Migraine City

First some general information about migraines:

  • Migraine is a neurological disease with extremely incapacitating neurological symptoms.
  • It’s typically a severe throbbing recurring pain, usually on one side of the head. But in about 1/3 of attacks, both sides are affected.
  • In some cases, other disabling symptoms are present without head pain.
  • Attacks are often accompanied by one or more of the following disabling symptoms: visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, extreme sensitivity to sound, light, touch and smell, and tingling or numbness in the extremities or face.
  • About 25% of migraine sufferers also have a visual disturbance called an aura, which usually lasts less than an hour.
  • In 15-20% of attacks, other neurological symptoms occur before the actual head pain.
  • Attacks usually last between 4 and 72 hours.
  • Migraine is the 3rd most prevalent illness in the world.
  • Nearly 1 in 4 U.S. households includes someone with migraine.
  • Amazingly, 12% of the population – including children – suffers from migraine.
  • 18% of American women, 6% of men, and 10% of children experience migraines.
  • Migraine is most common between the ages of 25 and 55.
  • Migraine tends to run in families. About 90% of migraine sufferers have a family history of migraine.
  • Most people don’t realize how serious and incapacitating migraine can be. 
    • Migraine is the 6th most disabling illness in the world.
    • Every 10 seconds, someone in the U.S. goes to the emergency room complaining of head pain, and approximately 1.2 million visits are for acute migraine attacks.
    • While most sufferers experience attacks once or twice a month, more than 4 million people have chronic daily migraine, with at least 15 migraine days per month.
    • More than 90% of sufferers are unable to work or function normally during their migraine.

 

(http://migraineresearchfoundation.org/about-migraine/migraine-facts/)

I have suffered from migraines for as long as I can remember. I have a headache nearly everyday of my life. It’s just a matter if it’s a “normal” headache or migraine level. I experience auras, light sensitivity, dizziness, motion sensitivity, extreme pain and throbbing coupled with a feeling like a vice, sound sensitivity, nausea, and very rarely vomiting.  Before surgery my triggers, that I knew of, included stress, too many carbs/sugar, lack of sleep, and weather. After surgery I’m having to relearn because my triggers are changing. I’ve found that my main triggers are now dehydration and too many carbs/sugar, but the main culprit is dehydration.

Staying hydrated has been my number one challenge lately, and thus my migraine frequency and intensity have greatly increased. The first few months post-op I found the frequency had decreased but I attribute that to less stress and less weight pulling on my shoulders, neck, and head that normally would cause tension headaches that would in turn morph into migraines. Now though, as I struggle to stay hydrated or give into bad eating habits once again, the frequency has increased again.

I’m prescribed Imitrex, which I take when I feel like my “normal” headache is going to tip over into migraine territory. If I wait too long I have to seclude myself in a quiet, dark room and wait for the med to kick in and hopefully bring relief. I try not to take it too often though as I’m only prescribed 12 a refill.

My mother has suffered from headaches her entire life. Though I only know of 2-3 that she would actually quantify as a migraine. She had a major, disabling, stroke 5 years ago that her doctors said was caused by “cluster headaches”. Before her big stroke she’d had mini-strokes occasionally for years, also attributed to the mysterious cluster headache. To me the term “cluster headache” sounds like a bogus diagnosis off a soap opera. Oh no! Not the cluster!

The main differences between a migraine and a cluster headache is that a cluster headache is always unilateral, will self resolve within 1-3 hours, and is not worsened by movement. It also can have symptoms similar to a mini-stroke with facial drooping and uneven pupil dilation.  (https://www.medicinenet.com/cluster_headaches/article.htm)

Seeing the progression of my mother’s headache history to her eventual major stroke has me slightly terrified that the same could eventually happen to me. My headaches are different than hers though. Different triggers, different symptoms. That does little to comfort me though. I know Dad is worried about it too.

There’s not too much you can do to prevent migraines other than try to avoid your triggers, but even that’s not a guarantee. As I lose weight and my body changes, I’m having to relearn what my “new” body likes and doesn’t like. This includes my migraine triggers changing. They say that knowing is half the battle and they weren’t lying. I need to start taking better care of myself and be more proactive with my self-care. My husband tries not to say “I told you so” when I make poor choices, but I know he agrees. He lets me do my own thing, knowing that if he tries to remind me that my poor choices are not going to turn out for the best that I’ll just turn stubborn and want to do them all the more. So he lets me learn by my mistakes. Now I just need to actually listen to my body when it’s trying to teach me not to be stupid…

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My First 5K!

This past Friday I participated in my first 5K. In the past I’d always said that the only way you’d see me running is if something was chasing me. Through this process I’ve weirdly, at least weird to me, started to really enjoy exercising and physical activity.

My friend, Jessie, and a retired co-worker, Randy, and his grandson and I walked it together. We did run the last 50 feet though. Our finish time was 1 hour on the nose. Not too shabby if I do say so myself. The 5K was at Kings Island Amusement Park. The route was super cool and made it worth it by itself. It went back behind the entire park along the service drives, under some of the coasters. It was really cool to see the behind the scenes aspects.

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Part of the course even went through the Dinosaurs Alive exhibit, which normally you would have to pay extra in addition to the park ticket. Good timing too since they’re getting rid of the exhibit next month and I’d never felt the need to pay the extra money to see a bunch of animatronic dinos.

Included in the price of the 5K registration fee was entrance to the Haunt and park afterward, so of course we took advantage of this. Over the course of 4 hours Jessie and I went through 3 haunted houses and 6 roller coasters, including the newest coaster, Mystic Timbers, and a new haunt that we haven’t been through before, Blackout. In Blackout you’re literally in pitch darkness feeling your way through. It was really unique. The wall changed texture as you went, with things hanging down getting in your face and things brushing along your legs, with the occasional person jumping out at you in the dark. Riding the coasters I found that they hurt a lot more than I remember. I have less padding than I did the last time I rode. I also slide around in the seat more. Tiny victories 🙂

Growing up with Jessie we used to go creeking all the time in the woods behind her childhood home. For her birthday a few years ago we went down memory lane and recreated some memories, and broke a few trespassing laws while we were at it. I remember feeling incredibly out of shape, even though it was very fun. Between the creeking adventure and the 5K just a few things have changed 😉

Now I’m trying to talk Dad into doing another 5K with me for Thanksgiving. He’s seriously thinking about it. Just last weekend we walked 3.8 miles in 1.5 hours with only stopping once for him to sit. I more than think he can do it. Now I just have to convince him…

 

 

5 Months Post-op

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So it’s been 5 months since our surgery and over a month since my last update. Fair warning, this is probably going to be a fairly long post and picture heavy. 🙂

In the time since my last post my husband and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary (we’ve been together 14 years though). It was an ordeal trying to agree on what we wanted to do to celebrate. Between the different sets of grandparents we were granted a wonderful reprieve of 48 hours without the kids. Since loosing the weight I’ve wanted to be more active, to do more physical activities vs sit in front of a screen or in a restaurant. I tried to talk the husband into camping out, hiking, going to Mammoth Caves, etc. He wasn’t really feeling my options. So I gave up and turned the planning over to him, with the only stipulation being that at some point we had to go see IT in the theaters. Every activity we did ended up revolving around food. It was fun and very nice to spend an extended uninterrupted time with him, but still.

Friday we went to see my movie. For those of you that don’t know, I am a huge Stephen King nerd. IT is a reboot of a mini-series from the 90’s based on one of his novels. I really enjoyed it. They tweaked it a bit, as they always do, but I didn’t mind so much. Friday night we went out to eat. I decided to dress up and ended up wearing my homecoming dress from junior year high school! Even in high school it was tight. I randomly found it in a bag in the basement with a bunch of other high school clothes I had saved. Some of them were even too big! We ended the night with some alcoholic ice cream and a local place called Buzzed Bull Creamery. I got cherry vodka based cherry ice cream with moonshine cherries and Reese pieces. It was sooooo good! Granted, I was only able to eat maybe a quarter of it, but it was such a yummy quarter!

Saturday we slept in and then did a walking tour of Findley Market, a local open air market close to downtown. This was our compromise activity. I got some walking in and he got some food in. We also learned some really interesting behind the scenes stuff that I never knew. Saturday night we attended a cooking class at Sur la table. The food was yummy but it wasn’t anything special, and since it was in a teaching classroom in the back of a store I wasn’t allowed to take any leftovers home so 3/4 of my meal was wasted.

Then Sunday morning we picked up the little demons again! They had fun had their grandparents’ houses and we had fun with our little taste of freedom, and I had enough leftovers to survive the zombie apocalypse.

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As I’ve probably mentioned before, every weekend Dad and I are working out in some form or another. During the week we go to the gym on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On the weekends, usually Sunday, we try to do something outside. We’ve been mixing it up to keep some variety. Hiking at various parks, etc. Recently we went biking along the Loveland Scenic trail. You might recall awhile ago I had gone by myself here along with one of the munchkins in one of those pull-behind trailers. With the extra weight and not being in any kind of good shape I did not last long. This time however we did really good! It was surprisingly relaxing. The portion of the trail we were on was mostly covered with pretty trees and mostly flat. It’s been probably 20-25 years since Dad’s been on a bike. We ended up doing 10 miles total. He did really well and enjoyed it too. Though, afterward, both our butts are pretty sore from the seats.

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At my last weigh-in I’m officially down 83 lbs. Dad is down 67 lbs. These numbers are from our heaviest weights before we started the pre-op diet program. Dad also had some lab work done recently. His A1C is down to 5.8 and cholesterol is down to 145. Pre-op his A1C averaged 9.6. Since surgery he’s barely had to use his insulin too to cover. These numbers make me happier than my own weight loss.

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I’ve finding myself randomly staring at my hands and feet lately, when watching tv or something. I can’t get over how skinny they look. You know how in the media they talk about “thigh gap” with models? I have toe gap 🙂

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If you’re on a weight loss forum for any length of time you’re guaranteed to come across someone curious about how the body bounces back after major weight loss, extra skin and the like. Well below you’ll find pictures demonstrating how my body is after 80+ lbs loss. I have some loose skin but overall it’s not terrible. I opted to not include any examples of what it’s done to my chest. To give you some idea though I started at a 44I at my heaviest. I’m now a 38DDD and could probably go down to at least a DD. When I lay down flat my boobs disappear into my armpits. Looking down my chest is literally nearly flat before I fold my boobs up into my bra. Weight loss combined with breastfeeding twins did not do the girls any favors. On the opposite side of things though, I’ve found my clavicles again and no longer have double chin! You can also see my cheekbones trying to come out to play a little.

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Over the last month I will admit that I’ve started to fall back into some bad habits. I’ve been stalled in my weight loss for 5 weeks (up until this past week) but that most definitely is down to a combination of the natural stalls that come with weight loss and my habits not helping things along. I’ve been eating too many carbs, not eating enough protein, not drinking enough water, and not taking my vitamins. This last week I’ve renewed my resolve. I’m tracking my food again, which I had quit doing several months ago. I’m making more of an effort to get my water in and to remember my vitamins. I can feel the difference when I take my vitamins and when I don’t. When I don’t my energy is lower for sure. Same with my protein and water intake. When it isn’t up where it should be I can tell in my energy level. If I allow myself to become too dehydrated or eat too many carbs too quickly I’ve found I’m more prone to migraines. I’ve always had migraines, but since surgery they have drastically reduced. If I didn’t self sabotage I’d bet they’d go down even further.

Since I’ve started tracking again I finally broke my stall and am under 190, down to 185 as of yesterday. I seriously don’t remember ever weighing this little in my entire life. I’m pretty sure that I had never really paid any attention to the number on the scale until I got to around 200 in freshman year of high school. I had thought that 200 was sooo big. Little did I know!

This Friday I have my first 5K, which is just crazy to me. I’m running/jogging/walking it with a friend and retired co-worker. I’ll do a whole post on it afterwards at some point. Hopefully I won’t let another month pass again.

Kindergarten and fun hair

My girls have officially started kindergarten! Both loved it when I went to pick them up. Their favorite part? “Everything!”

I’ve gone through with my idea of dying my hair fun colors again. The process, if you’re interested, is as follows:

First you bleach your hair. I had the bleach on for 50 minutes. Ideally you’d actually want it whiter than this for a super bright color after dying. Then I separated out the sections in a pinwheel fashion. This is harder than it seems when you’re doing it by yourself. The back of the head is a pain in the butt to get even sections.

Then you just go through each section and dye it. Wear gloves, wipe your gloves off in-between colors so they don’t get muddled. I also had a dye application brush for at the roots. This process took over an hour to apply the dye since I was doing it by myself, again because of the back of the head. Regardless of what my daughters think, I don’t have eyes in the back of my head. Life in general would be easier if I did though, especially this. All in all the whole process took from 930am to 230pm. A few days later I actually redyed it all again. The back wasn’t as bright as I would have liked it since it wasn’t on as long as the front of my head. Adding those 3 hours, it took me a total of 8 hours to do it all. I love it though! I missed having happy hair 🙂 You can’t help but smile looking at it.

“Only”

I’ve decided that I hate the word only. So many people on bariatric forums state that they “only” lost such and such pounds over whatever timeframe. The fact that they feel the number is less than ideal, that it’s an “only”, gets them discouraged and often times depressed. I’ve fallen prey to this habit myself, I’ll admit.

We’ve lost sight of why we started on our respective journeys of weight loss. Yes, the goal is to lose weight, but the end goal is to be healthier. The way, more often than not, to achieve that just happens to be to lose weight initially. So when I say that I’ve “only” lost 5 pounds last month, I’m losing sight of what I’ve accomplished over the last month, the positives. For example, yesterday Dad and I walked/hiked 4.1 miles around our new favorite park, where as the week before we did 3.7 miles. Last week Dad was able to do 2 tall stair steps along the trail. This week he did 5. We’re improving, even if we’re not losing. The word “only” implies that our improvements are outweighed by our weight. I’m not a fan of that even though I fall victim to it myself.

Some updates since my last post:

Dad and I are both in new BMI categories. We’re both just Moderately Obese now!

As of July 30th Dad was down 56 lbs total and I was down 71 lbs total, so far that is…

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I also chopped my hair off. I’m thinking the next stage will be some fun colored hair dye. Not entirely sure what color yet though. I’m thinking maybe dark blue, purple, and pink. Once upon a time I had bright blond hair with a rainbow on the back of my head. I miss my fun, happy colors. Also, note the appearance of my clavicles in the above after-pic!

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A couple of weeks ago I went canoeing with a friend and a bunch of my coworkers. It was very fun. We canoed, we drank, and we/I cliff dived. As you can see in the above pic I also got incredibly sunburned. This was even after applying sunscreen twice. I shudder to think if I hadn’t applied any at all. The next day when we went to visit my mother I had to hunt for something strapless so I wouldn’t scream in pain from the straps. A NSV that happened was that I wore my first 2 piece bathing suit ever. Granted it was a tankini, but that’s still a proper 2 piece suit in my book.

Our new favorite place to walk is around the trails at Sharon Woods. We combine the parcourse fitness trail, the gorge hiking trail, and the paved loop around the lake. If we do all of the trails they combine to 4.1 miles. Along the fitness trail are scattered activities to do, so it helps work out the whole body too. As you can probably tell in the above pic I think the 4.1 miles was a bit much for Dad this past weekend. It tuckered him right out. He kept “resting his eyes”.

The past 2 weeks I’ve been on Grand Jury duty. It was really interesting and very educational. All potential felony cases are routed through a grand jury to see if there’s enough evidence to indict and actually send the case to court. We heard 20-25 cases a day on average. 90% of them sadly were drug possession/trafficking. Bonus though was that my day didn’t start till 9 so I was able to sleep in a bit. This morning was a bit rough getting up again for my 7am shift.

This past Saturday I had a yard sale where the majority of what was sold was my fluffier plus sized clothes that I’ve shrunk out of. It was a bit like letting go of a beloved security blanket. In the past I’ve always kept my fluffy clothes just in case I gained the weight back. This time I’m not giving myself the option. I only kept 1 pair of jeans, a sweater, and a bra to do comparisons later on when I’m an “after”. While looking through my clothes to  separate out what didn’t fit anymore I found a big bin of clothes from high school/freshman year of college. Some of them were too big! I also fit into my homecoming dress from junior year high school again! Eventually I’ll take a pic and post it. I loved/love that dress.

12 week follow-up

I experienced dumping for the first time this last Monday, I think. I currently have an infected finger (see boo-boo below) and am on 2 antibiotics for it. Monday morning I took both on an empty stomach and then drank my protein shake on the way to work. About half way through my shake I started to feel like poo. Fast forward to 0700 and I’m in the bathroom throwing up. Fun times. It wasn’t that much, but still… The whole rest of the day I just felt like poop and a half. No energy, headache, no appetite, throbbing finger. It was an awesome day. I can’t for sure blame it on the shake and say I dumped or that it came from the pills on an empty stomach. Needless to say I’ve made sure to drink my morning shake first before the pills since then and luckily I haven’t had a repeat. The below pic is actually after it improved some, believe it or not.

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Dad and I have been working out together 3 days a week. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the group class and hiking either on Saturday or Sunday. In addition to that I’ve been going to a cardio dance class on Mondays. I’ve started to attempt to run to prep for the 5K. So far I can run for a minute straight. Out of 30 minutes I’ll run for 3 minutes with walking between the minute spurts. Not too shabby for a couch potato. I’ve had to double up in the bra department so I don’t knock myself out though. It works out pretty well. Underwire to keep the girls up and a sports bra to keep them in.

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Today was my follow up appt for 12 weeks post op. Below is the comparison pics from today vs my last preop appt. In addition from going from a size 22 to 16, my bra has gone from 44H to 40DD, though I could probably do a 38DD.

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Dad’s appt was monday. At both our appts they measured us to compare to our preop measurements. Here they are (in inches):

Dad’s- Total lost: 24 inches. 33 lbs since surgery. 53 lbs total

Mine- Total lost: 39.25 inches. 40 lbs since surgery. 68 lbs total.

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One slightly weird thing that’s developed for me lately is that I’m wearing more skirts and dresses, as evidence in the above photos. As I loose inches off my thighs I don’t chub-rub as bad and thus am more likely to wear something super girly instead of jeans and a baggy t-shirt. I’m also not having to wear leggings or bicycle shorts underneath like I always have. It feels freeing and very exposing at the same time.

Crazy Talk!

So I’ve always said that if you see me running you should be running too because that means that there’s something chasing me. Well I’ve decided to do something completely out of the box for me and sign up for a 5K. Crazy talk, right?! I’ve even roped one of my friends into doing it with me.

This isn’t just any normal 5K though. It’s at night, at King’s Island, glow-in-the-dark, and during the Haunt. This means there’s going to be people in costume jumping out at us while we run through a dark and spooky course. At the end of if all you end up inside the park and have “free” admission to the Haunt. This is the kind of 5K I can get behind, in theory. Also, the running is going to be more like walking fast and maybe the occasional jog. My training plan is to follow the program in the Couch to 5K app on my phone. It’ll eventually work me up to jogging/running the majority of the time. Again, in theory.

If you’re local and are interested here’s the link to the 5K page: https://www.runandriderace.com/kingsislandglow The same weekend they have another marathon during the day with fun runs and stuff for the kiddies.

Another huge victory, at least for me, is that this week I was able to move to the other scrub cart at work! For those of you not in the surgical field, let me explain. We have our scrubs provided for us and laundered for us because of all the gross gooey things we encounter on a daily basis. Those scrubs are organized by size on wire shelves/carts. Small, medium, large on one and 1x, 2x, 3x, 4x on the other. My entire nursing career I’ve been on the other. Yesterday I officially can fit in large scrubs and thus I’ve moved to the other cart! It’s a big thing for me.

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Happy Fourth of July!

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This fourth of July my family joined me on memory lane. We went to a local private amusement park called Stricker’s Grove. It’s only open to the public maybe 3-4 times a year, otherwise it’s rented out for events and such for local companies. Aside from the tradition fair food of funnel cakes and cotton candy they have some super yummy cookout food. Ride wise they have a fair few festival type rides and two mini-roller coasters. Growing up I used to go here with one of my friends and her family when her dad’s company had a thing there.

My shorties aren’t quite up to the height requirement for a bunch of the rides to go by themselves yet so I knew that my husband and I would have to be the designated responsible adults and ride with them. I had a bit of anxiety about this going in. From memory I knew these rides were not that accommodating to a bigger derriere. Was I going to fit? Was I going to get stuck? Was I going to be incredibly uncomfortable? I was very pleasantly surprised though! For example: The tornado.

These tiny bench seats are actually divided in two by a little padded divider. Combine that with not only a bar belt but an actual belt belt and I thought there’s no way I’d fit. Not only did I fit but I had enough room to where the bar came down without hitting the belly and I slid around a little bit on the turns! I had a few inches on either side of me between the sides of my little portion of the seat. I was also able to get in and out of all the rides mostly with ease! You have no idea how happy this made me. I’ve been seeing my weight loss in my clothes, but this was just another concrete piece of evidence to show how far I’ve come.

Another pleasant discovery of the day is that I have two little thrill seekers on my hands. My girls went on their first roller coaster and loved it! All of the thrill rides they went on they begged to go on a second and third time. That also made me incredibly happy. It probably made my husband a bit happy too since he’ll be off the hook once they’re tall enough to join me on the big coasters. So excited!