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My Hopeful Brain

By Roni Jones

Queen For A Day

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“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” ~ Eleanor Brownn

Picture this, it’s 1558 and you have a dozen ladies in waiting anticipating your every need or desire. Your body aches and a nasty tension headache is brewing, after a long day of dealing with, the running of your kingdom. This was the day set aside, to hear grievances, from your people, and solve these problems.  Not to worry, a hot bath and massage is waiting for you. Feeling too fatigued to go the royal dining hall for supper, no problem, supper is brought to you. When you are ready for bed, your ladies in waiting, help you disrobe, and get into bed. Making sure your sleeping environment is cozy, relaxing, free of noise, light and distraction. Throughout the night your ladies in waiting, take turns watching over you, in case you might need something during night. The next morning, the routine starts over again, with your ladies in waiting fetching your breakfast, and maybe filling you in on palace gossip as you eat. You get dressed for the day, with the help of your, ladies in waiting, and because today is a slow day, with nothing urgent to do. You declare this day, a leisure day. For taking strolls through the Palace gardens, reading, a picnic on the grounds, followed by a nap or working on needle craft.

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While all of that sounds really fantastic, I don’t think that I could handle it day in and day out. But letting myself be treated like a Queen, for one day, that I could do. Migraine and Fibromyalgia, which equals chronic pain, takes a lot out of me. Often leaving me with bone deep fatigue, poor sleep, or painsomnia, the inability to tolerate the slightest touch at times, because my muscles hurt so badly. There is not one muscle group, that is immune for Fibromyalgia pain, my breasts even hurt, during a flare. I get charlie horses at night, in my legs and feet. There is a direct correlation between a migraine attack and fibro flare. For me there is also a direct link, to the barometric pressure changes.

Let’s talk about being a Queen for a day and self-care. As the quote I used above say’s, “you cannot serve from a vessel”. How can we help others, if our vessel is empty? How can we even help ourselves? Here are a few ways to practice self-care and make you feel like a Queen for a day.

  • A few years ago for Christmas, my son’s gave me a gift certificate for a spa treatment. Heavenly, it included a facial, full body massage, manicure and pedicure. Since the therapist was really thorough and took a medical history, she knew I had Fibromyalgia and didn’t dig in really hard in the problematic areas. It’s important that your massage technician knows your medical history. If a full body massage is too pricey(and they can be), go for an upper body massage.
  • This is one of my favorites; Turn off your cell phone, get comfy in a pair of PJ’s or sweats, read a good book, or have a movie or TV show marathon, with popcorn thrown in there sometime.
  • Self-care days should be, a break from all social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, your Websites, Blogs, etc., will not crash and burn if you don’t make an appearance for one day. This includes your cell phone, leave it on for possible emergent calls, but no peeking!
  • Order take out for supper, no muss no fuss!
  • If you’re a hot tea drinker, indulge in your favorite relaxing tea today.
  • If you have a favorite sweet, but hardly ever eat it, self-care day would be the day to do so.
  • Depending on the weather, if you feel up to it and maybe your spouse or a friend, wants to come along. Take a stroll through your neighborhood, breathing in the fresh air. I have found this to be helpful, when I’m feeling a little down. I’ll take pictures of flowers, or anything else I find interesting. It lifts my spirits every time!
  • Get your hair done, try something different, go a little wild. It can really boost your self-esteem. While your there get a manicure and pedicure, if your salon offers them. There’s something decadent about having, a manicure and pedicure, especially a pedicure having your feet rubbed, feels wonderful!
  • Maybe you just feel like napping, that’s perfectly fine. This may be your body’s way of telling you, that your energy stores or depleted and need to be recharged.
  • Never ever, feel guilty about taking self-care days, ever!

By implementing a self-care day, you are making yourself Queen for a day! I believe those living with chronic pain on a daily basis, should be Queen for a day, at least once a month. More often than that, if your pain levels are higher and stay high for long periods of time. We are not doing ourselves, or our families, any good if we continue to push ourselves to a breaking point. Again, you cannot serve from an empty vessel! This includes your family, the migraine and chronic pain community, and most of all yourself. So allow yourself to be Queen for a day, and image sitting in that beautiful throne, in a mystic place, where all is calm, quiet and serene. After you’ve been Queen for a day, you are energized, your hope level on full, you feel peace, love and joy, your vessel is full and overflowing! 

“Self-care is not about self-indulgence, it’s about self-preservation.” Audrey Lorde

Live with hope,
Roni

Images purchased from Storyblocks.com

Migraine Ninja

“Achievement. Just another skill of a ninja.”
― Jarius Raphel

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A ninja has many tools at his or her’s disposal, all of them deadly, not counting the physical skills they have trained, long and hard for. Without their skills and weaponry, a ninja is just like every other person you pass on the street, ordinary. Ninja’s can be traced back to 14th century, Japan where their talents were used to spy and infiltrate the enemy. They moved like ghosts, getting the information they needed, to protect their families and homelands. I dare to say, they never slacked off on their duties, there was far too much at stake.

I can see many correlations, between a ninja and a Migraine Ninja. Let me list a few and see if, I can make them as clear to you, as they seem to me.

  • A Migraine Ninja also needs tools, and we are proactively adding more tools, to our box all the time.
  • The first line of defense, we add to our tool box, is our daily preventative. This is our most powerful weapon against migraine. Without it we would be a ninja, stripped of almost all of his weapons.
  • Next would be our abortive and rescue medications. Combined with our preventative, these are extremely powerful weapons against migraine.
  • For some the addition of Botox and nerve blocks, are added weapons in the fight against migraine. More tools to be added to our box.
  • Ninjas of old spied on their enemy, in order to gather information. As a Migraine Ninja, we most continue to learn as much as we can, about our disease. This a tool, but also an armor, to protect against spammers and the like. How can you stand up for yourself, advocate, if you don’t understand your migraine condition?
  • Be proactive, find ways to decrease the stress in your life, with relaxation techniques. Learn some kind of meditation, I have found Mindfulness Meditation, with the app Headspace, to be very helpful and easy to follow. I also practice Biofeedback, and find listening to music, Jazz, Easy Listening, Adele, and songs from the 50’s, to be calming when I’m feeling anxious. As well as, Chamomile tea.
  • Even as a Migraine Ninja, there will be times, that you feel depressed and anxious. Especially if you have clinical depression, living with chronic pain is not easy. Sometimes you have to pick yourself up, mentally kick your bum, and pour your own hope. If you are feeling overly depressed and anxious, and you’re not on any medication, there is no shame whatsoever, in seeking help. If you are on medication, and still feeling deeply depressed, I would say a chat with your doctor is in order.
  • Giving up is just not an option, I’ve worked too long and too hard!
  • The real joy comes, when you are able to help, encourage, inspire, uplift, bring hope to someone feeling hopeless,  on their journey with migraine. That feeling, knowing you have brought hope, back into someones life. It is more precious than gold, showing kindness is what a Migraine Ninja does, everyday in any way!
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A woman set free, from hopelessness!


“Grant That I May Radiate Thy Light, Thy Love,

Thy Healing, Thy Joy, and Thy Peace,
to All Those Around Me
and All Those in My Thoughts
This Day and Ever More.”
– Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Live with hope,
Roni

Light Conquers Darkness

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“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”
Albert Schweitzer

Through every journey with migraine and chronic pain, there are dark places. I know this to be the case, with myself. Living with chronic pain, day in and day out, is very hard. Not just on our bodies, but on our mental health as well. I try very hard to keep my hope strong, to feed my mind with positive, uplifting, inspiration, messages. Practice Mindfulness Mediation, biofeedback and other relaxation techniques.

Even with these proactive steps, the darkness can creep in and sometimes blow out my light. Clinical depression can be, a hard monster to battle, especially if your light is out, and you are feeling hopeless. The last couple of weeks, have been a struggle. I’ve had laryngitis, for two weeks now. It vacillates from being able, only to talk in a whisper, to sounding like a very sick chipmunk! It’s been hard to talk to my husband, phone calls are out of the question! This has added another layer, to the isolation I was already feeling, due to intractable migraine. Which fed the blue moodiness I was feeling and didn’t like at all! 

Every time I feel myself in a situation like this, it is not long at all, before one of my migraine sisters, contacts me with a word of encouragement. Without knowing what, I’m going through on any given day! That encouragement is enough, to rekindle my light and hope! This was a message I got recently, when I was feeling really low.
Everyday…
You are loved.
You are thought of.
You are prayed for.
Love you!

Sharing encouragement, inspiration and hope, makes sure that the light always wins, over the darkness. While it may seem that you are walking through, a very murky, gloomy, dark forest, there is a light at the end of that path. Hold on to your hope, the ones who love you, and never forget, you are not ALONE EVER!

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“There are two ways of spreading light; to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”
Edith Wharton

Live with hope,
Roni

 

 

Pour Your Own Hope

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday, you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.” John Lennon

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For some time now, I’ve found myself, feeling a little lost, out of touch, moody and blue. While I know the reason for these feelings, it doesn’t make them any easier to deal with. Being in constant pain, and having clinical depression is the reason. Dealing with intractable migraine and an increase in fibromyalgia flares, are causing my depression to kick up a notch. In my mind I know this, understand this, but it really doesn’t help.

After another long day of pain, listlessness, feeling as if I were a hamster running on its wheel, getting nowhere. Except I don’t have the energy, to run on a wheel, my fatigue is bone deep. I thought to myself, snap out of it sister, where is your hope? Hope isn’t a tangible thing, you can’t feel it, touch it, see it, you must have faith that hope is there. You can see hope at work, in the many who live with migraine and chronic pain, as they actively seek new treatments, other ways to manage their pain. Hope keeps them looking, instead of just sitting down and doing nothing more, accepting the status quo.

It dawned on me. that when your hope is low, you have to find a way to pour your own, to fill your “hope tank” you might say. Seek out quotes and sites, with inspiring, encouraging, uplifting messages. I find many such quotes on Twitter, Princess Sassy Pant’s & Co, Karen Salmansohn, and other Facebook pages. The “hope quote” I’m closing with is one of my very favorites!

“Hope is a thing with feathers, that perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all”
Emily Dickinson

Live with hope,
Roni

 

Be Kind

“It’s so easy to laugh. It’s so easy to hate. It takes strength to be gentle and kind.” Stephen Morrissey

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My motto for 2018 is, be kind! Sounds rather simple, you may be thinking, but if you look back over 2017, there were so many actions that took place, that were far from kind. A lot of folks, look to the leader of our country, for guidance during challenging times. Sadly that didn’t happen, folks become more uncertain and others saw it as a chance to, further bigotry. If there was ever a time to start, showing kindness, even small acts of kindness, it is now.

Especially among the migraine community, this is a time to lift one another up, not tear them down. Using the various migraine support groups, that host and leaders, have worked so hard, to make a safe, calm, supportive place, is unthinkable. And so very wrong.

These are stressful times, and while stress alone, doesn’t trigger a migraine, when added to other factors, causes a cumulative effect, that can trigger a migraine. Before you fire back at someone, use these THINK  guidelines.

  • T ~ is it true?
  • H ~ is it helpful?
  • I ~ is it inspiring?
  • N ~ is it necessary?
  • K ~ is it kind?

If you cannot answer yes to these questions, then it’s probably best not to say, what you had in mind. Because these kind of comments, have a way of biting you in bum, somewhere down the road. And you’re left with a mess to clean up and a boatload of stress!

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My Mom always said, “you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar”! Why anyone would want to catch flies, is beyond me! But I got the moral behind the saying. Being kind, takes a personality with more honey, than vinegar. Bee’s are busy little creatures, going from flower to flower, spreading pollen, that eventually creates the amazing honey, I love to drink in my tea every morning.

Just like the bees, we can be busy spreading kindness, as we go about our day. Kindness isn’t necessarily difficult, a smile and thank you, to the gentleman who held the door for you, helping an elderly woman, put her groceries in her car, a quick complement to a woman, as you pass her, about her fabulous boots. Complements about adorable babies/toddlers, as well as, a person dog. Keeping track of which migraine friend, who hasn’t posted in a day or two. This usually means, the migraine beast has them in their cave.

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I have several migraine friends and a few who are, as close as a sister. I didn’t need to use honey, to start or retain our friendship. We have much in common, namely we are on this migraine journey together. But I don’t take their friendship for granted, like any relationship you have to be present and work on it. “Bee” there for each other and always be kind. Showing kindness and bring joy and happiness, to another person, is an awesome feeling, it doesn’t have to cost you dime, but the reward goes on forever!

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” Mother Teresa

Live with hope,
Roni

 

 

Out With the Old In the New

“Let’s start the New Year right
One minute to midnight
One minute to go
One minute to say goodbye
Before we say hello”

I’ve never been one to make New Year’s resolutions, for the most part, they’ve always gotten broken. I think it’s much more productive, to look back at the old year, and think of the mistakes/missteps I’ve made, and use those examples, as to how I can do better this year.

The one thing that I have challenged myself to do, the last the last two years, was enter the Goodreads reading challenge. I have beat my challenge in 2016 by 20 books and in 2017 by 19. I love to read, I can thank my third grade teacher, Mrs. Anderson, for awaking the love and magic, of reading within me. Everyday she would read a chapter or two, from one of the Little House on The Prairie books. I became enthralled in the story and wanted to know more about this family. Every summer after that I would spend reading, different sets of novels, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Dana Girls, etc. My Mom was an avid reader also, something that we took great advantage of, when she was deep into a book you could ask her just about anything and get the answer, uh-huh! As I got older she introduced me, to some of the authors she liked to read.

I always have a book ready to read, on my Kindle Fire. When I’m going through a bad migraine cycle, I have days that I can’t tolerate being on the computer or watching TV. The Kindle Fire has these, nifty little gadgets, that allows you to change the page color, lower the light or even go ahead and turn on the blue shade. I can usually read, reading takes me away from the pain, for a while. I enter into a new world, that the author has written, in a book you can go anywhere, be anything, live another life, explore the world, and all you have to do is open a book! I will be forever grateful, to Mrs. Anderson for sharing this gift with me. Which I shared with my son’s, I started reading to them when they were, only a few months old. They are both avid readers, it’s a gift that keeps on giving.

As you think about the New Year and all it may hold, don’t heap a bunch of resolutions on your head. Think of all the things you did right, and keep on doing those. As for the things that didn’t go so well, think of them as a life lesson, and don’t repeat them. Living with migraine, is tough enough on us already, don’t make it harder on yourself. Breathe, relax, use biofeedback, learn some form of meditation, it’s not easy at first, but worth the work.

The quotes I’m using are from a movie, Holiday Inn made in 1942, one of my favorites, I love the Classics!

 

 

“Let’s watch the old year die
With a fond good-bye
And our hopes as high
As a kite”

Live with hope,
Roni

 

 

Humble and Kind

“Don’t expect a free ride from no one
Don’t hold a grudge or a chip and here’s why:
Bitterness keeps you from flyin’
Always stay humble and kind”

This song has been on my mind, since I heard Addison Agen sing it on The Voice last week. The song was special to her, you could tell by the way she sang it and how she was overcome with emotion, at the end of the song. Personally I don’t know how young people of this age, hold up under the months it takes, to tape and produce this show. Showing your true emotions when singing, makes for a terrific singer and performer. Addison is only sixteen, she still has many things to learn, but I don’t think we’ve heard the last of Addison.

There are many excellent points in this song written by Tim McGraw. Such as the one above,  Don’t hold a grudge or a chip and here’s why: Bitterness keeps you from flyin'”  Living with migraine, I need to be able to fly, when I’m able to, I don’t and I can’t be trapped by bitterness. Always stay humble and kind!

“Hold the door, say “please”, say “thank you”
Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie
I know you got mountains to climb
But always stay humble and kind
When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride
But always stay humble and kind”

Most of this, is just plain common sense, but it seems that many folks have lost their common sense. “Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie!” Seems simply enough, but it’s getting to the point, that you don’t know who to trust. That is truly sad and not the same meaning, I see Tweeted all to often! Always stay humble and kind!

“I know you got mountains to climb
But always stay humble and kind
When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride
But always stay humble and kind”

I have plenty of mountains to climb and I’m sure that you do too. “When the dreams you’re dreaming dreamin’ come to you. When the work you put in is realized, let yourself feel the pride. But always stay HUMBLE and KIND“!  I’m sharing this part of the song, to let anyone who has a hobby, sings, cooks or bakes, because they love to. Don’t ever give up on your dreams. Don’t let migraine disease steal that from you and the rest of the family! Always stay humble and kind!

“Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you
When you get where you’re going don’t forget turn back around
And help the next one in line
Always stay humble and
kind”

Don’t take for granted, the migraine community, and the love it gives each of us! I don’t know how I made it through, thirteen years of chronic migraine, without any support. Besides my husband and family, while I am very thankful for them, it is just not the same, as talking with someone who is going through the same thing you are. Also I’ve made some very special friends, over the past four years! That means so much to me, I lost a someone who I thought was my best friend, because I stopped going to church. We had been friends for over thirty years, I just couldn’t take the loud music and children. That didn’t matter to her, I wasn’t good enough anymore. It was like having my heart ripped out. I guess our friendship wasn’t as close as I thought. Lesson learned the hard way, no matter I have friends now, who have better friends in fours years, than she was in thirty. Always stay humble and kind, and let it go!

Here is Addison Agen singing: Humble and Kind


Live with hope,
Roni

 

 

 

Honesty and Hope

“Imagine smiling after a slap in the face. Then think of doing it twenty-four hours a day.”
Markus Zusak

I had to think very long and hard, before writing this blog post, because my subject is not all sweetness and light. I decided to be quite honest about, what I have been going through for some time now, but also let you know, that without hope I wouldn’t be able to, continue my journey with migraine.

During my last hospitalization, I discovered that my baseline pain level, had changed from a two, up to a four. Despite three hospital stays, for DHE infusion treatments, along with other medications, I have been in Intractable Migraine status, for about 85% of this year. This also means, that I have spent that same amount of time in my migraine cave. Not really much of a life is it? There have been times, that I wanted to scream, cry, shake my fists towards the heavens and ask, why me, what did I ever do, to deserve this? The answer is simply nothing, I just drew the wrong genetic straw. Feeling sorry for myself, gets me nowhere, neither does, always putting on a mask and smiling like an insane person, to the point your facial muscles hurt. It’s okay to let down your guard, we are not super humans, but everyday folks, living with chronic illness, some of us more than one.

Pain such as this, is isolating, I wasn’t able to attend my families Thanksgiving at my brother and sister-in-laws home this year. This is the first time ever, I have missed going, it was heartbreaking and made me feel very guilty at the same time. I am beyond thankful that my husband is so supportive, he as never complained one time, about turning into a househusband. Me on the other hand, feel horribly guilty about it, but when I say something, Rick gets very upset with me, he always says “It’s not your fault that you’re in pain, you have nothing to be guilty about. These are my chores, just as much as yours, so stop it!” Rick is retired, so that makes a big difference and he loves to cook and grill, I call him the grillmaster! I get really tickled watching him look up recipes on Pinterest. My sister, Malissa has been very supportive, she texts me almost everyday or every other, to check on me. We’re the closest in age and have always been close, even though she lives about an hour and half away. A lot of you know her and have seen pictures of her fabulous creativity and business, I’m very proud of her. I also have the support of my wonderful migraine sisters and the migraine community. Such a blessing!

It is very hard to explain, what happens to the body when a migraine attack strikes, to someone who has never experienced it. It’s so much more than the headache that comes with it, that is just one symptom, most of the time I have the one-sided, searing, stabbing, throbbing pain. Another days it feels like my head is in a vice, squeezing harder and harder. My scalp gets very tender, allodynia, neck pain is part of my head pain, sensitivity to light, big time, my pupils stay dilated to between 7-8mm at all times and do not constrict much at all with light. Sensitivity to sounds and certain smells, IBS symptoms, nausea and vomiting, mood swings, aphasia, memory loss, brain fog, severe fatigue, loss of appetite, or food cravings, dizziness, weakness. This list can go on, depending on what type of migraine a person has. At times some of these symptoms are more debilitating than, the head pain is. I have fibromyalgia as well, which flares along with a migraine attack, leaving me feeling like, I’ve gone a round with The Incredible Hulk!

One of the newest and most frightening things I’ve been dealing with is nightmares. Nightmares in which, I am awaken from literally fighting, kicking and punching, crying and screaming, make it stop. I think that I spend so much of my energy, trying to push down the pain, to be brave and not whine. That when I’m asleep, my subconscious brings it to the surface, whether the pain is physical or mental, no matter how long you stuff it down. It’s going to show its face somehow and make you deal with it. I’ve awoken crying from pain before, but nowhere near this kind of level. I didn’t like this at all, as I said it was very frightening and I knew that I needed to do something about it. My husband knew about it of course. I talked with two people who I trusted, and explained what had happened, they both gave me encouragement and hope. I have not had a nightmare since then, that is why I believe so strongly in hope. With hope nothing is impossible!

I’ve also decided to make a few small changes in my life, while I still believe wholeheartedly in advocating for migraine disease, for myself and others. That doesn’t mean, migraine should be my sole focus. I am an avid reader, have been since the 3rd grade, if someone tried to steal my purse or my Kindle Fire, I would give them my purse! I’ve also discovered some new Facebook pages, that basically are just for fun, when you find yourself in pain all the time, fun is just the ticket. There are some days that my pain levels are too high, for the computer or TV. Those days I can usually read, either with the light level lowered or the blue shade engaged, on my Kindle. I know most of us living with migraine, have little tips and tricks, we use to make life easier. Please feel free to share some, I’d love to read them! Oh dear, I almost forgot, I made one other change, just a tiny one. I had some purple streaks added to my hair! lol
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“There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.’
No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.”
Dalai Lama XIV

Live with hope,
Roni

 

 

My Encounter With A Sneaky Melanoma

Melanoma, the very word can strike fear, into the heart of anyone who knows even a little bit, about this form of skin cancer. If not caught early and removed, it can spread throughout the body. There is no cure or effective way, to treat melanoma at this time, making it the most deadly skin cancer. On December 30, 2015 I was admitted to the hospital for infusion treatments, for a status migraine. The hospital I use is a teaching hospital, so I am very familiar and comfortable, dealing with residents.


During my physical exam one of the residents noticed a small mole, above my left knee. He questioned me about how long it had been there, had it looked like this for very long, had anyone else been following it? The mole had been there for some time, yes it had looked like this for quite a while, and yes it had been followed by the Cancer Screening Program at our local hospital.


The resident did not like how the mole looked at all, he asked the nurse for a measuring tape and then took a picture of it with his cell phone. He asked me if I was okay with a Dermatology consult, which of course I was. This is the mole that raised the concern of the resident. As you can see it is quite small, almost an inch. The reason I call this a sneaky melanoma, is because it looks nothing like the horrible pictures, you see hanging in your doctor’s office. But the edges were a bit abnormal and that is a warning sign. Another reason I thought that I would be the last person to get skin cancer, is being a migraineur I avoid the sun like a vampire. Some of my medications make me more sensitive to sunburn and I always use sunblock.

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December 31, 2015 the Dermatologist came in to do the consult and removed the mole, he was an extremely kind person, who talked me through every step of the procedure. He told me that he would call within one week, with the pathology results either way. This was a promise that he kept and the results were melanoma in situ early stages. I have to admit, this shook and scared me some, as it does most people when the thought of cancer looms in their mind. The next step was to excise the tissue around and under, from where the mole was removed.


This was done in clinic January 14, 2016, once again he explained everything he would be doing and why. Before doing the procedure, he did a complete skin check, making sure I had no other sneaky moles. At the time, I had toenail polish on, he told me to check my nail beds the next time I removed my polish, because there can be problems areas there as well. He also told me, that in the majority of cases, women tend to get melanomas on their thighs, which is where mine was.


During the procedure, the doctor made an excision about 3 inches long and 1 ½ inches deep. He said this was necessary to make sure to get all the tissue surrounding the area. Once again, he told me would call in about a week, when the pathology results were back. He again kept his promise, everything was clear, what a relief! I was to return in six months for a skin check, earlier if I noticed anything unusual. I’ve since had my six month, skin check with no problems and my next one year check is coming up.

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Faint scar left from excision!

THINGS TO DO TO AVOID SKIN CANCER

Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM.
Do not burn.
Avoid tanning and UV tanning beds.
Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Don’t forget your lips, use a lip balm with SPF. 
Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.

If you had even one bad sunburn as a child with blistering, it can double your chances of getting skin cancer. The number of moles you have also make a difference, in your chances of getting skin cancer. This being fifty or more, just continue to be aware of your body, we know it better than anyone. If you notice a mole that looks strange or different to you, make an appointment to see your doctor right away! They would rather see a hundred false alarms, than to miss a skin cancer! Be aware of medications that you are on, some can cause sun sensitivity. My husband and I took a trip to Florida, this past June for our Anniversary. I needed a wide-brimmed hat, so starting looking on Amazon. I was quite amazed to find, hats with SPF added into the material of many types of hats. What a wonderful way to shield your face and neck! 

I truly hope you have found my story compelling and will take steps to avoid letting a sneaky mole bring cancer into your life!

Live with hope,
Roni

It’s The Most Wonderful Time

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“It’s the most wonderful time of the year
With the kids jingle belling
And everyone telling you be of good cheer
It’s the most wonderful time of the year”

Christmas has always been my favorite holiday, I love everything about it! The decorating, putting up the tree, giving gifts, special traditions our family has, cooking and baking things I only do at this time of year. Being with family members, eggnog, punch, pumpkin pie, watching our favorite Christmas movies, all of it! Except wrapping present, I have to be honest, I don’t like wrapping presents. I’d just as soon use a gift bag and make it pretty! 

I’m not trying to horn in on Thanksgiving, some of the tips given here can be used for both holidays. I have much to be thankful for, despite migraine and chronic pain! The holidays will be quite different, for me this year. I’ve spent most of the year, with an intractable migraine, a new experience for me, which I’m trying to adjust and find my footing. Writing this blog has helped me in so many ways, there is always hope and you are never alone! 

The holidays before and after chronic migraine and chronic pain, are two totally different entities, as I have found. But with a few tips, you can make it less stressful and more enjoyable, just what the season is all about! 

  • I do all of my shopping online, thus avoiding any possible migraine triggers, in the Malls, Big Box Stores etc. It also is virtually stress free, Amazon is a great place to shop, if you need a gift wrapped and mailed. They do it beautifully and your gift arrives on time.
  • I’ve learned to do my decorating in stages and even then, I don’t do as much as I used to. Pick your favorites and put those out, if you only the energy to put up your tree, that is perfectly fine! It isn’t a contest, it’s Christmas, peace, joy and hope! 
  • Any baked goods that can be done ahead of time and then frozen, is an excellent way to stretch that out, over the month. This tip works for Thanksgiving as well! 
  • Make sure your pantry is stocked ahead of time, if you don’t have access to a Costco or Sam’s Club. Amazon Prime Pantry, comes in handy for this also. As does your local Aldi’s, if you have one. 
  • If you’re hosting any holiday dinners, try delegating some of the side dishes to family members who will be attending. As it is most likely they know you live with migraine and how it affects your life, they will be more than happy to pitch in! It is the season of giving!
  • This book was given to me last year as a Christmas gift by a dear friend. It is an advent calender for the month of December and is delightful, I highly recommend it!
    https://www.amazon.com/Chronic-Christmas-Surviving-Holidays-Illness-ebook/dp/B01MRHKQZZ/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1510158763&sr=8-2&keywords=lene+andersen

I wish you all, peace, joy and hope! I’d love to hear any tips, you may have, goodness knows I couldn’t think of that many! 

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year
There’ll be much mistltoeing
And hearts will be glowing
When love ones are near
It’s the most wonderful time of the year”

Live with hope,
Roni

 

Songwriters: EDDIE POLA, GEORGE WYLE

 

 

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