You Said it, Chronic Illness Cat!

chroniccat
Seriously, though, if you have a chronic illness and have not experienced “Chronic Illness Cat,” click the photo. Because if you can’t laugh at life, is it really worth living?

The wonders of that blog aside (it’s one of the gems of tumblr), the circular logic, or lack thereof, of the text in the photo is all-too-real for those of us with Chronic Illness. We are either lying or exaggerating. There has to be a way for us to meet in the middle. Some device that we can use to simulate what we feel on someone who is healthy.

It is frustrating beyond belief to never be taken seriously. Well, “never” is a strong term. There are people in my life who do take my word for things, but I am one of the lucky ones who has a strong support group. There are some people out there who feel isolated by their illness, by their pain.

There are many opinion pieces out there about how people with chronic issues, especially women, are not even taken seriously by their doctors! Women are emotional, they tend to blow things out of proportion.

One would think that centuries of surviving childbirth would have given women a pretty high threshold for pain by default. Not that I have experienced that particular miracle of life personally, but I know that I have a high tolerance for pain. I also know how it feels to be told that my migraines are “just headaches.”

Excuse me, but no.

We know our bodies, faults and all, better than anyone else.

Take us for our words.

๐Ÿ’–Hearts and Sparkles!๐Ÿ’–
~Bunny~

Product Review: Psi Bands

Yay! Another product review!

One of the worst symptoms encountered with migraine is nausea. Sure the vomiting bit that often comes with it is no picnic, either, but at least you feel better after the fact, ya?

We all have our methods for treating nausea. Anti-emetics are available with a prescription, or over-the-counter treatments like Nauzene tablets (there is a kids’ version in liquid form, too!) or Emetrol liquid (I, personally, prefer the latter of the pair) can be purchased anywhere that has a pharmacy section. These are basically sugar, stemming from days-old reliefs like allowing a spoonful of sugar (or a sugar cube) to dissolve on the tongue to relieve symptoms. Coca-cola was actually invented by a pharmacist as a medicine! But, since medications were taxed, it was eventually sold as a beverage only. (Here is an interesting history of Coke!) One to two tablespoons of Cola Syrup every fifteen minutes could alleviate nausea! If you don’t want to deal with the syrups, sipping at a warm (even flat) Coke can make you feel better. Ginger ale was my go-to ever since I was a kid. I remember suffering an attack at my grandmother’s house when my sister and I were too young to stay home alone while my dad was at work, and she would bring me a glass of ginger ale with a bendy straw to sip at. It always made me feel better. Nowadays, I don’t drink much soda outside of varieties of sparkling waters, but I will still find comfort in a ginger ale.

While I am on the subject of anti-emetics, I will list a few more consumables. Ginger tea or peppermint tea are great, too! My acupuncturist is very big on keeping the core warm when treating migraines. My sister favors peppermint candy (just make sure it has pure peppermint in it! No artificial flavorings!). Bare ginger is another great option! That one has a strong flavor, so it is not for everyone! It was too strong for me, but I cannot deny that I felt results. It also comes crystallized, which would be a little sweeter. Products aimed at expecting mothers are great, too! Preggie Pop, anyone? All-natural lemonade is yet another option.

But, what about people who can’t (or don’t) consume sugar? Or when traveling? Sometimes, the Emetrol runs out at the worst possible moment, or you don’t have access to hot water for tea. It happens. Sometimes, edible remedies just aren’t plausible.

That’s where acupressure comes in! The P6 point is located about three finger widths from the crease in the wrist. It is good for nausea, morning sickness, anxiety, and headaches (Yahtzee!)

Like with the Aculief, which activates the LI4 point, there are products out there for the P6!

I am starting to feel as though acupressure is like when Smart Phone were the New Big Thing. “You want to ________? There’s an app for that!

Now, I have heard about Sea Bands. They are the original. They even have a cute pink pair for new moms (see โ„๏ธ below)! I have heard many great things about them.

There is just one tiny problem…

I hate wristbands. Like, the sweatband style popular among skateboarders. I have really never been a fan. They feel bulky to me, they chafe my skin when wet (my skin can be temperamental), and they get hot. I also have scrawny wrists, so if they stretch out…well, that’s it.

Enter Psi Bands! While I found them on Amazon, they are available at major chain stores (Target, Walgreens, CVS, etc.). They come in several colors, and are a adjustable band like a watch. The button that activates the pressure point is also adjustable with a little dial.

Aside from my migraines causing nausea, I also can get a little motion-sick on long car trips. Not so far as nausea, per se, but I’m not exactly comfortable! I have some cross-country flights coming up in a few weeks, and the longest flight I’ve been on was three hours, so I have no idea if a six-plus-hour flight will make a difference.

Needless to say, I couldn’t resist.

I purchased them on Amazon in the color “Cherry Blossom.” Not too long ago, I got hit with a killer attack and had the opportunity to give them a go.

I put them on per the included instructions, which were incredibly simple to follow, and lied down. I didn’t get more than uncomfortably queasy until I took them off to take a bath. In hindsight, I probably should have left them on! They are waterproof, after all. I am a dumb bunny. ๐Ÿ™„


They are super cute and not quite as recognizable as Sea Bands. I like how thin and lightweight they are, and they are simple to put on. It does take a little bit of finagling to get the fit just so, but the dial helps a ton for the fine tuning.

Honestly, I am glad I got them. Like with all holistic treatments, it is not a miracle cure. It aides symptoms of nausea, but it is not going to make you have the ability to dance a jig on the rooftops. However, a little less misery goes a long way when it comes to migraine pain.

๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿฐ/๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿฐ I was prepared to just do 4, but they gained a bunny with their design.

I highly recommend Psi Bands to anyone who suffers with nausea, for whatever reason that may be.

๐Ÿ’–Hearts and Sparkles!๐Ÿ’–
~Bunny~

โ„๏ธ Edit: I originally said the Sea Bands for Mom were lavender. My sister corrected me that they were baby pink. Whoops! She owns a pair because she wanted a more fun color than gray or black, and I really don’t blame her. Who cares if she isn’t a mom? Thanks, Juju!

Click here to get a pair of your own!

I Started Getting Botox at 30

When my neurologist told me that I was a candidate for Botox, I was very much against it. At the time, I was only in my late twenties, and I look about 18 or so. Why would I want to do Botox?

Sheesh, was I ever naive.

Eventually, when I was still getting a lot of migraines and headache days, even after noticing a difference with my vitamin therapy and acupuncture. So, I said, “Sure, why not?” I called my insurance, got some information, and made my first appointment.

The day came and I was nervous. It is not as though I don’t like shots (I can take them or leave them, honestly, and I do get acupuncture regularly), but I am not a fan of the unknown factor of it. Some shots hurt, others burn, and others cause a lingering pain that only gets worse over the next few days (helloooo, flu shot!). Here I was, injecting a ruddy โ˜› toxin โ˜š into my head, neck, and shoulders!

โ˜ ๏ธ Toxin [tok-sin] n. any poison produced by an organism, characterized by antigenicity in certain animals and high molecular weight, and including the bacterial toxins that are the causative agents of tetanus, diphtheria, etc., and such plant and animal toxins as ricin and snake venom. โ˜ ๏ธ

And I was doing this willingly and knowingly?

What was wrong with me?!

Was I crazy?!?

No.

I was desperate.

You see, a sufferer of Chronic Migraine does not qualify for Botox treatment unless they have tried and failed three different preventative treatments.

I was at FIVE.

The office nurse takes me into the usual exam room, with its big wooden desk, low black shelves filled with magazines, brochures, and information about anything and everything neurological and decorated with little potted plants. I sat in my usual chair, and she took my blood pressure and temperature, as usual. I was starting to feel more at ease, everything was going as usual, and the normalcy was calming. I signed the release forms, read through the papers she gave me with the rules. Things like, “No strenuous exercise,” “No massage,” etc. Essentially, let the poison sink in. ๐Ÿ™„

The neuro comes in and we chat, I update her on my attacks, she goes over all of the papers I was given with me, we shoot the breeze. I lie down on the exam table and she does the first few shots into my forehead. Okay. I’ve had mosquito bites hurt more. I turn my head and get more around each of my ears. I won’t lie, that hurt. There is no muscle to cushion the shots, just scalp and skull. Ouch I move to a chair, and I got them at the nape of my neck, down each side of my neck, and each shoulder. No big deal.

With that, I was done and sent on my way. Man, did my head feel weird. Not being able to move my eyebrows was the strangest sensation I have ever experienced!

Over the next few hours, the tension started. I was warned about this. You inject the Botox into certain areas, the rest of the muscles think they have to pick up the slack. If it got too unbearable, I was told to take some naproxen or ibuprofen to take care of it.

This repeated every three months from then on out. I have only had one negative experience where I had a rare side effect. I get most of my migraines on the right side, so my current neuro put a little extra on that side (common practice), but it messed with the muscles that support my eye, and I had trouble focusing on things for about three weeks until things settled. I have overlapping vision already because the prescription for my astigmatism is odd and between levels. Since the muscles were weak from the Botox, my eye couldn’t hold position long enough to get proper focus.

However, it did get better! He doesn’t put extra near my eyes, anymore. I still go every three months. It sucks when the appointments get delayed, though, because if you go too long, it is like starting over, when you have to wait three treatments before seeing the results again.

A perk (aside from the obvious effect it can have on migraines) is that you won’t sweat as much in the areas you get the shots! Believe it or not, but Botox is often used to treat excessive sweating! A whole host of other things, too! It is not just a cosmetic procedure, anymore!

So, yeah, if your neurologist recommends Botox to you, give it a try! Most insurances cover it, and there are discount programs, so don’t be afraid of it! The worst thing that will happen is that you try it for three treatments (nine months), don’t see results, and stop. In that case, you are no worse off than when you started!

At least you tried, right?

(I almost said, “At least you gave it a shot,” but I refrained. You’re welcome!)

๐Ÿ’–Hearts and Sparkles!๐Ÿ’–
~Bunny~

Link

Join the Team!

The Migraine Team, that is!

My Migraine Team is a social media site designed for people who suffer from migraine, as well as other headache disorders. You can search through treatments and get feedback from actual sufferers who use or have used them. There are providers there, although not all of them are listed, and you can build a team of people in your area, who share similar migraine types, etc.

If you are a member, feel free to add me to your team! Maybe even leave your profile link in the comments section on this post for others to find!

It is a really great way to remember that you are not alone.

icon

This is my profile photo (at least as of 8/4/17), and I am listed as “Bunny.”

Find me here:
Bunny’s MyMigraineTeam.com Profile

๐Ÿ’–Hearts and Sparkles!๐Ÿ’–
~Bunny~

Chronic Illness and Conventions, Part Three: Location, Location, Location

Conventions of all genres (fandom-based or otherwise) are usually held in one of two types of locations: hotels or convention centers. Just like with everything, exceptions exist (I have attended cons on college campuses and heard of others being held on state fairgrounds!), but you will generally encounter them in one of those two locales.

As with the content of Parts 1 (here) and 2 (here), the advice in these posts can be applied to any environment where there will be crowds, or when you are on vacation, or simply away from home for the day.

Let’s start with the more common of the pair: hotels. Most large hotel chains will have convention or conference space with a multitude of purposes, with cons only being one of them. This is a great source of income for hotels, since conferences, weddings, et cetera often come with people who will want the convenience of staying on site. This all accounts to something called attrition that can be a regular thorn in the side of someone renting the space…but that is a whole different topic for a whole different type of blog!

I honestly prefer hotel-based conventions, especially if I am staying in the hosting venue. If I have an attack, I can take a break in my room away from the hustle and bustle of the con (in the case of Omni, where I am usually working, I have a few people who can cover me for a short spell in the event that my attack gets so bad I have to lie down). If I am not staying in the venue, I can usually find a relatively calm corner out of the way to recover.

convention06

The Vendors Room at Omni [Fandom] Expo in 2015, taken early in the day on Saturday. Small cons are great if you prefer to avoid large crowds.

Continue reading

A Relaxing Bath to Find a Break

I have mentioned in a previous post, I like to take a hot bath during a migraine attack to find some relief. In that post, I said:

I fill the tub with water as hot as I could stand it, get in, and put my cold compress on the back of my neck or my forehead. While this relief sometimes lasts only as long as I am in the tub (typically during an extreme attack), it can give a good reprieve.

I was inspired to do this by stumbling across a pin on Pinterest. I tried it as the pin says, only with a gel ice pack on my neck instead of frozen peas, but I found that precariously perching a clumsy rabbit on a small bathroom counter whilst in the throws of a migraine attack was not the best idea.

And I already get anxious and woozy when climbing ladders and around heights in general. Almost falling off the bathroom counter is the bad idea to end all bad ideas.

Then there was the time I dislocated my knee cap after nearly falling off my bed…

…but I digress.

I decided that risking my life (hyperbole intended) was not worth it, no matter how much relief it would give, so I adapted it.

So, I am going to give a rundown of my bathe-away-the-migraine routine!

โ„๏ธNote: During a severe attack, I often find that I will only find relief while in the tub. Even though the pain comes back as intense as before I got in, the break is worth it as far as I am concerned.

After summoning up the energy to make my way to the bathroom, I will gather up my iPad, cold compress, and water bottle and make my way to the bathroom. I will put a towel on the floor so it would be easy to reach when I was done. I will also put my small trash can beside the tub if I was experiencing any nausea (just in case). The water bottle would also remain in reach. The water is important, so please don’t forget it! I would light some small candles, I keep some in the bathroom, to avoid using the vanity lighting (can we say, “OWW“?), activate the drain, and turn on the tap.

Make sure the water is as hot as you can stand it. I usually will add some hot springs powder, or bath salts, or a bath bomb to the water. I won’t use strong fragrances for obvious reasons. The other day, I picked up some Dr. Teal’s Epsom Salts that have lavender added to it that I will try during my next bath-worthy attack. Lavender is one of those scents commonly used to aide in headaches and migraines. I don’t intend to use as much as the package says to use in a bath, just enough to relax and give the scent. Sometimes, I will light my oil burner with some peppermint oil. Depends on my mood and my migraine.

When I have the tub filled to my liking, I will climb in slowly to allow myself to adjust. I would put my compress on my head or the back of my neck and eventually lie down and just breathe while soft relaxing music plays from Spotify on my iPad. I like either Josh Groban or Celtic Woman the best, but use whatever helps you to relax.

If at any point while adjusting to the heat of the water I feel lightheaded or dizzy, I will drink some of the cool water from my water bottle. This is why the bottle is important. When my acupuncturist recommended the hot springs powders to me, she told me to make sure I had it nearby and sip it when dizzy.

Sometimes I will meditate, but usually I just focus on breathing. When I am ready, I will get out, put on fresh pajamas, and settle back into bed. Sometimes I feel last relief, sometimes I don’t, but either way, I am relaxed enough to doze off into a healing sleep.

๐Ÿ’–Hearts and Sparkles!๐Ÿ’–
~Bunny~