Friday, September 28, 2007
the first ever FOOTWEAR FRIDAY

friends, those of you who know me in real life know that i LOVE shoes. love them. adore them. have an abnormal fixation with them. have upwards of 80 pairs of i've decided (with much encouragement from the Edge and the Muum) to start a series about my shoes and why i love them. i would love it if other people joined in, we could do a Mr. Linky and go see each other's fabulous shoes! that'd be sweet. let me know in the comments if you'd be interested in sharing a pair of your shoes per week, and telling us anything about them.

but in any case, here are mine:

i bought these shoes early this summer, from Ross -- Ross and TJ Maxx are one of my favorite places to find shoes. One thing you should know about me and shoes is, i have a lot of them, but i do not have a lot to spend on them. if i did, whoa boy, could i do some damage. ;)

this pair was for my graduation outfit, i knew i wanted a wedge heel, possibly an espadrille, or maybe something like a wedge sandal. for some reason i was having trouble finding a nice looking espadrille, all i could find in stores was canvas type upper, and i had something nicer in mind. of course, if i were willing to spend more than $100, i could've found anything, but the finances, they are limited when it comes to shoe buying. :) when i saw these at ross, i knew they were the ones. the heavens opened, the angels sang, you know. just a perfect shopping moment. luckily, they also fit.

(one more important note, my left foot is bigger than my right, so when you see my right foot only, it might look like the shoe is too big -- this is only to accomodate the bigger left foot.)

i am just in love with the leather straps, and the cork wedge. so cute. you can't really see the very bottome of the back, and the bottome of the shoe, which is rubberized with a little traction, almost like a space-age dress shoe. funky. i like it.

and i LOVE the straps and buckles. here is is on the outside side of the shoe.

these are Kenneth Cole reaction, size 6 1/2.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

the first snow of the season fell on our mountains last night. it is beautiful.

today was also another doctor's appointment -- it was at the House of Pain. so we talked over how the pain med was going -- it hasn't been having too impressive a showing. so we're upping the dosage once more, to see if it'll help more. if not, we're going to scrap it and try something else. i'm pleased to be working with doctors i feel good about.

a pretty uneventful trip today. but a good day. i'm hopeful. even if this med doesn't work out, there are 5 other (similar) formulations of the same drug. and i'm pleased to feel like we're working actively on the preventative angle with my neurologist as well.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

This week is National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week.

what a mouthful.

but seeing as how migraines (esp. daily ones) fit well into this category, i'd like to acknowledge it. more information can be found here, here, and here. Plenty of good reading about this week, and invisible chronic illnesses in general.

on a totally related note, i thought i'd give a little summary of my most recent doctor's appointment, to see a headache and migraine specialist. thankfully, this was not just a consultation (like last time), but she's going to continue to see me. hallelujah!

so the things we changed were these:
1- back to only treating w/meds a maximum of 3 migraines per week. sad but true.
2 - changed the tegretol to tegretol extended release. hopefully this will keep a more consistent level of the drug in my blood, and therefore help me feel better more consistently. we'll see.
3 - added nortriptyline. i can take it at night and it makes me sleepy, also she is hoping it helps my mood. could possibly help prevent migraines. we'll see.
4 - i need to spend five minutes 4 times a day exercising - on top of my pilates. usually i walk for 5 minutes. it's such a short time, it's hard to even get into it. she wants me to be more active, and believes it will help me to do more, and possibly help prevent migraines (are you seeing a theme here?)
5 - keeping a headache journal. i hate these, but am willing to do it.

soooo that's a lot of changes. but you know me, i'll try anything if i think it'll help! so far the nortriptyline is definitely improving my sleep - getting to sleep is easier. i feel like i've been able to do more, also. truly, the thing i'm most excited about is that she said she's going to continue to see me - and that she also believes (like me) that migraines which are difficult to treat are not necessarily a result of psychological difficulties. thank goodness.

she also mentioned (as i have been told several times before) that the longer i go on in daily pain, the less likely we are to be able to 'fix' it. that's somewhat discouraging, but honestly i would be ok still being in -some- pain everyday. i just would prefer much less. :)

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Monday, September 10, 2007
Spencer's big day at the State Fair

a few weeks ago, my dad was over at our house visiting, and mentioned that the utah state fair was coming up. he told spencer he should think about entering some photos. my husband is an avid (hobbyist) photographer. he loves it. i love that about him - and i think his photographs are beautiful.

since this is the internet age, we pulled out the laptop then and there to see what the deadlines and rules were for entering photos in the state fair. spencer hasn't entered a contest before with his photos, and although he's very talented, he's always told so by his family and friends. i think he somewhat maybe didn't believe what we were saying, or that we were just being nice; after all, we don't know anything per se about photography. we just know what we like. :)

he did very well: he was categorized with the advanced amateurs, because he has made money from photography, but doesn't make half or more of his income from it. being there and seeing people walk by his photos, talking about what they liked about the, how beautiful this or that aspect was, just made me SO proud of him. it was fabulous for him to get a bit of recognition for his talent.

here are the photos he decided to enter (after much thought):

this first one is of a shack just outside of town -

and this second one is on temple square; the building in the foreground is the tabernacle, and in the background is the salt lake city temple.
lastly is this picture; i love the curvy lines of this one; these are unopened tulips. so the tabernacle photo got first prize (each category had different ribbons, so this was first prize in the architecture category) --
here he is w/his photo and our niece H - don't like like her look of shock? she's like vanna white, except, 'i can't believe he won!'

and then his tulip photo received third place - here he is again -- you can tell i took these photos b/c they're frankly not very good.

and then his shack picture received an honorable mention. i'm afraid i don't remember what category this ended up fitting into. landscapes? maybe. you can see H's hands, but unfortunately the rest of her didn't make it into the shot.

hooray! congratulations spencer! a great job, we're so very proud of you. :) if you're interested in looking at more of spencer's photos, you can visit him at he updates with new photos rather often.

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Saturday, September 08, 2007

this entry's for you, Migraine Chick!

thanks for all the feedback and ideas on the last entry! i found some more pain/headache blogs that i'll be stopping by again.

there was a request made for me to expound on my nausea tricks and fixes. i will GLADLY share what i've found, and welcome more ideas in the comments section. it's been 2 1/2 years that i've had this daily pain, but i know that compared to many, i'm just a beginner. ;)

so here are my favorite nausea fixes:

1. 7-up (many people use ginger ale, i've also heard flat coke and the like)
2. ginger tea
3. peppermint gum, mints, etc. something that keeps the mint flavor going.
4. cool pack on my forehead, doesn't necessarily get rid of the nausea, but helps me feel better while i'm working on it.
5. OTC - Emetrol. it is sickly sweet, but if you can choke it down, it often does the job. there's also generics at most drugstores.
6. finally, i have a prescription anti-nausea drug - i take reglan. but of course, there are many different drugs to help different ppl., so check with your doctor. this is my equivalent to a 'rescue drug', i rarely have to take it, but when i do, i'm so glad it's there.
7. i've also gone to the urgent care w/migraines - my main concern being not the pain but that i hadn't been able to keep anything down for a few days. they filled me up w/fluids and found an injectable anti-nausea med for me.

hopefully this helps - maybe there was something in there you hadn't heard about before?

what do you do for nausea? what works and what doesn't?

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Monday, September 03, 2007
Work Issues and Pain

I'm part of a blog carnival (for the first time ever) today! The topic is : Work Issues and Pain.

This may or may not contain a lot of redundant information; it depends a lot on whether or not you read my blog regularly. I didn't want people wandering in from the carnival to be totally confused (mostly as to my pain history and type) so I wanted to include at least a quick summary. It'll probably clear up some things that you might not have known before; most readers haven't been here from the beginning, after all!

For a brief summary of my chronic pain - I have chronic daily migraines. I was diagnosed with migraines when I was 20, and had them once or twice per month. The summer of 2004, they began to be more and more frequent, and lasting longer and longer, until in November 2004 they were everyday. Many things have been ruled out, including Medication Overuse (or Rebound) Headaches. I have tried treatments, many pills, etc., etc. You get the idea, especially if you have chronic pain yourself. I wake up every day in pain, and it continues until I go to sleep at night. Most days I rate the pain a 6 or 7 (out of 10). The latest development is that I am trying Kadian, a painkiller, for daily pain relief. The dose I'm at now is not nearly enough. It helps, but not much. I am continuing to see a migraine/headache specialist, as well as the Pain Clinic, and will see a Sleep Clinic (for the first time) this week.

The pain rating scale is one of my least favorite things, mostly because it's entirely subjective. And I find myself double-guessing myself, thinking how much worse pain *could* be. I know that the worst pain possible is not the pain I've felt so far, but the worst pain I've felt so far was a migraine. But then, the pain scale needs to be subjective, so that doctors can understand how we are experiencing our pain. In any case, some things that exacerbate the pain are; lack of sleep, fasting or eating late, low barometric pressure (storm coming), my food triggers (chocolate and feta cheese), and anything that gets my blood moving faster (running, etc.), loud noises and bright/flashing lights.

With all that in mind, it's probably obvious that barring financial disaster, I would avoid working. I am lucky enough to be married to a wonderful man who can support both of us on his salary. I dropped out of school after attending one semester with The Headache (we'll just call it that - not the regular, once in a while migraines, the all the time migraine). I did poorly, and felt awful. I hoped that things would be resolved quickly (ha!) and I'd be back in school and at work quickly. At the time, I worked as a receptionist and secretary in the school's library. This was your basic secretary responsibilities, including typing, transcribing, answering phones, welcoming patrons, etc. I liked it a lot. I enjoyed the things we worked with and the people I worked with, as well. Most of my jobs (post high school) were of the secretary/receptionist variety, excluding two summers I worked as a life guard.

When i was working and attending school, my main difficulties were:
1 - being able to concentrate on something other than the pain
2 - nausea and being worried about throwing up at my desk
3 - trying to be cheerful and pleasant when in so much pain
4 - waking up early after a difficult (late) night
5- one of my most unpredictable triggers is low barometric pressure (the time just before a storm comes), my headache is at its worst during these times.

Most of these speak for themselves. I think most people know what migraines are and what they're like. Hopefully no one here has the idea that it's 'just a headache'. This is a good article to read if that's the case. Unfortunately there is not only a great deal of pain, there is also nausea, and sensitivity to noise and lights. It is difficult to go grocery shopping for a short while because of these factors, much less spend a normal 8 hours at a job. The Headache has change my life in so many ways, working is only one facet of my life - exercising, sleep, eating, time in the sun; these things all must be limited or regulated to keep The Headache under some kind of control.

So then what it would take for me to go back to work? Long story short? Reliable daily pain relief. If this comes from preventative medicines, great. If it has to come from painkillers until I can find an effective preventative medication, then okay. I have relatively good control over the nausea -- many tricks and as a last resort, a prescription medication. The problem is that we've been searching for a preventative these past 3 years without any real luck. There are only a handful of drugs FDA approved for migraine prevention, but there are about 100 medicines used to prevent migraines. For a list, see here. If my pain were well under control, I should be able to handle the other things that come my way; the added visual and aural stimuli seem to increase my pain levels, but hopefully we (my doctors and I) could figure that out as well.

Concerned friends and family ask me all the time when I'll be able to get back to work - unfortunately, I don't know any more than my doctors do. It's a lot of trial and error right now. Many preventative drugs require a 3 month trial, so it's slow going at times.

On this Labor Day, I am grateful for those who work - and continue to hope that this time next year, I'll have rejoined the workforce, and be feeling up to working a 40 hour week again.

Please visit the blog carnival at How to Cope with Pain. I'm excited to read the other entries!

The information posted here should not be viewed as medical advice, but as my experiences.

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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

I'm 25 - married, and recently graduated from Brigham Young University, studying music; I play piano. My husband is just starting his PhD program at the University of Utah in computer architecture.



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