I have been writing this blog since April 2, 2012 but only moved to WordPress from Blogger last Saturday. There have been a lot of changes in my household since that first entry, mainly that there is now no one working outside the home. I had to quit my government job because I was missing so much work, and now I have begun the process of applying for disability; my concept of what is truly valuable has been turned sideways. That’s why I am particularly honored that Michael of Migraine Discussions nominated me for the Liebster Award. Most of the summer and fall I was anemic due to the stomach damage incurred from a lifetime of NSAID use; I was also under a lot of emotional stress as our family was considering a cross country move. Migraines were absolutely through the roof in both quantity and severity. When I wasn’t in too much pain, I was depressed, partly because I can no longer hold a job. I felt worthless, useless, and a burdensome waste of space, a terrible mother and friend. With the help of a wonderful doctor and my partner / caregiver, I am emerging from The Well of Pain and Darkness; and to be rewarded for my blog just as I start writing again is a huge boost and makes me feel as though I do have something useful to contribute to the world.
Michael began his blog for a similar reason: to share his chronic migraine experience, and to lend his expertise to all sufferers who might be desperate for information. He has been through so much lately with a new and very rare diagnosis as well as undergoing a stim trial. Visit his blog and offer some supportive words! His was the first I began following and I also enjoy reading a male view of illness, as our chronic pain community contains many more women warriors than men.
Upon receiving the Liebster Award you are to create a new entry linking back to the nominating blog; answer 10 questions chosen by that person; choose up to 10 nominees of your own; and come up with your own 10 questions for your nominees to answer upon accepting the award. Then notify the bloggers you chose. Further information: The Liebster Award, or “the favorite blog award”, is an internet-based award that is given to bloggers by other bloggers. In Germany, the word “liebster” has the same meaning as “favorite, beloved, or dearest.” This award is primarily given to blogs that have less than 200 followers. That way, it helps the blogger be more known in the WordPress community, introduces other new blogs to the nominee, and the chain continues!
My answers to Michael’s 10 Questions:
1. If you could meet anyone alive today who would it be?
I realize this is bending the rules a little, but the person(s) I would like to meet the most would be either of my daughters, alive now at ages 4 and 8, at 40, while I am also still 40. Would they be the kind of women I would like to be friends with? Would they be anything like me? Would they have children of their own? Have Migraine Disease? So far, they do not. Fingers crossed.
2. If you weren’t writing about your current topic, what would be your next choice?
Hmmm… I could say parenting, but I really don’t like parenting blogs all that much. I think I would just be writing about my life in general, trying to make the entries funny and/or interesting.
3. What band or group have you been listening to lately?
I do go through phases. When I was about 15, I discovered Led Zeppelin when “Stairway to Heaven” happened to come on my dad’s car stereo. I also love Pink Floyd and The Beatles. Fifteen years ago or so I began spending more time with REM, a band I had loved since their first major label album Green had been released, as well as Beck, Radiohead, Cat Power, The Flaming Lips, and Liz Phair. I hear snippets of new music and enjoy it, but the process of downloading albums rather than going to the record store to buy them is irritating to me. I embrace new technology reluctantly. So I’ve swung back around to Led Zeppelin again, particularly III, IV, and Houses Of The Holy. But I did hear that Cat Power’s new album is a different direction for her and truly fantastic…
4. Do you like movies? If so name a favorite actor.
I am not a film buff by any means, and watching a movie in a theater is a guaranteed top-register migraine trigger, even if I pre-treat. That said, I adore Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides and Lost In Translation. Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tennenbaums might be my favorite movie ever and I also like The Life Aquatic quite a bit. Bill Murray’s acting in these films is so much fun, partially because I loved Ghostbusters as a kid! I also enjoy Ewan McGregor, Leonardo DiCaprio, Claire Danes, Meryl Streep, and Natalie Portman.
5. How many languages can you speak?
Well, definitely English. I also do pretty decently with 4-Year-Old-Girl, and sometimes even Dog. What I don’t do as well with anymore is French. I took 5 years in High School, belonged to the French National Honors Society, and even took a few college courses and did well. But between the 20 years that have gone by; all of the strong medications I’ve been taking since then; and the migraines themselves doing who-knows-what to my brain… I certainly can no longer parlez vous Français.
6. When feeling quite sick do you dress up or go in sweat pants to the doctor?
There are different levels of “feeling quite sick.” If I’m going to the ER or for an urgent care visit to my doctor, I will do little more than make sure I’m wearing any kind of pants, and shoes. I also always check my shirt (I don’t want to go to the ER wearing my NIN “Perfect Drug” shirt for example). Otherwise, yes, I will put on jeans and concealer and make sure my hair looks decent. If I have very low or no pain I might go all out and put on a nice shirt, eyeliner, clear mascara and lip gloss. After all, many weeks various doctors’ offices and running my children to and from school are the only places I get to go!
7. Do you smoke marijuana, if so medicinally or recreationally? (Don’t answer this one if you don’t want to.)
I’m actually glad you asked! I was going to blog about this, but decided to wait until my blog was a little more established before tossing the old MJ out into WordPress’s Chronic Pain Community. 🙂 I do smoke it, and with my headaches as frequent as they are, all use is medicinal. I also eat it, and vaporize it. I have found that for headaches below 5, it keeps me from worrying that it will get worse and helps a little, like when you put a pain patch or Tiger Balm on your forehead. Also if I smoke a tiny bit in the middle of the day, it will quite often prevent me from getting a headache. One thing I need to watch out for is that while under the influence I don’t tend to notice initial twinges and shadows of a coming migraine if one is going to appear; I also am prone to eating trigger foods like chocolate.
8. What kinds of mobile devices do you use every day?
I have an iPhone 5, which I love. I am very happy that Apple fixed its accessibility option so that “Reduce Motion” changed the zooming of the icons on the iOS7 upgrade as well as the movement of the background, because I truly was bothered by it if I already had a headache (often, needless to say). I can tolerate my phone’s screen and one finger text-typing up to about a 7, so I use that for everything. I also have an iPad 3, but for some reason if I’m going to work on my blog I like to use my phone or the laptop that john and I share. I actually am going to be receiving a new (refurbished) MacBook within a couple days because John and I are both doing a lot of work online – I’m excited about that!
9. What home products have helped you find some pain relief?
Probably my best discovery was the Salonpas standard pain patch. With gel mentholated products, I got the same sort of distraction and cold blanket on the pain, but did not like the mess, and for some reason the skin and nerves of my forehead would get immune to the effects. I’ve been using the little white patch for about a year now, and no immunity so far. They are inexpensive too. The only thing I don’t like is that they are so visible (the clear ones can be seen too, need to be cut down, and cost more). Also I like my regular old heating pad because it stays hot, unlike my home made “corn bag” which I love for the weight but cools off after 10 minutes. I use regular plastic cooler ice though I usually prefer heat. (I’d like to find a good flexible cold pack – does anyone have suggestions?) I also love my Hello Kitty neck pillow and my soft flexible hot / cold eye mask, which I wear tight for the pressure, and it provides protection from light too. My daughter told me I should add that my bed pillow has water in it. It’s called a “Chiroflow” chiropractic health pillow and gives support regardless of how you fall asleep – the volume of water is customizable with a little funnel. I’ve used so many different products throughout my life, but these items are my mainstays right now.
10. Who’s your hero?
My biggest hero is my husband / best friend / caregiver. He has overcome a very traumatic childhood (still is overcoming it) and deals with PTSD as a result. Yet he is the best father I’ve ever been acquainted with: creative, energetic, funny, smart. He makes the kids laugh, and me too. He takes care of me when I’m sick, washing out vomit receptacles, administering IM injections of DHE, and tapping my head (a technique he discovered searching for migraine massage techniques on the internet) with equal patience and skill; he is also my advocate when necessary. He does the bulk of the housework because of my illness, as well as making money, paying bills, and getting food on the table. Our whole household rests on his shoulders. He’s the reason I started working on my blog again, because he knew it would be good for me and when I indicated I would like to switch to WordPress he did that himself and got me going. I don’t feel like I would even be here at all if it weren’t for his support.
And now, here are my nominees:
6 of one…
Sick Teen Journals
And my 10 Questions:
1. Do you do most of your blogging at a desktop computer, a laptop, or a mobile device of some kind?
2. How long have you been writing?
3. Why do you write this blog? Is it to make sense of things, spread awareness? Aliens told you to? Answer any way you like.
4. Do you have any pets?
5. Do you watch TV? What is your favorite show?
6. Which season (Fall / Winter etc) is your favorite?
7. Since you write, I imagine you also like to read. What do you read? Do you have a favorite author?
8. What is your favorite thing to drink? I was thinking non-alcoholic but if your favorite drink is alcohol tell me about that too.
9. What is the weather like right now where you are?
10. I am finishing up this entry on October 31. How do you feel about Halloween?