HAWMC Day 9: My Ideal Day

I wake up around 10 A.M., knowing that I don’t have any schedule to follow. With my eyes opening, there’s no pounding or throbbing in my head–only a refreshed and bright feeling. Being just close enough to the beach to smell the salty air, I know that after a quick breakfast and yoga session that is completed with no exertional headaches presenting themselves, that I can walk down to the sand where it meets the water and just relax for a few hours.

There is no aching, no yawning, and no throbbing allowed on the beach. Only reflection, good music and tan lines. A couple of close friends and loved ones trickle down and lay their towels next to mine, bringing some much wanted company to my presence.

After a few solid hours down by the ocean, it’s time to find something to eat. Pizza sounds awesome. Pizza always sounds awesome, actually. I eat and my head is not affected. There’s no increase in head pain, just an increase in food coma. And what’s a great pizza dinner without a refreshing strawberry margarita to go with it? And again, no increase in head pain as the margarita leaves the glass.

My day wraps up with one of two options, a night out with my friends dancing the night away and adding more margaritas to my tally, or a solid game night full of competition and margaritas. (Am I being too subtle about my love for margaritas?)

margarita

The entire day, I have experienced a 0/10 head pain day. No headaches. No frustration. No symptoms. Nothing. I feel nothing–something I haven’t been able to say for the past few years. There’s always been some kind of head pain–never a zero. But today, today it is a zero.

HAWMC Day 8: Little Engine Post

  1. I think I can find a combination of treatments that help drastically reduce my chronic headaches
  2. I think I can find an exercise routine that doesn’t drastically increase my exertional headaches
  3. I think I can eventually monetize off of my blog
  4. I think I can increase traffic to my blog each month that I continue to work on it
  5. I think I can bring together people who have similar health issues or similar battles and give them a positive, supportive place to turn
  6. I think I can lose those extra few pounds by turning my diet around and really eating well for my body
  7. I think I can increase my income through outside, freelance and side jobs, in order to help feel more comfortable with my finances
  8. I think I can motivate others to share their stories, as I am sharing mine
  9. I think I can improve my handlettering/handwriting skills
  10. I think I can eventually use Etsy to sell products with my handlettering/handwriting on them

  1. I know I can make a positive difference in the health activist community and grow as a health activist, myself.
  2. I know I can make a big ripple, even though I’m one single stone being thrown into the pond
  3. I know I can gather and maintain the strength, both physical and mental, to keep fighting my everyday pain with chronic daily headaches and migraines
  4. I know I can continue to grow The Headache Heroine into what I what it do be long term
  5. I know I can make a difference

HAWMC Day 7: Starting My Advocacy Journey

We all need people in our lives who push us to do and be greater. Sometimes it’s hard to accept advice that someone has to offer, but most of the time, it’s worth it to hear them out.

I never even thought about sharing my story about living with chronic daily headaches, because I never thought anyone would really need or want to hear and read about it. The thought never crossed my mind.

That was until one day, during a pretty dark and frustrating period of my life when I was experiencing 6+/10 head pain every single day for a long string of time. I was living with my older sister at the time, so she knew and could see that I was living in constant pain and that I was having a difficult time dealing with it. One day she suggested an idea that turned out to be my motivation behind creating The Headache Heroine. She said “Why don’t you write about all of this?” She suggested I use it as a coping mechanism, since I already had a love for writing. Why not take my love for writing and do something positive with it? She helped me realize that it could be therapeutic for me, which turned about to be very true.

At first, I was worried that sharing my story would just make me sound like I was throwing myself a pity party and was inviting people to bring gifts of sympathy. But that’s not what I was going for and that’s not the kind of vibe I wanted to throw out into the world.

What actually ended up happening, was that I got an outpouring of encouragement and praise for being “brave” for being vulnerable enough to start opening up about my health and really putting it all out there. I had been hesitant to share my blog posts on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, because I didn’t want to bug people and add things to their newsfeed that they didn’t want to look at/read. But then I realized, that if people wanted to skip over what I shared, they would, and if people wanted to read what I wrote, then they would. I eventually created a separate Instagram account for my health journey, but I still tried to tell myself not to worry about what others thought.

After a few months of being worried that people would judge or roll their eyes at the stories I was posting and sharing, I slowly grew much more comfortable with sharing my story. I realized that I was actually reaching people who really appreciated and benefited from my words. I became less concerned with those people who didn’t care about my story, and focused all my attention on the people who did care and who actually benefited from hearing my story and my advice.

While advocating and getting my voice out there actually helps me cope and feel more positive about myself and my life with chronic daily headaches, I also know that I have helped other people who are facing similar health journeys. That fact alone keeps me writing and sharing, and it should help encourage you to do the same!

HAWMC Day 6: Superpowers Wanted

I’m never able to settle on just one answer when I’m asked “What superpower would I want?” But for today’s purposes, I chose flying.

Cliche? Yes. Practical? Yes. Awesome? Yes, yes and yes.

How would I use it? The real question: How wouldn’t I use it?

It’s crazy expensive to travel the world, or even travel through the country. It’s even more of a stressful decision when you have medical bill after medical bill rolling in, staring you in the eyes.

I dream about visiting different cities and countries, exploring the vast world around me. I hate knowing that I’ve seen so little of this world. But I have to force myself to be realistic and save my plane ticket money and use it to keep collections from hunting me down.

But if I could fly, well I could see the beauty around the world and still have money to pay off the inevitable debt that medical bills create.

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HAWMC Day 5: Favorite Platform for Getting My Voice Out

I love utilizing every one of the platforms that I use to get my voice out there. I love Instagram because I’ve found that I can reach a lot more people than through the other platforms I use. I also love Instagram because I’m able to show my hand-lettered quotes and what not. I also think that pictures are more initially captivating than just a bunch of words. It gives people a quick glance at what you’re all about.

While I love to use Instagram for building my brand, I have a different platform preference for actually getting my voice heard. That platform is blogging on WordPress. By writing on a blog, while my reach not be as wide as it is on Instagram, I am able to write in much more detail and really write in the voice I want to. I’m able to share more information–holding nothing back. I have received really great feedback from people who have visited my blog saying that what I’m writing is really resonating with them and that the way that I write is unique and beautiful. I don’t share that to sound boastful, I share it to explain why blogging is my favorite platform for getting my voice heard.

What’s yours?

social-media

Image from Skyscanner Business

#HAWMC Day 3: There’s No Such Thing As A Small Act Of Kindness

Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” Scott Adams

 

A smile to the person passing you by. A note to a stranger telling them to have a good day. Offering to help someone carry their bags to their car. Little acts of kindness such as these, are actually not so little at all. When you act kindly, you inspire others around you to act kindly as well. No act of kindness is too small. The positive effect that you can have on someone’s day should be reason enough to act kind. Just think about the bad days you’ve had yourself. Doesn’t it make your super crappy day just a little bit better when someone does or says something kind to, even if it’s just a compliment or offering to do a small favor for you? Having kindness sent your way can completely turn your day around. Therefore, when you spread kindness to someone else, you have to the potential to completely turn their day around as well.

There are a couple of places that I like to turn to when I want to hear positive stories about people being kind: The Bobby Bones Show and the Love What Matters podcast (which is run by Amy from The Bobby Bones Show.” The Bobby Bones show promotes pimpin joy, which means when you spread joy and kindness to someone else, they are likely to spread that joy and kindness to another someone else, and so on and so forth. They always encourage people to do something kind for someone, and their stories of real people doing so always bring a smile to my face. In fact, they have something called Joy Week, where they do things to spread joy every single day of the week and share those things with their listeners. The Love What Matters podcast does something similar. It shares incredible and positive stories about people just like you and I. Most of the time, those stories include someone doing something kind for someone else.

Always remember: there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act of kindness will help someone in ways you may never believe.

Let’s be kind to one another.

random-act-of-kindness

Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge: Day 2-How I Write

My writing style isn’t necessarily a style, exactly. I don’t follow one set pattern or stick to one particular habit. Most often, I get inspired and just start to type away. I let my brain and fingers do the work and I don’t stop until they’re done. When I’m in this inspired, must-write-right-now kind of mood, I just hit publish and send my words out into the vast internet universe.


However, sometimes I am a bit more calculated. Sometimes I read over every word, every punctuation mark, every sarcastic remark. Sometimes I plan out ahead of time what I want to write about and sometimes I work on a piece for a couple days.

More often than not though, I write on a whim. I write when a light bulb goes off in my head, or I write when my head pain is so bad that I have to write in that exact moment to pull myself together.

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Whatever your writing style may be–whether it’s habitual or sporadic, you just keep doin you!

By The Ocean With My Thoughts

The sound of water says what I think.

― Zhuangzi

 

There’s this feeling I get whenever I walk onto a beach at night time. The darkness everywhere, the unspoken strength and mystery of the strong ocean ahead of me, the stillness of the air, and the intimacy felt when I’m sitting on the sand. The inevitable introspective thoughts immediately take up residence in my head the moment my feet hit the cool sand. It’s as if I’ve opened up a door to a different world. I’ve left my reality for only a bit and everything from my everyday life is no longer apart of this temporary world I’ve stumbled into.

 

There’s a reason I love the beach so much. Because the feeling I described above cannot be replicated, for me, by anything else. No matter if I go to the beach for a day, a weekend or a whole week, I try to save at least 30 minutes of my trip to step down to where the ocean meets the sand after the sun has gone down.

 

I’ve sat with friends, with family, with my boyfriend and at times just myself. No matter what, there’s always meaningful conversation and deep thoughts that I hadn’t been able to find before.

 

I’ve found inspiration, grew closer in faith, came to realizations, wondered endlessly and learned a lot about myself by the water. I’ve also argued, been blue with sadness, made mistakes, ignored true happiness, pushed people away, and built walls by the water.

 

No matter what it’s been about, no matter who I’m with or if I’m alone, the water has always been able to tell me what I was already thinking–no matter if I was aware of it or not.

 

Things I’m Good At, Thanks To My Chronic Headaches & Narcolepsy

 

I’m really good at:

  1. Sleeping. My spirit animal is sloth.
  2. Making plans and then backing out last minute. Just because I hate doing it, doesn’t change the fact that I’m awesome at it.
  3. Collecting. I collect prescriptions, vitamins, test results, and doctor business cards
  4. Talking. About anything–doesn’t have to be health related. I’m just really good at talking.
  5. Showing compassion. Having endured years of chronic pain, health issues, emotional roller coaster rides, mental hardships and more, I find it really easy to feel compassion for other people and their journeys and struggles. I also just really like seeing people smile, so that’s more motivation.
  6. Surprising people. With my unexpected knowledge of various medicines, methods, symptoms and diagnoses. I promise I won’t walk in and pretend to be your doctor though.
  7. Enjoying time by myself. Because of how often I have to cancel plans or stay in and rest, I’ve learned how to truly enjoy and appreciate my own company. It actually kinda confuses me when people say they don’t like spending time alone. Like–I think I’m super cool, why wouldn’t I want to hangout with me?
  8. Picking myself up after a fall. More often than not, I’m the only one who can get myself up again after I’ve taken a hard fall in my health journey. Everyone will fall down in life, but we only truly live when we’re getting back up again.
  9. Managing pain. I don’t like to toot my own horn, but I’m pretty damn impressed by myself and my strength. I have continued so many activities while enduring my worst-pain level headaches/migraines and I never know how I did it once it’s over.
  10. Really enjoying life in all of it’s beauty. Life will never be full of only sunshine. There will be storms and we will get rained on. But each time the sun comes out, my smile gets brighter and my love for this world gets greater. Enjoying the simple things in life, putting more of my time toward seeing people who lift me up and doing more of what sets my soul on fire are all things I have seen myself get better at doing.

My Anaphlyaxis Story

For those who may have seen my previous post, the post below is the story I wrote for the Food Allergy Resource and Education website:

I was at a restaurant and had made my allergies very well known to the waiter and the staff. However, they didn’t take my allergy seriously and made all of my food on the same station that they had made their famous fish menu item. I had an anaphylactic reaction about a minute after having a tiny bite of what I thought to be a “safe” cucumber with tzatziki sauce.

This was my first reaction since I had been diagnosed and I wasn’t sure when to use my epinephrine auto-injector and decided to wait because I thought mysymptoms were getting better. I told myself if I calmed down, breathed deep, and didn’t think about it, that I would feel better. I am so lucky and glad that I was with a close friend who drove me to the closest ER. She had actually tried to use my auto-injector on me, but didn’t know how to use it correctly. She, in the heat of the moment, forgot to remove the safety cap. And honestly, I don’t blame her. It was probably a terrifying moment for her as well. So that’s when I decided to wait out my symptoms.

I now know that when in doubt, you use your epinephrine auto-injector. I learned that you should NOT wait out your symptoms. Since then, I have taught and continue to teach all of my friends and family how to use an auto-injector. The most important thing is that you educate yourself on the symptoms and treatments, and you educate your loved ones as well.

Always carry your epinephrine. Always read labels. Never feel embarrassed or like you’re annoying someone when you ask to read a label, or you ask how they cooked something, or you ask how they cleaned their kitchen ware. Do not feel like you are burdening anyone, because it is your life and safety at hand.Know that you are not alone, also. There are always a tremendous amount of support and resources out there for you.