Thinking About Tomorrow

injecting injection vaccine vaccination medicine flu woman docto

Tomorrow is a big day for me. It is the day I have been waiting for. It has the day I have been working towards for over a year. Tomorrow marks the end of a campaign I started over a year ago, a campaign of epic proportions. Why then am I scared out of my mind?

Botox for migraine is currently the only medication for chronic migraine that has been approved by the FDA that is strictly for migraines. Sure there are the pills I take nightly but those aren’t actually designated migraine medications. One is used primarily to treat epilepsy, another to treat depression and another to treat high blood pressure. Sounds like quite the cocktail, right? Especially considering I don’t have any of those conditions. But I take them because as a side note they also have been found to maybe prevent migraines so I overlook all the other stuff in favor of a glimmer of hope that I may find some relief in them.

But with Botox for migraine comes an exciting new opportunity — the possibility of lessening the amount of medications I take and getting some real results. Finally I have something to thank my guilty pleasure, the Real Housewives, for other than just allowing me to escape my own reality every once and a while. Because believe it or not it was women who were getting Botox for cosmetic reasons who first discovered their added benefit. They realized that as a bonus to a wrinkle-free existence, they were no longer getting headaches. So then doctors did more research and found that Botox actually did treat migraines and the manufacturer began their pursuit of FDA approval and reimbursement for medical use.

After talking to my neurologist and deciding that I would be a good candidate for the treatment, he had one of his employees go ahead with trying to get approval from insurance. Now I know working with insurance is never an easy process. Trust me, when you have as many medical issues as I have over the course of my life you get familiar with it, but my doctor has an employee that’s entire job is dedicated to getting approval for and scheduling Botox appointments for his patients. An entire staff just for Botox approval! Maybe that should have been my first red flag. But never in my wildest dreams did I think it would take over a year to make this appointment happen. Honestly, I thought my medical history would speak for itself and maybe it would take a couple months tops. But with the hoops I’ve had to jump through and the phone calls I’ve had to make over this past year, it’s surreal that this day has actually become a reality. And now that it’s here I’m freaking out.

I mean… 31-35 injections in my forehead, scalp, head, neck and shoulders? Why was I fighting so hard for this again??

It’s actually not so much about the pain of the injections. That I think I can handle. I mean I live with chronic pain everyday. I have a pretty high tolerance as it is. It’s more so the reaction I may or may not have afterwards. The unknown. And what if it doesn’t work?

And of course there’s the fear of changing my appearance. I mean I know the only visible part the injections go in is my forehead. And many will say what a great side effect — a wrinkle-free forehead! But while I love watching the Real Housewives, I really don’t want to end up looking like them before I hit 30. And while, yes, my worries may seem irrational they are mine and mine alone. And because without them I would not be human.

I have to just keep reminding myself it’ll be worth it in the end… Probably. If it works. But I won’t know for at least 9 months as it usually takes 3-4 treatments to really tell so until then I just have to keep a positive attitude and low expectations. One day at a time. And tomorrow is a big day.


Holistic Bliss

I don’t know about you, but until recently whenever I heard the word “holistic” before the word medicine. . . I thought it was a bunch of nonsense. It sounded like a big ploy to get people to pay money for some magical cure for rare ailments and illnesses… The organic cleaners of medicine if you will.

Last summer my Pilates teacher recommended me to a chiropractor to help with my migraines. She occasionally gets migraines as well, mostly when the weather shifts and the air pressure changes. She gave me the card to her doctor and while admittedly I was skeptical, the thought of trying something new intrigued me. Still, I put the card in my wallet and never got around to making an appointment.

Then about a month later I had an appointment with my neurologist. He rushed me in and out of his office like he usually does, barely listening to a word I said and completely disregarded the headache diary I had kept since the last time I saw him. He prescribed me more medicine, increased my doses and told me that if this doesn’t work the next option is Botox. I’ve heard of Botox being approved by the FDA for migraines but at 24 years old I never thought I’d be getting Botox injections. I was hoping I could at least wait until my late forties or fifties. I have tried so many different medications and seen just about every type of doctor you could find but I still believed in the bottom of my heart that there had to be another option besides Botox.

So I decided to give Dr. Margolin a call. I had only been to a chiropractor one other time in my life. I was told that I had scoliosis in high school and since back then I was trying to figure out anything that could have possibly contributed to my migraines, I went but like usual found no answers.

The only thing I knew about chiropractors was that they cracked backs. Since cracking knuckles has always given me the heebie jeebies and is on my list of Top Ten Pet Peeves, I was nervous for what was in store for me.

After meeting with Dr. Margolin I felt optimistic for the first time in a very long time. I felt that he was listening to me and genuinely cared about my history and wanted to help me manage my pain. He offered a fresh perspective on how to go about treatment and deciphering my migraines in a way that no neurologist has ever done before.

In addition to being a chiropractor Dr. Margolin is a certified nutritionist. A strange combination I know, but this allows him to better understand the body and how you can affect a lot of how you feel with what you put into your body. He runs a practice that includes but is not limited to acupuncturists, massage therapists, personal trainers, hypnotists and psychologists. Talk about your well-rounded doctors’ office! After leaving Dr. Margolin’s office and doing my own research at home, I realized much of what he said made more sense than any neurologist ever has.

After going to Dr. Margolin for a little less than a year now, I have been able to better manage my migraines. I went from seeing him once a week to once every two weeks now. Over time I have also tried to couple acupuncture and massage therapy with my chiropractic appointments. I stopped seeing the acupuncturist because I didn’t see any real change.  Now after taking a blood test and finding lots of imbalances, I’m dabbling with my diet and keeping a food and headache diary.

I am happy to say that I feel better today than I’ve felt in a long time. I am not 100% better, but I don’t know that I ever will be. I have come to appreciate any small changes, victories and breaks that I can get. I cannot express enough how grateful I am for Dr. Margolin and of course, my Pilates instructor. Though I may have doubted her at first I am now a believer. Magic really does exist. And I am proof.

Hope in Bracelets


In honor of the first ever Chronic Migraine Awareness Day on June 29, 2012 I wanted to shine a spotlight on a website that is near and dear to my heart and my cause, All bracelets on the site are handmade and designed by Michelle Marie Eberwein.

Michelle suffers from Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia and Degenerative Disc Disease of the spine — all incurable disorders, much like chronic migraines. Finding a cure is as important to Michelle as it is to me. By wearing a Hope in Bracelets bracelet, you or a loved one can show your support for a number of causes. All bracelets that are for Chronic Migraine are $20 and 10-15%  of the proceeds go to the National Headache Foundation. I have one that I wear every day and it is quite a lovely addition to my growing arm party.

I am excited and hopeful that the migraine and headache community is finally being heard and making their cause known. I feel that now more than ever there are advancements being made and there are positive changes coming thanks to a lot of active sufferers such as Michelle. Many people are working hard to try to create more research, treatment, and awareness for chronic migraine and headache sufferers. Join me in wearing purple and red tomorrow and spread the word!

My Inner Katniss


I am the baby in a family of successful, outspoken, type-A, self-sufficient bad-asses. I’ve always been proud of the family I was born into but it hasn’t always been easy being deemed the “weak” one. It seems like whether it’s sports or business my family members are always excelling and I’ve always felt myself trying a little bit harder to find my niche and keep up, even long before any chronic illness came into the picture.

My big sister and I used to play Gladiators — a fight to the death, where we would stand on top of one of our beds and hit each other until the other fell off. I always fell off first.

When my idea of catching the softball was to stick my glove in the air, close my eyes and hope for the best, my parents agreed it was best to pull me from the team. Everyone felt a little bit safer with me watching from the sidelines and cheering on my sister instead.

So when I started getting migraines in 8th grade and had to stop playing basketball, something that I finally found out I was good at, it made me feel weak and left out from my competitive family of all-stars. The rest of my days became crowded with doctor appointments, tests, surgeries, missed days of school. . . soon there was no doubt in anyone’s mind — I was the weakest link. Goodbye.

But now looking back on all that I’ve been through I would never use weak as a term to describe me. I think though I may feel physically weak at times, my mentality has never been stronger. I don’t know that anyone could go through what I go through on a daily basis. I have a severely high tolerance for pain. Though I may look normal on the outside most days I have some degree of a headache that’s only a fraction of the type of headache the average person has experienced, and hopefully will ever experience, in their lifetime. Some might have given up by now, and believe me there are many times when I have thought about it, but its my mental toughness that keeps me going. My body has put me through a lot and has tested my limits. But I refuse to let it break me.

Recently, my strength was tested yet again.  I got a new medicine to try from the doctor. It’s an injection with medication in it to stop a migraine once it has developed. At first, I was very against it. I didn’t think I could give myself a shot. I am extremely afraid of needles and couldn’t come to terms with the idea. Granted, I waited till I got the news that they came out with a needless injection. . . but that’s neither here nor there.

Whenever I find myself about to chicken out, I take a deep breath and say to myself, WWKD “What Would Katniss Do?” You know. . . Katniss Everdeen . . . the kick ass heroine of one of the greatest trilogies of all time The Hunger Games. Because say what you will about the hype or the tweens, this heroine was one mentally tough chick who was able to do what she had to in order to survive and do the right thing for herself and her family. I admire her and if she helps me get through one day without a migraine, then so be it.

I’ve had to give myself lots of shots and though it never gets easier, the small amount of pain for a short period of time is worth the possibility of eliminating the extreme pain in my head for an extended period of time.

You never know what you are capable of until you are pushed to the limits. I’m sure Katniss didn’t think that she was capable of killing anyone before she volunteered for the Hunger Games.

Migraineur or Masochist?


Lately I’ve been wondering about the term masochist and what properly determines whether one falls under the category. I bet a lot more people qualify than they may realize. By my definition I think that all chronic migraine sufferers fit the profile, myself included.

I know I’m not the only one who hesitates to take medication and treat myself at the first sign of a migraine. It sounds crazy. Here you have a solution, the antidote to your kryptonite and yet you dare hesitate? Madness, pure madness I tell you! Why would anyone want to suffer? Especially because the faster you take these medications the faster and more effective their results. But still every time I find myself hesitating, debating with myself, those demons and angels perched on each shoulder, arguing over what is best, bargaining…

“Well, it’s not that bad maybe I can handle it. Maybe it will go away… ”

“Are you kidding? You know it won’t go away. Just take the damn medication.”

“But it’s so expensive. And you only get a certain amount allotted to you each month. Save it for a more severe situation, when you need it more. You don’t want to run out this early in the month.”

You’re supposed to treat your migraine within the first hour of feeling symptoms in order to treat it most effectively. A majority of the time I wake up with a migraine, which means I’m already behind, I’ve already missed my opportunity and then I’m left with the decision of wasting my medicine on a migraine that has already taken form and risking the possibility that medicine might not work. Or I find myself remaining hopeful that the headache isn’t that bad and it might surpass, which is crazy because that hardly ever happens.

Then there’s also the side effects of the medication. Of course, no medicine comes without its perks. Each medicine in all its forms, whether its nasal spray, pill, or injection makes me tired and sluggish. I usually need to accompany my medicine with a large dose of caffeine. I have a standing order at Starbucks.

Then there’s the issue of is this headache really worth it? Because insurance only gives me so many meds per month and I need to use them wisely. I think, “Well I only have 3 more left for the month and it’s only the 10th. Maybe I should have it for a more severe case.”

Am I being rational or am I simply being a masochist, forcing myself to suffer without reason? I don’t know. I’d like to think there’s some rationality behind my madness.

I find a tiny bit of comfort in knowing that I am not the only migraineur who thinks this way. However, I so desperately wish there was a solution. . . that we could all have enough medicine to cover us for the entire month, or we never got any headaches and didn’t need any medicine at all. But until that day comes, I guess I’ll still be fighting my demons.


Just a little inspirational video to start your Wednesday off right and help you realize that whatever you’re going through may not be so bad. Remember. . . what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Ridding Yourself of the Toxins

Thanks to the fabulous Miss Britney Spears I can no longer think of the word toxic without simultaneously thinking diamond-studded nude catsuit. Now I don’t know what rolling around in said catsuit has to do with a toxic relationship but it sure as hell caught the world’s attention.

When I think of toxic relationships I think more along the lines of Whitney and Bobby. Ri-Ri and Chris Brown. Paula Dean and sugar. Superman and Kryptonite.

When anyone is faced with a toxic relationship they learn a lot about themselves. They are forced to find strength within, to stand up for themselves and hopefully learn to walk away and lean on others. There are many different kinds of toxic relationships – frenemies, boyfriends/girlfriends, friends with benefits, evil stepparents, and the worse one of all – the relationship you have with yourself.

There are stages in life when those significant relationships in your life may change and  the people who are more important to you at one point may be less important to you at other points. For instance, when you first come out of the womb you rely on your parents for everything. Your parents are your best friends in the entire world and you can’t wait to come home from school and tell them everything. As you grow up you become embarrassed by your parents, reply with a dismissive “Fine,” when asked how your day was and your friends slowly become the people you confide in the most. Then as you grow up the amount of friends you have may decrease in number but the value of your friendships increase in value. Once you move away from home, whether it’s for college or whatever reason, your relationship with your parents most likely changes once more. You go back to relying on them for all their wisdom and expertise. No matter who comes in and out of your life, you often learn in the end that its your family that always remains loyal and trustworthy, whether that family is biological or chosen.

When you are sick this process is kicked into high gear and you may need to weed out your toxic relationships at a quicker pace than most. After suffering from migraines for over 10 years now I have learned a lot about myself, my family and my friends. People continue to surprise me but one thing has always remained constant.  No matter what I’m going through its so important to have a strong support system to fall back on. I would be nothing without mine. I know I can be difficult when I need to go to my dark, quiet place and whether that’s literally or figuratively speaking varies on the day. But when and if I need to cancel plans last-minute or turn all the lights off in the house, it’s important to have people around me who understand, get it and don’t make me feel guilty for it – that is truly priceless.

Now don’t get me wrong, not everything’s all rainbows in butterflies between my family, friends and I 24/7. It’s taken me a long time to train my support system into the lovely bunch they are today and it’s still a work in progress but here are some key tips to weeding out the bad eggs and spotting the good ones.

Toxic friends and family are a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. When you are sick the last thing you need is a friend who is a bad influence, who doesn’t understand or who is going to pile on the guilt. We have enough guilt already that we put on ourselves. The last thing we need is our friends making it worse. I would love more than anything to go out and run a marathon with you. Unfortunately I can’t do any intense physical workout without my head feeling like there’s a fire inside it. I’ll be waiting at the end with a bottle of water for you though. Please don’t give me those puppy dog eyes. You want to go out and get wasted? Woo hoo. I used to love taking shots! And margaritas? My fave! But count me out. I’d rather not wake up with a 10-ton brick on top of my head thank you very much.

And no, I don’t expect you to understand how I feel. And I wouldn’t want you to either. The best thing you could do is take an interest, become educated on the subject and be understanding and empathetic. If I have to cancel plans, don’t make me feel worse than I already do. You think I want to miss out on all the “normal” things Yuppies my age should be out doing? Just go! Continue on with your plans and hopefully we can do something next time.

And please, don’t assume you have the answer to my illness or know the cause. I know you’re trying to be helpful but if it’s been 10 years don’t you think I’ve tried and researched just about everything with a lot of different doctors? After seeing neurologists, allergists, ophthalmologists, acupuncturists, chiropractors, dentists, massage therapists; getting MRIs, CT scans; trying endless combinations of pills, nasal sprays, injections; doing yoga, Pilates . . . If I haven’t found a cure by now then I doubt you are going to come along and all of a sudden figure it all out. It’s just not that simple.

Now the toxic relationship I have with myself isn’t so easy to fix. I can’t just stop being friends with myself, get mad at me and phase me out for a while until we stop speaking altogether. No, the relationship I have with myself is a little more complicated than that. I need to face myself because whether I like it or not I’m stuck with me.  FOREVER. dun dun dun. Queue the dramatic horror film music. This means I really need to learn to get over my own guilty conscience. Whether my friends and family understand or not, I have a tendency to feel extremely guilty for the plans cancelled and the good days ruined by my condition. However forgiving or understanding my family and friends may be, I can’t help but feel guilty and paranoid that I’ve let those around me down.

There’s also a feeling of anger and resentment that I need to let go of. My condition has hindered my abilities greatly. I’ve had to face facts that there are certain things I’m not able to do. Rather than let the anger or jealousy get the best of me I need to learn to appreciate the things I can do and live in the moment, the now.

When you’re sick it’s especially important to rid yourself of toxic relationships and only surround yourself with either people who understand what you’re going through or are able to be flexible. Think frequent rain checks. You need friends who are willing to love you through good moods, mediocre moods, appreciate happy moods and learn when to just leave you alone.

So thank you to all of my family and friends who have stuck by me through it all. In a way my condition has really been a blessing in disguise and has allowed me to find out who’s really there for me and for that I am truly grateful. You know who you are. This one’s for you.


When you’re having a bad day there are only so many things that can be said to really cheer you up. The things that make us happy seem to evolve ever so slightly as we grow older.

When I was a young tot all I needed to make everything better was simply a kiss on my boo-boo, a hug from my teddy bear, and maybe a suck on my thumb. Then as I grew older I turned to comfort food, which inevitably led to some of my chubbier years and I learned the true meaning of love handles. Then skip ahead to more sugar, chocolate, and a good dose of Friends DVDs. Add a nice snuggle with a puppy, a good solid hug, a tall drink of alcohol and voile! Life is good.

As we progress in life and our problems get more complex, the list of things that make us feel better tend to get shorter, the things people can say seem to get more abstract. “Everything happens for a reason,” and “Better luck next time, Slugger!” can only work so many times before it hurts more than it helps.

People need to believe that there must be a reason for all the terrible things that happen in this world. That is why the majority of us turn to religion and spirituality in the most uncertain times of our lives. Maybe there is a method to all the madness and perhaps what goes around does come back around but how do we know for sure? Sometimes you need more of an answer than “in due time my young grasshopper”.

I recently turned to my doctor in one of my times of need, hoping for a concrete answer and I got a response I most certainly was not expecting. I was having a bad episode of migraines last week and when I emailed my doctor about it, hoping to get some guidance as to how to treat it — because you know, that is what he went to like 20 years of school for and what he gets paid millions of dollars to do — his brilliant response was, “Bummer”.

Bummer? Are you for real? There were so many emotions running through me at that moment in time. I don’t know what the reason was for that response, but I have a feeling it’s not something I’m going to find out for quite some time. And maybe I never will.

There are lots of things in this world that are total bummers. I do think to a certain extent that things happen for a reason but I also think that we make our own happiness. A lot of what we put out into the universe is what we will get out of it.

I won’t leave you with a sappy song like when someone gets voted off American Idol and then they make you watch your whole journey flash before your eyes just to pour some salt into the wound before they toss you off the show and back into the world with your dreams shattered. Just know that everyone has bad days and hopefully, you end up with more good than bad.

But if you are having a bad day remember the sun will still come up tomorrow and you’ll have a chance to do it all over again. It’s okay to wallow in self-pity for a little but don’t stay there too long, because you’ll be missing out on the world around you. And when it feels like it’s never going to end, call over a friend and tell them to bring some ice cream and pop in the Friends DVDs. Because really they never get old and laughing with someone is so much better than laughing alone.

Live Like an Israeli

I think we can all learn a thing or three from the Israeli’s way of life. I recently took a 10-day organized trip all around Israel and became immersed in Israeli culture. I was completely disconnected from electronic devices, from work, and from the everyday stresses that life may bring.

You may be thinking, “Why Israel?” With so much going on in the world right now it’s not the most obvious choice for a vacation spot. Most people would have opted for the safer and traditional vacation i.e. Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Aruba, St. Thomas, etc.

Before I left, I told my manicurist I was going to Israel and she looked at me like I had 10 heads. She asked me why the hell I was going to Israel of all places and repeatedly told me to be safe and to take care of myself. After she was done she gave me a huge hug and acted as if it was the last time she would ever paint my nails. Dramatic much? Maybe not.

Israel is often the center of controversy. Ever since gaining its independence Israel has been fighting to keep it. Over 80% of the population in Israel is Jewish.  As a country that was built and is run based on religion, Israel is constantly fighting to defend itself.

During my 10 day trip, I spent time with 7 Israelis: 5 soldiers, one tour guide and one medic. I met Americans who had made the Aaliyah and moved to Israel to either join the Army or just to live, I met Bedouins, and I met Israeli Arabs. I didn’t know what to expect before arriving in Israel. I just pictured lots and lots of sand — literally just sand everywhere. And yes, there was some sand. But there was also so much more than that. I came back with an entirely different perspective and a newfound respect for the people of Israel that I never expected to find.

I faced one of the scariest moments of my life when the group I was with was staying on a kibbutz near the Gaza Strip, just 10 miles away from where missiles were being fired. We had to spend most of the night in a bomb shelter and we could hear the missiles being launched.  Some people even saw them flying overhead. What kept us calm was the way the Israelis handled themselves. Throughout the entire experience they were extremely calm and used humor, the universal language, to lighten the mood. They entertained us in the shelter with card games, jokes, and for those who needed it — there was wine.

For the Israelis, occurrences like those aren’t uncommon. It is unfortunate but a fact of reality. The only way to get through is with some humor, good company, and I guess the wine doesn’t hurt either.

I think we can all find some inspiration from the philosophy in which Israelis live their lives no matter what your religious beliefs. As a migraineur, I admired their easy-going mentality and free spirit. I hope that I am able to take some of what I learned from them back with me and incorporate it into my daily routine.

There is currently a petition and a group on Facebook to have the Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu, delay the war with Iran until after the Madonna concert. So you see, they’re not a war-driven, violent people. They are a fun-loving people who are faced with adversity and at the end of the day they are just like us—they want to live their lives and see Madonna in concert. And really, who doesn’t?

There’s no Guilt in Migraine

This past weekend I was unable to do more than half the things I planned on doing. I had to rearrange my schedule based on the migraines I ended up having. But when I look back on my weekend, I’ll tell everyone that it was a great. Because you know what? All things considered, it was.

I don’t really see the point in harping on the negative and rehashing all of the bad things that have happened in the past. I think one of the reasons there is a link between depression and headache is because of all the guilt and after-effects that come as a result of the condition. To be diagnosed with chronic daily migraines you must have 15 or more migraines a month. The number is baffling. Most of the time I can’t tell if it’s one big migraine or several reoccurring migraines. And really, does it matter?

Reliving it all is just wasting precious time and energy you could be using to do something more positive.  If I am able to focus on the things I was able to get done and the plans I was able to make, they all add up to a pretty great time.

In the past two weeks I had to cancel plans multiple times. Every time feels like another dagger to the heart of my friendship. I can just feel the other person rolling their eyes, like yeah sure you have another headache.

It’s the same feeling I get when I have to call out sick from work. I don’t know if my boss ever really believes that I have a migraine, or if he just thinks I’m playing hooky. Believe me, I would much rather use up my personal days playing hooky. Instead, I am holed up in my room, making it as dark and as quiet as humanly possible, feeling as if a ton of bricks is piled on top of my head, and trying with every ounce of my being to get just a couple of minutes of rest.

I feel so guilty for the plans that I miss out on and the days I have to spend feeling sorry for myself in dark and quiet spaces, that anything a family member, friend, or co-worker has thought about me is probably not even close to what I have already thought myself. But the more time you spend worrying and stressing about all the time missed the worse your migraines will get and the more strained your relationships will be.

I am a true believer in positive thinking, I have my mom to thank for that. I think she sprinkled positive thoughts into our Wheaties when we were little. So no matter how bad the migraines get, tomorrow is another day. You can always reschedule. And if your friend isn’t buying it then they probably weren’t that great of a friend to begin with. 🙂