Communication: There’s no way around it

You can delay it, skirt around it, or pretend all is well and fine, but at the end of the day it is unavoidable. There will come a point (like a boiling point or a boost in confidence) when you have be verbally clear to sort out a work issue, a relationship conflict,...

Hydration and falls are interlinked – a real balancing act

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), more than one in three people age 65 years or older falls each year. There are many contributing factors that add to this significant number. “Diabetes, heart disease, problems with thyroid, nerves, feet, or blood...

Pain, pain tolerance, and the 1-10 pain scale

Pain is truly a pain. As I write this, I am presently in recovery mode from sinus surgery. From a sinus infection, facial pressure, and headache standpoint – I feel a world better. From a pain perspective – I think I could draw you a picture of exactly where the...

Diabetes a highly stressful disease that’s hard to cope with

While no chronic illness is easy to navigate, individuals afflicted with diabetes are recognized as having a notably stressful and high-maintenance disease.  Dr. Rashmi Mullur, an endocrinologist and integrative medicine expert with UCLA Health and the Greater Los...

Time, like gold, is a precious resource

Life can change in an instant and it does. An accident, health diagnosis, or medical emergency – just to start the list off.  Do the people you care most about know today, in the here and now, how much you love them, respect them and/or appreciate them? Do they know...

Tried-and-True Cranberry Sauce

Trying to make some healthy swaps for the upcoming holidays? Would you like to prepare more dishes at home and consume less preservatives from canned side dishes? Looking to reap the benefits from a superfood?  This recipe is for you! This delicious cranberry sauce...

The mask we wear shields our fear

It’s often remarked that the eyes are the window to the soul. I am a believer in that. With masks, the eyes are where our attention is drawn to. As we approach Halloween time, and the Covid-19 pandemic continues to haunt us, most of the population was or is continuing...

Surgery for chronic sinus infection was rough, but successful

I said I’d report back – my apologies if it’s a bit more “raw” than my usual posts. Sinus surgery isn’t the prettiest experience out there.  “Water, water…”  I woke up from the general anesthesia croaking those words and coughing. The nurse appeared bedside with a cup...

UCLA doctor says diabetes on the rise; global obesity escalates

Diabetes has reached “a crisis level over the last several decades,” according to Dr. Rashmi Mullur, an endocrinologist with UCLA Health. A common link appears to be the primary culprit. “We are still experiencing what we consider our obesity epidemic that has been in...

Peer pressure can have unhealthy consequences

Trying a cigarette, ditching school, and hiding a bad grade on a test – probably three of the most common “peer pressure” activities that are experienced in the adolescent age. I wish I could say peer pressure ended in high school. But it seems it’s something that...

Heart-healthy black bean brownies; Nutritious, diabetic friendly

When the need for chocolate arises, there are a few recipes out there for heart-healthy brownies! After trying various recipes, I adjusted ingredients to come up with my own version, incorporating baking essentials that maximize taste but without the added sugar and...

Chronic sinusitis and infections that won’t go away

Feeling puny. That’s the best phrase I have for chronic sinusitis. While the chronic inflammation is uncomfortable enough to deal with, when you contract a sinus infection that will not go away, no matter how dedicated you are to treatment regimes, it’s a whole other...

Shop the right doctor (or drop the wrong one) for you

The decision when choosing a doctor and deciding to continue care with one is not a one and done decision. Recently, I was initially very pleased with a specialist I was referred to. The doctor was proactive, listened to my concerns, had a positively aggressive...

Chronic illness can be invisible, cause aerobic impairment

Dr. Todd Davenport’s empathetic understanding of chronic illness is profound and gratifying. “The hard thing about all of this is that this is all invisible,” he explained. “So you wouldn’t know that somebody has a migraine unless you knew what you were looking for....

The evolution of COPD

COPD, formally known as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is the fourth leading cause of death and a major cause of disability in the United States, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. This is a disease that deserves a look back in time as...

Back to my roots: Why health matters to me

My eyes were opened wide at a young age to health and the gravity of its inner-workings. I learned about acute health matters, emergencies, chronic illness, diagnostics, assisted living facilities, and day-to-day management of disease before many do. I’ve seen the...

“Pain: The #1 reason people seek medical help”

Pain, whether short-term or long-term, is debilitating and in the United States, 20 million people live with the type of pain that frequently limits their life or work activities. No wonder pain is the number one reason Americans seek medical help, according to the...

Inflammation, immune systems, and COVID-19 effects

The more medical experts study disease, the more frequently inflammation seems to rear its problematic head. Shedding more light on that subject and more for us is Dr. Christopher Snell, former chair of the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Advisory Committee to the U.S....

Vibrational currency – how, when, and why to invest in yourself

No matter the day or time – I observe and regulate how I dole out my energy. I look at it as protecting my vibrational frequency. There are times I feel like throwing it around like confetti (when positivity surrounds me), but other times I want to collect it and...

Migraine effect on cardiovascular health controversial

In researching the effect migraine and other chronic health conditions (non-heart related) may have on one’s cardiovascular health, I was very pleased to get top-rated cardiologist Dr. Steven Nissen’s opinion. Nissen was very forthcoming and said that topic is a...

What’s lurking behind your lab results?

I walked out of a recent primary care doctor visit with an unexpected bit of genetic family history! After a cursory review of my fasting blood work results, he told me high cholesterol runs in my family. He caught me off guard. He doesn’t know my family!  I didn’t...

Why ‘showing up’ every day matters

What’s the old saying – slow and steady wins the race? Remember the turtle? Healthcare treatments take time. Sure, it’s easier to call it a day, but you have to be dedicated to a treatment plan (within reason) and give it every opportunity to be successful. If you...

Honesty can be intimidating, but empowering

As children we start off with no filter. Honesty is a given. We live through the cringe-worthy comments, serious feelings, to roll-on-the-floor laughing moments. So why is it that as the years, the decades go by, honesty is less of a staple and more of a luxury? I’m...

Histamine Intolerance (HIT) worth looking in to

There are many chronic conditions that still aren’t getting as much recognition as they warrant from the medical community. Some doctors question the reality of existence of these afflictions. One of those is Histamine Intolerance (HIT). The condition presents itself...

Anxiety can be fueled by chronic illness

When it strikes, anxiety tends to fire on all cylinders. Anxiety uncontrolled can be an all-consuming force that makes you feel nervous about everything under the sun. Uncontrolled anxiety affects mental health and “mental health problems [are] one of the main causes...

Sweetness of summer need not include dairy or artificial food dyes

Where does dairy come into play with migraine prevention? “Dairy is a commonly-reported migraine precipitant although patients are more likely to identify cheese or yogurt as a trigger than milk.”* For me, dairy is something that has been a problem since I was a kid....

Emotional intelligence helps guide solution-based thinking

Emotions flow in and out of our minds as we experience migraine, or tend to a loved one who is going through one. Have you heard of “emotional intelligence?” Essentially, emotional intelligence is what your capacity is to recognize your own emotions and those of the...

Droopy eyelids, trouble swallowing could be Myasthenia Gravis

The Honest Migraine’s interview this month is with Dr. Payam Soltanzadeh, who specializes in neurology and neuromuscular medicine at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). Dr. Soltanzadeh has shared his expertise and provided clarity on the condition Myasthenia...

Find your best vibrational frequency; set boundaries

Recall my surprise when learning from my primary care doctor that Botox was a treatment option for migraine? It certainly became a joyous occasion once treatments were underway and proving to be a remedy for me.  Had my response to my doctor been pessimistic or...

Migraine made me more self-confident

It is vital that we work to continually build up our mental, physical, and emotional resilience. If you have to take a sick day off work, do you feel guilty even though you are legitimately too ill to physically go in to your job? “Patients with migraine are...

Migraine – The elephant in the room

Invisible illnesses – migraine, Fibromyalgia, lupus, Crohn’s disease, ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lyme disease – just to name a few. While they may be “invisible” on the outside, we know they are incredibly active internally. It’s a lot to digest. From a slower than...

Never forget: Actions speak louder than words

My grandfather lived by the mantra, “Actions speak louder than words.”  Three generations later, I’m living by that creed too. This quote is commonly attributed to Abraham Lincoln in 1856, it means that people’s actions show their real attitudes, versus what they say....

The test that “best measures fatigue”

As you likely realize by this stage in reading The Honest Migraine blog, bringing awareness and fostering conversation on chronic conditions is what drives me. Many of these conditions cause patients to feel significant fatigue. In some cases, the fatigue is so...

Managing pain begins with inward focus

Are you in pain? Are you okay? Pain – whether short term, chronic pain, or intermittent pain can be one of the toughest symptoms we have to manage in life. Pain can be all-consuming. Millions of people experience significant pain every day. Dr. Beth Darnall, in...

Call a timeout: Recharge your positive power

Where do you turn when the day is tough, the medical diagnosis is something in uncharted territory, or you have happy pregnancy news? Who’s your team? The relationships we foster with our friends, neighbors, and family can be looked at as the core of our influence,...

Why must we fall to rise?

I didn’t appreciate good health until I had experienced poor health. I guess the same could be said for other elements in life. Happiness – maybe it’s easier to count blessings and appreciate a kind, caring partner after experiencing an unhappy partner who weighed you...

Discover the hidden blessings in change

Change is something I love and loathe. In the most Breakfast Club of descriptions, I’m an adventurer, roll the dice, reserved, empathetic, and optimist at heart. Change challenges us. It tests us in ways we sure wouldn’t test ourselves. My life changed without notice...

Knowledgeable RN helps migraine sufferers in hospital

The Honest Migraine’s (THM) interview this month is with Lauren, a neurological intensive care RN. Lauren specializes in neurology, neurosurgery, migraines, headaches, strokes, brain tumors and other trauma related to brain and spine. Lauren’s experience with migraine...

Neuro-rich foods beneficial; catching more zzz’s helpful

The role that foods we ingest play in our wellbeing is quite frankly, unparalleled. I’ve previously touched on toxins in the foods we eat, with the expert help of Dr. Nancy Klimas. Another valuable behavior interlinked with toxins is sleep. “The evidence that sleep is...

Lessen stress with positive “I’ve got this” mindset

Stress shows itself in both uplifting and devastating times in our lives. Have you heard that our body and mind evolve in seven-year cycles? For example, my life has changed in many respects the last 14 years. About 7 years ago I fell ill with meningitis and the...

Veterans with toxin exposure have another battle after war

A large number of our U.S. military troops are deployed internationally during wartime to protect America’s interests. Little did many know that after stepping up to serve their country, they would have another battle to fight. This battle unfortunately can be more...

Don’t gift your Valentine a migraine

Migraines don’t stop to celebrate holidays. However, it is always heartwarming to know that someone is acknowledging their affection for you. Some of the most common Valentine’s Day gifts can be treacherous triggers for migraine patients. It’s nice to be mindful of...

Migraine patients can start healthy walks with baby steps

Taking a walk in the fresh air, particularly when it’s cool and crisp outside, rejuvenates and recharges me. I love finding new parks, getting or taking my lunch, and hanging out with Max, my beagle. It’s my favorite way to spend “me” time. Walks first thing in the...

The value of pets and finding peace amidst migraines

Pets are wonderful companions and I think many of us will agree that they provide a special kind of support during times we don’t feel 100%. My beagle, Max, has been the most loving and supportive canine companion I could imagine. Whether I need to rest to try to...

New Year’s Eve tips for a healthy celebration

New Year’s Eve and Year 2021 are quickly approaching! Why not consider having a more migraine-healthy celebration to kick off a healthy new year with resolutions to keep your migraines at bay? It’s a great time to mentally run a 2020 slideshow in our minds of our...

Finally understanding the 1 to 10 pain scale

Everyone has a different tolerance for pain. However, I will say that experiencing migraines and spinal meningitis have provided me with the ability to gauge pain better. If you have a condition that causes pain, you will commonly be asked what your pain level is at...

Managing migraines begins with honesty

Have you ever felt uncomfortable or like you are a burden to other people when it comes to your migraines? I’ve had my share of moments where I’ve consciously decided to tread lightly when deciding whether or not to share my migraine story with those who have never...

Do you love wine? Does it love you?

Americans love wine, so much that wine consumption has nearly doubled in the past 25 years*. Personally, I think a nice glass of wine is a perfect accompaniment to a special meal. However, many of us migraine sufferers have experienced unwelcome symptoms from the...

Learning not to let migraines run your life

Migraines do not have to run your life. If they do, I encourage you to take every step possible (as gradually as needed) to reverse that. They can be managed. I am proof of that. Migraines did not trickle down my family tree. I seem to be an anomaly amongst relatives....

Dr. Klimas says we are living in “a very toxic society”

In regards to one’s health, it’s common to have an understanding of family medical history and whether or not you are living a healthy lifestyle. But how aware are you of the chemical content in the food you ingest day after day? Weighing in on this topic is Dr. Nancy...

Learning the value of probiotic drinks and “winding down” early

Staying in tune with my body and how I’m feeling has been empowering.  I can now recognize the signs of needing down time or when my body is trying to fight something off. I also learned more about the benefits of probiotics. I was probably a latecomer to the Kombucha...

Botox® success and learning about migraine “triggers”

Botox was playing a very positive role in my life with migraines.  After a handful of treatments, I was able to go longer before needing a nerve block. I began to only need them as I got closer to when I was due for my next Botox treatment, instead of throughout the...

Carrot Cinnamon Puree

Oven-roasted carrots are easily one of my favorite afternoon snacks.  When in season, the farmstand carrots I get turn out light and fluffy inside. They are ever so satisfying. Lately I’ve been experimenting to perfect a roasted carrot puree.  I envision it being a...

Learning to be “mindful”

The course I took focused on utilizing mindfulness when in stressful situations such as relationships, work, medical pain, panic, and general anxiety. I signed up for an eight-week series of classes. Each class varied a bit and participation was necessary. We had...

Creating a new lifestyle

Post-meningitis and battling constant headaches showed me how my endurance was not what it used to be. I was getting drained fast. I felt continually sluggish. If I pushed myself, I would be downright exhausted. I continued to make changes in my life.    I learned to...

Avoiding migraine “triggers”

I wanted to learn how to balance my life, implement changes to help avoid any triggers that may lead to a migraine, and practice more self-care inside and out. First, I put a critical spotlight on how I ate. For over 10 years previously, I had relatively healthy...

Consistency is key

I have learned that consistency is key in fighting migraines. I have focused on progress, remained positive, and feel that placing trust in good medical hands must be my mindset. It has worked. I have benefited in spades! It might seem like a strange thing to say, but...

Ginger, Lemon Hot Tea can soothe migraine nausea

Taking good care of our immune systems is critical to wellness. In suffering from migraines, and a depleted immune system, it was time for me to start focusing on rebuilding my immune system. I found that is easy to do using simple foods and easy practices. My goal...

Help in a hurry

While my Botox® treatments were religiously on schedule, my neurologist had me carry emergency medication, just to be safe. It is important not to let the headaches back in to take control. I quickly found my two favorites – the ones that worked the best for me –...

The miracle of neurology and Botox®

My neurologist has become one of the most influential people in my life. I have benefited from his intelligence and experience for six years now. His advice helped me cope. I can’t believe now that my former medical group withheld this type of assistance from me. His...

Migraine after migraine consumed me

After my hospital discharge, I had to move back in with my parents. I had no choice; I couldn’t care for myself. I was so weak that I could only be on my feet long enough to take a shower or walk to the kitchen and back. I laid in bed most all day. I continued to...

I was denied a neurologist

My days in the hospital droned on like clockwork: 5 a.m. wake-up calls for daily blood draw, painkillers administered on a tight schedule, and me unable to manage the pain when the painkillers started to wear off. I was heavily slurring my words and falling soundly...

I was helpless and critically ill

Looking back, I have limited recollection of that second visit to the emergency room. The next day, after spending the night in the hospital, I was told I arrived at the emergency room door crying and bent over “seemingly in distress and experiencing extraordinary...

Becoming a statistic

Migraine is the third most prevalent illness and the sixth most disabling illness in the world, according to the Migraine Research Foundation. As of this year (2020), there are 37 million of us (men, women, and children) affected in the United States, says the...