Tame the Pain

Peace at last!

Well, after a 3-hour visit with the neurologist last night I did get some answers to my migraine problem.

There are three main headaches one can get: tension, sinus, or cluster.  My pain may originate from one of these three and turn into a migraine within a short amount of time or the migraine hits full force immediately.  In either case, I have been officially diagnosed with migraines.  This is positive news for me because now I can get the proper treatment.

Thankfully I have an episodic migraine and not a chronic one.  The difference? Chronic migraines happen more than 15 times a month for at least three months in a row! Ouch!

I appreciate all who shared their thoughts and experiences with me, as it helped me to gather questions I wouldn’t have thought of and it provided me with support. Thank you.

Treatment: Ellie from Emerald Pie told me about Botox treatments so, of course, I had to ask the specialist! Yes, it’s true…people do get injections every three months for those who suffer from chronic migraines.  Since mine is not chronic, I am not eligible for this treatment. Shucks 🙂

Kelly from My Twice Baked Potato and Laura from As Time Goes…Buy suggested acupuncture. Because I saw a medical doctor, she really wouldn’t give a professional opinion about it so I looked into it myself (Google).  Acupuncture boasts that it reduces inflammation and helps control pain; there are a lot of people that live by this treatment. So, after I’m done seeing the neurologist (I have two more visits), I’ll stop by an acupuncturist to see if this approach would be better.

What I’m doing in the meantime: I took a nerve test last night. It literally felt like I was getting shock injections shot into my body. A scary feeling at first and then it turned into a feeling like you get when you ride a roller coaster.  The doctor was looking for nerve signs that could be the cause of my migraines. A small pen was inserted into my arm so that the doc could ‘listen’ to my nerves. It sounded like Oster during one of his sonograms.

She prescribed an abortive drug for me to take when the migraine hits.  She said there are 10 main drugs that are on the market and she chose this particular one for the sole purpose of trial and error.

I did NOT receive a preventative drug because I didn’t want to have to take something every day. I dislike taking drugs altogether, so you can imagine how thankful I was that she didn’t push me taking a preventative.

I have to go back in two weeks for the nerve test results. From there, we’ll make an appointment for an MRI (brain and neck).

I’m excited to finally get the ball rolling after decades of brushing this pain off as it just being part of life.

Hey, Migraine, what gives?

Seriously? A four-day-migraine! I can’t tell you how wonderful I feel now that it’s finally over. I’m not sure if any of you suffer from this horrific pain but it definitely sucks.

I’ve had them throughout my life; although, they became more prominent in college. Turning off lights and closing my eyes do not work; that actually makes me nauseated.

I had a great pregnancy with no migraines or morning sickness. Right after Oster was born, the migraines kicked into high gear and the only place you could find me was hugging the toilet.

Thankfully Dancing with the Commode wasn’t part of the agenda for this 4-day marathon.  Instead, I was graced with blotchy cold sores popping up under my nose.

I’ve had scans on my brain to check for tumors: none, thankfully

I’ve had drugs prescribed to me before Oster:  they sometimes worked

I try over-the-counter drugs to help relieve pain: they sometimes work

I have to make an appointment to see a specialist: this is getting out of hand. I seriously can’t function for the first day when these hit.

After a couple of days, it’s easier to handle because it feels like the pain is never going to go away and I just have to deal with it.

Home remedies I use to help me tolerate or get rid of a migraine:

Double shot of espresso

Keep active (my head [and stomach] always feels better if my body is in motion)

Stay away from any foods with sugar

Put peppermint oil on temples (my forehead turns a nice shade of green)

Eat bland foods

Stay hydrated

No reading, no watching TV and no computer (extremely hard to follow this one)

Agenda for this afternoon: Call that specialist and get in to see her!


Photo from: Glamcheck

Will Sugar Drinks Eventually be Taxed?

I read an article in this Sunday’s Tribune entitled, Many are no longer sweet on soft drinks. I was intrigued by the title, but mostly its byline: Communities, hospitals and others coast to coast are considering bans or taxes to curb consumption and combat obesity.

That’s a bold move considering every American consumes roughly 150 pounds of sugar a year (according to Dr. Oz).  The article mainly talks about adding taxes to sodas or banning sugary drinks from vending machines in hospitals, parks, and libraries. New York City is even talking about banning super-sized drinks from restaurants, movie theaters, and sporting events.

This got me thinking: Shouldn’t schools also be included in this “push”? If some hospitals in Chicago can replace energy drinks and sodas with bottled water, why can’t we do that in our public schools? Don’t these soda companies make bottled water too? I know that schools get some kickback for having vending machines in their buildings.  But why can’t these machines be filled with water and low-sugar juices?

If this idea is bogus, what about educating parents and children as to how much sugar they are drinking? Some hospitals in Boston are putting nutrition labels on the fountain drinks that show how much sugar is about to be consumed.  When I taught a one-week unit on nutrition (in one of my business classes) my favorite website to show my students was Sugar Stacks. This site gives you a visual as to how much sugar you are consuming for popular foods (cookies, soda, veggies, etc.).

I found it interesting that other popular drinks weren’t mentioned in the article. Mainly: Major coffee brand’s iced coffees and “milkshakes”.  How hard would these companies be hit if there was a ban or tax on its delicious creations?

How do you feel about banning or taxing sugary drinks? Is it so bad that lawmakers have to get involved? Do we need better nutrition education at the primary level?   

 Image from: New Public Health

Baby Brain Development

I recently read an article entitled, “Want Success in School? Start with Babies!” by Dr. J. Ronald Lally. It is available only in print form in KAPPA DELAT PI’s Record.  Since I cannot provide a direct link to the article, I would like to share some highlights of the author’s words.

By age 3, an infant’s brain is already at 85% of the size it will be once he/she reaches adulthood.  With that being said, it’s only natural for one to believe that important learning and social structures should be put into place for the first few years of a baby’s life.

The stages of a baby/infant are broken down into 4 periods:

Brain Cell Creation (conception through delivery)

Beginning as early as conception, babies could be seriously affected as to how they will achieve later in life.  What the mother eats during pregnancy, how much stress is put upon the mother, drugs, exercise, etc. all play a factor in the developing of a baby’s brain.

Bonding (birth to 9 months)

Of course we all understand what bonding with our child means to us as parents. It is a complex definition but to simplify it, one could say it is to meet all of the needs of a baby and provide unconditional love.  These first 9 months are crucial in learning about relationships and communication.

Supported Exploration (7 to 15 months)

This is the time in which infants become a little more independent and start doing things on their own (in short-time bursts).  They are comfortable doing these actions because of the trusted connections they have made and the assurance they have received in the previous stage.  There is so much observation taking place during this time that they are developing a sense of self.

Self in Relation to Others (15 to 30 months)

Infants begin to become more expressive with their language, social behavior is learned, imitation from caregivers takes place, and confidence building all fit into this stage.  They are learning how they “fit in” to their surroundings and society. At the age of 2, most skills that are needed to succeed in school (“emotional/social, learning assumptions, and character traits”) have already been formed.

Dr. Lally provides recommendations (for both parents and educators) on how to guide babies to be successful in school. He believes prenatal health-care should be accessible to ALL families.

Paid parental leave for the first 6 – 9 months is another recommendation from Dr. Lally, along with having professionals regularly visit the home for the first 18 months of the child’s life.

He suggests that American child-care facilities should pay their caregivers a rate comparable to what K-12 educators receive. These workers are underpaid and provide such important care to these infants during a crucial time in the children’s brain development.  Stronger regulations should also be put into place at these schools.

Lastly, he writes that services should be available to parents for help with their child’s development (emotional, language, motor, etc.).

Last month, Dr. Lally was interviewed about his article in this podcast.

How do you feel about Dr. Lally’s recommendations? Are they realistic?