Being Broke

When we married he promised his support.

But how could he know it would be so one-sided.

I may be there to cook a simple lunch,

to make the bed or do the laundry,

But who could have guessed that normalcy

would die when I turned thirty?

My attention turned inward by my own pain,

I fail to notice his

quiet determination to not trouble me

with his doubts or worries or regrets.

I push to make it through each day,

living not just surviving,

and I hope my chores add up to a fair effort,

Because I’m no good at balancing the books.

Yet, I’m the one who does it.

so I can hide from him how broke we are.

Money I mean,

Because somehow, our relationship isn’t.

Seeking Help in the Wizard World: Migraine Awareness #15

How many times have I thought “I wish I was a witch in the world of Harry Potter.” So many things would be easier. Never mind washing dishes, there’s a spell for that. Mowing the lawn; I bet there’s a spell for that too. 

But a cure for migraines, even the healers at St. Mungo’s haven’t managed that. I imagine they struggle with the same issues our own beloved neurologists do.

So they may have spells for aborting migraines:

  • Zomingo
  • Maxaltium
  • Migraine Relashio

Spells that help you deal with the pain of migraines:

  • Alevium
  • Cranio Episkio

Then of course there are the daily preventative potions:

  • Calming Draught
  • Draught of Peace
  • Essence of Butterbur

Hopefully one day some great wizard will invent a spell to cure migraines, but until then, even the wizarding world faces the issues we do in the muggle world.


(Sorry this is a day late and I’ve been out of the loop for a bit. Blogging daily just isn’t my thing.)

Keep on Keepin’ on: Migraine Awareness #4

Keep onWe often seem to live as though we are moving from checkpoint to checkpoint through life.
As children we look forward to being teens; as teens to adulthood. As adults we move from college to establishing a career to marriage to parenthood. These milestones vary between individuals, but we all move forward through life with one or more of these in mind.

Then there are the goals we set to motivate ourselves between milestones: reaching a promotion, losing weight, saving money for a vacation.
When you suffer from chronic pain the milestones may be similar, but the goals must be adapted to your new capabilities. (I won’t say limitations because that creates an invisible barrier you feel you cannot cross.) My goals may be to make it through the month without missing work or to walk 15 minutes on the treadmill. I homeschool my girls, so one of my goals is to grade their work at the end of every day and to get them out of the house at least once a week.

Moving forward in life, I try to keep in mind that there is nothing that can prevent me from reaching the ultimate goal. Each day in my spiritual practice I pray to be filed with love for God.

As for my migraines, I keep on keepin’ on. God can do the rest.

Even Odds: Migraine Awareness Month #3

Trying to keep a balance

There are days when odds are my head pain and related symptoms are going to get me down. Some days I can even the odds for the day. Some things I do help me to work towards lowering the odds for the coming years, not just the coming days.

Things I do on a daily basis:

  • Take care in my meal choices, if I drank too much cola yesterday, I’d better watch it today.
  • Eat when I’m supposed to, not waiting until I finally feel hungry.
  • Lie down for a nap when the pain starts to creep up on me, don’t always weather the storm.
  • Keep the lights dim and the noise level low.

These sound like trivial details, but they add up to an altered life. How can you keep the lights dim while you expect the kids to get lessons done? How do you keep the noise level down but still spend time playing games with friends? I can’t always follow those simple rules. Life gets in the way.

While I’m busy balancing my illness and my life, there are some things I can do to help myself get healthier. While these won’t cure my disease, they may help with the severity and they may prevent symptoms from worsening or new symptoms from developing.

The things I strive to do (but may not always manage) for a healthy life:

  • Relaxation exercises my neurologist suggested. I’ve being doing this nightly and it has helped me to get to sleep at least.
  • Physical exercise, which is a big challenge. I’m not good at taking my exercise nice and easy, but my head can’t handle the pace I’d like to set. So this I am constantly struggling with.
  • Spiritual practice- this is one of the keys to my ability to cope.  I may be doing a small amount daily, but I try to keep God always in my heart and mind.

Truly these three things are beneficial to everyone, not just a migraineur.

The Mask I Wear: Migraine Awareness Month #1

I am a woman of many masks.

For you see, I am a different person depending upon who you ask.


For my husband I am an attentive wife, a partner in parenting, and especially, that one friend with whom you may discuss anything. The mask I wear in his company is the most transparent. Like the semi-clear plastic mime mask sold at Halloween. He can see through it to the pain and shame I try to hide. He alone seems to know the lengths to which I go to keep on going day to day.

For my children I wear the mask not only of mother, confidant, and friend, but that of school teacher and principle as well. Yes, there are days I wish I could call for a substitute, but as a homeschool mom the best I can do is assign older children to help younger or for them to watch educational television. The mask they see hides my fear that one of them will suffer as I have. It hides my worry that I’m not doing a good enough job teaching them. It fails though to hide my distracted mood. How could it possibly hide that I can no longer handle with ease long days at the zoo or a week filled with outings.

The mask my friends see only occasionally slips. It hides from them how I struggle to keep going during an afternoon visit. They may not always be able to see how I’d like to do more, to schedule more dates, but I can’t bring myself to plan ahead for fear of cancelling. It can’t hide from them my inability to concentrate in a crowded room or my withdrawal from group outings.

Ah, the mask that works the best is that of sales associate. My customers may sometimes see someone who is weary or has had a hard day. They don’t know that my shift only just started and I’m already tired, or that I’ll only be there for 4 or so hours because any more is too much.

Much of the time I’m able to maintain my smile and helpful nature.

Laughter though, is more rare.

June 2013, Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, is dedicated to Unmasking the Mystery of Chronic Headache Disorders. The 2013 Migraine and Headache Awareness Month Blog Challenge is a project of


Let’s talk about prodromes

When *all I suffered from was classic migraine, I didn’t do much research. I thought migraines were a regular part of life.

So prodromes remained a condrome, er, conundrum to me. It happens that one of my prodromes is irritability. I didn’t realize this for some time. I’d have a snappy day and everyone would assume I had a headache. The next day it would hit me hard. It was with some relief that I was able to blame my meanness on something other than myself! I also get periods of fatigue, increased yawning, and cravings when a severe headache is coming. Unfortunately, with a constant headache, I often have these symptoms anyways.

Prodromes are a typical part of migraines for many sufferers. Research shows that more than half of all migraine sufferers experience prodromes. They may show up more than a day before the pain itself hits. If you recognize it, it can act as an early warning system.

Irritability is only one of a long list of possible symptoms. (Further evidence that migraine is more than just a headache.) Other notable prodromes are:

  • Fatigue
  • Cravings or loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Excitability
  • Constipation or diarhea
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Yawning
  • Light or sound sensitivity
  • Restlessness

Some of these are symptoms migraineurs  experience during headaches as well. Learning to recognize your prodromes, if you get them, can help you in your headache treatment. As with so many migraine related things, keeping a journal can help you identify your prodromes. With some practice, you might even be able to pinpoint just when that massive headache is going to hit, giving you time to get to abortive meds and a nice soft bed.

With my current constant headache, I haven’t found any patterns with what might be prodrome symptoms. The irritability and fatigue that once warned me of an incoming headache are often present without worsening pain and throughout severe pain. Perhaps I should take my own advice and pick up paper and pen again.

*I say all here, not to take migraines lightly. It is not a disease I would wish upon anyone. I say all to highlight the fact that I would gladly trade my current situation for classic migraine.

The truth about today

This being my blog, you read about my experiences, my thoughts and reactions. All told, of course, from my point of view.

But, I’m not as nice as I’ve led you to believe.

I can give great report of my patience and love for my family and friends. I can offer my advice to pray, meditate, be kind.

But I’m not always able to live up to it.

Sometimes I feel downright dis-compassionate. Often I lack the patience a situation deserves. I frequently don’t pay attention to the people around me. And I get snappy when my head hurts too much.

Today someone was venting to me about her migraines. She’s missed some work and doesn’t want to be reprimanded for it.


But her attitude seemed like so much drama, and her problems seemed over exaggerated. I wanted to vent right back at her about my issues. Mercifully I was able to hold my tongue.  I told her work policy and that’s it. When I should have been able to be supportive or at least share some advice, I was unable to do so. I felt no compassion for her. Just frustration.

I can’t really know how migraine has affected her life. It’s not a contest of who has suffered more. But there’s this attitude in my workplace that if you want the freedom to miss work whenever you like, just say you have migraines. People don’t treat it like it’s an illness, but rather an excuse.

I feel badly about it now. I hope another opportunity will present itself and I can make up for my failings.

I just wanted you to know, I don’t really have it all together…

I just act like it.


Post Botox, Day 3

Happy Easter everyone!

A quick update, then I’m off to bed.

The soreness from the shots has faded away, and the monstrous headache it triggered seems to be dying down.

I wouldn’t say I’m quite back to my pre-botox pain level, but I’m getting there.

The toughest part of this treatment is it’s inability to meet the expectations of those around me. I am well aware that it will be weeks before I know if there is any change, and maybe longer before I know if the treatment will help enough. I’ve been dealing with this headache long enough to know there is no quick cure.

My friends on the other hand, seem to long even more than me for that magical pill that will end the headache. Who am I to argue against their reasoning?

I long to be able to tell everyone that I am well,angel

To join in with the jogging,

To go to a concert,

To schedule things without fear of cancelling last minute.



Post Botox, Day 1

2012-03-31 Annabel Lee Photography

Beautiful weather today!

But this is not from today…

(Okay, there’s the positive news for the day.)

Today my head hurts worse. I planned lessons, ate lunch, and went back to bed. I got up in time to get ready and go to work, only to come home halfway through a 4 hour shift.

The right side of my head is sore from the shots. The left is fine.

It’s the right side that always hurts.

Go figure…

I’m hoping the soreness and extra pain diminishes soon. Two of my girls are gone to a friend’s house for the next two nights, so the house should be a bit quieter. My plans for tomorrow are cancelled. It will be a day for rest and recovery.

Any good movie suggestions?