessary food cravings, lots of light depression to fight off, bloated, puffy headed, couldn’t think without increasing the pain (abstractly, problem solving etc)

It started when I overslept. It is continuing now, thought fairly mildly. The pain level has not been intense today, but I feel like I have done so much less than I am usually capable of on a really good day…but it just didn’t turn out to be a really great day…

Not so discouraged though.
The more physio, massage and regular exercise I do…the less likely I am to be easilly over stimulated …muscle tension / low circulation wise…
And the most I restrict my diet, drink crazy amounts of water, and use caffeine medicinally 1-2 times per week…the better.

I didn’t take any pain meds today.
I used LOTS of peppermint oil (helps with muscle pain, nausea) directly on skin (apply with latex glove), hot bath and shower, ice on head, fresh air, light walking on treadmill – to keep things manageable

Hi again,
It’s Monday, April 7th. 11:14am.
My order of events from last night to this morning was really beneficial. I’ll outline it:
I was feeling foggy last night around 8pm…
I decided to take my night medications early so that I would have the sedation from them earlier.
I got on the treadmill for about 35 minutes, walked and ran with some incline, til sweating.
Went to bed with some ice on my neck, support under my neck…pillows around me..feel asleep quickly

I woke up to my alarm at 7:30..but was really comfy and tired…with no urgent reason to get up…so I slept in BUT DIDN’T GET A MIGRAINE (which I usually do when I sleep in)….I attribute that to the healthy blood flow/circulation from the previous night’s exercise..

I started my ‘morning’ with a mug of 8oz. hot water, 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice and 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar…as I’ve read to do for day energy….and other things..
I opened all the windows and the patio door…to air out the apartment.
I had a solid breakfast of 2 scrambled eggs with creamcheese/ketchup mixed, chipotle chili and citrus spice, a cup of decaf black tea w/ cream and a scottish oat cake (cookie size)…

And I’m feeling really good…I still feel the signs of muscle memory…and overworked parts of my heads (right side of head and neck, and near eye)…but they don’t hurt right now…they just need like playdough..a bit heavier in my head, and thicker…

What I’ve been doing WRONG lately:

  • Spending too much time in front of screens…not pulling myself away when my eyes hurt
  • Not being firm enough with myself about daily disciplines like exercise, fresh air, food moderation etc…all of which are VITAL to my well-being

What I’ve been dong right lately:

  • Using caffeine only medicinally..and avoiding it when there are no dilated vessels to clamp down
  • Walking a lot
  • Drinking a lot of water (always having it with me)
  • Going to Physio and Massage Therapy appointments…because I can now
  • Having lots of hot showers
  • Only using prescriptions when the pain symptoms cannot be treated with ice, relaxation, peppermint oil, massage etc…so that I’m not using meds everyday



It’s Friday, April 4, 2008
     I slept in today, til about 10:15am…after a good stretch of earlier mornings this week. Hoping to develop a real habit of early to bed and early to rise (because I’ve always wanted to be health, wealthy and wise)…
For my late breakfast I had: 1 fried egg, 1 pc. spelt toast with almond butter and blueberry jam.

     The more I’ve been forcing myself outside for air, the more I crave it. This apartment is stifling to me.

     Recent lifestyle changes that have helped me prevent or deal with migraine pain/symptoms:

  1. Drinking coffee when I feel my head puff up/blood vessels dilating or (with discernment) when I have pre-migraine signs
  2. Bursts of cardio…even five minutes running with an hour of walking spread through the day makes a big difference to me…and I feel good when I’m on the treadmill now, better than before. I think I have fortified myself a bit against cardio-induced migraines my pacing myself and gradually increasing the intensity, incline…duration…and easing off on bad days
  3. Eating less sugar – trying not to spike my sugar so that I am craving things all day…unbalanced blood sugar levels likely trigger migraines for me…and with anything unbalanced in me
  4. I have the privelege to manage my time how I need to, so lately I’ve been trying out new ways to do activites…the pleasure of change and increased productivity with schoolwork has helped my well-being…which probably effects serotonin and thus migraines…..for example…I’ve been walking into town, settling at the library for an hour to work, going for a coffee, writing at the coffee shop for an hour…going back to the library to work…..doing an errand…walking home…instead of doing my paper entirely at home and getting blocked more frequently
  5. Being really good to my eyes – my eyes are sensitive 24/7, so I sometimes push through the strain and do things like watching tv/computer anyway…but I am trying not to do that
  6. Massage – I gain as much through discussing with the massage therapist and from the massage itself
  7. Learning how to let go of things…and actually doing it – reminding myself that a misunderstanding a friend’s negative opinion of me etc…are not defining…and ruminating or trying hard to solve it mentally for an hour afterwards will always do more harm them good…just accepting that we don’t fully know…really anyone, and that being hurt by another person is kind of a waste of time
  8. Gardening – but carefully…cause it’s a strain too

Hi there,
It’s March 2, 2008. 5:04pm
My day:

  1. 90 minute massage in the morning (I got my medical back for two years!)
  2. Went to library to study, finished annotating my Augustine excerpts
  3. Ate cucumber and cream cheese on spelt, walnuts, lots of water
  4. Walked home
  5. Rested
  6. Went to bank, had a coffee (late afternoon)
  7. Now I am going to organize my living room for my study partners

So, not a lot…but I feel good. I am on top of my essay notes…I have 24 hours to finish my paper and I think I will accomplish it.

 Pain wise, I have been sensitive today. I did take a Zomig (triptan) earlier today, around 11am, when I noticed that the familiar fogginess and vessel dilation + light sensitivity was arriving…but thanks to either caution or the medication, it didn’t turn into anything, and gradually faded.

I feel good right now. My apartment is messy…but it’s not stressing me out. Since I’ve been having fewer migraines, I’ve lost a couple pounds, feel less bloated and lethargic…and I’m a bit more ambitious in my schoolwork, exercise and daydreaming.

The rule for me is that the longer I go without serious migraines, the longer I am likely to be free of them…once they start…they seem to continue until something shifts dramtically…or I receive some good rounds of treatment.

April 1, 2008
     I had physio this morning. The toughest part was getting there on the bus with loud teenagers, too much sunlight and really bad air to breathe.
     My craniosacral treatment was subtle, but relaxing. My physio started by alligning my pelvis and sacrum, as she usually does. Next, my cranium and then ice for 10 minutes.
     There was a lot of artificial heat on the bus, in the phsysio clinic, stores etc. which was difficult to deal with. Walking into a building, my blood vessels dilate fast…walking out, they snap shut in the cold…while my eye spasm from the light….it’s hard on me to be out and around sometimes. I cope by remembering to breathe deeply, even if the air isn’t great…getting oxygen is more important than avoiding toxins most of the time.
     I am at home now, 12:30pm, starting to work on my paper for the day. I feel calm…should probably turn this music down….and find my ‘lucid place’…..
     Turning on “Natural Stress Relief II” by Dan Gibson. Forest Sanctuary track. Water by my side, fresh air pouring in, just enough light. Glasses on, fleece on. Lavender oil diffusing. Ginko in my bloodstream. Something to look forward to, in the back of my mind. Stretch…….