Chronic Illness and Conventions Part Four: Coping with Costumes

Click here for the rest of the “Chronic Illness and Conventions” posts.

Hello! Welcome to Part 4 of my Chronic Illness and Conventions series! This is one that I have been looking forward to writing because I wanted to include firsthand experiences from others in the cosplaying community! Unlike the other parts, this one is really specific to conventions and cosplaying, so I am not sure if it can be adapted to other situations. Maybe with a lot of imagination it can be done?

A big part of fandom conventions is cosplay, and it has only gotten bigger as years progress. Hats, wigs, costumes, armor, corsets…the sky is the limit in this nerd subculture. However, most (not all, but most) conventions take place over the summer. I live in Florida, so that can spell Disaster! Yes, that capital ‘D’ is deliberate. Even without accounting for weather, cosplay can be a challenge for someone living with any sort of chronic condition.

In regards to weather, costumes and wigs can get hot and when it’s 105º in the shade when you take the heat index into account (Really, though, I don’t care that the “real temperature” is 92ºF…just tell me what it is going to feel like!), things can go south in a hot second (pun intended).

My experiences are restricted to Chronic Migraine, but I know that anyone with a chronic condition (may it be pain or illness) is going to keep similar things in mind when constructing a costume.

For example, I have been known to forgo the perfect fabric for one that would be cooler for a Florida con in July. In another instance, it took me hours to get the “wings” of my wig for The Fight Card (from Cardcaptor Sakura) just right to prevent triggering my head.

copingwithcostumes02

When It came to my “Fight Card” wig (usually dubbed “The Beast” by my friends), I took my time to make sure it was balanced perfectly. Mainly, it was due to wigs frequently triggering my migraines, but I also needed to perform in a fight show in this monster! As a result of my efforts, it is one of my most comfortable wigs! Go figure?

I have some costumes that I won’t wear period if I know it is going to be incredibly hot. Namely, my Elizabeth Swann (Pirates of the Caribbean) costume. It is upholstery fabric and very hot. Between that and the heavy wig (it is so thick!), I often get a heat-triggered migraine when wearing this. It is an incredibly heavy dress with several pieces of boning in the bodice, which aggravate a recurrent muscle spasm in my back. I have a love/hate relationship with this one…

copingwithcostumes01

With my Elizabeth Swann costume, to avoid heat-triggered migraines, it is typically reserved for wear during the cooler months. Otherwise, it is only for short-term before I have to change.

I always have a backup costume planned for every event that I plan to cosplay for. I also bring extra clothes in the off chance that I am just not feeling up to cosplaying at all.

Sure, most of my issues concern wigs and headgear, but there are more things I usually consider. If I am in “migraine hangover” mode, and my costume planned is corseted, heavy, or restrictive (like with Elizabeth Swann, pictured above), I will change my plans. If I will need a headband, I plan accordingly (now that I have discovered fully adjustable headbands, that is not as much of an issue). I am also very picky about wig caps, and the only ones that don’t trigger me are the mesh open-ended caps. No nylon for me! Besides, the netting makes pinning the wig on that much easier!

Those are some examples of my experience living with Chronic Migraine. I reached out to cosplayers who are living with chronic conditions to give an example of how they cosplay with their illness or pain. Some just roll with it, others adapt. Please click on Continue Reading to see their accounts. Keep checking back, as I intend to add more anecdotes as I receive them!

Remember, cosplay means “costume play.” It is all about having fun! No one is better than anyone else. We are all adults dressing up on days aside from Halloween. It is really something not to be taken seriously. So, get your nerd on!

💖Hearts and Sparkles!💖

~Bunny~

Do you want to share your story? Head over to the Contact Me page and send me a message with the following information:

Cosplay Alias

Website/Cosplay FB Page

Chronic Illness or Condition (and source, if applicable)

A Link to a Photo of Your Costume (please include character and series!)

Your Story

Continue reading

Advertisements

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 ❄️ 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. 🙄


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.

🐰🐰🐰🐰🐰/🐰🐰🐰🐰🐰 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.

💖Hearts and Sparkles!💖
~Bunny~

❄️ 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!

Product Review: FoMI Hot/Cold Gel Therapy Eye Mask

In a recent Amazon order, I acquired a handful of holistic relief methods for migraines. I have already posted the first review from that order (Review for Aculief found here!), and here is the next!

The second item I would like to talk about is FoMI’s Hot/Cold Gel Therapy Eye Mask. This is a mask that is designed to reduce dark circles and puffiness around the eyes, and is a good size to be used for muscle aches around the body (like the shoulder). It is reversible, vinyl on one side and incredibly soft fabric on the other. It can be used at room temperature (where it still feels cool), heated in the microwave (the company recommend taking care with this and not heating it for more than 15 seconds at a time and do not put it on your eyes if it is too hot), or frozen. The gel bead filling remains soft and flexible, even after I left it in the freezer overnight.

It comes in three color options: Blue, Stripes, and Leopard (the last of which uses clay and aromatherapy), and all have coordinating elastic straps with Velcro closures.

doublesided

I got mine with stripes.

When I woke up this morning with a headache, I went ahead and put mine on and see what happens. The texture reminds me of the TheraºPearl products, I put it soft-side to my eyes, fastened the straps, and lied down. At first, I thought that it may be too cold, it was almost uncomfortable. However, any ice pack is like that, so I made like Elsa and let it go.

colddoesntbotherme
After a few minutes, I was notably relaxed, and I dozed off. It is very comfortable, even though the straps took a little finessing to get just right, but that is how things are when they are adjustable.

eyemask

When I woke up, my headache was just about gone! What I really like about this is that it blocks all light! It’s like a an instant dark/cold room! It was really great! Even after it was no longer frozen-level cold, it was still relaxing, so I just left it on for a while.

It is currently back in my freezer for my next headache or migraine!

Amazon sells this for $9.99, and like the rest of my relief-box order, qualified for free shipping. Definitely a good deal!


Click the above image to get your own!

I give the FoMI Gel Eye Mask 🐰🐰🐰🐰🐰//🐰🐰🐰🐰🐰 I really can’t think of anything about it that I don’t like, honestly. I definitely recommend this to anyone who suffers from Chronic Migraine, or any sort of headache condition. It’s a fantastic addition to your recovery regime.

💖Hearts and Sparkles!💖
~Bunny~

And I Didn’t Even Get Ice Cream?

To me, there are several “types” of migraine. There are the sinus migraines, where it feels as though a clawed monster is trying to rip off your face and your eyeballs with its bare hands. Then, there is the run-of-the-mill migraines, which seem so generic that there is a part of you that sees them as routine, which is incredibly annoying. Tension-based migraines, the ones that usually come after a night when you wake up with a stiff neck, and it feels as though the muscles and skin in your head has all fused together into one big pain-ball. Menstrual migraines for the ladies out there, the ones that feel as though your brain and your uterus are getting scooped out with a grapefruit spoon (and for those of you who aren’t familiar with this piece of cutlery, it’s a spoon with a blade on the end). There are the ice-pick migraines that feel like you’re being stabbed through the eye socket…the list continues on and on. There is one that I hate the most out of all of them.

And that includes you, Mother Nature and your cursed grapefruit spoon.

The BRAIN-FREEZE MIGRAINE.

Yes, indeedy, and the best part about this bad-boy-of-death is that when I describe it, even the non-migraineur can understand it! It is the most relatable SOB out there.

And I hate it so.

It’s like this: Yesterday, I go to work, and I am feeling oddly…good. Which is weird for me. Usually, I feel passable, no complaints per se, but things could be better, you know? Things are going pretty well as far as days go, I am meeting the most adorable stinkin’ children in the universe, I found myself smiling without having to remind myself to do so (I’m usually so tired that I become a regular space cadet). Things are good. My first break rolls around, and I head to the break room with a bag of almonds with a couple of mint m&ms to snack on (it’s a bit early for lunch) and to put some ideas into a notebook for when I get going on my online crochet shop.

The breaks are always shorter when you are enjoying the use of your time.

Anyway, I begrudgingly shove my notebook, (erasable) colored pencils, and doodads into my pouch and head out to get back to work, when it happens: I walk through a cloud of cheap, heady body spray.

(Side note: WHY do all cheap drug store body sprays smell the exact same way?!?)

Instantly, I feel pain settle above my right eye like the way my cat decides that the dead center of my bed is a good place to sleep.

Neither are convenient.

I feel some vertigo hit, so when I get back to work, I duck into the back and take two aspirin from the first-aid kit and a meclizine (that’s what makes Dramamine work, just without the added anti-emetic) from my pocket pill box and continue with my day. During the course of the next handful of hours, I am writing down notes to put into Migraine Buddy later, and I take another two aspirin about 5 hours later. I am using my go-to work-friendly reliefs, like my peppermint oil, and I think I have a good handle of things. There were a couple of times that I thought I was going to have to throw in the proverbial towel, but I would look at the clock and remind myself that I (for example) only had two hours left.

I can do this,” I would say to myself.

On the way to my car, I can feel the afternoon storms coming in (Yay, Florida…), but I still think I am good. The pain is holding steady at a solid 5/10 (for a headache, maybe a 2.5/10 for a migraine). It sucks, but it’s nothing I can’t handle. I’m not as dizzy, I am not nauseous, just a headache that is more “showing potential for migraine” than an actual migraine, if we are calling a spade a spade here.

I call my best friend (via Apple Car Play because hands-free for the WIN), and start my usual drive home. The pain grows worse.

The rains come.

The pain gets worse.

Bugger.

By the time I get home, I am queasy, dizzy, seeing spots, and downright miserable. I say my greetings to my mom, tell her I am just going to go to bed because I was in the midst of a bad migraine (the pain is now a pleasant 8/10). She asks me if I took anything, I told her about the aspirin and that it’s too soon to take more, so I was going to see if sleep would do it.

I get into my pjs and climb into bed, and Matilda (the cat who likes to sleep in the center of the bed) joins me. I rub some Biofreeze onto the right side of my head, slip on a sleep mask I had made a while back (it loops around my ears rather than use an elastic back around my head), and I’m out within minutes.

About two or so hours later (what is time, again?), I wake up to that brain-freeze migraine. It literally feels exactly like when you eat ice cream too fast, only it’s focused on one side of your head and it doesn’t go away, no matter how hard you push your tongue against your hard palate.

I debate asking my mom to take me to the ER for an IV and some O2.

I take two naproxen with my sumatriptan and slip the mask back on.

My mom comes into the room to check on me, and I am a panting, shuddering, mess. I let her know that I took “the good stuff” and I was going to see if someone would be able to take my shift the next day, because I could tell that this was going to stick around (that is actually rare for me). She offers to use my scalp massager on my head. I immediately agree, knowing that I was far gone enough for it to have little effect, but it will relax me. Maybe I would fall back asleep.

Once I resembled a poodle, I said I had had enough of it, and she asks if there was anything else I needed. I inwardly groaned, because I had a hunch and I HATE asking for this: I needed help with some pressure points on my feet. Since my mother is a freaking saint, she obliged, and worked on a few pressure points on my feet while I worked with the ones on my hands.

BLESSED SWEET RELIEF!

The pain dropped to a 7/10! It felt less sharp! Barely, but I’ll take it!!!!

She brought me grape juice (which apparently is supposed to help, according to Dr. Internet and Nurse Pinterest, so who am I to turn up my nose at a possible relief method?) before retiring herself, and I managed to give away my shift a few hours later. I disabled my alarms, texted Mom that I was off, and went back to sleep.

The migraine was not completely gone until after 1 today. So, from about 10:30 on Tuesday morning to after 1:00 on Wednesday afternoon. With brain-freeze style pain from 7:00 Tuesday night to some time really early Wednesday morning.

Next time, I think I will take the ice cream.

💖Hearts and Sparkles!💖
~Bunny~