Migraine Day 15

Friday morning I woke up and just knew it. It was time to go to the emergency room. It was day 15. I had been fighting this migraine for over 2 weeks and there comes a day when you just have admit defeat and ask for help. This happens every now and then. Most migraines last several days and eventually I can fight them off with the meds that I have at home. But after this much time, it’s not just that the pain is too much to bear, it’s also that I’m not sure how much more medication is safe to put into my body. I worry about that so often. What are these meds doing to me? I try to just shove it down. I have no choice (at least not a reasonable one), and I don’t know what to do about it.

So, I woke up Friday morning and the pain was searing, throbbing, dull, sharp, all of it. I was afraid to get into the weekend where we couldn’t get in touch with my doctors to back me up once I was in the ER. Last time I was there, the ER doctor on my case was very difficult. I learned that without my neurologist to back me up (which she did), I could possibly wait all that time, get back into a room, and get denied the treatment that has worked now for 4 years by IV, because my hospital has made changes to their policies on pain management. I needed to be there while my doctor was in her office.

Another thing I’ve learned about going to the ER for a migraine: Don’t go alone. I have an invisible disease. Any invisible disease requiring pain meds automatically makes you an alleged drug seeker. I’ve been in the hospital a couple of times without DH and I have been shocked at stark contrast in treatment. It’s inconvenient, it would be so much easier to have him stay at home and take care of the boys while I do my thing (which is pretty straightforward), but nope. He has to be with me. There’s no way around it.

I am so grateful that we have good friends. I had several friends that I knew I could call to help with the boys that day. One was over within 45 minutes, and never even blinked about the fact that I turned her entire day upside down. Her family ended up taking care of my boys from around noon until 9 o’clock that night. Amazing.

Once at the hospital, we waited maybe 3.5 hours to finally begin the first phase of treatment. I wish there was a Migraine IV Drive-thru somewhere. Just put in the IV, we already know what works, in and out, let’s not waste a room on this. It just feels so silly. We did end, however, end up with one of the most competent, thorough doctors I have ever had that evening. He actually took the time to go through my records from the past several years of ER visits and check on my migraine treatments to see if there was anything else that we could do to help. No ER doctor has ever done that before, and he did find a few ways to update my treatment that night. After 2 examinations, 10 shots of meds, 2 liters of saline, 1 mild side effect, and a partridge in a pear tree, I was in far less pain and we were finally done. It’s hard to describe how it feels once I’m that medicated. Everyone very much wants to hear that that I’m completely better. But I’m usually not. I was reading a migraine blog recently and a guy said it perfectly*: “It simply feels like – this is hard to describe – a sheet is draped over the pain and is held down. The pain is still very much recognizable to me. I can feel its presence, but it is held down.” ( That was how I felt when we left the hospital. I knew it was there, deep down, but it was nice to suffocate it some, finally.

This is how it works: You take some kind of migraine med (Imitrex, Maxalt, DHE) and/or a “cocktail” of meds (group of 3 meds together-Reglan or Phenergan or Zofran or Compazine, and Benadryl, and Toradol or Ibuprofen) to treat the actual headache. Then you get pain meds for, well, the pain. If you only take the pain meds, in a few hours you are going to be stuck with the same headache you had before because you didn’t do anything to treat the actual problem. And this doc included some steroid treatment as well.

And I have almost all of these medications at home. I had been taking them for weeks. But getting them through an IV, all at once, gives that headache a punch that it just doesn’t get when you take the meds orally.

Saturday morning, my big boy had a football game that was a good 45 minutes to an hour away. There was no way I would be able to get up that early and then sit out in the weather, so I stayed home with the baby. I woke up with…a migraine. Dude. I got a cup of coffee, tried not to panic, and went to stare at my medicine cabinet, wondering what on earth to do.

I called my neurologist and we came up with a plan. By that evening, things were feeling a little better. I’ve taken this weekend really easy, really slow, and I’m hoping that the Migraine From Hell is finally dying a slow and painful death.

When I get an attack that lasts this long, I have to really analyze what I’m doing to antagonize my body. Something is causing it. Something is continuing to perpetuate it. I’m trying so hard to stick with the Xr Epigenetic program, and I think the progress is coming along, albeit extremely slow. About 3 weeks ago I switched over to soy milk. I like it so much better than all of the nut milks, but I had suspected a while back that it might be irritating me. I had pushed those suspicions aside and decided I could use in in small quantities in my coffee. It’s the only change I’ve made, and it would make sense that if hormones are a trigger, soy would be a problem. I’m more than a little annoyed to be removing another thing from my diet. Soy is so complicated. It’s in everything. But I do wonder if it could make a big difference. So now I am wheat free, sugar free, gluten free, dairy free, …and soy free. It’s not as freeing and you would think.



*Not sure why my link function isn’t working, but here is the blog referenced above: https://migraine.com/blog/patient-perspective-opioids/



It’s All Me

I’ve read in several places where some mamas are getting some things off their chests about Christmas. The feeling is that Christmas is a massive production and without us, it would never happen. I think by about this point in the show,  some of us may be starting to feel a bit unappreciated, and are really needing to remind anyone with a WiFi capable device that we are the people coordinating the magic that everyone is enjoying during this lovely holiday season so would it kill you to look up from your peppermint white hot chocolate and say thank you dadgummit?
I know that if there are any men out there who are like my husband, you are saying, “hey! I’m no slouch! My wife isn’t the only one making Christmas magic at my house!” And while I can tell you that, without a doubt, my husband is the jingle bell to my rock, 100% of the holiday festivities that go on in this home would not happen if I wasn’t shoving them down the track like a freight train. I prompt them all. And I love it. I love my job. It may be thankless in the more obvious ways, but here is the thing about Christmas magic: Part of its magic is the fact that it seems to just…happen. If my mother had spent my childhood Christmases telling me ALL
about how hard she was having to work, and what a thankless job it was to be mom at Christmas, I probably wouldn’t have grown up with the nostalgic warm fuzzies that I feel when I remember them.

What I hope I’m getting across is this… I work so hard all year long to instill gratitude and respect in my kids. I hope at Christmas they can just enjoy the magic, the beauty, all of it, and not really worry about where it came from. One day,  they will know. One day they will be working their little tails off, trying to manufacture “magic”, and hopefully I’ll still be around so that they can give me a call. Heaven knows I wish I could call my mother so badly. If she were still here, I would, NOW, tell her “Thank you, mom. You made Christmas amazing and beautiful for me. Now I know how much work that was,  and I never heard you say a word about it. You must have been exhausted, because Mama, I’m exhausted. Thank you.”
For now,  my thank you will be the things my oldest son does as the Christmas season approaches. Like, when he pulls out his favorite ornaments so lovingly, or when he gets excited and says, “are we going caroling?”
He has it! The warm fuzzies of Christmas. I’m so excited that I have been able to foster that feeling in him about Christmas. What an incredible job I have. It’s all me.

“Onlys” on Sibling Day

Thinking tonight about all my only child friends and kids today. Because of social media, “sibling day” may go from a silly unknown to a real thing. I saw B long for a sibling for as long as he was aware, and it was so painful to watch. Baby A may be the most cherished sibling I have ever seen, by his big brother who wanted him so badly. For my “onlys”: remember that adopted family, the friends who we take in for life, are true gifts from God and can be just as amazingly special as any sibling. We just have to nourish those relationships and commit to them. They are so worth it. Oh, how I adore the other “sisters” I have in my life! The ones my kids will grow up calling Auntie. Priceless. 

I love kids

Every year in February, our church is part of a rolling homeless shelter called Winter Haven, where we house some men for a week, and take care of them during the time until they move on to the next church, keeping them warm for the winter months. (Side note: I’m ALWAYS humbled by how Lis and the men of our church give up so much of their time and sleep to stay up at the church during this week!) Last night a few of us were hanging out there and Kim ‘s son was just so cute, making the rounds like these guys were his bestest friends, telling them all about his plane (and they all listened intently :)). Kids are awesome. Sometimes we can be intimidated by the situation these guys are in, and maybe standoffish, but really, none of us are more than just a few steps away at any given point from some really horrible luck. The streets may smell bad, people may have issues that we think we’d never fall into, but- NONE of us is better, and I love that sometimes it takes a kid to walk around and remind us of it. That’s all.


Bedtime prayers

B tonight:
“…and thank you God for Mom and Dad and Mason. And thank you, Lord, for Baby A. He was really worth the wait. In Kindergarten I kind of lost my patience and I asked when you were going to give me a brother. But then we got this house, and I found out that we were going to get A, and he is really wonderful. ….I’m happy we waited for him.
In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
Wow, Mom. That was a really long prayer, wasn’t it?”

Oh sorry, B. I can’t answer you because of ALL THE CRYING.

Goodbye 2014!

Hello 2015! This is only a snippet of the awesome people we got to see as we said goodbye to the year last night.





While pondering it, my first thought was that there was no way that 2015 can compete with 2014. What an amazing year it was! So much waiting and longing in our life came to fruition! This will be the first year of my life, though, that I will ever have lived out as a mama to 2 boys. This will be the year that, Lord willing, our adoption becomes complete, our baby boy starts walking and talking, and our big boy will grow and mature in so many ways that it just brings tears to my eyes.

So, I leave you with a conversation I had with my big boy (B- 7y/o) while he was giving his baby brother (A- 3m/o) a bottle for the first time yesterday.
B, to A (whispered right down close to his face): “I love you, A.”
Me: “You know, one day, he’ll be big enough that he can say that back to you. I remember when you first said it back to be as a little boy. I thought my heart might burst, it made me so happy.”
B: “Yeah, and one day, he’ll say, ‘I love you, too, B!’ And my heart will want to burst. And then one day, I’ll have my own sons, and they’ll say it, too, and A will have his own, and our hearts will be so happy.”
Me: “And you know where we get all of this love? God pours it into us so that we can share it.”
B: “‘We love because He first loved us’, right?
Me: *heart bursting*

Happy Happy Happy New Year!!

Feel the Love(ie)

Guys, I love me a lovie. Give me a baby and I will do my darnedest to help him self-soothe. Key in that effort is The Lovie. I tried so hard to choose my first son’s lovie. I sweetly rubbed beautiful embroidered blankets up against his infant face for months. And yet, against my will, he attached to a soft, warm set of infant winter pj’s. They are hilarious.

Poor kid was almost asleep when I made him sit up for this picture. 🙂

Our second son, however, our new baby boy has cooperated with my Lovie Wishes! I was so surprised to see him attaching to a blanket, without any of my manipulation at all! I think I may have mentioned in my last blog, my sadness at not having a blanket made by my mom (as B did). But so many loved ones gave our sweet baby boy such precious blankets, constantly reminding us that he is loved dearly.

We love them all, but the blanket he fell madly in love with was from our Christy. It is a soft blanket from Pottery Barn, with satin edging, and his whole name embroidered across it. When we touch it to his sleepy face, his eyes roll back in his head and then softly close. He can hardly fight it. And it is precious.

If we learned nothing else from our experiences with Lovie and B, it’s that if you can find a backup, you should! So Pottery Barn, you should be expecting a call from us very soon.