Amber — Headaches, Hikes, and Holidays!

Hello again.  It’s been four days since I last posted…feels like a loooong time considering my record for the last couple weeks has been daily posts! Ah well.

*whooaaaa!  Randomly just had a sneezing fit for like 30 seconds…eyes are all watery and blurry and I feel a sense of complete and utter dissatisfaction because the last sneeze just wouldn’t come out!!! DAMMIT!*

This week has had it’s good points and it’s not-so-good points.  Let me explain…


As much as I don’t like to say this out loud or identify myself with it,  I am considered by health care professionals to be a classical migraine sufferer.  This is a term that describes a certain type of migraine that is most common in women between the ages of 15 and 55 (oh goody, so much time left for me to just be sitting around helplessly in that category).   It is accompanied by a true aura, which is an unexplained perceptual disturbance  preceding the actual migraine pain by about 20 to 30 minutes.  I always get an aura before my migraines.  The aura follows the same pattern each time and presents itself in the form of a scintillating scotoma, which basically makes it impossible for me to see the whole of any object and also has the appearance of whirlpools swirling around in my eyes!  I personally find auras helpful because they literally act as a warning bell that my migraine is coming and I have about 20 minutes to get ready — i.e. take some Gravol, ibuprofen/Tylenol and get to a dark and cozy place to ride out the “storm” that is coming.  These  migraines can last anywhere from a couple of hours to a copy of days.  Mine usually last for about six to eight hours.  I’m serious you guys — SIX TO EIGHT HOURS, no exaggeration!  I am stoic, I don’t relish in ailments of any kind, so getting migraines is more…annoying….to me, than anything else.  I am usually more concerned about the time they are wasting than the pain they are causing.  Haha!

Anyway.  I started to develop migraines quite severely when I was 19 years old.  In 2003 I was hospitalized twice for them, oftentimes not knowing my own name or address upon admission to the Emergency Room because the pain and pressure of the migraine itself completely disoriented me.  I continued to suffer from severe migraines almost monthly for a few years after that and then finally got them under control after I quit my full time Transcription job and went casual.    I’m convinced the decrease in stress and exposure to blaring computer screens was the cure-all for this, however, I do sometimes get migraines when neither of those factors are present and I am actually quite calm and balanced — so it’s pretty much a crap shoot-type affliction.  That part sucks.  I like to know the cause, the source, the reason for things, but alas, migraines refuse to give me any answers.

All this to say…I developed a migraine on Thursday evening.  A bad one.  Luckily it was in the evening, My Roommate was home to make sure I was okay, and I had a good supply of drugs to help knock me out for the night.  One thing you might now know though is that migraines have a residual effect after they have subsided — severe head and neck strain and lethargy.  When you have a migraine your head and neck muscles are usually pulled extremely tight and tense in reaction to the pain and the constricted blood vessels and you are expending an awful lot of energy to get through it.  Usually the tension in my head and neck and the severe lethargy stays for another two or three days.  And what’ya know?!  It’s Saturday afternoon, I am STILL a bit tense and tired, and herein lies my frustration with migraines — they disturb the equilibrium of my life and the forward momentum of my health.    Sigh.


But you know what I did Friday morning??  I shot the bird to my post-migraine tension and lethargy and I went for a hike with My Middle Sister!  Uh-huh, yes I did.  It was really hard for the first 15 minutes.  I actually felt nauseous and was tempted to turn back.  But I didn’t.  I kept going.  I stretched out my head and neck along the way.  I kept myself hydrated.  And, best of all, My Middle Sister and I got to talking/planning our EPIC BACKPACKING HOLIDAY in September, and I was completely distracted from the laborious effort I was putting in to make it to the top of Quarry Rock with a Gravol hangover!  Here’s the proof that I made it!

sis and me on Quarry Rock


So, speaking of holidays, of reasons to live, or adventures well-deserved…My Middle Sister and I, upon finishing our lovely rainy day hike and an hour-long trip planning conversation, drove to the nearest travel agency (one my sister recommended) and BOOKED OUR TICKETS!!!


Where are we going you ask?

Here’s a clue:

Still not sure?

Okay, here are some more clues:

YEP.  That about sums it up.  We’re going to see it allllllll!!!  We have a flight for two direct to Paris booked for September 16, 2010, as well as our Eurail passes and hostelling membership.

This trip is going to be very special for us both.  A time of freedom, beauty, experience, saturation, culture…

Just another gooood reason to continue getting healthier and lovelier.

And that’s all for today, my friends.




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