Bah! Migraines, migraines, migraines!

I've been feeling like holy hell for the last few months. I've had a migraine almost every day for too long. I've only had 2 days this month where I didn't have a migraine. There were a few days where I didn't have a migraine most of the day though. It's not all doom and gloom. I've also been able to get some relief from my abortive med (DHE) at lower doses. Unfortunately, I have been unable to function as if I even try to do the dishes for 10 min, the migraine often breaks back through.

It feels like there is a curtain or divider in my head. Many actions such as doing the dishes or cleaning cause the migraine break through. At healthier times, it's been behind a wall. In the last year, I've gone through a week without any migraines. Then it's as if the migraines have moved out.

I'm worn out and tired. Duh, right? lol. I havent' been able to find a local doc to do iv therapy with me. So, my migraine doc put me on a medicine that's related to DHE. I take it three times a day. It's supposed to get rid of and prevent the migraines. I started taking it yesterday, and I feel like unadulterated holy hell. It usually takes me a week or so to adjust to meds. I try to wait out the adjustment when I experience side effects. I've got a crazy headache not like my normal headaches. It's a stabbing pain through the middle of my head perpendicular to my body. I feel fatigued and just generally cruddy. I know it'll be ok. But in the mean time, I feel quite awful. Unfortunately the doc will increase the dose in a few weeks if I respond to it well. Thus, I realize I may need to go through other adjustment periods when the dose changes.

I really hope this works. Please, please, please, let it work.

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Would like some cheese with that whine?

Yes, I've been a whiney butt. Sulking around the house like the defeated sissy pants I am. I have been beaten by the migraines--at least temporarily. I couldn't sleep last night because my nervous system was in overdrive. HYPER! And preoccupied with the oddest things. Last night I was obsessed with the deck. Yes, the deck. I tried to read--and read I did for about 4 hours, but every few pages, I'd find myself thinking, "We really need to finish the deck. It will rot out. It will cost a bloody fortune to get fixed. Why can't hubby and I every get things done?" Huh?  Who cares???? It's a deck! So it rots and falls apart. Not worth obsessing over. But this is what my mind does sometimes when I'm sick. Well, I'm over it. Over it!

As you might have guessed, I also have a migraine this morning. And surprise, I'm hyper! If only I could harness this energy for something other than having migraines. I surely would be able to refinish the deck, caulk the tub, get the car fixed, and seal the basement. But alas, on days I don't have a migraine, I'm more calm, and if I start to get too excited---whether it be about the tub or me and the hubby acting like idiots, guess what? Yes! You're finally getting it--I get a migraine!

If only I could be like Pimmy, and harness my energy to defeat rolls of paper towels or toys on strings. We all have dreams I guess.

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Tally of migraines and med bills

It's time again to compile the total number of migraines I've had  and the cost of my medical bills so far this year!                      

Number of days I've had migraines so far this year: 122            
Number of days I've had migraines in the last 12 months: 162                      

Out of pocket medical expenses from January 2011 through July 2011:
$1,632  Health insurance premiums
$2,250  Medication co-pays
     706   Doctor visits
       56   Dentist
$4,644  Total

In a previous post,  my medical bill total this year, I explained the tally in further detail

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Stupid doc and lots of migraines

Sorry I have been MIA. July was unpleasant. I had 24 days with migraines. I also had a doctor's appointment with the specialist I see for the neurogenic orthostatic hypotension (NOH). In a nutshell, NOH is a partial failure of the autonomic nervous system. My body fails to regulate my blood pressure and pulse correctly. My blood pressure drops in response to various activities such as standing in line, standing up, bending over, heat, eating a big meal, not being hydrated, being ill, et cetera. The symptoms I experience include light-headedness, tunnel vision, losing my vision, losing my balance (and fainting rarely), ears pop, confusion, nausea, fatigue, and headache. I'm sure there are more but you get the idea.

I have been seeing this doc for about 5 years, and I went to see him for my annual checkup last week. Because I had a migraine the morning I went to see him, I had taken DHE. One of the side effects of DHE is that it increases a person's blood pressure. In doing so it masks the NOH. He insisted that the DHE could not do that. Evidently he hasn't looked at the side effects list lately. He decided I no longer have NOH even though he'd confirmed the diagnosis for NOH the last 5 years and I still have symptoms. I've had NOH for 27 years--many of those years without migraines. My doc decided I haave migraine-associated vertigo. So basically he thinks my symptoms of light-headedness, dizziness, and drops in my blood pressure when I change postures are all symptoms of migraines. I have gone years between migraines in the past and still had the NOH, but he was not interested in discussing that. I also have gone through autonomic nervous system testing which showed I have NOH. So he scheduled me for more testing. 

Keep in mind, I do not see him for migraines. He advised me to begin taking DHE (the med I take when I get migraines) 3x a day even when I don't have migraines. That would cost $260 a week. He sent a copy of his new diagnosis  and his med idea to my migraine specialist. The nurse from the migraine specialist's office called and advised me not to follow his recommendations and my migraine doc will be having a phone consultation with me later in the week. 

All this to say, I am worn out and frustrated. I know the migraines are getting better in some ways. I only had 1 severe migraine last month instead of the 2 I normally get. In addition, DHE has more effective at ridding me of migraine symptoms. In addition, I have been able to take lower doses of DHE to do so. At the same time, it takes very little for me to get a migraine. A few loud noises or bright light and whammo I have a migraine.  I'm trying to stay positive. 

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Scared about talks of cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid

I was so lucky to get Social Security Disability only a few months after I applied. It never occurred to me that I might lose it, though I remember when Reagan cut disability in 1981 leaving people without any income whatsoever. I'd forgotten about it. Now the talks about budget cuts have me scared.

I only get $970 a month, but it really helps. I am supposed to be eligible for Medicare in March 2012. It would be so dreamy to have more of medical bills covered. I have not been able to go to the doctor as much as I've needed to this year, so thus far my out of pocket medical bills so far this year are a little over $4,000. I haven't seen my primary care physician for over a year. I've run out of meds for my dysautonomia because I have not seen the specialist since 11/09. I was due for a bunch of dental work earlier this year and cancelled that. Unfortunately I have a hard time getting motivated to go to the doctor or dentist when I have almost daily migraines. I keep putting off appointments.

I am expected to live on the equivalent of $5.16 an hour. And people want to cut that? I have had over 100 days so far this year when I've had a migraine. I left the house today for 2 hours and got a migraine as a result. This is normal for me. How can people expect me to work? It's already very hard to pay the bills. When the government talks about cutting benefits, people like me, and people much worse off, are the people it will affect. Please speak to your representatives about how you feel about this.

Visit Write Your Representative to find out how to contact your representatives.
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Congratulations to South Sudan, a new nation!

The people of southern Sudan have suffered genocide. They continue to suffer atrocities at the hands of the government and the people of North Sudan, but there is now hope that the citizens of South Sudan may be able to live in peace. Today the people of South Sudan celebrate the birth of their new nation! This is an exciting time for the citizens. A president has been sworn in, they have a national anthem, and on Wednesday the United Nations will discuss whether South Sudan will be part of the United Nations. Their is hope that the people of South Sudan can live in greater peace. 

Unfortunately there continues to be difficulties. Most South Sudanese do not have access to clean water, are illiterate, and do not have medical care. In addition, a border has not been agreed on with North Sudan.  North Sudanese continue to attack South Sudanese over this dispute. Please let the women of South Sudan that you support them in this historic time. 
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Transparent Thursday

1. I've always wanted an afro.

2. And I'd love to sport a beehive.

3.  I dislike fireworks. For some reason, they scare the bejesus out of me.

4. I am just giddy that a new season of Big Brother starts tonight.

5. I am also giddy that a new season of Celebrity Rehab has started. Did I mention that Lindsey Lohan's dad is on it? And Amy Fisher!
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98 migraines and a boatload of medical bills

It's time again to compile the total number of migraines I've had  and the cost of my medical bills so far this year!                      

Number of days I've had migraines 1/1/11-5/31/11: 98                
Number of days I've had migraines from 6/10-5/11: 154                      

Out of pocket medical expenses from 1/1/11-6/30/11
$1,427   Health insurance premiums
$1,882  Medication co-pays
     656   Doctor visits
       56   Dentist
$4,021  Total

In a previous post,  my medical bill total this year, I explained the tally in further detail

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Another genocide in Sudan? Why don't people care?

In "Yet Again in Sudan" Nicholas D. Kristoff opens his column with the following:  "The world capital for crimes against humanity this month probably isn’t in Libya or Syria. Instead, it’s arguably the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, where we’re getting accounts of what appears to be a particularly vicious campaign of ethnic cleansing, murder and rape." He reports that the Sudanese governement has threatened to shoot down UN helicopters. The forces are committing "door-to-door" executions of civilians (including children), committing mass rapes, burning of homes and church buildings, and bombing of markets, mosques, and wells. 

Kirstoff states that Samuel Totten, a genocide scholar, warns that a genocide may be beginning again in Sudan. 

Yet, when I open CNN online, NBC news, ABC news, CBS news, and BBC, there is no mention of Sudan. Libya, Gaza, and Greece seem to warrant top billing for many of the sites. It continues to confound and anger me that news coverage is largely absent for human rights violations of such a magnitude as has been occurring in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Sudan.  Of course I'm sure there are other human rights violations of similar magnitude in other countries in Africa, such as Somalia, that are also being committed. I was just visiting Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), and I learned that Somalis refugees, fleeing conflict in their country, have been traveling to Dadaab, Kenya. Dadaab has the world's largest refugee camp, and it is now full. The camp was designed to hold 90,000 people. It holds about 350,000 people. As one might imagine, access to medical care and food is limited due to the number of people. 

I wonder why I have to deliberately look for news on Africa. Why do major news organizations in USA not cover these topics? They certainly cover other human rights atrocities such as those in Libya. Please educate yourself. 

As quoted on Operation Open Silence's site, Elie Wiesel once said, ". . . to remain silent and indifferent is the greatest sin of all."

Do you want to help or get involved? It's as easy as signing a petition, or contacting the White House through Twitter, Facebook, or email.  Visit Operation Open Silence or Enough Project . They even compose all the messages for you. It literally takes 2 min to take action.

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Weird Wednesday: The silent crippler

I had scoliosis as a kid. Yeah I was one of those kids with curvy backs that couldn't stand up straight. I was also pigeon toed, but I'll save the glory of that health issue for another post.

At about age 12, the doc made me start wearing a back brace. I say "made" because I was not at all interested in increasing my already pervasive awkwardness. I'm not sure what your middle school experience was like, but mine was reminiscent of the Lord of the Flies.  Evidently the brace was supposed to straighten my back. It was this big plastic thing with huge velcro straps that kept it on. It went from under my arms to my butt. I already had a pancake butt so there was no loss there. There was an oval cut out of the front for my boobs. I think I would have been fine without the oval--I did not want my developing body revealed. I had to wear an undershirt with it or the brace would chafe my skin. I won't even go into the way I got fitted for a new brace every several months because that is something I wish I had blocked from my memory. The brace created multiple levels of awkward.

I was already a geeky kid with weird glasses so the back brace did little to increase my confidence. Here's a pic of me from that period of time.

Bless my heart. You can see why I was picked on. Luckily my brace/armor protected me from getting beat up.

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Back on the low carb wagon

Last summer I participated in intensive outpatient treatment at the Headache Care Center. For 10 days, each day, I met with the doctor, received IV therapy, physical therapy, individual counseling including biofeedback training, and some group counseling. The doctor recommended I switch to a low carbohydrate diet. He stated that a very low carb diet (aka a ketogenic diet) has been used for years with individuals with epilepsy whose seizures are not controlled by medication. He stated that similar to a person with seizures, a migraineur has a sensitive nervous system that reacts more powerfully and stays activated for a longer period of time than a person with a normal nervous system. He stated that a low carb diet may help calm the nervous system down. He also recommended this diet because I had signs of insulin resistance (I had high triglycerides and inflammation). These and some other factors also put me at risk for diabetes and heart disease.

At the time, I begrudgingly followed the low carb diet. I ate an average of 20-40 g of net carbs for about 6 months. I had more energy and felt great. My triglycerides dropped 70 points. I fell off the wagon during my birthday (in November) and the holiday season. I didn't get back on the diet until now. Having almost daily migraines, having to drop out of school again, applying for disability, and coming to terms with the fact that I may never be able to work again, I turned to food for comfort. Potatoes, ice cream, fruits, bread, et cetera all helped me feel better emotionally.

On Monday I got back on the low carb diet. I'm craving bread, chocolate, and fruit like nobody's business. One common misconception of Atkins/low carb diets is that they're high protein and filled with fatty meats. It couldn't be farther from the truth. The Atkins literature states that 12-15 of net carbs should be from a list of specific low carb vegetables. This works out to be about 5 cups of salad greens or other veggies a day.

So far, I feel okay but I'm still craving carbs something awful. Ben and Jerry's calls my name. Trying to stick with it!!
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Ewww. Some of the weirder ways people have found my blog

Blogger gathers info about how people find blogs. It tracks what terms people have used in search engines and then were referred to a blog. For example, one way a person found my blog was typing "footie pajamas sock monkey"into a search engine. In other words, my blog showed up in the results for that search. I love sock monkeys and footie pjs so this made me smile.

People have also searched for some weird and disturbing stuff and found my blog. Here is one of the creepier ones. "She likes being beat." Eek and eww. I had written a post about our kitty Pandora who likes being pet hard -- kind of like I'm dribbling a basketball. Me and my hubby call it "a beating" to be silly. I imagine the sicko who searched for "she likes being beat" was disappointed when he saw a silly post about our 17 year old cat. Here's a picture on Pandora on her heating pad and piles of blankets. It really is sad how we treat her so poorly:

Seems my post about how I'd like the song "I Like Big Butts" be played at my funeral has resulted in a number of visitors. I imagine they were quite disappointed when they found my blog. For example someone was directed to this post when s/he searched for 'big butt clap." I have no idea what that means, and I don't think I want to. Other butt related searches that have led people to my site include "donkey butt girls," "dads like big booties," and "I like big butt toons."  I'm glad people with butts have fans. Unfortunately I suffer from butt envy because I have no butt (aka pancake butt) as discussed also in the post about my funeral.

If you blog, what are some of the weirder searches that have led people to your blog?

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Happy Father's Day to my Dad!!!

It's hard to know where to start in describing my Dad. As I was growing up, my Dad worked 5-6 days a week for about 12 hours a day. You'd think I hardly ever saw him, but I have so many great memories of things my Dad did with me growing up..


One of the many things I've inherited from my Dad is a love of telling stories. It doesn't matter if it happened last week or 50 years ago, we both love to tell tales. Usually the same ones over and over. I also inherited his love of duct tape. Several years ago, me and my hubby lived in a house where we'd get wasps in the bathroom. We tried all sorts of things to get rid of them. I finally got my red duct tape out and taped all around the window and some spots that went up to the attic. No more wasps! I proudly share such tales with my Dad.

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Depression: running from the black dog

I first heard "black dog" as a reference to depression several years ago from an online friend from Australia. He used to say he was being "chased by the black dog" when he fell into depression. I find it to be a good description of how I experience depression. I feel like I'm trying to stay ahead of depression--trying to figure out when and how it will strike next and trying to prevent that from happening. I barely feel like I'm keeping ahead of it. If I'm caught, it feels like I've been attacked and have fallen. It takes great effort and meds to get back up and am able to get ahead of it.

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Highway to Hell

I have an appointment to see the migraine specialist tomorrow. Inevitably, the night before I go, the song "Highway to Hell" pops in my head. It really seems like the perfect anthem for these trips.

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Grateful Sunday!

1. I just had to look up "grateful." I kept thinking it was spelled "greatful." 

2. Semi-perma-brain fog from having migraines almost everyday. Sometimes it makes me laugh. (For example, #1)

3. Emerald's Cocoa Roasted Almonds. Yum
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Migraine journal

I have to admit I get lazy about doing a journal about my migraine attacks. For several months, I've tracked the following info:
  1. What days I have experienced a regular migraine attack which I define as:
    • The migraine occurs shortly after I wake up
    • My standard meds (DHE shot  + Zofran) are effective.
    • My pain only rarely goes over 8 on a 1-10 scale with 10 being unbearable constant *!&? pain.
  2. Days I have a migraine attack that do not occur in the morning.
    • These are exactly like #1 except they occur after I have exercised, been stressed, left the house, etc.
  3. Days I have had a "monster migraine." 
    • These are the attacks that have no responded to my standard abortive meds (DHE shot and Zofran) so I took Stadol and Phenergan in addition to my standard meds. 
    • Pain is 9-10 most if not all of the day.
    • These days I take lots of baths since that is one of the only things that will relax me. 
    • I also spend a large amount of time: laying very still in the dark with ear plugs, focusing on my breath, and reciting either Equanimity or Metta phrases. 

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Transparent Thursday

1. Hmm I'm not sure if "transparent" is spelled/spelt right. I'm having spelling issues.

2. I find it odd that it's illegal to discriminate against a person for employment in the US, but we might regularly discriminate against politicians for their gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, and age. The other day I was watching something about one of the potential presidential candidates who is Mormon, and it struck me as odd that this was an issue. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I've focused on these issues in making a decision about who I am going to vote for.  Doesn't seem right.

3. When I have migraines, I obsess about cleaning and bills and other things I can't do when I have a migraine.

4.  If I ever got a lot of money, I would take horse back riding lessons again. Love horses even though I fall off a lot.

5. Since I do not feel well much of the time, I go days without ever changing into normal clothes. Fortunately, I have several pairs of pajamas. It also comes in handy when I miss my mouth and get food or coffee on my clothes. Not as big a deal to spill stuff on my pj's. My sillies pj's are these sock monkey footy pj's I got at Target. I was so excited when I saw Mercedes on Glee had them!

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Weird Wednesday

Yes, that is a sock monkey on the top of the Christmas tree. One of the weirdest things about me and my hubby is that we collect sock monkeys. It just kind of happened; it wasn't something we planned to do. When we first started dating, I told him about this sock monkey I had as a kid. He got me one for my birthday as a joke and it spiraled from there. One of the first years we celebrated Christmas together, we couldn't find the star to put on the tree. I had some Santa clothing I would put on the cats for Christmas pics. We decided to put them on Sammy (our fist sock monkey) and put him on the tree. It became a tradition! About 5 years ago we got him a full Santa suit from Build A Bear. What's one of the weirdest things about you?

Looking for more fun weirdness visit my favorite weird blogger: It's Ok To Be Weird
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Grateful Sunday!

I try to remind myself to do regular check-ins with myself about what I'm grateful for, but I often forget. Maybe if I get into the habit of doing it on my blog, I'll remember!

1. When my hubby is concentrating really hard, sometimes he waggles his tongue horizontally. (Please don't tell him I told you.)
2. Often, when Pandora, our kitty, is fixing to go to the bathroom, she quacks at us to let us know.
3. Puppy pads. (Pandora likes to go to the bathroom with all of her except her bottom in the litter box. Puppy pads make it so much easier to clean.)
(Pandy's embarrassed I told you about her bathroom habits.)

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Tally of medical bills and # of migraines

In one of my previous posts, My medical bill total this year, I explained what my tally in further detail.

I forgot at the beginning of June to update it! 

Out of pocket medical expenses from 1/1/11-5/31/11

$1,189   Health insurance premiums
  1,401  Medication co-pays
     606   Doctor visits
       56   Dentist
$2,875   Total

Number of days I've had migraines 1/1/11-5/31/11: 74
Number of days I've had migraines from 6/10-5/11: 146

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Giving up before I even got started

For the second time in my life, I feel like I'm giving up on a career before I even got started. Yet I felt passion about both--I loved reading and writing about the philosopher I studied, Ludwig Wittgenstein. I also loved to read about counseling, the practice, treatments, and theory. And I loved working with people diagnosed with a serious mental illness. With both, I left the field largely unwillingly. Both involved emotionally felt losses that I defined as confirming my greatest fears about myself.

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Huh? Didn't you only have one leg last week?

I am very excited I was awarded disability a month after I applied, but I also have mixed feelings about it. It feels so wrong to be disabled at 39. I am having a hard time accepting it. I realize I'm not special and lots of people become disabled at young ages including children. I understand fairness does not come into play in illness, but I am still pissed off.

My mother in law left yesterday after visiting us for several days. I had migraines almost every day she was here. I wanted to watch tv and movies with her or watch the cats go ballistic over squirrels in the bird feeder outside our living room even though these activities increased the severity of my migraine attacks. It took me a few days to realize the activities were doing so.
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Sorry I haven't been posting. I've been feeling so ill with the migraines. I'm worn out! I got great news though! I was approved for disability! Woot! At least I don't have to worry about money now. I'll be back to posting after I start feeling some better!
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Please play "I like big butts" at my funeral

A few years ago, my husband got me a CD for Christmas called -- oh hell I don't know what it was called, but it was all music about butts. There was this song about donkey butt (eww), "Rump Shaker," of course there was "I Like Big Butts," and "Big Bottom Girls." I was just trying to figure out what it was called and when I typed in "butt music" in Amazon, all this Bach came up. Dumbfounded, I told my hubby about this odd result. He somehow knew the conductor for all these Bach albums was a guy named Butt. How does he know these things? He's so weird. Anywho, I love music about butts! They are perfect comic relief for lots of occasions: on my way to take a final exam, feeling sick, being grouchy as all get out, etc.

I think I also like butt music because I have butt envy. I have a pancake butt. It's a curse I inherited from my Dad. I never understood why my Dad has chosen to wear suspenders instead of belts. And I wish I never did understand. The reason became clear as I grew up and my butt refused to grow at all. Wearing a belt becomes pointless if I am trying to keep my pants up. Having no butt, the belt offers no help. Hence, I believe my Dad wears suspenders to keep his pants up. I've never actually confirmed this with my Dad. I might want "I Like Big Butts" and "Big Bottom Girls" played at my funeral, but talking to my dad about his legacy of no-butt-ness would be awkward.
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The cost of inaction

Martin Luther King, Jr. stated, "Man's inhumanity to man is not only perpetrated by the vitriolic actions of those who are bad, it also perpetrated by the vitiating inaction of those who are good."

It has been about six months since I first learned of the atrocities occuring in Congo. After reading some non-fiction books about the genocide in Rwanda, I stumbled across Lisa Shannon's A Thousand Sisters: My Journey to the World's Worst Place to be a Woman  I learned that many of the perpetrators of the genocide in Rwanda moved to the Congo and have been committing atrocities there. According to a New York Times article published yesterday, "New Study Suggests Higher Incidence of Rape in Congo", over 400,000 Congo women were raped in a year. For the last 15 years, multiple militias and even the government troops are accused of using rape as a weapon of war and conflict. Women who live there are in constant danger of being attacked and can do little to make their lives safer. Victims of the violence also include children.

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My medical bill total this year

Last year the cost my husband and I paid out of pocket for my medical bills was over $10,000. I have health insurance, and about $2,000 of the $10,000 were health insurance premiums.

This year has so far been cheaper because I have been quite sick and have been unable to get to the doctor. My hubby teaches and now that he is off for the summer, I'll be able to catch up on doctor visits. Another reason my medical bills are lower so far this year is that my migraine specialist is no longer in my insurance network so I have been spending a lot of time talking to different people trying to figure out how I can see him and how much it costs.

I've decided to share the tally of my medical bills thus far this year.

$1,023   Health insurance premiums
  1,191   Medication co-pays
     606   Doctor visits
       56   Dentist
$2,875   Total

Migraines so far this year as of 5/1:  50
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Transparent Thursday 2 (note: I'm grouchy as all get out)

1. I have a very hard time understanding what people with accents are saying. As a consequence, I rarely watch foreign movies or anything narrated by any British people.

2. I'm kind of over the whole natural thing. Especially when people say "I wouldn't use anything that's not natural on my body." Just because it's natural doesn't mean its good. Poop is natural but I don't want to slather it all over my body.

3. People being complacent by not contacting political figures about their opinions about issues. It's very simple to contact politicians in this day and age. Lots of websites that will even write form letters or petitions you just add your name to. We live in a democracy and it only works if people vote and communicate their beliefs to politicians.

4. When I tell people how much medicine I take to stay semi-functioning with my myriad of illnesses, sometime people respond "I don't like to take medicine." Duh. I don't take medicine cause I like it. I take it because if I don't, I get depressed, my blood pressure drops so I faint, and I get even more migraines.

5. When I tell people how much medicine I take to stay semi-functioning and someone says, "You're too young to take that much." Unfortunately my chronic illinesses don't discriminate based on age. Kids and old people get them. I've had migraines and neurogenic orthostatic hypotension since I was 11.
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Weird Wordless Wednesday

We got some water at Sam's and Tabasco made the container his new bed:

Looking for more weirdness? Check out:

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Virtual March on Washington

Last week I wrote about the human cost of inaction. Millions of women have been raped brutalized in Congo. They continue to be brutalized without international intervention. Many require surgery to repair the injuries incurred because of the rapes. Please consider joining in by adding your voice to the cause. It is easy to join in. You don't even have to get off your chair! Currently on Facebook, there is a virtual march on Washington requesting that a Special Envoy envoy be sent to Congo to begin diplomatic measures to stop the violence.  The women in Congo need our support. 

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Subcutaneous fluid injections for Pandora-blob

Our oldest kitty, Pandora, is 17 now and has a wide assortment of medical problems. She's taken to whizzing all over the place in one of the rooms in our basement. Thank goodness the room has concrete flooring so it's easy to clean. My hubby has been on mop duty to clean it up.  Earlier this week I took her to the vet to make sure nothing more is wrong. The vet called yesterday with the results. Her thyroid numbers are a little high and her kidney disease is a little worse. The vet wanted me to start giving her fluids under her skin for her kidneys so she won't get dehydrated. She also changed Pandy's meds up a little.

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Weird Wordless Wednesday

Would you be interested in joining a Weird Wordless Wednesday blog hop? Leave a comment if you would!

This week's pic is one my hubby found!

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Happy Mothers Day to my Mom!

Something weird has been happening to me the last couple years. I've become more of a sap every year. I suspect my own aging (I'm 39) and my parents now in their 70's has contributed. I think the chronic migraines has also increased my sappiness. Feeling like I've lost friends, my hopes for a career, and even leaving the house more than once a week these days, I've grown to appreciate what I do have. I haven't always appreciated my Mom as I should. So this one is for her!  

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On this Mother's Day, please help the mothers in Congo

Did you know that the world's most deadly war since World War II is occurring as we speak? This conflict is fueled by the minerals used to create the electronics that are a major part of our daily lives. These minerals, also called conflict minerals, come from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Troops and militias in Congo fight for control over the mines that produce conflict minerals. They rape women and children, force children to be soldiers, and force people to labor in the mines.

Congo has been described as the most dangerous person to be woman and the rape capital of the world. 400,000 women were raped in 2006-2007 alone. The war began in Congo in 1996. Since that time 5.4 million people have died and 1 million have been displaced. Half of those killed are children under 5 years old. On this Mothers' Day, please take 2 min to help the women of Congo. Please sign this petition to ask Obama and Clinton to fulfill there promises to send an Envoy to the Congo to begin peace talks.

Sending an envoy is not a call for military action. Instead, as has been successful in resolving conflict in other African nations, it is a request for peace negotiations to begin. Such action will help create a comprehensive plan to provide a lasting solution for the atrocities that are being committed.

For more information please visit Raise Hope for Congo and A Thousand Sisters.

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Happy Mothers Day weekend to all the moms out there!

I had written a post last week and then was going to post the second part today about why I chose not to have kids without considering the timing. How dumb can I be? Mother's Day weekend? I guess that was why it was on my mind! Earlier, one of the mom blogs I follow had a post today about her struggles to conceive. She has also had miscarriages. Her posts about her struggle have broken my heart.

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Transparent Thursday!

I must admit I stole this idea from The Lone Tater blog. Each Thursday she lists a few confessions she feels the need to make. Love it!

1. Although I have 3 kitty pictures on my home page, one passed away a year and a half ago. My hubby and I had Tabasco for 12 years. But I still think of him as our cat--even though he's moved to Rainbow Bridge. Whuuuuttt?! You don't know about the Rainbow Bridge? It's where pets go when they pass away. Ends up it's really fun there. Tabasco has sent us some psychic messages though our living cats and told them he has been riding in a tortilla boat on a velveeta river. (He loved velveeta and tortillas.) Oh and there are fields of fish, too.

Here's a picture of Tabasco. My hubby photoshopped it so it looks like he's eating our other cat Pimmy. I do not condone one cat eating another, and no cats for harmed in the making of this picture.

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Weird Wordless Wednesday! What do you mean you've never seen a cat eating corn?

In honor of It's OK to Be WEIRD here is a pic of my Weird Wordless Wednesday!

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Part Duex! You might be a Migraineur if:

I've come up for more signs that you might be a migraineur if. . It's amazing what becomes difficult after I've had almost daily migraines for a few months. I cannot help but laugh at myself sometimes, so I decided to start a series.

You might be a migraineur if.. . .
1. You see a picture of a bear with sunglasses and wonder if they do wear sunglasses. Then suddenly you realize emphatically that bears do not wear sunglasses.
2. Grocery store circulars become incredibly confusing.
3. Making a grocery list becomes impossible because you realize Tostitos are different prices at different stores. 
4. Hanging up pants blows your mind
5. Hanging up pants leaves you winded
6. You tell someone you need to find the last 3 weeks of your tax returns
7. You're pretty sure you feel pain in your toenails when you have migraines.
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I'm coming out of the closet!

I have felt the need to explain myself. As I wander around looking at blogs, I'm overcome with embarrassment. Everyone has kids! EVERYONE! I feel like an imposter. Truth is I have no kids though I do make comments on people's blogs about kids hoping no one notices that I have an opinion but not the experience.  Then I think I went too far.

I heard about Mamavation on the UBP11 closing show thingy. Bookieboo was on it. She's the leader of this Mamavation thingy. She seems like so much fun to hang out with. And her name is Bookieboo! What a great name! She's one of those people with only one name. I could never get away with that. And the word Mamavation--that's fun too! This Bookieboo woman has her own lingo. She's making up words! Love it! Have to be a part of it!

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Toilet bowl spiral of yuck

With all these stupid migraines I've been getting, I've found my mind frequently gets into a yuck spiral. (yuck=Why is this happening to me? Seriously, another migraine? Is this really a migraine? Should I have taken medicine? Oh my goodness, it's costing a fortune. I would so die if I had to live in a refrigerator box. I must be close to a world records with the number I'm having. It would be fun to be in the Guiness World Records book. I sure did love to get them when the book bus came to school. Is my life always going to be like this? This is awful! How does my hubby put up with me. I'm losing my mind! Why is this happening to me?) Around and around I go. I pick up speed and my mind races through the spiral over and over and over and over. 
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Thirsty for Comments Thursday

It's not a traditional hop where blogs are just looking for followers. Instead hoppers are asked to visit the post that is linked and to comment thoughtfully on the post. I love this! I am very new to blogging, and am still pretty confused about what I'm doing. I would love feedback. 

Acting Balanced

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Wordless Wednesday

Lazer Pim! Pew Pew!

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New series: You might be a migraneur if. . .

It's amazing what becomes difficult after I've had almost daily migraines for a few months. I cannot help but laugh at myself sometimes, so I decided to start a series.

Jill Greenberg's "Monkey with Headache"

You might be a migraineur if.. . .
1. Hanging up pants blows your mind
2. Hanging up pants leaves you winded
3. You tell someone you need to find the last 3 weeks of your tax returns
4. You're pretty sure you feel pain in your toenails when you have migraines.
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My Dad got bit by so many owls over the years

I will admit I am on the gullible side. As a child when my dad came home with cuts from working as a heating and air conditioner repair person, I'd ask him how he got hurt. Inevitably he'd tell me an owl bit him or my mom did. I had never noticed any owls flying around in Florida, but it seemed plausible. (Side note--I am scared of birds. Maybe this is one of the reasons why.) I also never knew my mom to bite anyone, so that was a little harder to swallow, but I partly believed him. I have a love of reading about other cultures and when I stumbled upon Greg Mortenson's books, "Three Cups of Tea" and "Stones Into Schools"I fell in love with his fantastic stories. I recounted the tales in GM's books to whoever would listen. He inspired me. I believed all of it. Ends up it inspired and affected a whole heck of a lot of people. Last week 60 Minutes did a segment recounting some of the allegations that some of GM's stories were untrue. There are also allegations about financial misconduct. In the last week, others have come forward with further allegations.  For those of you not familiar with the books or his organization, Central Asia Institute, I'll briefly recount his story.

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Thanks, but I think I'll pass on being pals with a sex offender

Yesterday, I got a big envelope in the mail about the prisoner pen pal program I had signed up for. I sat with my hubby, and we looked through the info. He cautions me when I get taken away with some idea of mine. I tend to be too trusting when I first meet people. I tend to see the good in people to the point of fault. When I worked with parolees and people with drug problems, he knew I would come home many days enthusiastically describing how great my new clients were. "Yeah, you'd never know he committed armed robbery. He's the nicest guy!" I know this sounds ridiculous, and I acknowledge that I can be rather ridiculous. I'm not sure what it is about me, but it takes me awhile to figure out that some people aren't all they seem to be. Predictably, my hubby also grew used to me coming home a little droopy, "You'll never guess what happened today. One of my clients went bat crazy and put a hole in the wall when she slammed the coat rack into it." Or, "I couldn't believe it! One of the women punched a police officer!"

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That's right, I beat the piss out of her

First, let me say, this whole blog thing is blowing my mind. In terms of trying to format it, I'm struck stupid. I have tried to put up pictures on the main page but it was all wonky, so it's just going to look like shite until I get myself well enough to figure our html or whatever-the-hell-ml. There should be a pic of a kitty. That's Pandora, our kitty, in a food coma.

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I'm getting a pen pal who is jail. Yes, I know this sounds like a big bowl of wrong.

At the beginning of the year I followed along with an online spiritual program. This is an annual gathering of people from different wisdom traditions such a Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, etc. (I'm Buddhist.) There are different leaders on the site and people sign up to listen to talks each day from one or more of the leaders. After listening to the talks, people do spiritual practice for about half an hour. When I signed up for the program, I received a newsletter that included lots of info and a little blurb about a Pen Pal program for persons in jail. I know, it already sounds like a bad idea, but wait!

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Day 3 of a migraine

I'm on day 3 of a migraine. Not a bad one by any means. Pain has been intermittent. I have felt fatigued and nauseous, but I've been able to do mindless things on the computer most of the day. I have been hella confused though. When I went to meditate today, I tried to set the alarm on my phone after 30 min. It's was 1:56 pm and it took me a good 3 or 4 tries to figure out what time the alarm should go off. I set it over and over. It really blew my mind! lol.
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127 Migraine Days in the last year

This probably a bad idea, but I added up how many days in the last year I've had a migraine. My total is 127. I think this may have been a bad idea because it's depressing. But I do think it confirms why I feel so frustrated. It also demonstrates how much migraines have affected my daily life and my ability to function. Sometimes people assume that when I say I have a migraine, that I am having a severe headache. Migraines are far more than a headache.

The National Headache Foundation refers to migraines as migraine attacks because migraines affect the body's systems. For example along with the headache, I have increased sensitivity to light, smells, and noise. I get nauseous and fatigued. My ability to concentrate is diminished. I get confused and have difficulty expressing myself verbally when I have an attack. I also experience mood swings. I was so relieved when I found out that emotional instability was a symptom of migraine attacks. I had feared I was losing my mind!

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OK I've been trying to figure out how to write about all that I've lost in the last weeks. Trying not to sound desperate and worthy of pity though the words I think describes me most are desperate and pitiful. It's not that I don't have so many blessings in my life. I have a wonderful husband who is more than I fear I deserve. I aspire to be worthy of him. At the same time, I tell myself that I am worthy and try to sit with the guilt. Not even wanting to understand why I feel guilty. Bleck. I have a supportive family, a few wonderful friends, and my wonderful kitties. But damnit, I feel awful sometimes. Devastated and desperate. Grasping onto anything that might mean life if worth living. I know I'm not supposed to feel this way--at the same time knowing there is no way I'm supposed to feel. See the problem? lol.

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