My one-month free trial of the GammaCore medical device has highlighted both the best and the worst Western medicine has offered up to those of us who live with migraine disease. It is one of three non-invasive neuromodulation devices currently on the market, approved by the FDA, for treatment of migraine and/or cluster headache. GammaCore targets the vagus nerve. The other devices are the SpringTMS, which targets the cortex of the brain, altering neurotransmitter release and disrupting cortical spreading depression, and the Cephaly, which targets the supraorbital nerve, a branch of the trigeminal (cranial) nerve. Continue reading “GammaCore and More”
We are do-it-yourselfers, my husband and I. Jack is a woodworker, builder and all-around handyman. He does most all the work on the house and the cars as well as a vast assortment of other projects including woodworking with kids. http://www.woodshop4kids.com
I’m not bad with a hammer and saw myself. Over time I got tired of asking him to do the odd job from hanging pictures to fixing my loom. And it drove me crazy to go downstairs to his basement shop and look for the right tool for the job. I could never find it since we have vastly different ways of organizing our stuff. It became a bone of contention neither of us wanted to gnaw on.
On Christmas, years ago when the kids were small, he built and gave me my own toolbox. It was a terrific present. I didn’t have to descend to the basement on endless futile searches. I could get an idea and go to work on it without always having to engage Jack in the process. He didn’t have to do all my projects himself nor listen to me moan about not being able to find tools.
There is a plan afoot to take an all-day art-viewing jaunt to Seattle with four friends. I want to go, but this morning, waking yet again with a migraine, I turn down the invite. I am unable to believe, imagine that I can actually pull off a day-long event without succumbing to pain and/or devastating fatigue. Sitting at my computer I come across a piece I wrote last summer, never published, that speaks to nearly the same circumstances including the same four friends. It helps me re-evaluate my decision in favor of a more hopeful outlook.
Prayer flagsFor months and months now I have been feeling ugly. In spite of chronic migraine, I have an active, fulfilling life with a supportive husband, kids I’m proud of, friends I love and activities I’m devoted to. But as the months passed, starting last summer or fall, I began to have progressively more trouble showing up, doing my usual household chores, taking care of my grandchildren, writing, making art . Last December we had to cancel our annual trip to Mexico, a huge disappointment. I cooked and then couldn’t eat Christmas dinner. When we took a spring road trip to California to visit my son and daughter-in-law, unable to tolerate the return drive, I flew home.
The plan was to get out of town, take Sunday and Monday off and head to Port Townsend, spend time with Cousin Carl, walk the beach and then revisit the beautiful Elwha River unleashed by the removal of 2 dams in 2014. After weeks of work on writing projects and a difficult, headachy month, we were both ready for a break.
After a cold wet spring, it has been a warm, very dry summer in the Pacific Northwest. Being a sun worshiper, I’m ordinarily good with that, but this summer has been a killer. To the north of us, 163 wild fires burn in the interior of British Columbia, Canada. Dense smoke has drifted south and blanketed our region with a persistent dirty haze. Around midsummer the winds that normally blow cool marine air in off the Pacific die and we enjoy incredibly beautiful long, clear days as the sun drops slowly towards the horizon, twilight lasting until around 10:00 pm.
Miles for Migraine is a non-profit organized to improve the lives of migraine patients and their families by raising money and public awareness and helping find a cure for migraine. The June Challenge is a virtual event. Participants from anywhere and everywhere run (or walk) to raise money for sorely-needed research.
This year I decide to take the challenge. I set out to walk almost every day, both to contribute and as a personal challenge, to explore my own ability to set one foot in front of another and day after day make a personal commitment.
Fall 2015, I signed up for a class, “Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction,” at our local Zen center. The cost was $ 280.00. Based on the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn and pioneered in Boston at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, this 8-week series of classes was designed to help those with chronic pain and other difficult health conditions. A well-researched and-widely practiced curriculum, it includes mindfulness meditation, body scanning and simple yoga postures.
It is Thursday. Kim left two days ago, and I am now by myself in Zihuatanejo, Mexico. My feet and now my right knee are giving me fits, old injuries angered by walking, dancing and lots and lots of stair climbing from the beach up and down to our hotel room, from our room to the lobby and street above. This is old Zihuatanejo, old, well-kept hotels, no elevators or even handrails. I like it like this.