Hope in Bracelets

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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, www.hopeinbracelets.com. 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!



Bummer.

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?