Friday, March 8, 2013

Livin' the Life ........ with migraine


To prevent or reduce frequency and severity of headaches:

Nail parlor.  A smelly place.  Don't go there!
Puerto Vallarta, Mex. during the Day of the Virgin de
Guadalupe.  Crowded and noisy but outside.  I can
tolerate crowds for a little longer outside.
  1. I ....... eat regularly, always carry food (fruit and nut bars) and water
  2. Eat good "clean," real food, very little packaged stuff.
  3. BREATHE! I don't do this too well.  I tend to take little tiny breaths, and then, when I can't stand it any longer and am beginning to turn just slightly blue around the lips, a big gulp of air.  Not good.  You can do better.
  4. Always carry abortive and pain meds with me.
  5. Always carry earplugs, sun glasses and/ or specially tinted lenses available from and
  6. Always carry a neck pillow in the car, plane, train, etc.                                                    
  7. Exercise: walking and yoga regularly, swimming and biking whenever possible.
  8. Rest when I need to.  I believe in naps when you need them - though not all the time.
  9. Communicate: blog, talk w/ my friends, husband, sons, etc. Keep in touch. 
  10. Keep in touch w/ my son who also has serious migraines; although, thankfully, they're not as bad as mine.  We share tips.
  11. Avoid loud, noisy, densely packed situations.
  12. Avoid "smelly" places (cigarette smoke, chlorine, nail parlors, chemical fumes of any kind).
  13. Limit screen time and choose to watch TV, movies, etc. that don't over stimulate me.  Use tinted lenses.
  14. Schedule my life's activities to suit my tolerance level.
  15. Try to pay attention and be aware of how I'm feeling so I don't wait until things get bad to "take action."  Don't beat myself up if I don't "get it right."
  16. Make regular visits to my mental health therapist to help me unload and come up with new ideas.
  17. Continue to do things that are really important to me and that I enjoy:  art, taking care of my grandson, hanging out with friends and family, traveling, spending time in sunny places, reading good books, spending time outdoors.                  

When I'm not feeling good

    My hideaway

  1. I......retreat to the futon in my room which is my own private hideaway and not a bedroom
  2. Use a heating pad to help me relax (low back or  stomach)
  3. Use Ice packs for face, neck, shoulders, eyes
  4. Listen to music and relax; read if I can
  5. Take my medication:  preventative, abortive, pain, sleep meds.  

     Cannabis.  When things are             really bad, I use medical marijuana:

       This item deserves some explanation because there is a lot of misinformation out there.  I'll give you the benefit of my experience and you can use it in whatever way you choose.
        About once or twice a month when things get really bad, I use medical marijuana.  I do this on days when I awake with a very painful migraine, and I know I'll be vomiting repeatedly - very soon.  I take my DHE (abortive) by injection; then I use my vaporizer to inhale marijuana as medication for the pain and nausea.  Cannabis does not make the migraine go away.  The DHE does that - eventually.  But marijuana relaxes me, eliminates the nausea, reduces the pain and lets me sleep through most of the worst of it.  Sometimes I have to repeat use of my vaporizer in a few hours.

Volcano Vaporizer

I count myself lucky to live in the State of Washington, which has a medical marijuana law.  I have a prescription from my doctor.  I get my medication from a legal, storefront distributor where they help me choose symptom-specific strains of the plant to suit my needs.   I use a Volcano Vaporizer to ingest it, which means I don't have to smoke it.  I hate smoking.  I've never smoked, can't stand the smell of cigarette smoke which turns my stomach and will eventually give me a migraine.  So the vaporizer is the only way for me.  Oral products do not work for me nor does the sublingual tincture.

The next step:

When I'm in a place of chronic daily headaches, I am usually planning what to do next to return to episodic migraines.  Right now I'm on a 10 day round of IV DHE which I administer to myself at home.  The nurses from a local service come around to change the IV line if it clogs or gets too sore.  More about this in my next blog entry.  That's about all I can think of right now; although there is always more.  "Good night and good luck!"

1 comment:

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