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A Dream during a Migraine

The nausea is so bad today that it even entered my dream. I was at some random persons, oh wait I remember now, it was at our first day care, Kim’ house (I ran into her at Walmart yesterday) learning a craft.  I told her right away that I have a migraine and that I am very nauseous. She just said I was probably dehydrated. Boy did I get pissed, but then realized it was probably true.

At some point we were in the corner of a room because that is where the glue guns were. I have no idea what we were making and none of it made any sense.

I felt so awful. Why in the world did I even go in the middle of a Migraine and why the hell didn’t I leave. Oh yah what were Dan and the boys doing there running around being crazy. I told Dan he was going to have to help but he took off with the boys. I was so confused about what was happening, about what page we were on and even about what she was saying. At different points I remember having to get up and stumbling around to find it at her house.   I was trying to refer her to my blog but I kept writing it wrong, adding words, forgetting words. Then the pencil would break, or the piece of paper would be too small to write it on with the crayon I found. I was absolutely beside myself. Nothing like having and anxiety attack during a migraine in your dream.

I woke up from my dream and realized that this is exactly how I was feeling today. I had been stumbling around earlier, having difficulty finding words and I was and still am so nauseous.  Dreams are so weird!  image

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My Current Diagnoses

  1. Chronic Classic Migraine

    The International Headache Society defines chronic migraine as more than fifteen headache days per month over a three month period of which more than eight are migrainous, in the absence of medication over use. Episodic migraine is the other migraine sub-type, which is defined as less than 15 headache days per month.

    These are the worst types of head pain that I have and are the most debilitating.  They last 72 hours followed by a day of postdrome and can be immediately followed by another migraine.  Sometimes I get 2-3 days between migraines (but those days are filled with NDPH, see below).  My Migraine Cave was created for these, because I cannot get out of bed and the pain behind my right eye, in general, forces me to close that eye for most of those 72 hours.  It makes it difficult to eat, drink, watch TV (so I tend to use my iPad because it has a much smaller screen and use an ear bud to make the sound more direct and in the ear opposite the migraine.  It is the Migraine that doesn’t allow me to work, make plans, leave the house very often, which game me the title to this blog: My Family’s New Normal.  We stay at home much more these days because even when I am feeling better, I am afraid the sound of restaraunts, movie theatres, anywhere with people really will trigger a migraine.  But luckily my family are homebodies by nature and they don’t complain much about this.  

  2. Tension Migraines

    • Affects both sides of your head
    • Cause mild to moderate pain
    • Cause pain that feels pressing or tightening, but not pulsating
    • Aren’t aggravated by routine physical activity

    Some people may have skull tenderness.

    I am just coming out of a really bad Tension migraine.  For me this tends to be brought on by both weather and any type of physical activity.  The severity can range from moderate to debilitating and can often piggy back a classic migraine.

  3. New daily persistent headache (NDPH)

    These headaches come on suddenly, usually in people without a headache history. They become constant within three days of your first headache. They have at least two of the following characteristics:

    • Usually affects both sides of your head
    • Cause pain that feels like pressing or tightening, but not pulsating
    • Cause mild to moderate pain
    • Aren’t aggravated by routine physical activity

For me this headache started two days after the anaphylaxis and treatment that occurred on January 21st, 2015.  This is the pain that I wake up every day with, and have done so since January 23rd.  I have a baseline level of pain that is moderate or a 3 on a 0-5 pain scale (pain that I can function with).  But sometimes the pain becomes more severe and widespread and turns into the Tension Migraine when the pressure becomes so severe that medication is needed to relieve the pressure or a trip to ER is needed. 

4.  Cervicalgia

Cervicalgia is neck pain that does not radiate outward to the upper extremities or shoulders. Its symptoms can be chronic or acute and can include neck stiffness, aching, tenderness, pain upon movement and headaches. It can be treated with application of ice when caused by an injury, heat when the pain is muscular in nature, temporary use of a cervical collar, anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy. 

I have gone to physical therapy for this and will start again soon.  They help to work the stiffness out but I have to do the stretches at home to strengthen my neck muscles at the same time or the physical therapy only provides temporary relief. 

5. Temporomandibular joint (TMJ)

TMJ acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. TMJ disorders can cause pain in your jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement.The exact cause of a person’s TMJ disorder is often difficult to determine. Your pain may be due to a combination of problems, such as arthritis or jaw injury. Some people who have jaw pain also tend to clench or grind their teeth, but many people habitually clench their teeth and never develop TMJ disorders.In most cases, the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorders can be alleviated with self-managed care or nonsurgical treatments.

I have a bite guard that I wear every night and also try and remember to do my jaw stretches (which uses my thumb and forefinger to stretch my mouth and is very painful…I can also get similar results eating an apple, which forces me to open my mouth wider which seems to get easier the further into the apple I get.

 

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What is a Migraine, What are the 4 stages, My Experience

Definitions and Stage descriptions from the Mayo Clinic Website

What is a MIGRAINE

A migraine headache can cause intense throbbing or a pulsing sensation in one area of the head and is commonly accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.  Migraine attacks can cause significant pain for hours to days and be so severe that all you can think about is finding a dark, quiet place to lie down.  Some migraines are preceded or accompanied by sensory warning symptoms (aura), such as flashes of light, blind spots, or tingling in your arm or leg.  Medications can help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. If treatment hasn’t worked for you in the past, talk to your doctor about trying a different migraine headache medication. The right medicines, combined with self-help remedies and lifestyle changes, may make a big difference.

Symptoms: migraine headaches often begin in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood. Migraines may progress through four stages, including prodrome, aura, headache and postdrome, though you may not experience all the stages.

Stages of a Migraine

1. Prodrome: One or two days before a migraine, you may notice subtle changes that signify an oncoming migraine, including:

  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Food cravings
  • Hyperactivity
  • Irritability
  • Neck stiffness
  • Uncontrollable yawning

2. Aura: Aura may occur before or during migraine headaches. Auras are nervous system symptoms that are usually visual disturbances, such as flashes of light. Sometimes auras can also be touching sensations (sensory), movement (motor) or speech (verbal) disturbances. Most people experience migraine headaches without aura. Each of these symptoms usually begins gradually, builds up over several minutes, and then commonly lasts for 20 to 60 minutes. Examples of aura include:

  • Visual phenomena, such as seeing various shapes, bright spots or flashes of light
  • Vision loss
  • Pins and needles sensations in an arm or leg
  • Speech or language problems (aphasia)

Less commonly, an aura may be associated with limb weakness (hemiplegic migraine).

3. Attack: When untreated, a migraine usually lasts from four to 72 hours, but the frequency with which headaches occur varies from person to person. You may have migraines several times a month or much less often. During a migraine, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Pain on one side or both sides of your head
  • Pain that has a pulsating, throbbing quality
  • Sensitivity to light, sounds and sometimes smells
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Lightheadedness, sometimes followed by fainting

4. Postdrome: The final phase, known as postdrome, occurs after a migraine attack. During this time you may feel drained and washed out, though some people report feeling mildly euphoric.

My Experience

Stage one (prodome): Symptoms that I have come to relate to an oncoming migraine include: Hyperactivity, Irritability, Neck stiffness and Uncontrollable yawning.  And now that I think about it I think that constipation  might also happen, but will have to track that maybe.  Any indicator that I need to prepare for a migraine are helpful for both my mental status and for my family.  It helps them prepare for the days ahead if I can tell them I believe a migraine is coming.

Stage two (Aura): I only experience the aura (flashing lights for me) once in a while and it is usually during a really bad migraine.

Stage three (Attack): My migraines last 72 hours and can occur as many as 20 days or more a month (making them chronic migraines).  In general I have stabbing pain behind my right eye brow…but sometimes can occur on my left or both sides at the same time.  During a migraine I always experience, sensitivity to light (photophobia), sensitivity to sound (phonophobia) and a crazy heightened sense of smell.  I often experience nausea (luckily I don’t have vomitting, blurred vision once in a while and lightheadedness.

April 11th

Stage four (postdrome): I am extremely fatigued but have very little head pain.  Although, because I also suffer from New Daily Persistant Headaches (see the next post), I usually have head pain across my forehead, but it tends to be mild.  I also feel a sense of heavy fog that effects me cognitively (or a mild case of aphasia: Aphasia is a condition that robs you of the ability to communicate. It can affect your ability to speak, write and understand language, both verbal and written.) ; for me I can’t find words, get right and left mixed up, use wrong words…have trouble communicating.  It can last a full 24 hours or just for a few hours in the morning before I really get up and around and moving.

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Do you have trouble with blood draws or IV starts?

Ever since I was a patient at Chelsea Hospital in the inpatient program through MHNI I have had veins that seem to collapse, create a hematoma (a solid swelling of clotted blood within the tissues), and act like brittle paper.  While I was there I had 31 needle pokes to either draw blood or start new IV’s because the previous one was hurting so bad.  I was on a medication called DHE (Dihydroergotamine) that causes vasoconstriction (the constriction of blood vessels, which increases blood pressure) and tends to be really rough on veins.

So every time I have to go the ER or have blood drawn I end up with what you see below.  The bruises on the hand don’t show up very well but boy do they hurt.  They always try the hand first and then work their way up my arm trying to find a vein and trying to find a vein that won’t collapse.    When they just can’t find a vein, even after 6 pokes…they finally call in an IV team (I had never heard of it until my last ER visit) that uses ultrasound to find a vein deep down that wouldn’t collapse.  It was so fast and easy…I wish they could always do that, but they can’t.

One of the biggest problems I have is that if I have a reason to go to the ER or have a procedure done, I am often in the middle of a migraine, so I am very dehydrated.  Hopefully having the Migraine Cave stocked with water (which has already been helpful) will make this plan more effective. But after what happened during my last ER visit (pics below) I have come up with a plan:

  

MY NEW BLOOD DRAW/IV PLAN

My plan came about accidentally really.  I was shopping at Walmart in a clearance section and came across the gloves that are show below, called Red Hot gloves.  They came with two hand warmers that you insert into the top of the hand into a little pocket.  The hothands that are in the picture are cheap replacements since they are only 1 time use.

About a half an hour before a procedure, blood draw or IV poke I plan to put these on to heat up the veins on the top of my hands.  The idea came from MHNI wear they often submerse my hand and arm into warm water and then a lab used one of the hand warmers after I told them that my veins were difficult to find.

I get so sick of the phlebotomists that just think they are going to be “the one” that gets it on the first try.  Four tries later, after not taking my advice about heat on my hands I have 4 hematomas and they have finally found a vein.

Now I can always have heat on my hands coming into the lab, hospital, ER, etc.  I don’t have to deal with the person that won’t listen to me that my hands need to be heated in order to draw blood or place an IV.  I took my health care into my own hands.

The second part of my plan is only for times when I have scheduled procedures or blood draws, this will not work when I end up in the ER.  But hydration is soooo important for blood draws and IV starts.  This last blood draw, I drank water from the time I woke until 1:00pm when I got my blood drawn.  I read that 64 oz. the day before and the day of is the most helpful amount and that excessive amounts are not necessary.


This is my new water cup for my Migraine Cave…it holds the 16oz bottles of water perfectly 🙂  And it is soooo cute!

My Plan In Summary

  1. Hand warming gloves about a half an hour before blood draw/IV start
  2. Hydration: 64 oz the day before if possible and 64 oz the day of the blood draw/IV start.

 

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Several Good Days/Barometric Pressure

In a previous post I thought that the burst of energy might be a precursor to a migraine, because that seemed to have happened before the previous two migraines.  But this time it wasn’t the case. which is good news for me really.  I have had three days in a row with functional head pain and lots of energy.  In fact I was up until 4:30am last night and awake at 7:30am…no nap!!  This is a big deal.  I am a bit tired, but my head won’t calm down…I feel like the energizer bunny, hence the Migraine Cave being created in the matter of 3 days.

Things that have changed in the past 3 days:

  1. The new glasses: Theraspecs Website.  I have been wearing them at all times both inside and outside.
  2. I have stayed well hydrated (which was very helpful when I got a blood draw for allergy testing today).
  3. I have not spent all day in bed.  I have been out and about, visiting with friends, shopping, etc.  It has been a good 3 days.

I have also been watching the barometric pressure and feel spikes in my head pain when the pressure changes.  But so far it hasn’t gone into a full blown migraine or a debilitating NDPH.  There have been moments throughout all three days where the pain spikes for a half an hour or an hour here and there but I can almost always trace it to a drop in Barometric pressure.

A great article that my mom found about how Barometric can scientifically effect or trigger migraines.

Barometric Pressure in Relation to Migraines

My mom also found a great app for my phone that allows me to track 48 hours of Barometric pressure.  It is called Pressur but you can do a search for Barometric pressure and it should come up.  I paid the $1.98 to upgrade so that I do have the 48hrs.  The free one comes with a 12 graph.

  

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Lunch with a fellow Migraneur

Though our time always flies when we get together, I am so thankful to have found someone like me, a Migraneur. Carrie has been there with me and I with her over the past year through the bad times and any success we achieve.  I feel so blessed to have her in my life. 

Today we had lunch at Riverside cafe in Eaton Rapids. Excellent food!!  And great company. It is always nice when our “good days” align. 

My Rueben and fries. Delish!!!  

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My Migraine Cave is Complete

My Migraine Cave

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The idea behind the migraine cave did not come from me. In fact I used this blog post:  Migraine Cave. Her list was very complete and it made sense to me so I went with it!!!!

1. Room-darkening thermal drapes block out light even on the brightest days.  Check!

So far so good. But the real test will be during my next migraine. 

2. Dimmers on your lights help you gradually adjust to light as you begin to recover.  Check!

I just use a small and dim light 15watt

3. A wide variety of pillows help to prop you up when you are tired of lying flat but not ready to sit up on your own yet. Check!

I have lots of pillows. In fact I got two new body pillows for Christmas. 

4. A small refrigerator with freezer can store ice packs, water bottles, healthy snacks, and medications that require refrigeration. Check!

 I bought the mini fridge on a virtual sale on FB for $30. Very excited that it fit so perfectly under the table. The Fridge is stocked with water, Ensure and cheese sticks for now.  

5. A small microwave allows you to warm hot packs quickly, heat water for ginger or peppermint tea, etc. Check!

 I got the microwave on a virtual sale for $15 and the table for $9 at Goodwill 

6. Fill the top drawer of your nightstand with abortive and rescue medicines so you can find them quickly in the middle of the night. Check!

 Flashlights, abortive a, TV controllers and iPad with headphones 

7. Keep non-perishable, easy to digest snacks in your nightstand, too. Check!!

 Crackers, ramen noodle cups, meat sticks, sour candy and a new minion Tervis mug that fits in the microwave 

Sweet snacks: Hershey Kisses and Gheradeli chocolates and the oh so important Oyster crackers in the Tupperware container. 

Popcorn, pop tarts, lunch on the run chicken and tuna salad

I also have some perishable stuff like fruit 🙂

8. Sunglasses or FL-41 tinted glasses can be stored nearby, too.  Wearing them now!

 Just got my new Theraspecs and so far they seem to really be helping.  But I think I need to bedazzle them. They are not cute!! 

9. Ear plugs or noise-cancelling headphones help to block out those loud noises that make the pain worse.  Check!!

 I have worn ear plugs every night for bed since shortly after I got married. Someone snores!!  I always have ear plugs nearby; by my bed, by the couch, in my purse, and in the car.  

10. Fill a basket or box with comfort items and keep it near your bed.  Check!

Rice bags, head scratcher, ear plugs, my monkey, eye mask and neck rest

11. Keep a small flashlight nearby to help you find what you need in the dark. Check!

I have Flashlights, abortive a, TV controllers and iPad with headphones in the drawer in my end table. 
12. A TV tray or lap desk is nice when you get hungry but are too weak to sit at the kitchen table. Check!

 It hides right under the table. Almost a perfect fit!! 

13. A power strip is handy to keep your cell phone charged in case you need to call for help.  Check!

Gotta have all my electronics plugged in!! 

14. A fan can be helpful if you tend to get overheated during an attack. Check!

 I’ve had a fan running in my bedroom since I was in college. 

Oh and one cannot forget back up supplies!! 

Still gathering a few things but for the most part my Migraine cave is ready.  I just need a sign which I am hoping to get back from the USGS today. And the sign is perfect!!  The cave is complete 🙂

 

All this means that I will feel a little more prepared for the next migraine when it comes and that brings me great comfort.

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New migraine precursor possibly

I’ll let you know tomorrow if my hunch is right. The last two migraines were preceded by an enormous burst of energy that lead to very late night cleaning/organizing.

Tonight I was so addicted to updating my blog that I just kept going and all of the sudden it was 12:40 am. My time stamp for this post will be around 2:45 am. In between the blog and going to bed I organized all of my Migraine Cave snacks, I moved furniture and put the new furniture in place. It fits perfect! And I put the microwave and snacks in place. Hence the crazy burst of energy.

I hope I am wrong about this hunch because I could really use at least one more good day before I need to use my Migraine Cave. I still have to pick up the mini fridge I found today for $30. Very excited to get that in place.

I had a very productive day so if I do go down tomorrow at least I am prepared with food and water!!

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For my Future Self: Migraine Cave Update

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I did! I started purchasing things for my migraine cave!! I bought a small microwave off of the Eaton Rapids Virtual Yard sale for $15, I bought room darkening shades so I could take down the sheet from one window and the Mickey Mouse blanket from the other,

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I asked Dan if I could borrow his mini fridge from the garage until I can find another one, I bought a table at Goodwill for $10 (hoping the fridge will fit under and the microwave on top) stocked up on water, protein drinks, snacks, food that needs no prep and no storage and some fruit. Oh and oyster crackers of course. I also treated myself to two minion Tervis glasses that were on sale (but I have a feeling they may not stay in my possession for very long. I’ll keep them a secret as long as I can 🙂

It sounds like a lot for my recovery day, but like I have said when I am feeling at all functional I have to things done. Really I only went Goodwill quick, Walmart (in and out in under 10 minutes using a cart) and Meijer (also using a cart). But I am worn out now and am resting.

Looking forward to my friend Dawn coming over to make us Turkey noodle soup and frost some sugar cookies!!