Sunday, August 23, 2009

Allergy test

I met with an allergist last week to see if allergies were giving me headaches. I had awful allergies - ragweed, dogs, cats - as a kid, but I grew out of them (either that or they went away when I moved to the city). But I thought maybe they transformed into headaches instead. Crazy thought, but I at least wanted to rule it out.

So I got a scratch test (see image below). This is not me - I wanted to take a picture, but I wasn't allowed to move my arms so that would have been difficult.

(Phanie/Photo Researchers/NY Times)

The results were expected - allergic to ragweed and molds. Certainly not bad enough to cause headaches or even bother me much. I even had the doctor check for foods - tomatoes, chocolate and something else I forgot. No reaction, but I could still have intolerances. So my next plan is to do a food elimination diet to see if common migraine triggers affect me. I've checked out a ton of books from the library and hope to do some book reviews soon. I probably won't start the diet for a few weeks though because I just finished the gluten-free diet and I need a break from restricting my diet. That's a headache in and of itself!

A few more brief updates: acupuncture's going well. I've switched to private sessions with deep neck massage and they seem to be helping. I'm off all prescription medications (so no more Lyrica or Lexapro, woohoo!) except for when I have headaches; if they're bad enough I'll do rotations of Toradol (for REALLY bad migraines), Butalbital, 800 mg Ibuprofen and Aleve.

I'm also taking the following supplements:

  • fish oil
  • magnesium potassium
  • B complex
  • Iron (not for headaches but because I have low levels)

On a more personal note, my husband and I were talking the other night and I told him I was mad at God because he has the ability to heal my pain but he won't. I took it back right away and said that Christians shouldn't be exempt from pain. This is earth after all; the pain-free time is yet to come (heaven). But I still felt bad, and I feel like I settled it with God at church this morning - I had a feeling of peace and joy throughout the entire service and I asked God to forgive me...and yes, to heal me. It doesn't hurt to ask. God might want me to use my pain to witness to others. So if you're not religious and this paragraph is gibberish to you, know that God's helped me through the pain and really does provide strength and peace. I'm not saying he'll take it away, but there's always hope. :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Blog Re-redesign

I decided to make my blog a little more migraine-friendly. My last design seemed too busy. I probably won't keep this one forever either, but it'll do for now. Also, regarding design - I just got a digital camera so I'm hoping to put up more pictures with my posts. Woohoo!

And one more bit of housekeeping; regarding the post below, I still have three free codes left. E-mail me if you're interested!

Hope everyone's doing well, or at least as good as possible. :)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Technology: New Headache App

I received an e-mail from BetterQOL (Quality of Life), a company that creates technology tools for patients and physicians. A headache sufferer and migraine specialist got together to develop iHeadache, an app for the iPhone and iPod touch (Blackberry coming soon) that tracks symptoms, meds and disability and uses the data entered to create reports for your doctor.

You can read more about the app here.

I don't have an iPhone or iPod touch, so I haven't tried this. BUT, I have five codes for a free download. Note - before I said it was a 30-day trial, but it's actually the code itself that expires in 30 days; the download is free to use as long as you'd like! If you're interested, e-mail me at waronheadaches at gmail dot com and I'll send you details!

(Image by BetterQOL)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Gluten Free Diet: The End

I'm a little ashamed to write this post. I feel like I might be letting people down. Two months or so ago I decided to do a six-month gluten-free diet to see if it helped my headaches. My celiac disease tests came back negative, but I figured I might be gluten intolerant. I blogged about going gluten free and was excited to be trying a natural way to fight my headaches. It wasn't too hard either, but I think that's because I'm used to reading food labels due to my MSG intolerance. I thought I'd miss cupcakes and such, but I found some awesome gluten-free places in town that make gfree cupcakes, zucchini bread, etc. and they were delicious! The one thing I did miss was pizza (which is odd because I hated pizza as a kid but it grew on me later in life). I tried gfree pizza and the crust, my favorite part, was disgusting. However, I only tried it at one place and was scared to try it again. If you do want to try gfree pizza, I hear Bella Monica's is good - they have a restaurant in Raleigh and Whole Foods carries their pizza - also they were very helpful to me on Twitter while I was gfree.

One more quick tangent. A lot of people don't understand Twitter or think it's dumb, but I am an advocate. If you want to try going gluten-free, you can search "#gfree" and find a ton of people who are helpful in answering questions or sharing tips. I also use Twitter for migraine support. If you find the right people, it's a great community. So a special thank you to my gfree friends who helped me the last two months.

But, I'm sorry to say I've ended my gluten-free diet. I saw an internal medicine doctor last week and we discussed my headache history and things I'm currently trying, including the diet. He said that I could keep trying it if I wanted, but I probably would have noticed a difference by now. Also, my acupuncturist said he supports having a balanced diet. So I slowly started adding gluten back the past week, and my headaches haven't gotten worse.

In fact, they've been better, and I think it's due to my acupuncture. I've been doing private sessions where I lie down and the acupuncture points are more intense (somewhat painful). Also, my acupuncturist has been doing deep neck massages at the end of the last two sessions, and I think that is making a difference. It's painful to the point where I'm almost in tears and am sore for days afterward (I go once a week) but I honestly think this is what's helping my headaches. I've had maybe one or two headaches a week now instead of every day or every other day.

I'm terrified to say I'm getting better, but I'm definitely making progress. :)

Oh and also my internal medicine doc gave me permission to taper off the Lyrica and Lexapro, so soon I'll be taking only vitamins and minerals. WOOT!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

War on Headaches Design

Edited: Ok I think I'm sticking with this redesign for a while. It's a free background I found online, but it'll work.

Thanks for the feedback on my earlier change. I decided it was too bright so I'm back to a dark one. Don't want my blog triggering any migraines. That'd be extremely counterproductive. ;)