Monday, November 14, 2011

Migraines SUCK!


So the stupid migraines that I was able to hold at bay, are suddenly back with a vengeance and seriously pissing me off.

As I posted in a previous post, I used to suffer from migraines all the time.  But once I got a stronger migraine medication,  I didn't seem to get them as frequent.  In fact, if I took a half dose, that alone would keep the headache from surfacing.

Well, just this past weekend and in October, my monthly visits with hormone hell have been almost unbearable.  Two months in a row I find myself bed ridden, puking my guts up, and unable to function.  If someone has never experienced a full fledged migraine episode, he/she has no idea just how excruciating they can be.

I can't watch television, can't eat, can barely keep even water down, can't sleep, can't do shit to put it plainly.

My son Matt was off from school this past Thursday and Friday, courtesy of the New Jersey Teachers Association who as far back as I can remember, go to Atlantic City for two days.  Supposedly its for a 'convention' but lets gets serious here, they are gambling and partying, and who could blame them.  But lets call it what it is, its a mini-vacation at the casinos and a couple days off for the kiddies.  But I digress.

On Thursday, Matt wanted to go rollerblading with some friends at a rollerskating rink (yes one does still exist...at least in NJ).  I felt like utter crap, but I am a mom and didn't want to see Matt miss out because his momma was sick.  I could have asked one of the other moms to take Matt, but I thought maybe I'd feel better. Yeah well what the hell was I thinking?????

So I get him to the rink which is about 20 minutes from our house and when I walk in I must have looked like the I just crawled out of a grave or was auditioning for the the next 28 Days Later sequel, because everyone looked at me as if I had just died or was on the verge of it.  Of course all the moms who are my good friends all offered to keep an eye on Matt and drive him home for me.

Not sure if they knew just how bad I felt or were embarrassed to be seen with me, either way, I definitely took them up on the offer.  But I had to sit and rest for a moment before I had to drive back home.  I chitchatted for a little bit, or tried to anyway.  I was slumped over on a bench and was looking more like a drunken slob then cool mom who takes her kid rollerblading.  Anyway, I sat there for awhile then made the trek to the less than desirable ladies room and puked.  That rollerskating rink has been around since I was a kid, so I am pretty sure its seen its fair share of pukage but something about doing it in a stall where god only knows the last time it had been clean made me even more sick.

So after that fun incident, I had to bail.  I knew Matt was in good hands and I told the moms I would text them when I got home (so they didn't worry), because me driving home with head pain and nausea was a pretty bonehead move.  Looking back now I can laugh, but damn what was I thinking.  I honestly don't know how I got home without hurling or passing out.

Anyway, once home, I crawled into bed and that's where my ass stayed for 3 days.  Yep 3 days.  When I  get the BAD migraines, they are a consistent 72 hours.  No shorter, no more...just 72 hours.  Its scary how that works.  I had puked up my meds so it was useless to try and take more.  So all I could do was eat popsicles and drink ginger ale, all at an attempt to keep from getting dehydrated.  Been there, done that before and that's a guaranteed ER trip and I refuse to do that again.  SO I just have to bide my time with the pain.

My poor hubby and son have to fend for themselves and in all honesty they do just fine, but my hubby put it the best when he said, "The house falls apart when you are sick" which I have to say, makes me feel very appreciated.  I think!

So here I am a couple days later and feeling back to normal.  And now I have to decide what to do next in regards to these awful headaches.  Do I try preventative meds and hope they work? OR go for the shots, where I wouldn't have to swallow a pill (to only puke it back up)?  The thought of giving myself an injection freaks me to no end.  Needless to say, I have never or will ever be a IV drug user.

What I need to do is haul ass to the doctors and weigh my options because I can't keep going like this.  And yes I am blaming hormones because these headaches conveniently arrive when Aunt Flow does.  She's a bitch, in every sense of the word!  And whoever called it a curse was right on the mark!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Almost 40

I remember back when I was a teenager, the age of 40 seemed SO far in the future that it didn’t even register a blip on my radar.  Well here I am at 39 with exactly 80 days until the day I turn 40.  And not surprising it’s registering more than a blip now.

I can honestly say I don’t feel 39 let alone 40.  But over the years the fine lines have crept up and creases in my forehead remind me everyday how I am not young anymore.   When I was 19, I use to slap on pure baby oil while lying on the beach and begged the sun to make me nice and crispy.  And my friends and I used to laugh it off and say, “Oh by the time we are 40 there will be an invention to reverse sun damage.”  How na├»ve were we?  Not only is there no real cure without some sort of plastic surgery even worse we never considered getting skin cancer.  But back then we sat on the beach thinking nothing of it.  I now have an ugly sunspot gracing my cheek to prove how wrong our thinking was. 

You know its bad when you find yourself googling Botox.  And would I seriously consider pumping Clostridium botulinum into my forehead to look like a perpetual deer in a headlight?  Well never say never but I ain’t there yet.  First off, I loathe needles so I’d have to really hate the lines in my forehead to go that route.  And second, bangs seem to do the trick too.  I will admit I have used the supposed “Hollywood Secret” called Frownies.  Which are little pieces of paper that you stick on your forehead or other undesirable lines on the face.  The kicker is, they do work.  After you sleep all night with them stuck to your forehead/face, you peel them off and there miraculously are minimal to no lines.  However, about 5 minutes later, the lines are back.  So basically if I want to put them on and go out, my time is VERY limited on being line free.  But seriously, the maker of Frownies states that desired results don’t show up until about 30 days after you start using them.  And you must use them every single night or day for at least 3 hours.  So being that I have an entire box, I will keep pasting them to my skin in hopes that one day I too will be line free for at least longer than 5 minutes.    

I do try to stay in shape and be healthy, with workouts every single day, unless I absolutely cannot fit one in.  I don’t exactly eat that great but thanks to good genes and being hyperactive my weight is at a respectable number.  I also credit playing sports growing up and still playing sports with my son.  Whether it shooting hoops, having a catch or tennis, anything to keep me moving, which hopefully will keep me young even if my actual age does not.

So as 40 looms, I wonder how I will be when my birthday arrives. To be officially out of my 30’s and considered “middle aged.”  Even typing those dreaded words makes me cringe. 

But in the words of my self-proclaimed 39 year old grandmother (real age 88) “you are as old as you feel.”  Today I feel 20, so for the moment all is good.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Story of a Baseball Bat






My 11 year old son, Matt has been playing recreational baseball since he was 5 and tournament/travel since he was 8.

When he was 9, Santa Claus brought him a brand new orange/blue Easton Stealth bat.  He instantly fell in love with it and couldn’t wait to get into winter training with it.  It took him no time at all to break in that bat.  He was cranking off hits the moment he swung.  He had found his perfect bat. 

By the time rec season had started in late March of 2009, the bat was fully broken in and ready for actual game play.  Matt lit up rec from the get go.  He hit everything that was pitched to him.  His fellow teammates took note and were all under the notion that if they too used Matt’s bat they’d hit as well as him.  Matt is by no means the best hitter to ever grace youth baseball but what most of the kids didn’t realize was that Matt had great hand/eye coordination and a quick swing.  But Matt being a sweet child, let any of his teammates who wanted to use the bat, do so.  And most did.  But there was one kid in particular who had some social issues and wasn’t very pleasant to the other players, including mine.  Now I know no child is perfect and mine certainly isn’t rocking a halo over his head, but the kid in question was a whole different story.  My husband who was the coach did his best to keep things copacetic and for the most part did a great job of it.  That was until one day during a pre-game batting cage warm-up.  That kid decided to grab Matt’s bat and proceeded to slam it against a wood pylon.  This act was witnessed by Matt and another player on the team, but neither said anything about it.

When the incident was over, Matt got the bat back.  And at the time Matt was unaware that any physical damage had been done.  But come game time when Matt was up at the plate, he swung and when the ball made contact with the bat, it made a strange funky sound.  The coaches on both teams heard it and inspected the bat.  And what they found was an inch sized crack in the barrel.

The devastated expression on my son’s face was one I will never forget.  He was upset and immediately blamed the kid who had slammed the bat.  Now the kid claimed that he hadn’t touched it before Matt batted and technically he didn’t.  No one saw him near Matt’s things.  However, after the game was over Matt and the other witness informed us of the pre-game incident.  And without any doubt, we knew what the cause of the crack was.  My husband talked to the parents of the said child and of course the kid denied it.  Until he finally fessed up and claimed he didn’t mean any harm.  *rolls eyes*

Matt recalled the kid saying during the beat down on the pylon(quote):  “What is this bat made of…plastic?”  Which believe me, I can attest, the $250 price tag on that bat proved otherwise, but I digress.   Matt was so distraught that he actually slept with the bat.

The other issue was Matt had his 1st tournament of the season starting a day and a half later and would be without his beloved bat.  So we searched high and low for another one.  But had zero luck finding the same exact bat.  My husband tried to order one that was similar but even with express shipping, there was no guarantee it would arrive in time.  Matt would have to use a teammate’s bat for the time being.  We were concerned that the bat issue was going to affect him psychologically and sadly it did.  He was way off when he got up to the plate.  He was always a consistent hitter and rarely struck out but his spirits were broken.  He struck out the first 3 times he was up and it was heartbreaking to watch.

After one of the games we had a short break, so we killed time at a local Modell’s Sporting Goods store.  And to our surprise we found the exact same orange Easton Stealth.  It cost a pretty penny but the smile on Matt’s face was well worth it.  However, the elation was short-lived as we quickly realized that though the bat looked the same, no two are exactly alike.  Plus the original had been well used and broken in (no pun intended).  That one just didn’t measure up.  He did hit a little better but he just wasn’t the same batter.  And it didn’t matter how much everyone tried to convince him that it’s the hitter not the bat itself, he couldn’t get out of his funk. 

The parents of the kid who broke the bat offered to pay for Matt’s new one.  Of course they had no idea how expensive the bat was, so we graciously took a fraction of the cost from them.  That was more my husband’s generosity, I on the other hand wasn’t so forgiving and felt they should have paid for the whole thing.  But whatever, its water under the bridge now and done with.

I will state that Matt is MUCH more careful now on not letting others use his bat or any of his baseball equipment for that matter.  We have invested a lot of money in baseball.  He plays all year round whether it be rec games, tournaments or training.  I can’t even calculate how much we’ve spent in bats, gloves, cleats…etc.  So believe me when I say, we make sure Matt’s stuff is only used by him…lesson learned. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hopelessly Clumsy

My husband skis as does my son…I on the other hand do NOT!
I tried it a few years back, wiped out 3 times on the bunny slope and that was enough for me.  The main issue was that I am afraid of heights.  A fear that seems to get worse the older I get.  I am also the furthest you can get from an adrenaline junky.  I am a proud wimp and I own it. 
And it doesn’t help matters that I am a natural born clutz.  And I am not exaggerating when I say that I literally trip over my own two feet.  It’s pretty damn pathetic.  I can barely ride a bike, so when my kid begs me to go on a bike ride, I have to pray to God that I actually survive the trip.
A couple years back, I had a stellar year in the clumsy and stupid department.  At Christmas time, I really wanted the Christmas decorations brought down from the attic above our garage.  My husband was out hunting and the impatient side of me beat out any fear I had of venturing up into the attic, which was a real dumb ass move on my part.  But I am stubborn.  So I grabbed a flashlight and ascended the ladder.  Once up there I had no idea what a mess it was and finding the decorations was going to be a challenge.  I started blindly stepping around, not realizing that the floor wasn’t all wood.  Some of it was just sheetrock.  And unbeknownst to me, you can’t step on sheetrock or you will fall through.  And that’s exactly what I did.  (I never claimed to be smart).  My leg went right through it, but somehow I managed to grab a wooden bracket and braced myself before my whole body went.  Of course I ripped a huge chuck of skin off my arm in the process.  So there I am hanging on for dear life when I suddenly remembered that I had laryngitis at the time.  My doggy is walking in the garage beneath me, hubby is out in the woods, my son was in school and I had no voice to yell for help.  It was one of those moments when I think back and ask was I really that stupid?  And sadly my answer was a big fat yes!  My only saving grace was that I was stronger than I thought and eventually was able to pull myself back up.  Once I got my bearings, I carefully exited the attic via the ladder this time.  Luckily the only injury I ended up sustaining was the wound on my arm that left me with a nice scar as a reminder.  But it could have been worse, broken neck or even death, so I’d take the scar any day.  Needless to say, I RARELY venture into the attic, only if it’s absolutely necessary I do so.  And when I walk around up there, I treat it as if it were covered in landmines.
The following summer, my stupidity and clumsiness reared its ugly head again.  My son and I used to always hit wiffle balls in the background.  But let me preface, we did this before and AFTER we put in an inground pool.   This one particular day, he was swimming in the pool and his silly mom decided to throw up some balls and take a few swings.  It seemed harmless and it always entertained him, because without trying to sound conceited I could hit them pretty well.  So as I was swinging away, I shockingly (insert sarcasm) didn’t realize where I was stepping.  And before I knew it, I stepped right into the pool.  Now obviously this wasn’t planned being that I was fully clothed with sneakers on.  As I fell in, my right foot/sneaker got caught on the coping.  My body sunk one way while my right knee went in the other direction.  In the meantime, my son was laughing his ass off as I am sure the sight of his mom falling in was just priceless.  Once I got my foot free and made it to the steps, it didn’t take long for me to know my knee wasn’t right. 
That night it swelled up and I was in serious pain.  The next morning, couldn’t bend the knee at all so off to the orthopedic doc I went.  Good to know people, my mother-in-law works for one so I was able to get squeezed in.  Thank you Mom!  I had an MRI and had to wear a leg brace.  Ended up having a partial tear of my MCL (medial collateral ligament). I am a very active person so being put on crutches and limited in activities was not fun.  Thankfully I didn’t need surgery, just a couple months of physical therapy.  Of course when everyone saw me on crutches, they all just rolled their eyes basically saying “clumsy Heather at it again.”
In the time since, I have smashed a few fingers, hit my head a couple of times, fell off my treadmill and skinned my knees.  But knock on wood, nothing catastrophic.  Knock on more wood.
So as my husband and son ski down the mountains, my butt sits in the lodge with my two feet on the ground.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Migraines

A couple of weeks ago I read an article in Sports Illustrated about Pittsburgh Penguins Defenseman Kris Letang and his dealing with migraines since he was a teenager.  I am not a fan of the Penguins and really wasn’t one of Letang’s either.  Although I did think he was a very good defenseman.  That being said, I also can relate, being that I have dealt with migraines for years.  I give him major props to never miss a game due to one.  I don’t know how he does that.  I can’t even count how many times I have missed parties or events because I was incapacitated.

Over the years with my headaches, I had endured 2 emergency room trips because the pain and vomiting were so intense.  I would end up severely dehydrated and one time I even broke blood vessels in my eyes from straining so much.  In the ER, they’d hook me up with some IV fluids and give me a shot of a strong ass narcotic.  One time was morphine and the next was dilaudid (similar to morphine).  Which both took the initial pain away, so after an hour they sent me on my way. To only have the headache come back ten fold a few hours later after once I was back home.  Side fact:  migraines are one of the most treated cases in the ER and more often than not, a patient with a migraine should be admitted for 24 hours so the headache can be treated accordingly...yeah well that didn’t happen for me.  I got to a point where I refused to go to the hospital.  I would drink as much as I could, even if I ended up puking it back up, I figured as long as a little absorbed into my system I’d keep from getting dehydrated.
For years I had tried different migraine meds but nothing really worked.  But after talking to other sufferers I realized I was being prescribed too low a dose.  Therefore, no surprise they did nothing for me.  If I woke up with a migraine, I was pretty much screwed.  I’d be in bed for 2-3 days just letting the pain run its course.  When my son was younger, the poor kid was either forced to watch Spongebob for hours on end or my husband had to miss work. I could rely on my mom to help me but I hated having to do put others out.  When my son got a little older, he could at least fend for himself but I still felt bad basically neglecting him.  And this happened almost every other month consistently for years.
After a hospitalization last year for a different issue (a story for another time) I ended up with a migraine while there and talking to a few nurses who also suffered, they all told me what they took and the dosages.  So after I was discharged I hightailed it to my doctor and requested something stronger.  And hallelujah it worked wonders.   Now if I feel a migraine coming on I take a pill and though it makes me incredibly loopy, it takes the edge away.  I went this past entire year without suffering.  Up until that is two weeks ago when I woke up with a major headache.  No meds helped this one.  But I couldn’t complain because I used to suffer on a consistent basis.  To go a whole year without being bedridden was a positive to me. 
Now getting back to the original point of the story.  I have a newfound respect for Kris Letang.  Knowing full well just how god awful migraines can be, the fact that he still went out and played the game of hockey impresses the hell out of me.  And that he also refused to complain about them and just did his job regardless, proves how much he loves the game and how dedicated he is.  So that being said, being a NON-Pittsburgh fan and pretty much hate all things Penguins, decided to like one thing about them.    

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Lucky 6/2/97 - 1/29/11

Lucky
I walk into a room and he isn’t there.  When I am cooking or eating something, I keep looking for him to be at my feet, but he isn’t there.  For over 13 ½ years he was my constant companion.  A sweet, gentle, good-natured dog who loved kids and was wonderful with them.  When our son was younger, he could grab a bone right from Lucky’s mouth and Lucky would just shrug it off.  Lucky’s favorite thing was to go for long walks around the neighborhood, no matter what the weather.  He loved being outside and really loved being out in the snow.  He would lie for hours in it, we thought he was nuts but he was just being Lucky.  If his water bowl was empty, he’d throw it down the steps or across the room to let us know. Give him a shelled peanut, he’d crack the shell and just eat the nut.  
When he was a puppy he literally ate our living room couch and snacked on the kitchen chairs.  He dug massive holes in the yard and dug himself under the fence on more than one occasion.  He thought nothing of reaching up onto the counter grabbing and eating anything he could.  Whether it a whole box of honey buns or a NY Strip.  Nothing was safe, not even shaving cream or chewing gum.  There was very little he wouldn’t eat.  In fact, he begged the first day we brought him home from the puppy place.  7 ½ weeks old and he actually begged for spaghetti.  Of course I gave it to him.  I had a tendency to indulge him too much.  We shared waffles, pizza, perogies, Swedish fish, anything I ate…he did as well.  His weight really shot up but oddly enough it wasn’t his weight or heart that took its toll.  It was arthritis and bad hips that did.  About a year ago he slowly began to physically deteriorate.  His weight dropped considerably, he started walking slower and had a hard time getting up.   We tried different medications that were unfortunately only short term fixes.  For almost everyday of his life he and I went for a walk.  But this past autumn he started walking almost sideways and going for a walk was harder and harder.  But he tried.  One Saturday back in December (2010), I took him for what would be our last walk together.  We made it half way around the block and I ended up having to carry him.  Thank goodness at that point he wasn’t heavy anymore and I was able to get him home.  From that point on we knew it was only a matter of time.  He made it through Christmas and New Years.  But he got to where he could no longer get off the floor without our help.  I was in denial for awhile.  My husband resigned himself to the fact and our son understood how much Lucky was suffering. But I held out as long as I could.  And though he was all of ours, Lucky was closest to me.  I always said he’d follow me off a bridge...LOL!  What made it harder was that his appetite never left nor the begging.  So when I would look into that sweet face, the thought of putting him down broke my heart.  My husband believes Lucky was ready to go, but just held on for us.  I like to believe that as well. 
Making that final decision was the hardest thing we ever had to do.  After the phone call to the vet and the short drive there, the guilt consumed me.  As I sat in the backseat, stroking his ears, the pain of saying goodbye loomed.  Wasn’t sure I was going to be able to go through with it.  But once inside, the vet confirmed that though it was our decision, it was clearly the time.  He had lost more weight and had no muscle tone.  His bones were protruding as he weighed a mere 26 pounds, when at his heaviest he was 92.  So it had to be done.  We reluctantly said our goodbyes and told him we’d see him in heaven some day.  Then I whispered in his ear that he and I would go for those walks again.  We left the room and when we saw him a few minutes later he had passed.  He was no longer suffering.  My heart aches for him and miss him terribly.  But I know he’s still here in spirit and knowing we had hands down the BEST dog ever…makes me feel better.  Love you Lucky!  J