Wednesday, January 27, 2010

MRI and other fun things

My MRI last week was interesting. Upon arriving to a top-notch hospital, I was completely thrown off when I discovered that the MRI was going to take place in the PARKING LOT in mobile units connected by wooden covered walkways. I went in one trailer for check-in, another to get the IV thing put in (so they could easily add the contrast) and another for the actual MRI. I thought it would take hours to do the neck and brain scan, with and without contrast, but it only took a little more than an hour. I also thought I'd have trouble holding still, but it wasn't bad at all. The hardest part was not falling asleep, because I tend to jerk when I wake up and didn't think that would work out to well.

I called Monday about my results and found out I had to fax an authorization form, which I did right away, so I'm still in waiting mode right now. Of course I'll write about my results, good or bad, as soon as I find out anything.

Since I haven't mentioned things I'm trying other than the elimination diet in a while, I thought I'd do a quick recap.

Meds: The only med I'm taking is Ropinirole for restless leg syndrome (which I don't think I have, but my neuro wanted me to try it due to my sleep study results). I hate it because it wakes me up at night and makes me feel like I'm going to throw up. I haven't yet, but every time I'm sure I'm going to. I take iron every so often, but other than that and some topical acne creams I'm not on anything else, which is nice. When I have headaches, I take 2 Aleves and pray that they work (they generally don't). If they're bad enough, I have Butalbital/Fioricet, and if they're unbearable I have Toradol, but I'm trying to stop relying on those.

Therapy: I'm also still seeing a therapist for stress and pain management. It's not expensive with my insurance, and it's awesome to have someone to talk to because I feel like I overburden my husband and mom with my problems.

Diet: The elimination diet is getting discouraging, not because it's hard to do (although it is) but because I'm having no relief in my headaches. I'm convinced they're hormone-related, but my hope is that I can still have fewer headaches by doing the diet, but I'm slowly losing that hope. Also, I've gotten sick three times this month, and the symptoms have been similar to my MSG symptoms (trust me, you don't want me to elaborate) but I, of course, didn't eat MSG. This diet might be making me aware of foods my stomach is sensitive to, so I've been writing them down.

Exercise: I'm still working out; maybe not four times a week but at least three most weeks.

I wish I had better results to share, but all my efforts don't seem to be getting me anywhere. I'm considering making some (additional) life changes to cut down my stress levels, but I'd rather not get into that now. Next month I meet with my neuro again and a TMJ specialist. Always something to look forward to. :\

Monday, January 18, 2010

Food Elimination Diet Update

Just wanted to give an update on my elimination diet. I started January 1 with a rice-only diet and lasted about four days; then I added in foods that don't typically trigger migraines. However, I still decided to completely cut out dairy and tomatoes in addition to more common trigger foods. And I cut all my vitamins/minerals except an occasional iron pill here and there. My diet guidelines are two books that I'll review in a future post.

The good news is I'm losing some of my tummy fat and have had one or two days without headaches (but I had a killer migraine last week and had to miss a day of work). Also I'm not eating out (except for once) so that's saving money; although I'm buying more produce and organic meats which are pricey.

I'm planning to do the diet through the month and reassess at that time, depending on how my headaches are doing.

P.S. - my first MRI is scheduled for Thursday, assuming my insurance approves it this time (see my comments to this post for details if interested). Very excited! :)

Have a great week everybody!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New Book: Migraine Heroes

Alexandra, co-founder of CureTogether, sent me a new book called Migraine Heroes to review. is a Web site that helps people anonymously track and compare health data, to better understand their bodies, make more informed treatment decisions and contribute data to research. It started in July 2008 with three conditions: vulvodynia, endometriosis, and migraine. It has since expanded to more than 280 conditions and 150,000 data points submitted by members.

From the book: Migraine Heroes presents stories and data from 271 people who gathered at to share their experiences. Anyone living with Migraine is a hero. By sharing knowledge, we can help ease the pain of Migraine.

I thought the book would be only personal stories, but that's just the beginning. This book has tons of statistics from its members on their migraine symptoms, treatments, etc. and shares some comments after the statistics. While there were a few misspellings (from user-submitted information), overall this is a good book with a lot of ideas of things to try to treat migraines as well as resource links at the end.

If you'd like to purchase the book, please click this link or the link below. Under full disclosure, 20% of sales from this link will go to me. (No pressure to buy whatsoever!)

Migraine Heroes
A new guide to treating Migraine, based on the experience of 271 people who've been there.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Rice diet - I am insane.

As I write this blog post, I'm SO hungry. A little background: I decided to do a two-week rice diet, nothing but white rice (no flavorings or seasonings, not even salt) and water for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I ran it by two neurologists to make sure it was safe, and they said it may not take a full two weeks, but I should be fine. I'm doing this as an easy way to eliminate migraine triggers - there are so many that it's easier to only eat rice, in my opinion. Or so I thought.

I went to Costco and got a ginormous bag of rice; then I made a big batch. I'm on day three of my rice diet. Brushing my teeth is the highlight of my day because my taste buds actually get some flavor (toothpaste)! The rice tastes so plain, I'm actually craving foods I don't even like. Since it's rice enriched with iron, my burps taste like metal. (You're welcome for sharing.) I thought after doing a gluten-free diet that this would be a piece of cake (ooh cake, yum...), but it's hard always being hungry but not wanting more rice!

I'm also frustrated because I'm still getting bad headaches/migraines so now I'm thinking maybe food doesn't trigger them after all. So I've decided to redo my plan a little. First I'm going to finish my rice, so I'll do the diet another one to two days. I'm doing a lot of research to find out what foods I can and can't eat (book review coming soon) and I'm going to start adding in some foods that are NOT known to trigger migraines.  Then I'll add in common migraine triggers, one per week.

Since it's a new year, and last year sucked on so many levels, I wanted to share my resolutions. I generally do not make resolutions because I always thought they were pointless, but I want 2010 to be awesome. So here goes:
  • Eat healthier. I'm considering going completely organic, but I think that's a little too ambitious (and expensive). But I'm going to try to eat as fresh as possible. I got a food processor for Christmas so I'm hoping that will make it more fun to chop veggies!
  • Exercise at least four times a week. A typical resolution, I know. I drove by a gym the other day and it was PACKED. Lucky for me I have a gym in my condo's clubhouse, and it's hardly ever in use, so I have no excuse. Even when I have head pain, I'm planning to at least walk for 20 minutes.
  • Read through the Bible. Not really headache-related, but my Bible study group at church is doing it and I'm actually really excited about it because even though I'm a P.K. (preacher's kid), I can't say that I've read every word in the Bible.
  • Don't stress! Work gives me a lot of stress. Not because it's all that stressful, but because there are always articles to write, projects to manage, deadlines looming, etc. and I think about them constantly, even when I'm not working. I need to find a way to leave work at work and enjoy my free time.
P.S. - here's one resource on the migraine diet if you want to try it. The food lists are not all-inclusive based on other things I've read, so I'd do additional research, but it's a good way to get started. Note that I have never visited the clinic it's from, but a friend shared the link with me. Also note that I'm not sponsoring the rice company from the picture in any way!