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Hiding Out With Bad Migraines

The last couple weeks have been so bad that I haven’t even updated my Twitter with my headache/migraine status. I’ve had some great swings — particularly after a massage — but they’ve only lasted a short time.

An irritating symptom right now is that I don’t get tired, but completely worn out, which then triggers the rest of the migraine cycle. With diversions like writing posts for when I’m gone in September, sleuthing for cat messes and packing for vacation, I have plenty of opportunities for exhaustion.

I apologize for whining. My bursts of energy ensure that I’m seeing a bright side and I’ve kept myself from being not not happy. But I’m still worn down from the cycle and am ready for it to pass.

I’m sorry if you’ve e-mailed me and I haven’t gotten back to you. You’re on my mind, but I just can’t get to it.

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The Curse of a Nose Made Sensitive By Migraine

A sensitive sniffer comes in handy to search the basement for presents left behind by the neighborhood cat, who must have slipped in while Hart was taking out the trash. Since one of my migraine symptoms is sensitivity to smell, I’m a natural for the task. Ew.

The cat had to leave more than one gift in the 18 hours he spent there. Right? I’m trolling around our disaster of a basement, trying to find where it might be. The nooks and crannies and junk piled high make the space a cat’s dream. They also prevent me from getting close enough to sniff out the remaining presents.

Some believe that migraineurs always have a keen sense of smell, whether they have a migraine or not. It seems that this belief is held more by patients than researchers. More common is that right before or during a migraine, people have a heightened sense of smell. This could be related to smells being a migraine trigger for many of us. Olfactory hallucinations right before or during a migraine is the idea best supported by research. These tend to be bad smells, like garbage or dog messes.

(An interesting aside: Migraineurs and other people with headache, particularly those who have odor triggers may develop a fear of or aversion to certain smells, called osmophobia.)

Unfortunately, my migraine has worsened. It will be difficult to tell if I smell real odors better or am hallucinating them. In any case, my scent-sleuthing skills will ensure that I experience all the smells a basement has to offer.

I can’t find good online resources about migraine and smell. If you have any information or want to share your experience with smell, please leave a comment.

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What Do You Do With Compliments?

Last week, my friend and yoga teacher used some wonderful adjectives to describe me. We were in class, so all I could do was thank her. There was no chance for me to shrug her off, which I probably would have otherwise. In the meditation at the end of class, her kindness sunk in without judgment or dismissal.

How many times have you been told to “just take the compliment”? Our need to shrug them off is so strong that usually the person who is paying you the compliment has to tell you to shut up and take what he or she is saying. At least that’s how it is for me.

Think about the language I just used. Taking a compliment is merely putting up with what you’re being told. Compare this to accepting a compliment: you not only receive the words from the complimenter, you accept that the description may apply to you. Believing the compliment is exactly as it sounds — and it is really hard to do.

When someone pays you a compliment, they believe what they’re saying, otherwise they wouldn’t be saying it. (OK, this isn’t always true, but think about nice things people have said about you — I bet you’ll find most people have meant what they said.)

I cringe remembering all the times someone told me I was brave to face my illness head-on and I responded that I have no choice. I finally realize that I do have a choice. I could be hiding under the covers or complaining about how how bad I’ve got it.

Self-esteem suffers with the emotional ups and downs of any life-changing illness, which includes migraine and other headache disorders. When someone gives you a boost, believe it! I’m trying to.

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Love to ChronicBabe Editrix Jenni

ChronicBabe Editrix Jenni and her husband Steve’s condo was destroyed in Chicago’s storms. The are displaced from their home for at least six months. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they rebuild their home and lives.

To send your love, please leave a comment on this post and I’ll make sure she sees it. That will make her overflowing inbox a little less daunting.

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Preventive Drugs Improve Quality of Life for People With Migraine

Preventive medications can significantly improve the quality of life for people with migraine, but their quality of life is still below that of people without migraine. The study tested quality of life for patients taking nadolol (Corgard) and topiramate (Topamax). The article, Impact of Preventive Therapy with Nadolol and Topiramate on the Quality of Life of Migraine Patients, appears in the August issue of Cephalalgia.

[R]esearchers studied 76 consecutive migraine patients at least 16 years of age, evaluating them at the beginning of the study and again after 16 weeks of treatment with nadolol at 40 milligrams per day or topiramate at 100 milligrams per day. The study was completed by 61 of the patients.

The results of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale revealed a mild anxiety state and a moderate depressive state at the beginning of the study, which both remained unchanged after therapy.

The migraine-related quality of life questionnaire score indicated statistically significant improvements with treatment.