Seek and Ye Shall Find. They Say.

No. Sounds lovely but not true.

Yesterday’s migraine.  Oh what a migraine it was!

Today it’s tapering off, in the final phase, in what’s called the postdromal phase.

Yes, research and science have found four migraine stages: (1) predromal phase – early warning signs; (2) aura phase – strange feelings start; (3) attack phase  – migraine underway; (4) postdromal phase – after migraine.

Each phase has distinct and discernible characteristics.

However, I’m not here as a scientist, rather a migraineur.

Yesterday’s was a real doozy. Once I got through my 4-5 p.m. work shift, all I wanted to do was go home.

Shut out the world. Lie down on my bed.

Open all windows to let in the clean refreshing cool air after the monsoon.

Close my eyes. Rest. Breathe in the quiet.

I could have none of it.

Because my neighbor James never turns off the monstrosity that is his swamp cooler. The tally to date: 2-30. That’s wins to losses after he promised to shut off the Noisy Beast when it’s not hot (it’s not) and when he’s away.

Well, he’s away like all the time. And the mother-er still runs.

But back to the migraine.

I need my home. I need my home to be my sanctuary. A place of respite. Safety. Peacefulness. I’ve paid my dues a thousand times over with domestic wars, abuses, upheavals, distresses starting in childhood. Oh the stories I could write about roommates!

I’m 59 now. It’s time for my home to be a good thing not a hell on earth to escape.

James isn’t a bad person. However, he is a bad neighbor. He can do better. We need to talk again.

But how do you talk with someone who’s never home and yet the Montrosity spins and spins and spins, screeching its siren, 24/7?! Every day of the week. Every week of the month. Rain or shine. Cloudy or clear.

Swear to god, it could be snowing and he’d be running it! He’s just … well, a bad neighbor. At this time.

Back to the migraine.

I couldn’t go home for relief for obvious reasons. His metal beast is outside my bedroom window. It’s audible through the walls and with all windows and doors sealed.

Actually it’s on the side with the most windows and doors — also a problem. I’ve been forced to keep them closed for the past month+ even though my nature and desire are to have them open for fresh air and circulation. I told him that.

It’s a mobile-home park so spaces are tight and narrow, sounds audible and amplified.

I am beside myself with frustration and rage toward James for this past month where he’s failed so miserably in doing the right thing. Which is being a good neighbor. The first ingredient: attentiveness.

Yesterday’s bone-crunching migraine really drove home — haha, no pun intended — the message. Just like the 1,000 spikes piercing my skull.

What I needed — a quiet space that would hold me as the migraine passes — was not available. Was taken from me on another’s thoughtlessness. Forgetfulness. Bad neighborliness.

Seek and ye shall find? No. What I sought was healing silence. What I found was a shit swamp cooler that doesn’t shut the fuck up ’cause the neighbor doesn’t shut it off!

So what’d I do? What could I do? I couldn’t go home.

Well, I couldn’t rent a motel room! $ for starters but this weekend is Rodeo Weekend! People from around the country have flooded this little town for the world’s oldest rodeo! It’s the town’s moneymaker of the year. You cannot find a motel room to save your life!

Or grant relief to a migraineur.

So I could do nothing but endure and avoid going home. Kill 5 hours hanging around downtown, walking aimlessly and blindly (the migraine effect) with a jaws of life crushing my little skull.

That walking could last only so long in a small downtown so I switched over to until 10 p.m. closing.

Five hours wasted. Five hours that could’ve and should’ve been spent home in bed. And would’ve been … were James being a good neighbor.

By turning off that motherfucking monstrosity of his swamp cooler. Instead of letting it run ALL THE TIME when it is not needed. 24-7. Every day of the week. Every week of the month and more.

James did not give me my migraine.

However, he gives me reason to hate him as a neighbor.

He gives me reasons to invent stories that’ll end the problem. I won’t share, let’s just say the suspense/crime/mystery genre is my fav for a reason!

He gives me 50 Ways to Disconnect a Cooler. Subversively.

Most of all — most distressing of all — James gives me: Bad Neighborliness.

James, if you’re listening up there:

You’ve been a bad neighbor for more than a month. You’ve done none of what you said you would do: Turn off the cooler when it’s not too hot and when you’re away. You’ve failed and are failing to be a good neighbor.

You can do better. Much better.

I need my home back now.

I need my sanctuary and my space. My solitude and my home as a haven, not a hell.

I need to come home and have it be quiet.

And, as yesterday’s migraine teaches poignantly and powerfully, I need that silence when my head is being ripped apart by a wild animal.

Listen closely James.

The season of inattention and forgetfulness is over. I’ve endured it. I’ve endured it long enough. You’ve had plenty of time and opportunities to do the right thing. You’ve failed.

The inattention. The forgetfulness. The thoughtlessness.

 

It needs to stop. Now.

You need to do what you said you would do. Turn off the cooler when it’s not too hot and when you are away.

You’re being called upon to consider your neighbors. To step up to the plate. To do what you said you would do. In doing so, you grow. You restore harmony.

James, your swamp cooler score today is 2 wins 30 losses. You can do better.  So much better.

Be a good neighbor. Like Nike says, Just Do It.

My migraines and I will be so grateful.

 

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Migraines: Terrorists of Neurology

I’m walking from the parking lot to the workplace. Sunny afternoon, just before 4 p.m.  — the start of my shift that ends ’round midnight. I feel good.

Abruptly out of nowhere — NOWHERE — it hits.

A shockwave of vertigo. Dizziness. I lose my balance. Suddenly I cannot walk a straight line along the short paved path to the office door. I’m weaving. I look like I’m drunk.

I cannot look drunk at the job. Neither can I let on what is happening. The show must go on. I take the chair at the (radio) board. Thank god it’s a sit-down job!

The room is rocking. Walking in the office — just from my station to the restroom 12 feet away — is a tremendous ordeal. Like walking on a boat at sea while drunk. I wish there were rails along the walls.

Of course the workplace is not rocking, neither is it on a boat.

I’m having a vestibular migraine.

For you fortunates who don’t get migraines, you are blessed, I say, blessed. Vestibular migraines — also known as vertigo-related migraines (VRM) — are a subset of migraines. Not every migraineur gets VRM. Those who do suffer truly, tremendously.

It is a migraine characterized by vertigo and dizziness to varying degrees. My most recent attack, I was able — barely — to weave to the office chair, sit and run a radio board — but only with extraordinary effort that required NOT MOVING MY HEAD at all. ANY movement set the room into a carnival house of moving mirrors.

My preceding vestibular migraine, like this one, hit abruptly about a week earlier. That’s typical. Out of nowhere it comes. You’re feeling grand one second then the next absolutely overcome by dizziness, nausea, inability to walk or stand.

Vestibular migraines do not always involve the throbbing crushing totalitarian crunching pain of a migraine. Very commonly there is *no pain whatsoever.* No aura. No precursors. Just BOOM! Severe vertigo and you’re on the floor puking or wanting to for the nausea.

This site has great info on the subject.

My migraines began about seven years ago — no doubt due to extreme stress, weather, and extreme debilitating circumstances and conditions. There is no doubt, no doubt whatsoever, that the Pacific Northwest chapter created extraordinarily pervasive and lasting damage from which I’ve not recovered. (I doubt I ever will.)

However, it was only last year that the vestibular migraines began. First time, I had NO idea what was happening.

I rose from bed to begin my day. Headed across the tiny studio to the bathroom. Rather, tried. And the whole apartment was rocking like a ship on a violent sea. I lost my balance barely after crossing the bedroom’s threshold. Clutched the kitchen counter. The nausea was extraordinary. I thought I was having a stroke. Or dying.

If I even made it to the bathroom (I don’t recall), it was because I crawled. Then I lay on the carpet, unable to move. I wondered: Is this my end? Is this how I die? Will someone find me lying here alone in a week?

Fast forward to researching online (at which I’m an expert). Was then I discovered that my symptoms exactly match vestibular migraines.

At least now I had an explanation and an understanding of what had happened.

Any migraineur will tell you that triggers are elusive and mysterious as hell. Migraines are among the most baffling of neurological disorders and the “cures” non-existent.

In my case, I’ve identified — to the best of my ability — my most likely triggers: poor sleep and stress.

That first vestibular migraine where I collapsed to the floor, my stress and sleep were E-N-O-R-M-O-U-S and lonstanding due to living beneath a gawd-awful asshole neighbor and his “babe” girlfriend and their noise noise noise noise noise that never ended noise.

I moved and while the stress didn’t leave my life, it abated by virtue of that move. But new stressors have entered my life. I went about 10 months without another vertigo-migraine — no doubt in part to escaping those assholes.

But in the past two weeks, I’ve had two vertigo migraines. Back to back. Something/somethings is/are clearly wrong in my life.

I managed through my 8-hour shift at the workplace this last one. This attack was milder than the preceding two. That’s like saying: “Compared to being seared by six branding irons last week, I was branded by only three today. What a relief!”

As the spinning and nausea slowly subsided during those hours, the headache entered. A deep aching vise around my skull. Not the worst bone-cruncher I’ve endured but a migraine nonetheless.

It took two days and a LOT of sleep after that abrupt attack for my system to clear out the migraine and reset.

The power of the migraine to stop the world — the migraineur’s world — is astounding. Lying in a DARK room, pitch black, no lights, no sounds, no stimuli, no NOTHING is often imperative.

But it doesn’t stop the room from rocking, the nausea, vomiting, flashes or extreme sensitivities to odors or sounds. (Though commonalities abound, one’s migraine experiences are as unique as his/her fingerprints.)

Though I don’t dwell on the worst-case scenarios of vestibular migraines (i.e., while I’m driving), I cannot overlook or ignore them either. I do not want to think about much less write about it.

My list of health issues is long. I’ve some very big challenges as I age.

However, if I could subtract one, only one from that list, I’d choose: migraines. Absolutely.

Not only are they debilitating in ways that ONLY migraineurs can understand, regarding vestibular migraines specifically, they are frightening. Because they can strike any where. Any time. Completely out of the blue. Without warning. Without precursors.  Without aura or metallic taste in the mouth or low energy. Hell, they can happen WHILE YOU’RE SLEEPING … and you awake in the midst of one!

Vestibular migraines are the terrorists. The terrorists on the freeways (drive-by shootings), in airports and on buses, in cafes and in airplanes, on roads in the middle of nowhere and on city streets in Tel Aviv. They are the mad violent Palestinians of the neurological system.

I’d wish them on not even my worst enemy.

On Moving, Migraines & the Motion of an Ocean. On Dry Land.

It’s weird. One day you wake up in a bed in one place. And the next day, a whole other place.

The refrigerator’s in a different location. The stove, bathroom, closet.

Everything’s changed in a blink of an eye.

Not unexpectedly. It’s a natural phenomenon of moving.

And every move, no matter how desired or needed (or otherwise), brings one universal truth: Adjustment.

It’s an adjustment to learn a new place and space. I should know. This is move number 53 or thereabouts.

My nerves are overwrought. On fire. Stretched razor thin. At the moment, I feel “relaxed.” Only because external stimuli — namely the grating, perpetual and bad energies from the now FORMER — I’m thrilled to announce! — upstairs neighbors are behind me.

They’re behind me but not processed. In a heartbeat, this current “relaxation” — again, merely a cessation of extremely stressful external stimuli — could turn into massive irritation at the smallest thing.

This is what is called: OVERLOAD.

And I am: Overloaded. Overstressed. Running on adrenaline and overdrive and overexhaustion.

But I’m NOT Drunk.

And I’m NOT on a boat. What is happening???

Something happened yesterday morning. Something that scared the living bejesus outta me. Something I’ve never encountered. Or even knew about until I explored / researched online:

A vestibular migraine.

I get migraines. Starting around 2008-9. Not unsurprisingly given my presence in the bawd-awful Pacific Northwest at the time!

Anyhow, fast-forward to now and me in Arizona.

This move, officially completed yesterday, has taken a toll on me like no other. How many did I say there’re been, like 54?!

It’s not merely the move, one of life’s Top 5 Stressors, humankind agrees.

It’s the past 9 months as a whole. The former upstairs neighbors, chiefly the motherfucker. A word I don’t use lightly or often. But when the thug holster (his) fits …

So altogether, conditions were ripe for a major health crisis. Degradation. Breakdown.

That was my experience in that apartment. Back to yesterday morning, my last in that space.

I rolled outta bed. Actually my camp cot. My bed was already in the new place.

Stood up.

And about collapsed onto the floor.

I felt drunk. And as if walking on a rolling ship. Simultaneously.

Except: I hadn’t touched any liquor for a week! And the ground under my feet was cement and earth.

I tried to walk across the studio. And couldn’t. Not in equilibrium or balance.

I gripped the edge of the kitchen island. Bowed my head. Kept eyes on the floor. For if I lifted my head to normal walking posture or turned it even a little to the side, it set of extreme disequilibrium and nausea.

That was the other aspect so frightening: extreme nausea. I actually wanted to throw up. To feel better.

I couldn’t even consider making morning coffee. I forced myself into a shower hoping that’d make me feel better. Still, head bowed, looking at the floor. Not turning the head sideways.

And the Unrealness I experienced! Oh my god. Nothing felt real. Thoughts weren’t my thoughts. I had no thoughts. I could remember my name. Yet it meant nothing. Nothing meant anything.

It was as if a cold chill had blown through my brain and removed every semblance of human thought. It’d left nothing but an Unrealness and numbing sharp pain across my skull. Particularly at the back around the neck, temples and behind the eyes.

A total disconnect. And pain. Recognized only by migraineurs.

The Fall. The Surrender.

The shower didn’t help me function. I had so much still to do. This is Day of Departure from henceforth is short-named the Apartment of Others’ Hellfires.

Also I had a meeting to attend.

My legs like rubber. The ship that wouldn’t stop rolling side to side. Nausea bordering on vomiting. Extreme vertigo. Was I having a stroke? Dying? WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME?

The EXTREME stress for 9 months and an exhausting move, lack of sleep, etc. etc.  finally and truly caught up to me.

It made me fall to the floor.

I surrendered to a cry. A human cry. I lay collapsed on the carpet.

The cry: “Rest. Let me rest. Let me sleep. Just 20 minutes.”

My body — nee, my brain — begged for them. Begged for what had been deprived too much and too long.

I let myself zone out. Kept worrying about missing my meeting in case I fell into the sleep so craved so I set the timer on the phone.

It was the first and only dose of “rest” I’d had since the nightmare reached critical mass, two months ago.

I reminded myself to breathe. The last time I took a breath was July 1, when the search for new digs began.

Flat on my back, head on the ground, at least the room wasn’t rocking. And my legs weren’t rubber.

Rising. Because I Had To.

Soon enough, the meeting forced me to rise and get going. I did so. Slowly. I was concerned about driving since turning my head exacerbated the nausea and dizziness.

However, those 20 minutes crashed onto the carpet had helped calm but not extinguish the symptoms. Of what I know now is a vestibular migraine.

I took care driving and got where I needed to be. I managed through sheer will to get the last of my apartment into boxes. Etc. Etc.

A vestibular migraine, like all migraines, is a neurological disorder.

Everyone’s migraine triggers are unique. This whole idea that red wine, chocolates, cheeses trigger migraines is bullshit.

Triggers are as unique as the migraineurs.

Mine chiefly is lack of sleep. Degraded sleep. And stress.

Hello: vestibular migraine.

Of course, this is “speculative.” I’ve not been to a physician. Had a brain scan, MRI, blood test or anything else.

However, based on my own research — at which I excel — my experience corroborates with vestibular migraine.

Add a new entry into my Health History. Wheeeee!!

Like Drink, Migraines Too Have Their Hangovers

The migraine hangover was quite intense. Sharp pain in the head. Extreme irritability at the tiniest stressor or external stimuli.

I crashed early (11.30 p.m.) and I crashed hard.

This morning, I awoke in a new place.

Just like that. In seemingly the blink of a eye, a snap of the fingers.

Thank GOD Sara & Yairo are behind me.

Thank GOD I am free of that motherfucker and his mousy girlfriend.

Thank GOD, too, that I discovered the toll that extreme unceasing stress can and will take on a body and mind.

It took a vestibular migraine and fall onto the floor to make me stop moving moving moving moving moving moving.

The same way it takes a heart attack to make an overworked company president stop moving moving moving moving moving.

I’m not invincible, even though I think I am and have been forced to BE so through an exceptionally hard life.

Just like that: My old space is behind me.

And I awoke today in a bed I recognize and know in a room unrecognized and  unfamiliar.

I’m blessed to be outta the old place.

Welcome to another Move Approximately No. 54.

Welcome to a new space.

Welcome to a new chapter.

Aloha!

Bang the Drum Slowly. And not at all when a migraine strikes.

Any day that’s free of a migraine is a good day.

Knock wood. Truly. Don’t want to jinx it. Seems that the moment when it occurs to me that I’ve not had a migraine for three days or a week — boom! BTW, that’s not an uncommon phenomenon among migraineurs.

Why, who knows.

Why migraines happen, who knows. Migraines are so individual. Lucky are those who, after searching the haystack for the needle, can identify triggers.

For the majority of migraineurs, identifying triggers is as elusive as the hunt for Bigfoot with a camera. Had I the power to remove a few health issues from the human race, they’d be: (a) Alzheimer’s; (b) dementia; (c) migraines. Their debilitating element is extraordinary. I’d wish none of those diseases on anyone.

Anyways, any day without a migraine is a good day. (Not to overlook or downplay various health issues that I contend with daily. Issues that slow me down, bring discomfort, pain and worry.

A migraine is in its own category. A migraine is like Command Central. It has the unique ability to shut the entire system down, from the most basic level of who we as humans are: our neurological systems.

I consider myself fortunate in that my migraines began in midlife. Some people start getting them as early as their pubescent or teenage years! Their entire lives are spent suffering with, battling and enduring migraines. I’d included “coping with” and then deleted it. Coping with migraines never really happens.

Coping implies some sort of positive action or intent to get through a tough situation. A life force sustaining you and getting you through. However, migraines shut everything down and to such a pervasive extent that even the basic life force peters out or becomes inaccessible. That’s why so many migraineurs are required to retreat into a room with zero stimulation. No sounds. No light. No thing at all.

I often have auras before a migraine. Auras are clues that the inner system’s changing and a migraine’s on its way. Auras have nothing to do with the energetic auras around our bodies that psychics see!

The type of auras vary for migraineurs. For me, sound is a biggie. Even the most innocuous or mundane everyday sound that normally doesn’t catch my attention — say, a song, a stranger’s voice in a cafe — will blast and produce immediate discomfort, anxiety or pain inside my head.

A common example: someone’s voice on the radio. In my aura state, the voice alone will make me nauseous (nausea is a very common symptom of migraines). It’ll also be a piercing stake being driven into my head.

I must immediately switch the channel to another voice or sound that doesn’t poke the hornet’s nest. Or simply turn off the radio.

Don’t misunderstand. Changing the station, in this example, doesn’t eradicate the aura! It merely removes a pronounced aggravator, some element that ramps up the pain and distress already unfolding.

Now, to be clear, that same voice on any normal (non-migraine) day may be just fine! It’s just that when one strikes — or is about to — for me, sensitivities to sound fly off the charts!

I experience other aura symptoms too; other times, I experience none at alL! I can go to bed feeling just fine and awaken with a severe migraine. Or what I call a “walking migraine.” That’s one in which I can pretend-function at the barest minimum through the day. Like walking pneumonia.

My mental/neurological shutdown and pain and inability to think even the most banal of thoughts is visible to no one but myself. Even recollecting my name or address is a challenge with a migraine. It hurts. The brain actually hurts. Everything’s at once fuzzy and fucked-up and fiercely painful.

I have more migraine than not-migraine days. Sometimes I go as much as a week or two without one! Heaven!! Bliss! Paradise!

Other times, one migraine lasts for most if not all of a week, when including preliminary (aura) days and post (recovery) days

Those are particularly bad because I get nothing done. I CAN get nothing done. Just surviving the week is a significant challenge. And all I can do — all that most migraineurs can do — is wait for it to pass. Or get serious about pain relief.

That OTC migraine aspirin helps some but not most. (They have zero effect on me.) Some have to go as far as the emergency room for morphine. Yes, it’s not only the triggers that vary so from individual to individual but the intensity. I’m “lucky” that I can pretend semi-function in a pained state of auto-pilot.

But the truth remains. I wish migraines were not a part of my life at all. They have been for about 7 years now and they don’t look to be going away anytime soon. Probably never. They’re genetic. I just dunno know which side of my family is to blame! 😉

Anyways, it’s worth noting that any day without a migraine is a good day. Even if “bad things” happen, to be free of the debilitation, pain and time and productivity lost — and *self* lost — to a migraine is a great, great feeling!

Again, knock wood! I’ll bang the wood if I must if it keeps migraines at bay! Just none of that before or during a migraine. Even moreso than light, sounds are the killer!

knockwood

where’s a DNA forensic team when ya need one?!

I don’t like missing a day of blogging, never mind days in a row. Unless the reasons are extraordinarily good, like I’m on the road and sleeping out in the proverbial middle of nowhere, where you’re lucky to get even a bar of a cell-tower signal!

However, as a master procrastinator of writing as well as a person too prone to dropping the writing ball, I’m now all too aware of the consequences when I don’t blog or at least write daily. That includes journaling. Writing daily is something I’m actively pursuing and endeavoring to do this year. In fact, it’s No. 1 on the to-do list of 2015.

Sometimes life happens and I can’t get here. I get that. Unfortunately, the reason for my recent absence is nothing as fun as a road trip. Or even having a tooth root-canaled.

And a a Dental Queen since age 6, I know a llllllllllllll about root canals *and plenty more!!!*

No, the reason I was absent was not a road trip. Or root canal. Or a a sudden radio-contest win that took me to the Bahamas.

It wasn’t overwork (kinda hard to do when you work a skimpy 11 hours a week!) or being called to a friend’s or family’s home out of state due to an emergency. (Thank God for that!)

No, I was done and out courtesy of a migraine.

I’ve never written much about migraines. For one very simple reason: They are painful to write about and very personal.

A lesser but still noteworthy reason is that migraines are impossible to convey to one who doesn’t get them. Descriptions, no matter how vivid, fail.

“A semi-truck in flames ramming repeatedly into the inside walls of my skull” doesn’t cut it.

“A thousand swords slicing through the brain while a jackhammer pounds relentlessly on top of the skull.” Again, a pallid description.

“Bone-crunching back-breaking blinding pain with nausea (or vomiting for some migraineurs), profound aversion to sounds and/or lights and a total disconnect from ALL things, including one’s one mind.” Again, doesn’t begin to convey the debilitation of a migraine.

Migraines, as you may or may not know, are genetic. My sibling gets them and at a far more severe level than I. We don’t know which of our parents or grandparents got them. They are hell on earth. They are tricky to live through and even trickier to figure out in terms of triggers.

Because what you’ve likely read about migraines is hogwash.

“They’re caused by red wine. Chocolate. Certain cheeses. Certain nitrates found in meats and sausages.” The list is endless. And the list is wrong.

For certain migraineurs, red wine or chocolate, the so-called classic migraine triggers, are indeed triggers. For many more, myself included, they have absolutely ZERO effect.

Every individual is unique (so you can toss out that whole Obama / Marxist / liberal / socialist stupid view that we’re all the same and should all be equal in life. BS!). Too, every migraineur is unique. What’s a trigger for person A — assuming person A can even figure it out, a mighty accomplishment indeed! — is not a trigger for person B. And on it goes.

Fact is, identifying triggers is an effort as elusive as capturing Big Foot.

And just as the one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work in identifying triggers — if you’re lucky enough to get wind of potential triggers, that is! — to the so-called remedies. Aptly named — so-called remedies. Because as the vast majority of migraineurs will tell you, there is no remedy. There is no cure. And you’re damn lucky and one of the rare ones if you find ANYTHING that brings relief short of a bullet.

Yes, they’re that painful. Disorienting. Debilitating.

I really don’t care to go on. I just wanted to briefly address this touchy topic. And say that if you happen to be a person who gets migraines, I empathize and sympathize, deeply so. If you’re not, you are one lucky son-of-a-gun! Migraines are hell on earth.

My last one persisted for about 5 days. One of the longer ones of recent history. A particularly rough one this round too. It is lifted of its own “accord” (as no remedy or relief on my part does a whit of good). I have a brain again. My synapses are firing again. I can have a thought again. Not only have a thought but hold it.

I’m stupendously relieved to be lifted out of that misery and to be able to enjoy some mental coherency again, engage with life and the world again.

Truth told, if research scientists ever located the migraines gene, I’d happily support them manipulating mankind’s DNA for its removal! Yes, they are just that dreadful.

Migraine relief test turns (ice cream) cold.

In the name of scientific research toward a cure for migraines, I gave it a good shot.

As pledged in the prior post, I did conduct my test and repeated ingestion of cashews, Ben & Jerry’s Red Velvet Cake ice cream and hot lemonade with a shot of rye whiskey at bedtime after they’d seemingly eradicated the migraines & severe headaches I’d been having.

I’m sorry to announce that I won’t be receiving the Nobel Prize in medicine or science.

I woke up this morning with a dull pressure headache. Less than a migraine but achey enough to downgrade the day.

Perhaps my methodology is to blame. I did not strictly adhere to the sequence of cashews then ice cream then whiskey then bed of the previous night. Rather, I consumed them across a couple hours.

Too, I confess that I was more greedy with the ice cream the second time around.

Which necessarily completes this portion of the research. Yes, after onbly two days, the pint of Ben & Jerry’s Red Velvet Cake is gone. Finished. Finito. {hangs head in shame}

I shan’t be buying a second pint at this time — even in the name of research toward migraine relief that could potentially earn me millions — for one reason. One very simple reason and two words: Weak willpower.

Despair not, I may resume the study at a later date. And if indeed I do discover that the synergy of cashews, Ben & Jerry’s and hot whiskeyed lemonade relieves migraines, y’all will be the first second to know. After the Nobel Prize committee.

Ben & Jerry, Old Man Overholt and migraines. (No, really.)

Normalcy is returned!

My version of it, that is to say.

Little more than 12 hours ago, I was writing about migraines and severe headaches and their recent return and I should add frequency.

Scratching my head, I ruminated about the elusiveness of their triggers, causes and cures. Despite common belief (read: misconception), the causes of migraines are not universal! They’re unique to the individual and as varied.

For one person, red wine or chocolate or dairy products are triggers. For another, myself included, these substances have no triggering effect whatsoever.

This huge variety of causes, possible causes and causes eliminated through one’s own trial and error processes (in my case, painstakingly so) is partly what makes migraines so damn complicated and hard to “cure.”

Rather, control because migraines aren’t “curable” because they have a genetic component. Research bears that out. Migraines are hereditary. If you get them, it means someone in your lineage also did. You may not know who it is but be assured, there’s someone in your family background to blame! (haha)

(BTW, yes, my only sibling also gets them; we don’t know which of our parents or relatives did.)

I walked my way into this brief discourse on one simple and very good prompt: I got up this morning WITHOUT A HEADACHE!! Now THAT is news!!

You see, every day this week has been migraine- (or severe headache-) afflicted. It’s a rotten way to wake up, even a more rotten way to live through a day.

And yet again, as if to reinforce and remind of the migraine mystery, there’s no evidential reason why I awoke today free of a headache … and did not in these several days prior!

My daily activities weren’t changed, neither bedtime altered nor activities prior … though I do admit I had a handful of cashews, a small serving of Ben & Jerry’s red velvet cake ice cream — first try, verdict: eh, so-so — and hot lemonade with a shot of rye whiskey just before.

Could it be the red velvet cake ice cream that cured my migraine as I slumbered!?

And if so, does it have to be red velvet cake? Or would any Ben & Jerry’s flavor do?

Or perhaps it was the shot of Old Overholt?!

How flattered would old man Abraham Overholt (1784-1870), distiller and farmer, be to learn that his product cures migraines?!

Or perhaps it’s the synergy of cashews, ice cream and a hot lemoned whiskey?

Haven’t a clue but I’ll tell you what. I’m game for a repeat tonight! Quite the undertaking it shall be! Anything for scientific research toward potential cures, I say {with enthusiastic conviction}!

migraines, depression and the wonder of Bigfoot

Which came first, the chicken or the egg, these migraines or the depression?

Something happens in my brain that switches off everything but the autonomic system during my migraines and severe headaches, which after a decent period of absence have recently returned — with a vengence.

There’s no discernable trigger or cause. These severe headaches and migraines just descend, sometimes with warning, i.e., auras in the case of migraines.

Other times, I can feel fine and dandy one day and then the next day, WHAAAAAM! As if 200 vises were strapped around my head during the night.

Then there’s the depression.

The process is similar, not identical. My brain activity comes to a sudden halt. As if it has emptied itself but it hasn’t. That would be too Zen and peaceful.

It’s as if you’re driving along a country road on a sunny afternoon. Then suddenly out of nowhere, you hit a dead end and the sky turns pitch black. Your car loses its headlights and all electrical power.

You cannot see and even if you hazard to turn the wheel this way and that to find the way out, everything’s turned wonky.

Turning the wheel to the right may lead you to the left … or turning it to the left leads you to the left … or the right … straight ahead or even backward. There’s no rhyme or reason or way out. You’re trapped, perpetually and irrevocably trapped at the dead end in total darkness.

And oh the pain and the pressure inside your skull … like a million rubber bands tightly binding every inch … like the heat of a burning forest … like every door and window of your house slammed shut, blocking out all life and all light and confining you inside an intense pressure cooker …

And by the way, there’s no cell phone reception at that aforementioned dark dead end — as if that needed to be said. (And it did for our cell phones-addicted culture.)

= = =

I don’t know what brings on the depression that shuts everything, in particular language, verbal and written aptitudes and healthy reasoning processes, out and down and entraps me in that inescapable dead end. Neither do I know what brings on these horrible headaches and migraines.

Whether it be a chemical transformation, altered functions of synapses or unconscious deep-seated stresses, worries and fears that render me a soulless and joyless fairly brain-dead shell (that’s how it feels anyhow), there may be a thread linking two separate phenomenon. If that’s the case, hell if I know what it is.

Not much more to add save that these headaches and migraines hurt like hell.

And when the depression hits, it flatlines me. Depression slams me so very very hard to the ground holds me in such a suffocatingly tight lock of mind & body that it’s all I can do to keep breathing. Just keep breathing, even when it’s painful.

Just breathe.
No air inside this water.
Just breathe.
No air holes through this dirt.
Just breathe.
Until the raptor of depression eases and releases my head from its nail-sharp talons.

as for the migraines, the headaches … i just don’t know why they come or what makes them go away and thus their healing solution remains the elusive wonder of the monstrous Bigfoot. While he may or may not exist, I assure these headaches do and for their elusive explanation and devastation are more frightening than that Big Beast.