Attack of the Never-ending Migraines

I was not very far past toddler-hood the first time I recall being bombarded with a migraine, though at the time I didn’t have any inkling as to what it was called.  It was a warm summer evening and we were in Kentucky’s Appalachian Mountains at the farm my mother grew up on.  Every fourth of July Weekend the “Kentucky Jones” descend upon their homeland, like migrating birds, for a weekend of games, KFC & catching up.

This particular year I was extra excited because instead of staying at the old Holiday Inn with Mom & Dad, I was going to get the spend the night on the farm with my two cousins: Lisa and LeAnna.  We were already into Day Two, Saturday, of the reunion and us girl cousins had been playing hard.  Games like kick the can, water sliding down the hill and lock-up in the barn (thank u LeAnna for being skinny enough to shimmy through the beams and win us the game!) had wore everyone out so out-of-towner’s  was began to round up their kids and head back to town and the hotels.

My headache began sometime after lunch but I refused to say anything to mom on the grounds that I KNEW she would make me miss my very first (that I could remember) cousin sleep-over!  By evening the throbbing echoed from my down to my tiny, barefoot toes.  I ended up hiding on the far side of my uncle’s house, in tears, still stubbornly holding onto my pj party plans.  I sat on the grass, knees tightly pulled up to my chest, attempting to hide myself and my tears when I heard voices.

Seeing my intense pain Lisa sought out my mother, knowing that only a mother’s touch could fix this.  Gosh darnit, though, if I wasn’t right!  One look at the concern on mamma’s face and I knew we headed to the hotel with her trying to convince an obstinate 6(ish) year old that I wouldn’t be able to have fun if I was hurting.  Tears waterfalled down my cheeks, the clean saltwater riverbeds standing in stark contrast to the dirt that had already laid claim to the rest of my face.  I noticed my dad’s eyes shift towards me in the rear view mirror when the hiccups began, so powerful in my angst that with every other hiccup my bum would nearly clear the seat.  I tried to calm down and curb my spectacle, but I found it impossible; besides, at that moment I really couldn’t figure out if the tears were for my lost opportunity or the agonizing invasion that had taken over my brain.

Quite a few years would pass before I would experience that kind of pain again, in fact it wasn’t until my early pre-teen years that I remember migraine monster returning.  My head had been hurting all evening so before bed my mother gave me a couple of Tylenol and shooed me off to go count sheep. I remember lying there in bed, the pain becoming increasingly unbearable until I finally tip-toed through the slumbering house into my parents room.

I slipped up on my mother’s side, tears already spilling over, as I roused her.  I reckon her “mother’s instinct” kicked in for she immediately knew something was wrong, ushering me quietly back to my room so as not to wake anyone else on a school/work night.  Since it had only been about an hour ago that I had taken some pain medicine, there was not a whole lot she could do but to comfort me with her soft touch and whispered words.I don’t know how long she sat beside my bed, gently adjusting the cool cloth she had placed on my forehead, but it seemed like most of the night.  At some point I finally managed to fall asleep, waking up with nothing more than the memory of pain and terry cloth imprints on my cheek from where I had rolled over and slept on the wash cloth.

From that point on the “headaches” returned one or two times a year.  The pain would be so intense that I often sought unconventional means to alleviate my suffering.  For some odd reason one of the best ways was to stand next to a wall, pushing against it with my forehead.  I reckon the mixture of the cool wall and the pressure on my head was some sort of magic combination; it did have the singular effect of freaking my mother out whenever she’d come into my room and see me standing like this.

About seven years ago I began experiencing “cluster headaches”; headaches that come everyday about the same time.  Finally, after literally a month straight of headaches I went to see my doctor.  Since he, Dr. Cathey (the BEST doctor, ever), experiences migraines as well he’s extremely empathetic.  He recognized the symptoms immediately and for the first time I had a name for my sufferings: migraine.

After a trip to a neurologist, to confirm Dr. Cathey’s diagnosis (arranged by him, I never doubt diagnosis) we began the tricky phase of finding a medication that works for me.  One of the most popular medications for migraines causes the heart to speed up in a very small percentage of patients…guess whose in the percentage?  Finally, after attempting several more medications (including preventative meds that actually INCREASED my headaches) we found one, Maxalt, that works well for me….well, as long as I’m on insurance because without it costs over $300 for nine pills!

Sometime last winter I had the WORST migraine of my enterite life.  It came early one week, sent me crying to the ER/clinic a total of five times and finally went away seven days later.  A week or two later I started experiencing vertigo, keep in mind that as far as I remember I have never been dizzy or faint a day in my life.  Something about either the weeklong migraine, or the vertigo (or perhaps a weird 2% combination of both), changed my migraines.

Suddenly they would come and last days at a time, ignoring my self medication and sometimes even the shots from the doctors.  In addition the pain was more intense and the “pattern” of migraines changed.  Instead of them taking root in the side or front of my head, they floated all around; often causing a burning sensation (not unlike when a person gets water up their nose) the envelop my entire head and would drift like fog on a lake down into my neck and shoulders (if Mom didn’t like the wall thing, she’d really spas if she saw me grabbing my hair and pulling it tightly away from my skull: this method works best if one’s hair is in a ponytail).

The new “ice pick” migraines are especially fun.  They feel exactly as the name describes, like a person is literally stabbing your head with an ice pick.  Thankfully when they come they usually only last from between thirty-seconds to a minute. However, I think that they must have felt left out because last week I started getting sudden, full-blown migraines in just a couple of minutes (typically I can feel them coming on at least a couple of hours ahead of time)!

Even though the pain is torturous, and nausea aggravating (to say the least); I think the worst part is the loss of control you feel over your life.  I never know when they are going to hit, and the inconsiderate little twit doesn’t care if I need to go work, have a date plan made or if its the first day of hunting season.  While I do occasionally get reprieves for a month or two, I live in dread because I never know when they will return or how long they plan to stay.

In a few weeks plans have been made re-to visit the neurologist.  In the meantime, I sit in the clinic waiting room, ready for my second shot today and prayerfully some relief!  Hunting season opens in the morning and I have yet to bag me a deer (it doesn’t matter if its a doe or a buck; if it’s brown, its down!).  But, of course four days ago the migraines decided they were lonely; and like those pesky in-laws seen in movies that come un-invited and show no plans of leaving, the migraine monster has unpacked his bags. 

Perhaps my faithful doc will have a cure for me so that tomorrow at this time instead of sitting in this chair, I’ll be climbing down from my stand tagging my first deer! 

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Radio Flyer

Boy, Radio Flyer wagons sure have changed since I was a kid!  No more worrying about them rusting if you leave it in the rain or being limited because of the short sides as to how much can be stacked in them.  Now they’ve come out with uber-fancy kid-toting ones!  These things have as many accessories as new vehicles!  My brother and sister bought one for their son, Matt (or affectionately known as Pac-Man by his Aunt Mel-Mel) and I have got to tell you this thing is THE BOMB!  It has two seats, one of which can either be either rear-facing or forward-facing AND folded down to use as a little table.  It also has a canopy that can be stretched over it, like on an old-fashioned buckboard, to protect our little tykes from the harsh sun or wet rain.

Yesterday my family took a trip to the Memphis Zoo and Josh and Kaiti brought their wagon so that Hila Fay and Pac-Man could ride together.  It amazed me at how much Hila LOVED this thing!  Unlike her stroller (which is an awesome, off-roader!), she didn’t spend her entire time in it trying to stand up or climb out–in fact she didn’t try to get out, at all.  Once, she even cried to be put back in when her dad decided to hold her for a while! 

So, Santa Claus if you’re listening–Momma Hila Fay would like an uber-cool Radio Flyer like her cousins’…just throwing it out there!

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Am I alone? Anyone else have problems w/ @Verizon or @Motorola?

Ok, I must take a moment to vent.  Mother’s Day, 2010 my husband surprised me with a new Droid.  Now we are not normally the type to splurge on such luxuries, but it being my first Mother’s Day Chuck wanted to do something special for me.

Since then I have had SIX replacement phones! Yes, six!  In their defence, one was my fault (just an FYI, before you sit on the potty, take your phone out of your back pocket), but only one.  Now my sixth phone will charge 10% of the battery then stop.  My only two choices are to either pay a $90 deductible or “upgrade” to a new phone.

With a product that obviously has MAJOR issues, and a customer that has been with them for almost fifteen years, shouldn’t there be more options?  What happened to people, and companies, standing behind their products? To 100% customer satisfaction?

Well, until we get some money scrounged up, I wouldn’t recommend trying to call me.

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Forwarding Address

In order to be able to customize my blogs more, and to seperate my personal blogs from my devotional ones, I’ve moved from Blogspot to WordPress.  The coolest thing is that I was able to bring all my old posts with me!  So, take a moment to stroll down memory lane and see what we’ve been up to these past few years.  I hope that you find the transition smooth, but in all reality this will somehow cause my microwave to explode.

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What’s in a Name: A Lesson from my Dad

Growing up I often felt as if I was not my own self but rather an extension of those around me. I never seemed to be introduced as “Melonie”.  If we were at home I was “The Preacher’s Kid” or “Mrs. Brodbent’s Daughter” (mom’s a teacher).  Once a year during our family reunions I became simply “Evalee’s”. 

I thought that maybe when I got older and began to live my own life that finally I might be able to be me.  Nope, not gonna happen.  About that time my kid brother’s (who is a child genius, started his own business at eleven, was a member of the chamber of commerce by fourteen, and graduated high school at sixteen) business started exploding and I turned into “Josh’s Sister”.  Then I got married and I knew that now I would gain the honor of being able to be introduced as me.  I waited eagerly for the first opportunity to arrive and stood patiently wanting to soak it in.  “Hey! This is Mrs. Hixon, you know…Chuck’s wife.”

Really!?

Because of this traumatic upbringing I tend to pay attention to how people are referred to.  Last Wednesday Chuck and I visited a local church.  As I was watching Hila Fay get settled into the nursery the new pastor came over and introduced himself.  We chatted for a moment before it came up that he knew my father.  I waited for usual “preacher’s kid” joke but was quite stunned, and proud, when instead he said, “Yea, he prays for me every Sunday.”

Wow! What an absolutely amazing testimony!  How would it be to have such intense ministry (dad has bunches and bunches of preachers and ministry people that he systematically prays for, if you are interested you can find him on Facebook under Pastor Al Brodbent) that you are introduced by it? Or what if your christian zeal became so well known that you began to be described as, “You know, the one that leads all those people to Christ” or “She’s that lady who’s always going around helping everyone else”?

I know longer desire to be introduced as me.  It seems as if finally I have warmed up to the idea of labels.  It also seems that one is never too old to be properly schooled by their dad.  Love you Old Man, thanks for the inspiration.

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