Tag: migraines

A Week Long Lyme Headache

I woke up this morning, early, and I was really excited because I didn’t have a headache! Yippee, thought I. And then I realized that I’ve had a headache for over a week now. Maybe 10 days? It subsides off and on, but I think it is the same damn headache. Maybe not, but that really doesn’t matter all that much. The pain matters more.

It may be the insane weather we are having. Last week at this time, it was 80 degrees. Then by Sunday, it was 27 degrees out. And today? A rainy and moist 75. Seriously. So, yeah, there’s that. It may be that the semester just ended and even after 16 years of teaching, it’s still pretty stressful. More stressful when chronically ill. So, there’s that too.

There have been a few days these past few weeks where I just keep taking medicine and hoping one of the many selections will just give me some relief, and periodically something has. Usually it is maybe an hour or so at a time. Then, the monster returns. It isn’t a migraine. It’s just a constant pain inside my skull.

Before Lyme disease, I rarely had headaches. The only headaches I experienced were either alcohol induced or hormonal. Indeed, I was a lucky duck. My mom has had issues with headaches her whole entire life including migraines. And my husband also has migraines periodically that lay him out for most of the day/night.

Then, in the fall of 2012, I began to have daily headaches. Not crippling, mind you, but just enough pain to not be able to ignore. Every day at work, by noon, I could feel it coming on (or maybe it never really went away). Sometimes, nausea would accompany the headache. The Daily Headache continued for months on end. Of course, there were a multitude of other symptoms going on but the headaches were something quite new and stood out more than say the fatigue or the periodic joint pain.

When I saw the Worst Infectious Disease Doctor Evah (although statistically, ID doctors are NOT LYME LITERATE) in January 2013 with a solid 25 symptoms including the onset of the new Daily Headache, he told me to drink more water (since I was hospitalized with a horrible kidney infection in 2006 I drink almost a gallon of water daily). The ID doctor dismissed every single symptom I explained to him but the bitterness of that particular doctor visit is for another time. Needless to say, almost all of my symptoms were classic LYME DISEASE symptoms and luckliy, I was diagnosed (and CDC positive) less than 6 weeks after this visit with the dismissive ID doctor. Anyhoo!

As I moved into oral antibiotic treatment, the headaches continued except at some point, I can’t pinpoint when, I began to have migraines. WTH! Migraines really suck! I now can empathize way more with my mom and my husband and others! Hours and hours of pain, nausea, ugh. For a while, and I can’t be more specific because of my short-term memory issues (LYME symptom as well), I had daily headaches and then migraines in between. Good times. I am so sorry if you suffer from headaches and/or migraines, my peoples!

When my LLMD took me off of antibiotics full-time last November 2015, I still had the headaches. And the migraines. But, slowly and surely, these daily headaches and the migraines began to let up a bit. So, for the past few months, probably since say June (again, short-term memory loss!), there’s been a reprieve from the daily headache. Since June, I’ve had maybe 3 full-blown migraines. This has been progress! I think that this progress has been the result of many things coming together at once, such as Lyme treatment (after so many years going untreated) and dietary changes.

migraine

But, since Thanksgiving, my diet has been seriously not so good. I had cut out all sugar, carbs, cut down on wheat and corn products. Oh, Thanksgiving. I mean, I haven’t gone totally CRAZY with eating sugar, etc. but I have been drinking more soda and well, I sure haven’t been grain-free. I plan on getting right back on my diet after Christmas. I can see now that it has helped me to control some symptoms and while it was a bit of an adjustment to new eating habits, it certainly is worth it.

Like I said, this headache started about a weekish ago. On my last day at work, before Winter Break, I sat in my classroom, in the dark, just trying to work through the pain (no worries, I didn’t have students LOL).  Saturday was much of the same. At least this week the headache hasn’t been a full-blown migraine but still. I’ll tell you though, I most definitely appreciate the time I have without headaches now. Pre-Lyme, I never noticed how wonderful it is NOT to have a headache. Chronic Lyme disease continues to teach me lessons. Hey, just trying to stay positive! 🙂

And, here comes my little friend. Back again today. Time to rest a bit. 

Toodles friends – B

 

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Axon Optics – A Review

** “I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers  network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.” **

I’ve always had sensitive eyes. My eyes are blue, and so anytime I am outside, even on a cloudy day, I have to wear sunglasses. But since contracting Lyme disease, the light sensitivity has increased, and I have to be careful about too much exposure to light, both outside and inside.

With this light sensitivity sometimes comes a migraine. I never had these either before Lyme disease. Now, I have daily headaches and periodic cycles of migraines. I have found that light can be a trigger for a migraine. I am especially sensitive to fluorescent lighting which is pretty much everywhere!

Axon Optics to the rescue!
My new pair of glasses!

So when I was given the opportunity to try out Axon Optic eyewear, I jumped at it. Axon Optics offers special glasses and sunglasses for light sensitive migraine sufferers. As a part of the review, I was able to pick from 3 different frames. Axon offers their eyewear with prescription and without. As I wear contacts most of the time, I opted for the glasses without prescription. Axon offers a wide variety of frames both modern and classic making it easy to select a pair of glasses that complement the wearer’s face shape.

When the glasses arrived, I was really excited to try them out, especially at work where all of the lighting is fluorescent. The glasses were the exact frame I had ordered and the lenses were a tinted rose color. Hmm, I thought. These will be pretty different from other glasses most people wear.

At first, I was hesitant to wear them while I was teaching. I teach teenagers and well, as we know, they are not forgiving when it comes to fashion. Again, the rose tint makes these glasses stand out. But one morning while at work, I felt a bad headache coming on, and I bit the bullet. I began wearing them about 8 a.m. Pleasantly surprised, I received many compliments on these glasses from both co-workers and students!

Happy

I wore my glasses all day that day, and I kid you not when I say that I began to experience relief within a few minutes of putting them on. It was almost like a protective screen immediately came down between my eyes and the lighting. The rose color was soothing. Since being diagnosed with Lyme and chronic migraines, I do have migraine medication that I can take as needed. But since receiving my Axon Optics lenses 2 months ago, I have only had to take the migraine medication twice.

I carry my glasses with me everywhere I go now. When I begin to have even the slightest headache, I pop on my Axon Optics glasses. These glasses are also very versatile; I wear mine both inside and outside in the blaring sun. No need to switch over to sunglasses when I leave work. My Axon Optics do the trick!

If you suffer from migraines or even light sensitivity, I would highly recommend a pair of these glasses. Not only have they helped me reduce the number of headaches and migraines I experience, they have also helped me to cut down on the medication I have to take. In the future, I am going to invest in a pair of Axon Optics prescription glasses so I can have a pair to wear with and without my contacts in.

These glasses do everything the company promises and more. Please take a minute to visit the company website, Axon Optics, or their blog for more information.

P.S. Right now, Axon Optics is offering Free Shipping on all orders through November 15th!

Thank you for your time! -B

Escaping Lyme – Memory #1

When I feel really horrible, a migraine, nauseated, joint pain, and it is difficult to be here in the “present”, I escape if at all possible into my mind, into my memories. Usually, it is a worthwhile distraction.

 

When I was a child, my family and I lived in Upstate New York. My parents married young, my mom 19 and my dad was 21 or 22? My father became a high school Physics teacher in a rural New York township and my mom stayed home with us, me, then my two brothers. I think I was a little over a year old when they bought a very old farmhouse. Located on a mountain and accessed by a dirt road, we were isolated as the only family in that area to stay year round. There were other homes up in that area, although one could not see them from our house, but these other places were weekend retreats for New Yorkers who lived in the City. We lived in this house and in this area until I was 12. Most of the memories I like to escape to are from this time period.

Memory #1 Escape – Snow:

Sometimes, when I feel so horrible I like to think about the snow. Yes, of course I romanticize it; I wasn’t the one trying to keep the house heated, or the one trying to get to work. For me, snow was always awesome and amazing. One of the best feelings ever is being outside in the deep, deep cold, the silent, penetrating cold, breathing hot air into the ski mask you have on because breathing in the cold air hurts your lungs. It’s the simultaneousness of breathing in the bitter chill, burning your lungs and nose hairs alike, then breathing out the hot, the hotness of your breath that turns to steam that rises on your cheeks and into your nose.

So snow. After the storm rides through, it becomes an irresistible and impenetrable quiet. All I can hear is the crunching of my moon boots through the crusty topping of the snowdrifts. If I stand for a minute, the silence itself is almost a sound. Some describe it as a blanket, the snow, but more so and for me, snow is a buffer from the outside world. Out in the wintery landscape, one feels enveloped and safe, encapsulated in the moment. Nothing breaks the eloquent silence and you don’t want it to ever end. The closeness. The buffer. The insurmountable quiet.

It’s cold but I am wearing a snowmobile suit. It takes forever to dress this 6 year- old ragamuffin. First, gloves, hat, scarf. Then legs of the suit and slide into the snow boots. Now, arms in, make sure the gloves are tucked into sleeves (this is why we put gloves on first), then zip up. OH. Make sure to go to the bathroom before dressing for outside. We never had ear muffs. Always a ski hat pulled down over the ears and maybe another scarf wrapped around the ears and the nose/mouth.

cold-snow-forest-trees-medium.jpeg

Heading out into that stillness, that world of endless white, hours of pure fun and exercise awaited us. One time, a blizzard came through at Easter. It blew hard and the drifts were monstrous. When it finally subsided, my brother Brad and I headed out to the side yard along the rock wall. The drifts were utterly amazing. We started digging. The snow was perfect. The outside of the drift was caked together and solid. It held fast as we tunneled into the pillowy insides. We worked for quite a while, scooping and moving snow. Finally, we could both sit inside. We laughed at our good fortune and our lovely handiwork. Our little hangout held fast for several days until it started to warm up a bit and began to melt.

Our faces burn red from the frosty air. When we get inside next to the warm fire that reaches into our muscles and works into our bones in a way like nothing else, our mom will put Bag Balm on our rosy cheeks and our noses so they wouldn’t chafe. We’ll be exceptionally tired out. The kind of tired that feels good though, you know? While we unthaw, we put up our suits, shake off our boots, put everything by the stove so it will dry out. Once warm, we can barely keep our eyes open to eat even though we are starving. We drift off to sleep into one of the very best night’s rest we’ll ever have again.

Peace out there today – Belle

6 Tips for Surviving a Herx (flare)

Happy New Year, my people!!  I hope your holidays were calm, relaxing, and full of wonder. I also hope that everyone experienced many, many pain free days!

From the HubbleSite a gorgeous Globular Cluster M4

IDL TIFF file

 

I know I can’t be the only one out there that has those horrible hours or days where you wake up or are woken up by what feels like the very worst hangover –Ever – but no alcohol was involved at all. The Lyme Hours, I like to call them. Not catchy, but it seems to clarify the time lost to the symptoms and the overall suffering involved.

What do we do during these Lyme Hours to make it through? I had one of these days yesterday, from about 3 a.m. until about 3 p.m. and it got me thinking, how do we all cope with this time while we are feeling so awful to just try to make it a little less dreadful? To distract us from the headache, the nausea, the joint pain, the brain buzzing and such?

Anyway, yesterday for me was absolutely NO BUENO for a really long period of time. My husband, who left for a few hours, asked me when I actually was able to get out of bed and actually function, “What did you do while I was gone?” I’m sure I looked a little cray cray after 12 full hours of feeling like a semi had run over me, so I am pretty sure he regretted asking, but my answer was, “I was being sick.” Doin’ the Lyme time, ya know?

These are my top 6 things to do to try to get out of myself when I feel this totally and utterly at the mercy of the Lyme attack (aka chronic illness flare):

  1. Binge on Netflix. Now, this is only if I do not have a migraine, of course. There are plenty of awesome shows out there. If you don’t have Netflix, maybe try Amazon Prime or Hulu.
  2. Watch You Tube. Again, if no migraine is involved, I watch animal videos on YouTube. You must check these out even if you are feeling well! My favorites are Silly Goats and/or Silly Bull Dogs. And if the noise bothers you, definitely watching these without sound is just as entertaining.
  3. Listen to meditations either through an app or on You Tube as well. Sometimes, a soothing voice can really just put me at ease. For the times when I can’t even process speech, I listen to nature sounds meditations.
  4. Think about a happy memory. I tend to go back to childhood memories more than not. I think through as many of the details as possible, and then I think about the feelings involved. When I have a bad headache or even sometimes a migraine, this can help me just get out of the pain in my body even if only for a few minutes.
  5. Set up a plan for what comes after this ugly trip when you are able to actually do things. Sometimes, I think of something fun I want to do when I get to feeling better, whether that is going out for a movie or reading a book. Often, I get elaborate and a tad bit unrealistic, you know, plan my trip to Italy, how I will make my first million…..In the end though, it doesn’t matter at all if I end up doing anything I consider while I am experiencing the Lyme time; it is the planning that leads me into another world where I am not hurting or nauseated.
  6. Make a gratitude list in your head (write it down if you can function that much). This can be a serious challenge while feeling so damn sick, but it really can be freeing. It keeps me as positive as possible while giving me a task to focus on other than all the issues happening to make me feel so ill. I know it sounds kinda smarmy but it does work.

Not all of these work all of the time and sometimes, none of these work. What kinds of things do you do to alleviate symptoms? What helps you to get through the rough times? Please share. I’m sure we could all use a few more tricks in our bag!

Thank you all for following, reading, and commenting here on this blog. It makes my heart happy. Best wishes for a wonderful new year to come! Peace – B