Archive for January, 2013

January 11, 2013

My New Year’s Resolution

I ditched all the long-winded ones I was thinking about, and brought it down to two words:

“No excuses.”

No excuses for ignoring my morning routine; not making dinner; skipping homeschooling; not cleaning the shower or changing the kitty litter on schedule.  If I don’t have time or energy to do it perfect, well I’ll do it half-way, but it still needs to get DONE.  I’m tired of my sweet husband always having to pick up the slack for me because I was sick, or tired, or headache-y, or Clara was up all night.

No excuses for skipping devotions; missing meals; or catching up on previously-stated chores during my scheduled downtime each afternoon.  I have to take care of myself if I’m going to keep my stress down and myself healthy.  And I know now just how expensive it is for Mom to be sick.

And if I get to the end of the day, and everything isn’t done, at least I’ll be able to look back on that day and know I gave it my BEST SHOT every minute, and didn’t waste time thinking “There is just too much to do, I give up!” before I even started.


(Now really, I should put an asterisk on that and add “*except cluster headaches” but I sort of figure that’s a given because if I get them, I’ll simply have no choice but to let everything go.  And besides, an asterisk would kinda kill the impact…..  =P  )

January 11, 2013

Cluster headache update

First off: this isn’t a mommy-blog post!  This is going to be pretty dry if you’re not looking for a health treatise… on the other hand, if you get cluster headaches and you’re desperate for any ideas, something here might help you like it’s helped me.  There, now you’ve been warned.

The clusters haven’t come back with any real vengeance in over a year.  I’m beginning to be hopeful that, whether or not they are gone forever, I am at least safe til next fall.  Supposedly cluster headaches are often seasonal, and pregnancy holds them at bay.  So I may have missed them thanks to Clara this past fall, or maybe everything else I’ve been doing is working.  People on the cluster headache boards will jump all over you if you claim a “cure” with less than two years of remission, so I’m not claiming it yet.  But I AM going to continue what I’ve been doing, and for my own benefit as well as any random cluster victim who might find my website and want ideas, here’s the list:

– Take B12 every day (the methylcobalamin form–most absorbable) – Here’s my train of thought behind that:  I found out I had a chronic B12 deficiency.  If you are B12 anemic, your adrenals kick out cortisol to try to compensate for your low energy.  The adrenal fatigue theory is that overworking your adrenals burns them out, at least temporarily, and then you can’t produce adequate cortisol.  So my B12 anemia, coupled with high stress, caused adrenal fatigue.  A headache cluster can often be stopped short by prednisolone–basically synthetic cortisol.  So that tells me that my own body wasn’t producing the cortisol it needed to, and that’s why the headaches were able to break through–and why prednisolone was so effective.  I have also noticed WAY better energy levels and better ability to cope with stress since I started supplementing with B12.

– Take magnesium (in ionic form–most absorbable) – Calcium contracts muscles; magnesium’s job is to shuttle it out of muscle cells once it’s done its job.  Magnesium also ensures that calcium is deposited in the right places.  If magnesium and calcium aren’t in proper balance in your body, you can end up with muscle spasms and pain (this can also be implicated in arthritis, fibromyalgia, restless leg…).  Magnesium is horribly deficient in our agricultural soils nowadays because of industrial farming practices (washed away and not replaced), so there is widespread deficiency in the U.S., whether people realize it or not.  Add to this, whole grains actually DEPLETE minerals like magnesium because of phytic acid and other so-called “anti-nutrients”.  I was eating tons of beans and brown rice for a couple years before my headaches started–both big offenders here–so I set myself up for a deficiency.

– Add more salt (sea salt!) to everything – Because of my adrenal problems, I don’t produce the right amounts of hormones to naturally regulate my sodium/potassium balance–I shed sodium and retain potassium.  I had miserably low blood pressure for years–constantly feeling weak, dizzy, blacking out on standing, etc.  Adding more salt compensates for the hormone imbalance.  Just had my blood pressure checked yesterday and it was 110/73–higher than it used to be, but still within a perfectly healthy range.  And I don’t feel like I’m going to faint all the time anymore.

– Eat more meat! – For protein, magnesium, and B12!  I was way underweight and needed more muscle mass (well, more of every kind of mass).

– Eat less grains! – I mostly stick with white rice now to avoid the anti-nutrient problem.  I don’t worry if I cheat, but other stuff is not a normal part of my diet anymore.

– Drink V8 and Gatorade! – Yes I know the latter has lots of sugar.  But the common denominator here is SALT with my liquids, which makes me feel SO MUCH BETTER.  I add sea salt to plain water sometimes, but that’s boring… and Gatorade tastes good enough that I’ll actually drink it…

– Standard protocol for a stressful day – drink a cup of regular coffee and (on REALLY stressful days) a cup of licorice root tea before going to bed.  I can go to bed with “shadows” and wake up feeling fine.  Or wake up with shadows but take my time getting up and be fine.  (The caffeine constricts blood vessels and raises blood pressure slightly; the licorice root tea helps your body recycle cortisol rather than breaking it down.)

– Which brings me to my last one, DON’T rush out of bed if my eye feels funny.  I take my time, keep my eyes closed, pray, do a little deep breathing and conscious muscle relaxation, and let myself wake up very slowly.  And nowadays, that is enough to ease me into the day headache-free.  (Mind you, it wouldn’t have worked a year ago… but with everything else taking the severity down so much, this is like the last piece of the puzzle for me.)

Now here’s hoping it keeps on working!!