Monday, December 27, 2010

Help Me Reach Others

I'm donating 20 copies of My Secret, my children's book, to the Migraine Research Foundation for distribution. They'd like to help me spread it around more, but I need to figure out who my target audience and how to reach them first. The problem with doc offices, and the MRF, and places like that, are that, by the time the kids are there, their pain isn't a secret anymore and that kinda nullifies the purpose of the book, which is to get the conversation about the pain started.

I'm currently thinking promoting it in parenting magazines, as well as getting back on the horse for submitting to publishing companies. I'm trying to figure out how else/who else would want my book. Social workers? Pre-school teachers? I'm coming up empty.

Any suggestions (in the comments or to  would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance!

Quantum in me fuit,


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Have a Beer, Doc.

Doctors who drink beer are awesome.

And yes, that actually does make sense for a blog entry about good and bad doctors. Let me explain by giving you two (slightly paraphrased) quotations, taken completely out of context, from two different neurologists I've seen.

Doc #1: "Your pain is a top priority for me and my staff..."

Doc #2: "...I understand that your head hurts; but at the end of the day, I go home and drink a beer..."

I'll bet you think that Doc #2 was horrible, and that you're still really confused as to why I think that a beer drinker is a good doctor. Let me explain.

At the time Doc #2 said that, I was in the throws of a horrendous marathon migraine, and was going through all kinds of hurt trying to get the pain to a level where I could function. During the 5-10 minutes I was in the waiting room waiting for my appointment, I ended up basically curled up in the fetal position and sobbing because the door behind me that kept opening wasn't lubricated well and it had a small high-pitched squeak to it. It was horribly painful, and I can still remember wanting to just curl up and disappear because of the pain. I was saved from the squeaky door when Doc #2 ushered me and my mother into the examining room.

There, he told me that he was seeing a lot of "pain-like behavior," indicating to my curled over posture, dark glasses, and the fact that I was rocking back and forth, among other things that I'm sure I was doing but don't remember.

Doc #2 explained to me that I *had* to stop wearing dark glasses inside, sit up straight, and generally act like I wasn't in pain. I tried to explain to him that I was doing the best that I possibly could, and that he just didn't get it.

That's when he said his bit about drinking beer.

At the time, I was flabbergasted and hurt and annoyed. I was sure he didn't get it.

About a year later, I heard Doc #1 say his line. I followed Doc #1 blindly for 5 weeks in the hospital, and then later that year, for another 2 week, trying hard to find a break for my migraines before he said something else: "You're a failure...",  and forbade any of his staff from touching me with a 10 foot pole,  much less treating me.

Again, I was flabbergasted. And hurt.

Then, about a year later, I realized Doc #2 was much better than Doc #1.
He had detached himself from my suffering, and so was, actually, able to treat me better because he didn't have a personal interest in it other than his professional interest. Doc #1 got so involved in every step of my treatment that, when he couldn't "fix" me, it frustrated him tremendously. Doc #2 still gets frustrated when things don't work out the way he had hoped or planned, but he doesn't take it personally the way that Doc #1 did. 

And so I have come to the conclusion that doctors who are, at the end of the day, able to leave their patients at work and go home and drink a beer end up being better doctors. 

Quantum in me fuit


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Making the Holidays Special Despite Everything

The Question: How can we make the holidays special despite the need to limit our migraine triggers?

The Answer: very carefully. I’ve had some pretty bad holidays over the years, and I’ve learned to pay attention to the smallest details. I start my Christmas shopping in January, and just gradually buy gifts as I see them instead of waiting until the last month and then trying to cram everything in. That doesn't work, I’ve tried it.

As for all the holiday food, moderation is best. I have to be careful of what I eat as many of my favorite cookies and holiday foods are now have ingredients that trigger migraines for me. It was very hard to learn to say “no” to those foods, but in the end, it was better to deny myself the short-term pleasure than suffer the long-term, painful consequences.

Then comes my family. It is always stressful for me to be around a lot of people for a long period of time. I’m an introvert, and am used to having many hours during each day all to myself while my mom is at work. Then to suddenly be forced to deal with up to 12 people and three dogs in my house for the better part of the day is just totally overwhelming. I usually end up taking Xanax on a fairly regular basis, or crashing and hiding in my room.

This Christmas, however, it’s going to be a little different. Back in mid-September, I agreed to house and dog sit for a family friend while she goes back East. This means that I’ll have a completely separate place, all to myself to retreat to.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my family, but they’re much more high energy than I am, and I burn through spoons quite quickly when I’m with them. I think that my spending the night away from my house, and then coming back to it during the day will make me appreciate the time I do spend with my family all the more.

So basically, moderation in all things is the way for me to have the best holidays that I can.

Quantum in me fuit