The Liebster Award


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


Allee Mae

Mara Migraineur


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?

24 Comments Add yours

    1. ladymigraine says:

      Thanks! I was surprised by how long this post took to complete ~ it is quite a homework assignment isn’t it? 🙂

  1. jenusingword says:

    Loved reading and learning more about you! Thanks for nominating me too! Just gotta educate myself on how to do links and so on! I’m so computer stupid!

    1. ladymigraine says:

      Oh sweetheart you’ll figure it out! If not just do the best you can without links, everyone will understand. Can anyone in your family assist you at all? John had to help me with the image of the award – you have to download it and get a widget to place it in. Whatever happened to simple copy and paste?

      1. jenusingword says:

        I will try to get the boyfriend to assist me, lol. He isn’t the best at teaching someone like me, someone that can’t navigate anything with buttons or a on/off switch. I remember when in order to see something on tv, you’d have to tape it on the VCR. I had trouble doing that as well, lol! It’s a tough weekend for me, no meds to take, etc. I may not be blogging till I can get my pain under control again. I fear I’ve already fucked my progress I’ve made in my quest for skinny. But I’ve fallen before and dusted myself off to keep going and that’s what I will do again.

      2. ladymigraine says:

        Make sure you are taking care of yourself – being skinny isn’t as important as being healthy. Do you mean that trying to lose weight has screwed with your pain management? Or your pain has derailed your skinny plan? Either way, keep your chin up. Things will get better! ~elizabeth

      3. jenusingword says:

        Sorry, yes, I meant to convey that the pain affects my weight. When it’s the worst, I eat. Mainly to cope and to tire myself out. If I stuff myself with food, then I get sleepy and go to bed. It’s not a good way to deal with things but with the lack of sleep from pain, it’s what I usually end up doing at the end of the month/first of the month. I don’t have a job, income, savings…..therefore, no care. My mom gets 180 tramadol a month and will give me the majority of them to take but I always run out before the next refill. It’s awful even with the aid of tramadol but without them, I barely get by. I just hate this ordeal…

      4. ladymigraine says:

        What a horrible situation. 😦 I can see why you would eat for comfort. What about OTC sleep aids, like Benadryl or Drammamine? You can even get those in chewable form – might help with your pain too. I’m sorry Jen. Can you try to get on Medicaid? You *need* care, girl!

      5. jenusingword says:

        I have tried so many things for pain, sleep, my anxiety as well…..nothing helps. I had a therapist once tell me to take Benadryl for sleep and anxiety problems and did so with no affect. I rarely take anything that’s a OTC, it’s as if I took nothing at all. I need/should get on Medicaid and disability both but I’ve been scared off by the process, I even talked to a lawyer that was recommended by a friend, I think it was maybe a year ago, anyway- they even told me it would be difficult to qualify due to me being single and childless, not to mention that I’m in my 30’s…..apparently even entitlement programs look down upon people like me and think I should be able to provide for myself, whether it’s financially or medically, actually both really. I just have given up in a sense and have done nothing for 3 years, well it will be 3 years this January. I need to snap out of it and take charge. I just can’t get things together it seems. A lot of it comes down to being rejected by doctors and people over the years, at least this is my guess. For so long, I’ve been made to feel like nothing is wrong with me. Tests have come up normal when it comes to the pain and most every doctor has chalked it all up to depression, etc. My parents have treated me like a hypochondriac, that it’s all in my head or something. It’s really frustrating to be told nothing’s wrong and it’s depression. At times, I really have been depressed but mostly because the pain makes me depressed. I feel I’m rambling now, sorry. It’s just left me in the worst place ever. I feel lost.

      6. ladymigraine says:

        So you haven’t been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia? It was so recently that it was still considered a psychological disorder and it is still so misunderstood. Migraines have some stigma, but not as much I don’t think. I’m sorry. You really are in a pretty terrible situation. 😦 hang in there Jen. It has to get better.

      7. jenusingword says:

        Thanks for understanding. I don’t get migraines often, but they are quite terrible too. I appreciate just having someone understand. I deal with a lot of unpleasant symptoms, all cause by pain, anxiety…..I’ve been diagnosed with anxiety with panic disorder, OCD, ADD, and depression is something that has popped in and out of my life too. They all go hand in hand, I think. The pain is something that has never been quite figured out. The only time I’ve ever been given the right attention was when seeing a very nice chiropractor. Even he, after almost a year in, said he didn’t think I was someone that could be helped by him but he knew I had issues. I was the only patient he said that he made cry every visit when doing manipulations, etc. on me. He told me most enjoyed seeing him and it wasn’t painful. Not my experience! It was a shame too, he was the only doctor I saw that knew and believed that I needed help via medications and other things. Sadly, he couldn’t prescribe medication to me and the things he could do just didn’t help. I’ve often wondered about fibro but doctors around here won’t really help with that. Most still believe it’s a “imaginary” disease. I wouldn’t be surprised if I had it, I just worry if I did receive that diagnosis….I worry that they still would treat me the same, like a liar or criminal. It’s such a unfair system..

      8. ladymigraine says:

        Sigh. I’m sorry Jen. I guess all you can do is take things one day at a time, and stay strong. I hope you keep up with your blog because it will give you something productive to do, and you won’t feel so alone. You are obviously a wonderful caring person and I believe things will improve!

      9. jenusingword says:

        I’m so happy to chat with you and know that you get what things are all about. I appreciate your kindness and honesty about things. I’m fixing to post some today, I’ve been trying to do it daily but this past weekend has really been tough. You are definitely right though, since starting the blogging experience, I’ve not been quite so sad and lonely. I really still don’t know what I’m doing on here, but I hope to improve as time goes on. I have really enjoyed reading the blogs from my followers and I’ve been trying to read other blogs at random. I’ve learned so much about people, what’s going on in their lives, etc. I was really nervous to blog but I decided to push through that fear and just do it. I read somewhere that when first starting out…..something to the effect of not to focus so much on things, even if you feel it’s a terrible post, do it anyways. I’m not sure if that’s great advice but I decided to adopt that attitude for now. With my attention deficit and obsessive compulsive disorder, I’m a type A personality already….but because of those disorders, I put a lot of pressure and stress on myself, no matter what the task is at hand. I decided to fight that some and just post whatever is on my mind at the time, my focus has been weight loss stuff, my DIY project that’s almost done, and also my chronic pain. Eventually though, I want to write about other things too. Maybe in the future I can be as good as you!

      10. ladymigraine says:

        Oh my gosh, thank you! I don’t think of my blog as that great, but it’s true that writing is my “thing.” Always has been. The community here IS amazing, isn’t it? No one commented on Blogger, which is why I transferred over. Keep writing. And if you ever need to vent in a more personal way my email address should be listed with a comment somewhere (but it’s I like the idea of posting the entry whether you feel it’s good or not. Do that and don’t let your OCD get the best of you! Take care! You are stronger than you think!

      11. jenusingword says:

        You’re super! I may take you up on your email offer, it’s nice to make friend’s and have the support. You’ve been so awesome to talk to. About blogging, I just picked WP at random, I’ve heard of blogger but for some crazy reason I decided I liked the name Word Press more, lol. That’s really silly but it’s true. I need to sit down and post, I’ve been productive today and haven’t wanted to stop. I usually wear myself out on days like today. My mother filled her tramadol script and brought me some earlier today. Thank god! I am in a better place on the tramadol. It’s just a relief to be back on them, I can’t function well without. Anyways, enough! I need to think about what to say and post! Hope you are well and the day has been good to you! I’m hating that it’s now dark at 5:00 instead of 8ish, the weather can make me feel so much worse and I tend to get really down once the time changes and the weather gets colder. I’m in northwest Arkansas, the south……lived here all my life basically and dream of moving away! I don’t fit in well here, my beliefs, politics, etc. are not hip to my fellow southerners. Hopefully someday I will be in a state like California, I idolize that state. Where are you from and live?

      12. ladymigraine says:

        I am from Bowling Green, Ohio, and still live there. We actually were planning to move to California this summer, but we had some financial difficulty with the house and my headaches got SO bad, so we were not able to. We might try again in another two years. I am affected by the weather too and November is awful here – cold and gray.

      13. jenusingword says:

        Ohio! Well, I know nothing about there except you’re a very important state when it comes to presidential elections. (I am a politics junkie at times)

        I’ve always wanted to live in CA. I hope you get your chance to move there, it’s understandable that you had some setbacks. I think everyone has had some in recent years.

        See, I am glad that you said that about the weather because today I was talking to someone about this and they gave me the impression that I was ridiculous to think that. Well, they told me I was ridiculous to think that, lol. I didn’t have the energy to debate them. The winter months seem to be an enemy of mine. I hate it. Even if I didn’t suffer from chronic pain, I’d still not like the cold and all that goes with it. I hate snow. Every year there are people around me that hopes for snow on Xmas, etc. I’m always the one wishing it doesn’t snow, lol.

        It’s been cold and rainy today/tonight here in the majestic Springdale, AR. Lol, I hope this is not where I die. Or even grow old here. Anything but here in Walmart/Tyson Food country. Walmart head quarters are here as well as Tyson Foods. Anyways. Not sure why I went there. It’s been a long day!

      14. ladymigraine says:

        Yes we are very important you better believe it! I cried when my county and then my state went blue again in 2012! (I’m a politics junkie too.)

      15. jenusingword says:

        I’m sorry about that! We may be on opposite teams when it comes to who we vote for, but we all want the same things I think. (I lean far left, hope we can still be friends, lol)

      16. ladymigraine says:

        No no no no! What did I say, cried!? With joy, darling. With joy! I am as blue far left hippie commie liberal as you can get 🙂

        | yay.


      17. jenusingword says:

        I thought about it being the opposite when you said cried, lol. I didn’t factor in tears of joy! Lol. I am breathing easier now! I’m do happy it wasn’t what I thought at first, hence my life in a state like AR……I can’t talk politics much here without being attacked! Lol. Yay!!!!!

  2. Morgan says:

    Congratulations To All 🙂

  3. dawnhosking says:

    Congratulations 😉

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