Rebound headaches

The word rebound is listed in the dictionary as a verb and a noun, and whether it’s used as a verb or a noun, the meaning is rather positive.

As a verb: “To spring or bounce back after hitting or colliding with something. To recover, as from depression or disappointment. To retrieve and gain possession of the basketball as it bounces off the backboard or rim after an unsuccessful shot.”

As a noun: “The act or an instance of taking possession of a rebounding ball. A quick recovery from or reaction to disappointment or depression”

I’m not sure why it’s been attached to headaches caused by the overuse of medication (whether over the counter or prescription) as an adverb, but it has, and that’s what I recently experienced.

I’ve had migraines since I was 12, so I’ve learned a few things about trying to keep them under control. I need to have regular sleep patterns, eat regularly, exercise regularly and make sure I’m hydrated. Doing these things won’t keep me from having migraines, but will limit the frequency and severity.

My rebound headaches started with a stomach virus. All the things I need to do to keep migraines controllable went out the window. I won’t go into the disgusting details of my affliction, but let’s just say that I was not in control of my bodily functions for more than 12 hours. For the next few days I was very cautious of taking in food or liquid. Sleep wasn’t too much of an issue since I was exhausted. Exercise was not even a consideration!

The first migraine hit about 20 hours into my ordeal. I took my medication in shot form. Ah, sweet relief! Eight hours later, another migraine. This time I felt I could keep down the medication in pill form. Again, I achieved my desired relief – for a while. Ten days and ten migraines later I knew I was in a cycle that needed to be broken, but to break it meant suffering through a migraine without medication. I lasted for about six hours before reaching for the shot. The next day I resolved I wouldn’t medicate.

I’d forgotten how painful migraines can get. The prescription drug Imitrex had been a life-changer for me, which I wrote about it in a previous blog. Regardless of the fact that the change in my hormone levels has caused it to be less effective, it still keeps that awful “I wanna chop off this side of my head” pain from fully developing.

Ten hours into the migraine, I couldn’t stand the pain any longer and reached for the shot. However, this time I’d apparently broken the cycle because I didn’t have another migraine for five days. Whew!

Migraine sufferers are taught to take medication at the first sign of a headache. That may not be the best advice. I now try using essential oils, stretching and drinking lots of water before reaching for the pills. I’ve only had one time that I tried that and didn’t have to eventually take my medication, but that’s one less dose I had to take. I see that as a positive!

My pain management finesse level:
Novice     Advanced beginner     Competent        Proficient        Expert

February goal recap

It’s easy to make goals, but harder to reach them. In an effort to keep myself on track and be accountable, here’s my report card for February.

Write 1000 words per week: I didn’t write 1000 words per week, but did make progress.

Post blogs three days a week:  Again, I fell short of that goal, so I’m revising my goal. (more on that topic below)

Health Goals – C

Research and try migraine treatments: I have been trying a new over-the-counter treatment for migraines. It doesn’t appear to be working, but I’ll give it a little longer.

Consistent exercise: Epic FAIL…

PT for tennis elbow: Improved!

Household Goals – A
Organize every room and closet in the house: I’m a little behind on this, but not too far off schedule.

Personal Goals – B+
Read two books: So sad – no progress on this item.

Document family history: I haven’t spent a lot of time on this, BUT with the help of a cousin or two, we solved a mystery!

Plan 34th anniversary trip: Nothing done this month, but still on track

Spiritual growth: This is difficult to measure, but I am being consistent with my quiet time.

So, for the month of February, I have a 3.0 GPA, which was where I wanted to be. However, I am seeing a trend with my writing goal that has caused me to make a revision.

booksMy priority is to write books. I have two started, one of which came together in a very amazing way. Every author who is unknown needs a blog and a social media presence to market their books, so I’ve been trying to build an audience while writing the books. Unfortunately, I’ve been writing posts for the blog, commenting on other blogs, commenting on the Facebook and Twitter accounts of other blogs; basically writing everything but a book.

I spoke with a coach who pointed out that unless I actually get the book finished and published, the purpose for the blog becomes purely social rather than entrepreneurial. She gave me “permission” to take a break from being social and encouraged me to post to my blog just once week (I may do twice if one post is on Wordless Wednesday). So, you’ll be seeing a little less of me for a while, but I hope to be back with a book under my belt!

Outrun the flu

Last week we were inundated with news of the flu. Every night it seemed the lead story on the national news was about the flu. Facebook friends related the misery of dealing with flu symptoms. Clearly I needed to outrun this evil virus, so I turned to the internet and found FLUF.A.C.T.S (F.A.C.T.S stands for the five symptoms of the flu; Fever, Aches, Chills, Tiredness, and Sudden onset).

wash handsNumber one on the list of prevention is hand washing. According to the website, the influenza virus can live for two to eight hours on surfaces. How many things do you touch that are touched by numerous others who may be infected? Elevator buttons, handrails on stairs and escalators, the appliance handles in your lunch room at work, menus in restaurants and the remote you share with your family are just a few of the things that come to mind. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with SOAP and water. When soap and water aren’t convenient, use hand sanitizer to kill those germs. I always carry a small bottle in my purse.

Second, cover your sneezes and cough, but not with your hand. Use a tissue, or as one of my favorite little people reminded me, use your “wing” (inner elbow). If you use a tissue, throw it away. They aren’t expensive, and they were invented to be disposable.

K_face covered

My youngest granddaughter likes to sleep with her face covered.

And then there’s the flu vaccine. I’m a weenie when it comes to shots, possibly because I have to occasionally give myself injections for relief from migraines, so I try to avoid being poked by additional needles. However, I did get the vaccine this year, and for one very good reason – my granddaughter! I don’t want to be sick and miss interacting with this precious little girl, and I certainly don’t want to unknowingly pass the virus to her.

Maintaining ones health on a daily basis is the best way to not only outrun the flu, but stay well in general. Provide your body with the proper rest, exercise and nutrition it requires. I’m also a big believer in taking Vitamin C, as mentioned in a previous post.

Stay well, my friends!

My flu fighting *finesse level:  Novice     Advanced beginner     Competent        Proficient        Expert

What’s your flu fighting finesse level?

*finesse (skill, flair, grace elegance, poise, assurance)


2013 goals

I learned quite a bit reviewing 2012, and used that information to make a plan for 2013. However, it’s time to stop looking back and start moving forward!

Writing Goals
Post blogs three days a week:  I realize that blogging five days a week is not realistic for me, and trying to do so was causing more stress than pleasure.
Write 1000 words per week: I want to finish a writing project this year, but it’s a little overwhelming. I’ve decided to tackle it chunk by chunk.

Health Goals
Research and try migraine treatments: I saw my neurologist in November and there is nothing new on the horizon for the treatment of migraines. However, I am always receiving kind messages from caring friends who have heard that this or that worked for someone. I’m open to trying anything with the approval of my doctor.
pilatesConsistent exercise: I enjoy my treadmill and Zumba, but both tend to bother my tennis elbow. Yoga is challenging and I usually feel like a complete klutz, so I stopped exercising for a few months. An acquaintance mentioned her love of Pilates and gave me a couple of DVDs to try. So far I’m liking it!
PT for tennis elbow: Speaking of tennis elbow, I need to get back to doing the physical therapy. No excuses!

Household Goals
Organize every room and closet in the house: This shouldn’t be too difficult since there are just two of us living in our home. It’s really not too bad, but there are a few things in every area that are driving me a little nuts. There are 12 rooms and closets, so organizing one per month seems very doable!

Personal Goals
Read two books: For those who are voracious readers, this may seem like a very small and silly goal. I love to read, but it’s always something that gets shoved to the end of my priority list. I love history and set out to read a biography of every president before I leave this world. I’ve only read two so far, so I need to pick up the pace. The husband and I have chosen to eliminate some television so we can both spend more time reading.
Document family history: Again, I love history and what better way to explore it than by discovering the roles my ancestors played. I hope to keep scanning photos and documents my mom and I uncover while organizing her house (that’s another goal!) I’m limiting this to one day per week as it can burn a LOT of time.
Plan 34th anniversary trip: The husband and I take turns planning long weekends to celebrate our anniversary. It’s my year and I have some great ideas for a memorable getaway!


Spiritual growth: This is an ongoing goal. Truthfully, nothing else is very successful and I’m out of balance if I neglect to nurture spiritual growth.

I have a few other goals I’m considering, but for now, these seem realistic. And as always, I plan to accomplish them with *finesse!

What are your goals?

*finesse (skill, flair, grace elegance, poise, assurance)

Looking back – Part 2

Yesterday I shared about the process my colleagues and I went through after finishing a major project, reviewing what went well and what didn’t. Having just finished 2012, it’s a good time to do the same on a personal level. Yesterday I reviewed what didn’t go well or as planned, so today I’ll focus on the positive side of 2012.

I started a blog! As stated in the previous post, I wasn’t as consistent as I’d hoped, but I took the plunge. Fortunately, some of you joined me and have stuck around. You are much appreciated! I’ve enjoyed the interaction and feedback and hope to receive more of that in 2013.

I began a writing project! No, I’m not as far along in the project as I’d hoped, but it has been an amazing experience just doing the research. So many things have just fallen into place that I KNOW I’m supposed to continue and am looking forward to sharing my progress with you.

I tried two homeopathic remedies for the treatment of migraines. Neither was successful, but I’m actively doing all I can to reduce the frequency and severity of the headaches.

I was consistent enough with my exercise routine in 2012 that it hasn’t been difficult to pick up the pace this year. That’s a huge plus!

On a much more personal level, I was blest with a new granddaughter thanks to my son and daughter-in-love.  In addition, I have a renewed relationship with my daughter and 18-month-old granddaughter.  To top it all off, the husband and I celebrated 33 years of marriage!

Having spent some time thinking about the things that either exceeded or failed to meet my expectations in 2012, I realize that I need to make some changes in the way I approach projects so there are more successes to celebrate. I’ll keep brainstorming ways to make that happen – with *finesse.

Tomorrow: Goals for 2013!

*finesse (skill, flair, grace elegance, poise, assurance)

Looking back

When I worked on major projects with a team, we always sat down a few weeks after the project was completed to recap. It was important to learn what went well and what didn’t. I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, but I do think the beginning of the year is a good time to look back and take stock of what went well and what didn’t.

I’ve been reviewing what didn’t go well or as planned, and to be honest, 2012 did not finish with all the *finesse I’d hoped. The first thing that popped into my head is this blog. When I began, I was advised to write every day and include pictures. I did fairly well for about six months and then I seemed to lose steam. I need to think about why that happened. Is posting daily realistic? Do I need to include photos or illustrations with every post? Do I even want to continue?

The answer to the last question is yes, and for three reasons. First, I need to be creative and writing has always been a creative outlet for me. Second, I need to feel connected to other women. I LOVE your feedback. Third, I am working on a much more involved writing project and the blog will be a great way to share it.

Speaking of that writing project, I had hoped to be much further along. That’s another thing that didn’t go as planned. I am committed to the project, so I need to explore ways to keep it moving.

On the health front, I would have liked to see my tennis elbow completely healed, a reduction in the frequency of migraines, a five pound weight loss and a more consistent exercise routine.

I’m going to spend some time thinking about each of these items and others that failed to meet my expectations in 2012. I need to decide if they are something I want to accomplish and are these goals realistic. If so, what do I need to do differently to see some progress?

Tomorrow: What went well in 2012!

*finesse (skill, flair, grace elegance, poise, assurance)

Fear of flying

I know people who have a fear of flying. They’d do and risk almost anything to stay off an airplane. When they are forced to fly, they have a white-knuckle grip on the armrests during take off and landings. Their blood pressure is elevated even on a smooth flight. A little turbulence and they begin praying to any and all deity.

I have a fear of flying, but not for the common reasons. I fear coming down with a migraine while in flight. I have written a few posts about my struggle with migraines. My Imitrex medication works, but only if I take it at the first sign and immediately lie down in a dark room for at least an hour. That’s not practical on a plane. I tried just popping the pills and closing my eyes on a trip to Phoenix in April. The migraine only increased in intensity. Fortunately that flight was only two and a half hours.

It’s not surprising that I was more than a little concerned about my Alaska Airline flight to Orlando. My itinerary was to fly out of Portland at 5:30 a.m., land in Seattle about 30 minutes later, then fly to Orlando at 8:55 a.m. I wouldn’t land in Orlando for five hours. If a migraine attacked any time within the nine hours I would not have access to a dark, comfortable place to rest, I was going to be in a lot of pain – maybe even to the point of vomiting. Fortunately, I was migraine-free during the flight. I had taken my injections just in case, but I’m not sure if they would have worked any better than the pills.

Why risk it? I guess I’m only willing to let migraines have limited control over my life. They caused me to resign from a job I loved, and have robbed me of time (sometimes days), so I wasn’t willing to let them rob me of a chance to travel with the husband.

Am I concerned about the flight home? Absolutely, but the only other option is to not travel, which is not living life as I’d like – with *finesse!


*finesse (skill, flair, grace elegance, poise, assurance)

Thank God for weekends

If you know me or have followed some of my posts, you’re aware that I suffer from chronic migraines. I prefer not to be defined by my ailment, but the truth is that my ailment defines my schedule. I really needed this past weekend to recover and recharge following a tough stretch Thursday evening and Friday.

Because our schedules are less constrictive, we tend to pack our weekend with chores. However, we try to have at least one day in our weekend reserved for relaxation. It’s necessary! The husband has a long work commute and a job that can sometimes be stressful. He needs to have at least one day that is unscheduled or at least scheduled with things that can be energizing rather than draining.

Saturday was that day for us this past weekend. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, read the newspaper and just appreciated the freedom from a “to do” list. I was able to recuperate and the husband was able to rest his back that had been bothering him for a few weeks.

While we don’t believe in wasting time, we do believe in investing in our spiritual, mental and physical health. Sometimes the invitations have to be declined. Sometimes the chores have to wait for another day. Sometimes it’s more important to enjoy the simplicity of spending time together doing nothing.

My relaxing *finesse level:  Novice     Advanced beginner     Competent        Proficient        Expert

What’s your relaxing finesse level?

*finesse (skill, flair, grace elegance, poise, assurance)

Can’t sleep without the husband

“I am WOMAN, hear me roar!” Remember that song? Well, last night I would have rather been singing, “I am woman, hear me snore!” I have a terrible time falling asleep and staying asleep when the husband is not next to me. I thought I was going to keel over from exhaustion when he worked the graveyard shift for 18 long months.

It’s rare that we aren’t sleeping in the same bed, but occasionally his work requires him to be away from home, as was the case last night. I rarely travel anywhere without him, but I have visited friends out of state alone, and did spend one night at work while waiting for a baby elephant to be born*.

A good night’s rest is essential for good health, even more so for me due to having chronic migraines. I try to keep a regular sleep schedule as variations can trigger a headache. The last time I looked at the clock last night it was after midnight, so I kept thinking, “If I don’t fall asleep I’m going to have a migraine in the morning.” Unfortunately, that thought process is not soothing or helpful.

Since I have such a difficult time sleeping without the husband, I’ve been surprised by recent reports indicating that couples sleep better alone and should consider separate beds or even separate bedrooms. Hmmm, even when the husband snored (before having his deviated septum fixed), I slept better with him than without. His presence is not only comforting, but necessary for me to feel rested.

So, I need some extra **finesse, and a LOT of coffee to get me though today. I anticipate a very early bedtime tonight!


*I was a media/public relations specialist with the Oregon Zoo

**finesse (skill, flair, grace elegance, poise, assurance)

Rotating workouts

I’m not a huge fan of exercise, but I do like the way I feel when I get into an exercise routine. My neurologist told me there’s evidence to suggest that regular exercise may not only reduce the intensity of migraines, but decrease their occurrence, as well. So far, my experience has not suggested such, but I do feel better overall. However, I want more from exercise than to feel better. I want to look better, too! Is that asking too much?

I don’t overeat, and generally try to eat healthy well-balanced meals. I do enjoy a dessert now and again, but not on a daily basis. So if I’m exercising and not overeating, why is the scale not budging? And, as I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve actually gained five pounds this year without changing my eating or exercise habits.

I’ve been walking on our treadmill at 18.1 minutes per mile with an incline of three percent for 30 minutes. I decided to see what would happen if I jogged at the same rate. Not wanting to impact my joints, I jogged for two minutes then walked one minute throughout the 30 minutes. I did see a small dip in my weight for about a week, but then nothing.

My hypothesis is that my body has adapted to the exercise, rendering it powerless to kick those extra pounds. I’ve not found any research to back up my hypothesis, but I did find one article on addressing this topic. “Performing the same workout regimen repetitively for long periods of time can decrease effectiveness, increase mental boredom and cause plateaus in progress.”

My new plan is to do the treadmill on Monday and Friday, Zumba on Tuesday and Thursday and Yoga on Wednesday. I don’t do Zumba or Yoga with a great deal of *finesse, so I’m grateful for the Wii versions I can do in the privacy of my home! While doing Zumba, I don’t worry too much if I miss steps – I just keep moving. Yoga reveals my core strength to be similar to that of a wet noodle, but that just leaves a lot of room for improvement! 

My workout finesse level: 
Novice     Advanced beginner     Competent        Proficient        Expert

What’s your workout finesse level?

*finesse (skill, flair, grace elegance, poise, assurance)