Thursday, December 25, 2014

Moment by moment

Daily


I am yet again back in the relm of daily headaches that are minimally responsive to the Cefaly www.cefaly.us, as well as all the usual preventatives and some unusual ones.  It's been creeping up on me.  I had a period, beginning in June, when I was down to 1 to 2 headaches a week.  In this sort of low-frequency headache phase, I tend to forget that I have chronic migraine.  The headaches are easily controlled and infrequent enough for me to avoid rebound.  I think of them as just an occasional nuisance.  I am possessed by a sort of selective amnesia.  There's a level at which I know that I may once more have to cope with everyday pain, nausea and a host of bizarre symptoms, but this awareness is pushed down and mostly out of conscious sight.

Blissfully, that's what summer and early fall were like, but as Oct. and then Nov. wore out, the headaches morphed into 3 to 4 times a week, but were fairly easily controlled.  Then 4 or 5 times a week, but I could knock them back with the Cephaly.  In Nov. I caught a nasty cold from my grandson, and as the cold wound down, my headaches cranked up.  Just before our Dec. Mexico trip, a highlight of my year, I began to have daily headaches.  It took constant use of the Cefaly to abort them.  I increased my preventative meds to no avail, and I began spending a day or two a week flattened on my futon.

Zihuatanejo Bay

Enjoying life one moment at a time


We are in the fishing town (no longer a village) of Zihuatanejo, Mexico, and I am preoccupied and struggling to accept that I am back in a place of daily migraines.  So in an effort to come to terms and remember why and how I love this place, I'm going to acknowledge the really good moments.




•  In the morning sitting on our veranda with a cup of tea as the sun comes up, birds on the wing, fishing boats crisscrossing the bay
•  Speaking in Spanish to the friendly people who remember me from previous visits

Chuy


Fabian

•  Lazy swimming in the hotel pool
•  Shopping in Spanish

Amanda

•  Lounging on our bed looking out the window at deep blue water, listening to the surf and the screams of children playing on the beach below
•  Swimming in the ocean, the water like silk on my skin
•  Taking pictures of anything that catches my eye............and there's a lot that catches my eye
•  Watching festivities on el Dia de la Virgin de Guadalupe (the Day of the Virgin of Guadelupe), children in traditional costumes, music and parades


•  Eating Mexican food, finding new restaurants that we like and returning to old favorites
•  Observing the pelicans, frigate birds and gulls fish for their dinner, and then there's this guy..............


•  Seeing a brown booby for the first time
•  Keeping watch on an iguana as he creeps slowly under the roof tiles of the room below
•  In the evening watching the sun slowly slip down over the Pacific
•  Swinging in the hammock at night in the dark, listening to the waves roll in
•  Eyeing shy little gekos as they skitter across a wall and hearing their amazingly loud chirp
•  Listening to the crickets song, the squeak of bats and all the other little unidentified cheeps, creaks and rustles of insects in the not-so-quiet tropic night

Attitude adjustment


As I wrote this blog entry over the course of more than a week, it, indeed, helped me to remember that, really, we live each moment one at a time, and many, many of those moments are good ones.  Now if I can just hold onto this little piece of wisdom when I get back to the rainy, dark chill of winter in my home state of Washington, I will have brought home the best kind of souvenir from my Mexican vacation.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Anatomy of a headache week

Monday

Tonight we're planning on going to a writer's open mike session at Village Books, and we're both on the list to read.  My first time.  
I feel a slight pressure on the left side of my head as I'm preparing dinner.  Pretty soon I'm thinking I should use my Cefaly to try to head this off, whatever it is.  But time is short so I finish cooking, we eat and go.


We're at the store a little early to get seats in the rear in case I need to make a quick exit.  I'm browsing the used books when I begin to feel distinctly off.  I'm uneasy with a feeling of impending doom.  My gut is churning and tension is crawling across the tops of my shoulders.  I can't concentrate, can't hold still long enough to read the titles before me much less delve deeper into the reviews on the back of the books that might interest me.  I use the bathroom which helps a little but not much.  My discomfort and anxiety mounting by the minute, I move on to a different section of the book shelves and then finally give in and take my seat beside my husband.  I still don't really have any head pain, but I've learned that this supreme agitation and nerviness portend an oncoming migraine.  I wonder if I can make it through the next hour and a half in public, pay attention, read in front of an audience without having to make a run for the door.

As people begin to read, my attention turns to their words and the images they call forth.  I am able to compartmentalize enough to shut out the discomfort.  My turn comes and I get through my short story with a fair amount of composure.  My husband reads after me and then again at the end of the evening, another piece we have worked on together.  I'm happy to have made it through and to hear this story about our son's unusual education at sea.

At home I put on the Cefaly and half way through the 20 min. session I feel my body begin to calm down.  My head clears and my discomfort resolves.  I have dodged the bullet.

I love to take pictures.  I carry my camera with me everywhere I go throughout the week.  This dreamy image was pure serendipity.  The water reflections were breathtaking, but I had no idea my camera had captured this lovely bird taking wing until I downloaded the day's "catch" onto my computer.

  
bird luck

Tues., Wed

I have a 9:30 am dental appointment for teeth cleaning.  No big deal, but I don't do well with dental procedures.  I've been better lately so I decide to forgo the nitrous oxide, which has been a miracle method to prevent the inevitable post dental headache.  As soon as I finish and walk out of the dentist's office, I get a little warning throb, which is no big deal, but it's there.  I go on about my day, run a couple of errands and head home.  I have a dinner date with friends. Good time and good food.  I'm home early and use the Cefaly before bed because there has been a nagging little pain in my left temple off and on all day.

The next morning, early, 4 or 5 am, I awake to a major headache.  I take my abortive, naratriptan, and go back to bed where I spend the better part of the day.  The headache finally resolves around 4 or 5 pm.  The lesson here for me is to ask for nitrous even for cleaning and secondly, as I should know by now, don't ignore the little ones.  The Cefaly has been working for me but only if I use it at the very beginning of the headache.  Wait, and I've effectively eliminated that avenue for averting a migraine.  It's a hard thing, though, to be perpetually aware and virtually impossible to, then, always make the right choice to deal with a daily headache.  Nearly every day becomes a calculation, when, whether or how to treat what might be the beginnings of the next headache.  Sometimes I just have to live my life and accept the consequences of occasionally ignoring or refusing to interpret each and every little pain or bodily sensation.


Thurs. & Fri.

I'm essentially having headaches almost everyday, but lately I have been able to use the Cefaly to abort them.  It is a huge advantage to be able to avoid medication to shut them down.


Saturday

We are babysitting my grandson when the headache starts.  No time out, so I resort to Naratriptan, which is generic Amerge.  I have been able to restrict my use to no more than 2 x weekly since early summer.


Sunday

The weather has turned very cold, but it's beautiful and the sun is shining.  Mid morning I have an aura which lasts about 20 minutes like always.  I don't always get a headache afterward, but this time I do.  It takes 3 sessions with the Cefaly to knock it down.  I have heard that for some people the effectiveness of this device decreases over time, and I'm beginning to fear that may be happening for me.

This Sunday morning we are scheduled to participate in a work party.  Once a month a small group of friends gathers for about 2 or 3 hours in the morning to do yard work or occasionally paint or do other maintenance.  We rotate between houses from one month to the next.  We break around noon or 1:00 and eat a potluck lunch together.  It's a great group and a genuine pleasure to work and eat together.  This morning's work is cancelled on short notice to take care of aging parents in crisis.  The plan is to eat together anyhow if things turn out ok.

I am relieved since I have a headache and I don't have to admit that I can't show up and work yet again.  These days I make it about half the time.  Sometimes I recover enough to show up in time for lunch.  While everyone is very supportive and understanding,  I often feel like I'm not doing my fair share. Today Kim's mother is feeling slightly better by lunch time and we do, in fact gather together for a tasty meal of enchiladas, salad, cornbread and ice cream.  Even though we haven't worked today, we have all contributed food and exchanged family news, myself included.