Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

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!!

February 21, 2012

Sunroom is painted!

The sunroom has been painted, and temporary furniture is back in place.  It’s nice to have a space that’s mostly finished with remodeling.  We still have to move the heat run and finish up the trim, but most of the messy work is behind us in one room, at least!  I am loving the beautiful gray color (Benjamin Moore “Horizon”), the turquoise ceiling (me playing mad scientist with several paint colors–it looks way brighter in the pic than in person), and the “faux clapboard siding” paint effect I did on the back wall.  That wall used to be the front exterior wall of the house–this was the porch once!  The house originally had white clapboard siding; we uncovered some when we were ripping out walls in the entry, and it inspired me  =)

The whole room isn’t decorated yet, but here are a few pics to record our progress!  The bird fabrics will probably be used for curtain lining or picture matting or something in here… whatever I can dream up  =)  And the tulips are the exact shade of red I would love for an accent color with the turquoise!

Now on to the entry hall!