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The Physical & Mental Roller Coaster of Chronic Migraine

Sometimes you don’t hear from me for awhile because I’m in a horrible spell of migraine attacks. Other times it is because the migraines have let up enough that I’m racing around, trying to accomplish everything that falls to the wayside when the migraines overtake me. I continue to expect the migraines — and thus my life — will even out. Silly me.

The last week of April I had a cold, a mouth full of cold sores, and storm-triggered migraines. A down week. Last week I felt great even though I discovered I had an indomethacin-induced ulcer. The migraines were mild and I had a ton of energy. I went to the dentist, the doctor, yoga and physical therapy, had coffee with an old friend, got a magnesium infusion, cleaned the house, hosted a Cinco de Mayo party, was swamped with TheraSpecs work, and more I won’t bore you with. I was exhausted by the end of each day, but woke up the next morning ready to go. Clearly an up week taking loops at high speeds. This week I’m struggling to keep my head up through severe migraines. And the roller coaster plunges back down.

Maybe I’m now paying for overexerting last week. Or maybe this is a new week with unrelated migraine triggers. The amount of time I spend second-guessing my health-related decisions is dramatically less than it was, say, a year ago. Still it feels like far too much time and energy. Balance continues to elude me. Not just in deciding how much to do and when to rest, but also in how I think about migraine and my role (if any) in exacerbating the illness.

In theory I know migraine is a disease and I am not at fault for having it. In practice, though, when “stress” is a commonly cited trigger for an illness, the patient is inherently blamed for worsening their own health. So I always wonder what I did wrong and what I can change next time.

I’m stuck on a ride I can’t get off of even though I didn’t want to be on it in the first place. I never did like roller coasters, but am willing to make the most of the ride since I’m already here. If only I could figure when to throw my arms in the air and scream with joy and when to hunker down and hold on tight.

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TheraSpecs FL-41 Glasses Now Available

TheraSpecs Logo

TheraSpecs, the company Hart and I have started, is now open for business selling precision-tinted therapeutic glasses! Clinical research shows they can reduce the frequency of migraine attacks, relieve sensitivity to light during a migraine, protect you from light-triggered migraines (especially from fluorescent lights and CFLs), and reduce headaches and eyestrain. They are available in both an indoor tint and a darker polarized tint for outdoor use.

Learn more or order your own pair at TheraSpecs.com.

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FL-41 Precision Tint Glasses Photo & Update

Several people have asked me what the wraparound FL-41 glasses that Hart and I are making look like, so here is a picture of them on on yours truly. One of the comments I’ve heard frequently (and so did testers) is people like that they can see my eyes when we talk, unlike when I wore sunglasses all the time. So I feel less cut off from the world, too.

Upon arrival from Italy, the frames were held up in customs for a few days. After they were finally delivered at noon on Friday, Hart took them straight to the optical lab that makes the precision-tinted lenses. We hope they will be ready sometime this week. The website and shop will be up and running as soon as they are!

So exciting! So scary!

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Big News for Relief From Photophobia & Sensitivity to Fluorescent Lighting (CFLs)

I have big news today! I’ve mentioned a couple times that I’m able to blog again in part thanks to some special glasses. Hart had them made for me based on a recommendation from my headache specialist and a bunch of research he read. They’ve been so helpful for me and the people we sent sample pairs to that we’ve decided to make them available for purchase. Yep, Hart and I are starting our own business so anyone who suffers from migraine can use these awesome glasses. (Well, Hart’s really starting the business; I’m more like his muse and provider-of-different-perspectives.)

These glasses have a precision tint called FL-41 that research shows can help with painful sensitivity to light (photophobia), fluorescent light/CFL sensitivity, eye strain, and even reduce the number of migraine attacks wearers get. One FL-41 study showed participants went from an average of 6.2 to 1.6 migraine attacks per month — that’s 74% fewer attacks.

The tint was suggested by my headache specialist who was concerned that I was over-sensitizing my eyes by wearing sunglasses indoors. I ordered standard eyeglasses with the tint. While helpful for computer time they let in way too much light, which means the glasses didn’t effectively manage general photophobia or protect me from fluorescent lighting, which is a big trigger for me.

After hearing me complain about them (and seeing me always wearing them with a baseball cap) Hart set out to see if he could do better. He wanted to to create FL-41 glasses in frames that would better protect my eyes. He worked with an optical lab and talked to countless different companies before finding just the right lightweight, flexible, wraparound frames — in short, the perfect glasses for a migraineur. The flexibility of the frames and their light weight mean that they don’t put pressure on a head that’s already sensitive from migraine and they also fit a wide variety of faces with no pinching or squeezing.

Wearing these glasses, I no longer fear fluorescent lights at grocery stores, friends’ houses, or doctors’ offices. (I can even go to Ikea without a meltdown!) I also wear them around the house whenever I have a migraine and they really cut down on the pain. At the risk of sounding cheesy, what these glasses really give me is freedom from fear and a sense of control over migraine triggers and symptoms.

The glasses were great for me, but we wanted to be sure they would work for other people, too. We sent some pairs out for feedback and waited nervously. The response was overwhelmingly positive, with testers reporting many of the same benefits that I did. Besides photophobia relief, testers found the glasses especially useful for blocking fluorescent lights and for screen time in front of the computer or TV. Some of the feedback was so touching that it brought me to tears. Once we knew the glasses could help a lot of other people, we also knew we needed to make them available.

Hart is hard at work putting the final pieces of the business into place and getting the glasses made. We hope to have them available for sale in a few weeks. If you’re interested in learning more, enter your email address below so we can contact you when the new company’s website is up. (We promise not to sell or share your email address.)¬†Update: The website is up! The glasses are now available at www.theraspecs.com.

I’ll post again to let you all know when they are available, too. We both hope these glasses can help you as much helped me!