Sunday, May 27, 2012

My Neurostimulator

This is a video about my Neurostimulator; how it works and changed my life.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Death with Dignity

        This is my review of a Documentary called How to Die in Oregon and also the law in Oregon that goes along with the Documentary.

        Dignity, we all want it but must of us are denied just that, dignity. Imagine being told that you only have a few months to live and you will never be the same person you believe you are right now. You will lose your ability to care for your everyday needs. Your daily needs will be placed in the hands of your loving family, or even strangers; but what if you could prevent that, being a burden that most don’t want to be. As of today there only three states in the United State of America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, that allow you to choose Death with Dignity.
            Death with Dignity is also known as physician assisted suicide. This is where a physician aids in a death of a human being. This is not for just anyone; it’s for a person who has a short time left to live. They are also sick and are going to die a long and painful death. They also may choose this because they do want their last memory of them for the love ones to be them vomiting constantly, living in a diaper, unable to eat on their own, or just simply being very ill and unable to act as they did before they became sick. Death with Dignity can be done at home or in a hospital; it is up to the person and the doctor. No one case or choice is the same or preformed in the same way.
            Death with Dignity did not originate here in the United States. The first country was the Netherlands legalized Death with Dignity in 2002. Before it was legalized it was done by a physician prescribing lethal overdose of barbiturates that would be taken by the person themselves (Schoen). Once it was legalized they change their method to lethal injection. Today there are eight countries other than the United State that allow Death with Dignity, but each country has different requirements and ways to do it. Not one follows the same procedure or requirements. For example in Japan there are four requirements and all must be met. They are “the patient is suffering in unbearable physical pain, death is inevitable and imminent, all possible measures have been taken to eliminate the pain with no other treatment left available and the patient has clearly expressed his or her will to approve the shortening of his or her life” (Robinson).
            Reasons that people would choose the Death with Dignity are that they know they will die a long and painful death. They will be unable to care for themselves and become a burden on the family and friends. Some condition that Death with Dignity has been used on in the past are: cancer of the breast, colon, pancreas, lungs, prostate and ovaries, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, chronic lower respiratory disease, heart disease and even HIV or AIDs (The Oregon Health Authority, 1). Most of the people who have one of these conditions have been fighting for a very long time and have been given the diagnoses that they only have short time left to live and there nothing left to try or do. The doctor’s main goal from there is to just keep them comfortable for the time they have left (Campbell).
            Oregon was the first state in the United States to adopt the Death with Dignity act, though other states have adopted something very similar. The act was adopted by the voters on November the eighth in 1994. “It was then delay with a legal injunction, but after proceedings that included a petition denied by the United States Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the injunction on October twenty-seventh 1997” (The Oregon Health Authority, 3). To this day there is still a lot of controversy on this act. As of today, the act is still in place. This law does not allow euthanasia, nor does any other state in the United State. What make this act different is that euthanasia is done by the doctors and Death with Dignity act is done only by the person who is able to physically give themselves the lethal dose of medication.
            In order to legal processed the Death with Dignity act the person must be a resident of the state of Oregon. There is no one thing that determents the person residency but the thing that can be accepted are: an Oregon Driver License, a lease agreement or property ownership document showing that the patient rents or owns property in Oregon, an Oregon voter registration card, or a recent Oregon tax return. This part is up to the physician to determine if the person is a resident or not. There is no minimum residency requirement; this part too is up to the physician.
The process of the Death with Dignity act is one with many forms to fill out and talking to many of people. Though these forms are not required by law, the forms are asked to be filled out by the Oregon Health Authority just to have on record. There are five compliance forms: patient request form, attending physician form, consulting physician form, psychiatrist/psychologist form and pharmacy dispensing record form. Each one requires detail information about the illness and present condition of the person. Also there is an evaluation of the person’s mental state of mind. These are submitted to the Oregon Health authority preferable to be informed when Death with Dignity is performed, but if not submitted there is no penalty.
The next sets of forms are for after the Death with Dignity is preformed, and they are titled surveillance forms. The surveillance forms contain the reporting physician interview form and chronology and death certificate extract form. The reporting physician interview is a report about how the process went and if a lethal dose of medication was used or not. It is also asked about the attending physician and whether they were present or not. The chronology and death certificate extract form is an oversight of the dates of when the person ask for Death with Dignity, the dates the first five form were signed on, what the gender, race, marital status, age, county of resident, occupation of the person, if the family was inform of their choices, and what their level of education they had (The Oregon Health Authority, 4). This is just the paper work side of the process for the person and the physician. There are other rules that have to be followed. To find all these form the best website to use is the Oregon Health Authority. There is many of website that you could find information on but many of them have incorrect information on the pages with a one sided take. The Oregon Health Authority also informs the people that there could be other option and insure the people that this is their last resort(The Oregon Health Authority, 6). This page is updated often and will provided the people with the correct information they will need in order to legal proceed Death with Dignity.
            There are some requirements that have to be met in order for the Death with Dignity to be legal. The first being that the person has to be eighteen years of age, capable of making his or her own decision, a resident of Oregon and have an illness that will lead to death in the next six months. These four requirements have to be met in order for the person to request a prescription of lethal dose of medication for fulfill their wish for Death with Dignity, but before this can be done, there are some other rules that has to be met in order for the physician to write the prescription. The five rules are: “the patient must make two oral requests ask for Death with Dignity to his or her physician, and it must be is separated by at least 15 days. The patient must provide a written request to his or her physician, signed in the presence of two witnesses. The prescribing physician and a consulting physician must confirm the diagnosis and prognosis. The prescribing physician and a consulting physician must determine whether the patient is capable making their own decision. If either physician believes the patient's judgment is impaired by a psychiatric or psychological disorder, the patient must be referred for a psychological examination. The prescribing physician must inform the patient of feasible alternatives beside the Death with Dignity act, including comfort care, hospice care, and pain control. The prescribing physician must request, but may not require, the patient to notify his or her next-of-kin of the prescription request. If these form are not fill out and filed with the Oregon Health Authority and something was to happen or go wrong legal action could be taken into place and an investigation that in the long run could result in the doctor losing his or her license to practice medicine.
            Washington and Montana are the only two other states, as of the end of 2011, in the United State that allow Death with Dignity act. Washington passed the act on November 8, 2008 and then went in to effect March 5, 2009. Montana passed the law in November of 2009. There are now six other states that have laws and acts just like Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act. Georgia has a law that it is illegal to knowingly and willingly help someone commit suicide. This law was passed February 21, 2012. This is proof that the laws are ever changing (Barber). Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont are states that have started the process of allowing Death with Dignity for the people of these states. These five states are all working to what Oregon has for their residents, but they just waiting for the law to be approve because of legal injunction and controversy that comes along with it. Massachusetts and New York are the two states that just passed the Death with Dignity in February of 2012.
            Some controversies that arise with the Death with Dignity act are that the person is playing God, taking nature into one’s own hands or even the fact that it invalidates life itself. Also, people and some doctors believe that this act violates medical ethics (Schoen). Then another one people believe that Death with Dignity gives the physician the power not the patient (Richman). Some reason for the Death with Dignity act could be the financial burden of continuing treatment to keep the person comfortable, loss of dignity, loss of bodily function, and even becoming a burden on the person family (The Oregon Health Authority, 4). Whatever the reason, it all comes down to the person individual beliefs. Most people who are choosing Death with Dignity want control because they know if they go on with this illness they will lose all of their control (Robison, 2).
            People may say we are playing the role of God, meaning we are taking Gods will in our own hands. Many people believe that this effect or goes against the religion. The way I see it that if you believe it goes against then your beliefs then you do not have to choose Death with Dignity, but this reasoning doesn’t have to control someone else’s life or even their own personal choice. Another controversy is that we nature into our own hands, but how is this any different from what we do with our animals when they are suffering. We say we are putting them out their misery when they in pain and are suffering. As human we don’t allow our animals to suffer or be in pain. So how is this any different? They both, a person and animal, will be in pain, unable to care for themselves, to walk or even communicate. Yes I know there is a difference between animals in human but how different? We are both God’s creation. How can this be any different? Yes we have a choice, and animals well the choice is made for them with the best intentions in mind but in the end there peace for both humans and animals. People also bring up the argument of the second commandment, Thou shall not kill, but Death with Dignity is not murder. There is no one who administers the medicine to the person, the person taken willingly by them.
            Some say that the Death with Dignity violates the medical ethics. Physicians take an oath and part of that oath is to do no harm; but to some physician have different meaning of what do no harm is. It is also different for person at the same time. So some people see that seen the physicians writing the prescription for the lethal dose of medication that that is doing harm to the person. Even though the person will most likely die within the next few month the physicians is assisting them to die prematurely and not allowing nature to take its course (Schoen, 3). Other seem to think that allowing the Death with Dignity act to be in place it give the physician power over others’ live, because they are the one prescribing the medication. The physician also has the right to deny the person of the prescription. This argument could be for or against it just all how you see it. This also could be seen as limiting a person freedom, rights that we are given at birth. It is all in the hands of the doctors (Richman, 5). Richman state in the article “Why empower the doctors? Suicide isn’t a medical issue. It’s a moral issue.” I don’t believe it could be put any better. Everyone has a different set of morals and we don’t force others to abide by our moral that just not how it works. We are all individuals we are not going to all one hundred percent agree on one thing. Not every physician has to abide by the Death with Dignity act; neither does a hospital or a hospice center.
            There are many reasons why I see Death with Dignity to be expectable on multiple levels. If someone is going to die a long and painful death, why should they have to suffer? When they probably already suffer years of pain and having to rely on others helping them with their daily needs? Death with Dignity is not an easy way out of the person life. I know what it like living with pain, I have chronic daily migraines, sometime the pain can just be too much to handle. Thank goodness I was able to gain control on my pain levels. But who am I to tell someone that they cannot be pain free, to allow themselves not to be a burden on their family or to have to loss all of their dignity. If a person is at peace with it and ready to leave this earth then who am I to say they can’t do that.
            Recently in 2011 there was a documentary release to tell the story on how real people make their choice for Death with Dignity. The title is an ironic one, How to die in Oregon. The title is ironic because not only does it show you physically how to die, but on an emotional level as well. Besides telling the stories of people who are suffering from a terminal illness but it also share the story of how one woman is trying to fulfill her husband last wish. That wish was to change the laws in Washington State where a person who is suffering from a terminal illness can choose Death with Dignity like the people in Oregon. The documentary is one that makes you think not only on a moral level, but about the world we live in. For the people who have not seen someone suffer a painful illness; it is hard to watch, but this documentary was main to get everyday people thinking. There is a lady in the documentary named Cody, who is suffering from liver cancer. She says in the documentary that she doesn’t want to have to die; she wants to live and be present in her children lives. Another statement in documentary is that the law is not about death but about having that choice, to choose when your life is over (Peter).
            I believe that more states should allow Death with Dignity act to be part of the state consultation. If more states allows this we would see less people suffering a long and painful death. I don’t see how Death with Dignity is any different from the death penalty. How can a state sentence people to death because of something they did but we don’t allow people who are suffering the choice to end their own life. As of right now thirty-four state have the death penalty law but yet only three allows Death with Dignity (Peterson). I do not see how this is right or even fair.
            My great-grandmother was blind, had Alzheimer’s, and had a tumor on her brain. The tumor made her unable to walk and that care of her daily needs along with the Alzheimer’s. She was always in pain towards the end. She hated the fact that she was in diapers and that her grandchildren had to take over her daily needs. I called her Gee-Gee and she cared for me as if I was her own daughter. My great grandmother was a nurse who worked in a nursing home and saw what it was like for people to lose their dignity. She would tell me that she never want that to happen to her. As my great grandmother declined she was ask to sign her legal rights over to my mother. We then knew that is our responsibly to just keep as comfortable as possible. When she started to decline and was un responsive we began to see that it was soon her time. As a family we decided not to resituate or use any means to prolong her life like intubate her or force a feeding tube in her. We did this because it was her wishes before she became ill with Alzheimer’s and we did not want to go against those wishes. My great grandmother stopped eating and drinking about two days before she passed away because she knew by doing so she would not live long. If my great grandmother would have been of sound mind and in a different state she could of choose the Death with Dignity act. The act state that the person must be of sound mind and able to take the medication on their own, my great grandmother was unable to do either. In my great grandmother own way she did choose Death with Dignity by not eating and drinking because without those two important things she knew she would not last long.
            I wish that all state would adopt something similar to the Death with Dignity act but I know that would take a lot change on multiple levels. I know this change will not happen overnight but hopefully the more people who see the documentary and realize what it like to see someone suffer from a terminal illness their minds may change.

Work Cited
Barber, M. "Death with Dignity Around the U.S.." Death with Dignity national center. Mandate Media, 2011. Web. 16 Apr 2012. <>.
Byock, Ira. "Dying with dignity." The Hastings Center Report Mar.-Apr. 2010: 49. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 28 Feb. 2012
Campbell, Courtney S., and Jessica C. Cox. "Hospice and physician-assisted death: collaboration, compliance, and complicity." The Hastings Center Report Sept.-Oct. 2010: 26+. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 28 Feb. 2012
"FAQ For the Death with Dignity Act - WA State Dept. of Health." Death with Dignity Act. N.p., 2010. Web. 16 Apr 2012. <>
How to Die in Oregon. Dir. Richardson, Peter, Clearcut Productions, and HBO Documentary Films. New York, NY : Docudrama : Distributed by New Video, 2010. 1 videodisc (107 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.
"Individuals Should Have a Legal Right to Choose Death" by Thomas A. Bowden. Assisted Suicide. Sylvia Engdahl, Ed. Current Controversies Series. Greenhaven Press, 2009. Thomas A. Bowden, "After Ten Years, States Still Resist Assisted Suicide," Ayn Rand Institute, October 30, 2007. Copyright © 2007 Ayn Rand® Institute. (ARI) All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission.
"Legalized Physician-Assisted Suicide Empowers Doctors, Not Patients" by Sheldon Richman. Assisted Suicide. Sylvia Engdahl, Ed. Current Controversies Series. Greenhaven Press, 2009. Sheldon Richman, "The Fraud of Physician-Assisted Suicide," Future of Freedom Foundation, June 24, 2004. Copyright © 2004 The Future of Freedom Foundation. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission.
The Oregon Health Authority, . "Death with Dignity Act." State of Oregon, 2010. Web. 16 Apr 2012. <;.
Peterson, K.. "Death Penalty: 34 States Permit." The Pew Charitable Trusts, 2005. Web. 16 Apr 2012. <>.
"Physician-Assisted Suicide Violates Medical Ethics" by Physicians for Compassionate Care Educational Foundation. Problems with Death. David A. Becker and Cynthia S. Becker, Eds. Opposing Viewpoints® Series. Greenhaven Press, 2006. Physicians for Compassionate Care Educational Foundation, "Amicus Brief for Physicians for Compassionate Care Educational Foundation in Support of Petioners," Gonzales v. Oregon, Supreme Court of the United States.
Schoen, E. K.. A brief history of physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia in europe and the united states. n.p., 2008. Web. 16 Apr 2012
Robinson, B. A.. "Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS)." Religious tolerance. n.p., 2009. Web. 16 Apr 2012. <>.

How Thin is too Thin?

I wrote a essay about body issue young girl face in the world.

There stands a young, blond, tall woman. She is wearing a shear black, floor length dress. Her arm, shoulder, legs and head are visible. She has a smile on her face and seems to be having a good time. It looks like she is at a party and is standing on hardwood floor. Her body is not in good shape. Though she seems to be very happy, her bones are very visible. You can see her pasty white skin hang on just her skeleton. Even in her fingers you can see every little bone in them. You can see the point of where her forearm and upper arm come together. You can see her knee cap though the shear of her dress. Her thighs have very little muscle development on them and she seems to physically appear weak with no expression on her face. 
What's your body image? Do you see yourself as too fat, too thin, too short, or too tall? Experts report that many teens do not like their bodies, no matter how healthy they really look. This negative body image can affect you in many ways. Eight out of ten women are not happy with their reflection in the mirror (Vanguard, 2011). The average American woman is five feet tall, four inches and 140 pounds and the average American model is five feet, eleven inches and 117 pounds (Vanguard, 2011). This is an image that many of young girls look up to in today’s fashion magazines. Eighty percent of children who are at least ten years old are afraid of being fat. Seven out of every ten of America’s children and young adults feel, in their eyes, they do not look beautiful, handsome, tall or thin enough to be considered normal. We as a country have the highest body image and self-esteem issues in the world. This image that is projected on us is a form of cultural myth. A cultural myth is the way that we live and by that it affects the way we think or believe.
My picture is a display of a cultural myth in a few ways. Young woman in this country look up to her and is what they have in mind that this is what beauty and healthy is. This woman is very successful at a young age. She was a model, an actress and even an author. Why would any young girl or woman want to be like her? So therefore they see that she is skinny and believe they too need to be skinny to be successful. These young women in this country are striving to become this image, this image that is not the norm. The woman in this picture too has fell for this cultural myth. The myth is that you must be thin to be anything in this world, to even be successful.
Everyday millions of girls and boys look in the mirror and say to themselves, “I am too fat,” “I am ugly,” or even “I am not pretty enough for any guy/girl.” They believe this because in their eyes the image of beauty is this young woman, who is about twenty to thirty pounds under weight for her height and has on so much make-up that the beauty they see is a false image. Children from eighth to twelfth graders view many “famous” people like TV stars, sport stars, actor/actress, singers or even models. Experts say one of the primary reasons for the obsession with body image is that the media bombards us with the idea that thin, for females, and lean and muscular, for males, is essential for happiness and success.
The picture I have chosen is of Portia de Rossi, an actress, who has struggled with multiple eating disorders. Her eating disorders started at a young age of twelve for her because she had begun modeling in Australia. As she started her career in modeling she looked to other models as her guide to how thin she “needed” to be. De Rossi would later move to America and feel the pressure to succeed even more once she obtained a job as an actress on a famous sit-comic. There she felt the pressure to be what she thought was everyone looked like. She would spend hours a day run and working out. De Rossi would even leave for work very early so that she could stop and run after only thirty minutes of driving. After suffering with an eating disorders all of her teen years and most of her young adulthood she finally realize that her image of “thin” was false. This is because her image was a mannequin. A mannequin measurement is a bust of thirty inches, a waist of twenty-four inches and hips of thirty-three inches. These mannequin measurement are so unrealistic that she was days away from death.
Michelle Obama has started a campaign in February 2010 about body image and how body images what is most important in your life. She does believe that there is a big obesity problem in the country but does not support the fact that you must be thin to be successful. Michelle just wants America’s children to be at a more healthy weight and to overall be happy with their outer and inner beauty. Obama has become a huge supporter of Body-Image Awareness week which is in the month of February. February is also the month for eating disorder awareness (Barrett, 2010). This past year Obama hosted a walk to support a healthier body image and has gone to talk to many of schools to educate student about having a healthy body image and how it is ok to be the size you are as long as you are healthy and happy.
Michelle Obama has also supported the work of Tyra Bank. Tyra Bank was a model at a young age of sixteen. She was a person who once displayed an image to young girls that you must be thin to be beautiful. After many years of modeling, many people view her as what they should look like and she decided turn what she did and what she was known for in something positive. She began teaching girl what real beauty is and how it is not just skin deep. Bank believes that you should look to no one to see what beauty is but to yourself because you are beautiful no matter what anyone tells you. Bank has also created a website called “typeF”[sic]. This website is for young woman to go to and to learn how to do their make-up, hair and even which clothes fit their own body type. Bank has also created her own talk show where she talked about issue that effected teenager. The main topic she about what how people are their worst enemy when is come to yourself looking in the mirror. She believes that as a nation we have created this myth that we must be thin and tall to be beautiful but in fact it doesn’t matter either way.  Tyra Bank has a quote that means a lot to me because I believe is say what is most important to this world, “Human is beautiful, perfect is boring.”
I, myself, have fallen victim of this cultural myth. The myth that I have fallen for must be the two Ts, tall and thin, to be close to being beautiful. From the age of eleven to about sixteen I would stare at myself in the mirror for hours and think how ugly I am. That I have way too many scars, too much fat on me, and even the wrong color eyes and hair to even call myself pretty. I would take a few years to grow and learn that what I portrayed myself as that was not all that matter in this world. This was something that no one the teach me or give me it was something I had to live through. I believe that every girl or boy will go through this at some point in their life it is just the way and how the deal with is what matters. The way that I dealt with the issue of not being what is ideal was just reinsuring myself that that in not want is normal and that it is ok to be yourself as long as I am happy and healthy. Thought to this day I still struggle with this same myth. I believe if we start teaching girls and boys at a young age that they are beautiful or handsome that they will be less likely to fell for this cultural myth.
Though there can be many arguments for this cultural myth and how is it could be right but the fact is that there is a negative. That negative is that it could change the way a girl or boy think or even believe what they should look like. Both Michelle and Tyra would support a change for false advisement and maybe implement laws for the future. I furthermore believe that there should be a change or requirements that limit the editing of ads and picture place in magazine or billboards.

Work Cited
Smith, Candace. "The Mirror in My Mind: Body Image & Self-Esteem." Booklist 1 Nov. 2002:                                           =======512. General OneFile. Web. 27 Oct. 2011.
Abramovitz, Melissa. "Mirror mirror in your head: your mental picture of your body can have a   =======direct effect on your self-esteem and your behavior. (psychology)." Current Health 2, a =======Weekly Reader publication Feb. 2002: 26+. General OneFile. Web. 27 Oct. 2011.
Barrett, K. (2010, Feburary 17). Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign neglects crucial body image =======issues. Retrieved October 27, 2011, from the Eagle: =======

Thursday, May 24, 2012

12 thing to never say to someone who has migraines

1.   If you could just lower the stress in your life.  Migraine is not caused by stress, and although lowering stress levels is good for anyone, this will not eliminate our attacks which are both genetic and neurologic in nature.  Saying this will cause additional stress to us though, because we have enough to deal with in our lives without feeling guilty and judged by those we care the most about.   What we need the most is acceptance and to know that you are there to help us when we need it the most.  Next time, why not offer to lighten our stressful load instead of making a comment that is not helpful.

 2.   You look so good/ You don’t look sick.  Chronic Migraineurs use an enormous amount of energy trying to look as normal as possible, and we want to know that we have been successful.  However this statement sounds condescending and judgmental to the chronically ill – as if we must not have a real disease because you cannot look at us and see the ravages it has caused in our lives.  We know you don’t mean to hurt us, but if you could see the results of our disease on the inside of our bodies and our lives, you would be shocked and take a much less cavalier attitude toward our struggles.  Next time, why not simply say “I am SO happy to see you today!”

3.   It can’t hurt that bad.  Migraine, especially chronic Migraine is one of the worst kinds of pain there is, and is often undertreated enough to cause disability to the patient.  Add to that the nausea and vomiting and other symptoms we suffer sometimes daily, and the symptoms work in concert with each other to create a situation from which we cannot escape yet may become desperate to try.  Chronic Migraine results in suicides that happen every year, devastating lives across the board.  Next time, why not try asking what you can do to make the Migraineur feel better. 

 4.   It’s all in your head.  Clinical depression and Migraine are both primary (not caused by anything else) diseases involving neurotransmitters such as Serotonin.  While it is common for clinical depression and Migraine to be comorbid — especially chronic Migraine — it is certainly normal for anyone with a chronic disease to become depressed as a result of their experience and should be expected as a normal result of the patient’s illness that can be minimized, treated and helped with a knowledgeable physician and a good support system.   Migraineurs are not crazy, lazy or seeking attention.  They have a disease.  While it is usually not yet possible to see changes in labs or imaging in the Migraineur to prove their neurological disease exists , other physical signs abound and may include increased heart rate, respirations and blood pressure, dizziness, weakness or paralysis, the inability to speak, nausea and vomiting, among other symptoms and signs.  Migraine is genetic and cannot be controlled by the Migraineur beyond the scope of seeking treatment from a headache specialist and their team who will try to prescribe medications and treatments which may or may not work for any individual patient.  Next time, why not ask what you can do to offer support to the Migraineur. 

 5.   It’s a “woman thing”.   Please, let’s not take this back to the dark ages when epilepsy was “demon possession” and “hysterical” women with tight corsets suffered “the vapors”.   Men experience Migraine.  Children experience Migraine too.   There are physiological differences between males and females of every species, and this is a good thing.  These differences make life much more interesting.  Some of those differences can also trigger Migraine in those people with the genetic capacity for the disease.  A frequent trigger is reproductive hormone fluctuations.  Unfortunately for women, their reproductive hormones are designed to fluctuate, and lucky for men their hormones are meant to remain more stable.   Hormones are only a small part of the Migraine picture though, and only one of thousands of potential triggers.   Next time, consider asking the Migraineur about their particular triggers instead 

 6.   You can work through it.  Chronic Migraine is recognized as a disabling, systemic disease by patients who experience them, as well as physicians who treat them and even the government who offers Social Security Disability to those who suffer from it.  A Migraine attack often is worse than the worst flu a non-Migraineur can imagine, yet is often refractory to the easy to find treatments used for a case of the flu.  Once the flu goes away you’re done.  Migraines come back over and over and over again, sometimes for decades or a lifetime.  Chronic Migraine is relentless.   Instead, why not suggest a shortcut to make their job easier, or offer to help them until their medicine begins to work. 

 7.   Take a pill.  Migraine is a genetic neurologic disease spectrum of which pain is only one part.  You probably didn’t know that a patient can have a Migraine without the pain component at all, or that Migraine attacks can range from relatively mild, to life threatening.  You might not realize that most chronic Migraineurs take preventive medicine every day.  No two patients are alike, and what works for one will not work for another.  Many episodic Migraineurs can take a medication and abort their attack and continue with their day – most of the time.  Some cannot.  Chronic Migraine often necessitates taking abortive or rescue medicine more days than not, and we are limited because those medicines can cause enormous problems of their own.  Additionally, insurance only gives us a few to take each month and they can cost hundreds of dollars.  Some days we have to make the choice not to treat a particular attack, because if we treat that attack, we won’t be able to treat another one that might be worse.  Frankly, telling someone to take a pill is hurtful to the chronic Migraineur.  We don’t want to be miserable and would take medicine if we could.  Next time, why not ask if you can help the Migraineur by turning off lights, down audio or ventilating a smelly room to help with comfort issues. 

 8.   It’s just a headache.  Actually, it’s not.  Migraine is a systemic disease that affects nearly every part of our bodies, from digestive to circulatory to endocrine, to nervous system.  Chronic pain eventually results in central sensitization and allodynia that causes severe pain throughout our entire bodies.  If the disease itself isn’t hard enough on the body, the treatments we are forced to take wreak havoc, often causing even further damage and disability.  Next time, try asking the Migraineur about their symptoms so you can understand their experience and possibly help them with their next attack. 

 9.   Go get a hobby, it’ll take your mind off the pain.  If you break your arm, will getting a hobby make your pain go away?  Of course it won’t.  Yet a Migraine makes a broken bone look like fun at the circus.  While distraction is a recognized and effective way for patients to better control their pain, this is a technique that requires immense concentration and practice much beyond a simple hobby.  The worse the pain is, the less the chance that the distraction will be helpful.  In either case, distraction will not prevent an attack, nor will it treat or “cure” Migraine.  Migraine is a genetic, neurologic disease over which the patient has little to no control.  Next time, try asking the patient if there is anything you can do to help distract them from the symptoms of their attack.

10.   I read about something new that can cure Migraine or Have you tried this?  It worked for a friend of mine.  While Migraineurs want to know that our loved ones are thinking about us and want to help us, the chance that you have stumbled upon a miraculous treatment or “cure” that our specialists – or we who have suffered terribly with this disease – have not, is miniscule beyond measure.  Everyone bombards us with the same information, and we’ve almost always tried it repeatedly ourselves anyway.  We weary of the constant suggestions – not because we don’t appreciate that you care, but that it makes us feel even more helpless and reminds us that we have failed yet again where others have found success.  If you truly want to be helpful, ask us what you can do, or what we might need.  If you feel compelled to tell us about the latest treatment you read about or heard about, at the very least please preface it with the statement “I know you’ve probably already heard of this, but I wanted to ask just in case…” 

11.   You just need to get outside for fresh air and exercise more.  While exercise is sometimes helpful for Migraineurs when they are not in the midst of an attack, chronic Migraine often means back to back attacks that leave the patient no time to go outside or exercise.  Additionally, exercise is frequently a trigger for Migraine attacks, especially in those who are chronic.   If we are seeing a specialist, we have most likely also seen a physical therapist that is helping us with needed exercise in ways that will be most effective for our particular situation.  Moreover, the sunlight we are exposed to outside may cause physical pain as a part of our attack, or act as a potent trigger for another attack.  Exercise and the out of doors is something we all miss, but it is a slippery slope we must navigate with care.  It will not “cure” our Migraine disease.   Instead, the next time you see us having a good day, offer to take us to the park or go for a walk with us. 

12.   At least it’s not fatal.  Unfortunately, this is not true.  Though rare, Migrainous stroke takes the lives of patients every year.  Migraine – especially chronic Migraine – has been found to be tightly correlated with other serious or even potentially fatal health issues, and often it is the combination that is deadly.  Migraineurs without appropriate treatment are those most at risk of stroke, suicide, and death by related causes such as accidents, depression, accidental overdose, side effects, medical mistakes, etc…    Next time, consider acknowledging the struggle of the Migraineur and remind them how much you love and appreciate their presence in your own life.

So True!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Migraines: Not just a headache.

Before my eyes are not even open, I can feel the pain. The pain that is unbearable at times, feels like someone just stabbed my head or like there is so much pressure in my head that it will just simply explode. The pain that radiates through my whole body, this is what makes me just want to cry.  This is the pain that I know all too well and know in my heart that I can’t control it anymore no matter how hard I try. I must sit up now and embrace the swirling feeling I will have in my head; I must embrace the day to come. Every day I wake up and the pain could be on the left, right, front, or back side of my head, it could even be all over. I also know the road I must take today and that by the end of the day I will be in so much pain I just might get so sick to where I will vomit. As much as I want to just stay in bed being motionless, in the silence, the dark, with my eyes still shut, I can’t. I must move on with my life and not let it control me. I have to live my life to the fullest and have no regrets.  This it is what is like for me, Morgan Kay-Lynn Barton, a nineteen year old, who suffers from daily migraines for the past five years.
Me at age 14, Smiling through a migraine that I had for about 7 months in this picture
Age 17, living with migraines for almost 4 year
Age 18. I never let a picture of me be taken with out a smile on my face
One in four American households includes someone who suffers from migraine headaches in their lifetime. It has been reported that every ten seconds someone in America goes to the emergency room for a migraine or headache. Over 27 million women alone are affected by migraines in the United States today (Migraines). There are about 36 million people in the United States alone that suffer from this painful disease. American employers lose more than $13 billion each year as a result of 113 million lost work days due to employees that have migraines (Migraines). There should be more awareness shown for migraines. Not just in adults but in children too.
There are numerous forms of migraines and numerous amounts of cause. The most common type of migraine is your basic migraine, tension migraines, cluster migraine and chronic migraine. Most migraines can be caused by the narrowing and the dilating of the arteries in the brain. Other factors that can cause migraines are stress, fatigue, oversleeping or lack of sleep, fasting or missing a meal, food or medication that affects the diameter of blood vessels, caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, hormonal changes, menstruation, change in barometric pressure, and changes in altitude. These are the ones that top the list and this list can go on and on. The triggers for migraine can vary from person to person, girl to boy, or even the person’s age. There is also very little known about migraines and there are many theories of what causes the migraines too.
For woman the key thing that triggers is stress or hormones. For woman from the ages of twenty to forty are prone to migraine because of the stress of work, children and having a house to care for. Each factor alone is stressful and could cause a migraine but when you add the all these factors together and it creates a perfect environment for a migraine. Another factor can be the hormones because they are always changing. Woman’s estrogen and progesterone levels drop sharply just before a menstrual cycle begins. Scientists also know that estrogen controls chemicals in the brain affect sensitivity to pain.
The key causes for migraines in men are alcohol consumption, the food they eat and their level of stress. For men and woman there can many cause for the migraines because everyone’s body chemistry is different and we all react differently to the things we do and put in our bodies. Many people know that adults can suffer from migraines, but there has not be enough light shed on the uprising fact that children suffer from debilitating migraines too. 
Children with migraines can have the same symptoms as adult but they can vary. The symptoms that are different in children are abdominal cramping, a need to sleep, paleness with dark circles under the eyes, sleepwalking and diarrhea. The children that develop migraines can start having migraines at the age of puberty or as early as eighteen months old. In children ages eighteen months to five years old can have symptom of holding their head, excessive crying and excessive sleeping. Children are more likely to have migraines if one of their parents has migraines because of the genes that are passed to the children (John Merach).
There are many stereotypes for adults and children with migraines that can are very different. For an adult, who work full time, the stereotypes can be that they don’t care about their job, that they are uncommitted to their job, or that they don’t care about the extra toll it will take on their co-workers because of their numerous absents from work. Also for adults they can be seen as weak, unhappy, miserable, depressed, disconnected or disabled. There can be many stereotypes placed on a person or even a child who struggles with migraines. Stereotyped, in children, they can be seen as lazy or someone with the lack of care for life.
In the past recent months we have heard about a political person who has been pointed out about having migraines. Michele Bachmann is a political candidate that is running for 2012 presidential campaign. Many of the American voters have been concerned with her capability of handling the stress of being president and living with migraine headaches. The voters see her as a weaker candidate.  Reporters have stated many of time that she lives with debilitating headaches that can incapacitate her for days and keep her from working (Warner). But Bachmann has responded to the statements by saying “Yes I do in fact have migraine headaches but she is able to control them well with medication (Warner). Because of the way the voters view her having migraines, something she has no control of, has caused her to step down from the presidential race. If Bachmann was to still be in the running for the presidential race and was to win she would have been in good company in the White House. The two most famous political figures that have had migraine headaches are Thomas Jefferson and Ulysses S. Grant (Ford-Martin).  What I would have to say is that if we have not lived in Bachmann’s shoe then we cannot judge her for the choices. She has made the choice to run as a presidential candidate because the one who knows her the best is herself, and if she believes she could handle the challenges that come with the job then more power to her.
            Migraine headaches are different from other diseases in many of ways. Though migraines don’t have many physical effects on a person that people can easily see but they have a great emotional toll on a person. There is not a specific treatment or a cure for migraines. Migraines are also a disease that can be easily misdiagnosed but with the right doctors, and diagnosed correctly, treatment can be very manageable. Migraines are different from headaches because they create more problems both physically and emotionally for the person.
            I know migraines all too well, just like if it were the back of my hand. I have suffered from chronic migraines for the past five years. For migraines to be chronic you must have them more than fifteen days out of the month. Little did I know those few months of being thirteen would be the only months that I had of a normal teenage life; the migraines started when I was thirteen turning fourteen. From there on out my life has consisted of medication, examination, surgeries and experimentation, but this was just the medical aspect on what I went through. Emotionally and physically I would just sleep my days away and detach myself from my family and love ones. As much as I wanted to let migraines tear me down, I knew in my heart that I will become a stronger person because I have faces this challenge. That is why I believe that Bachmann would not make the commitment to running for president if she knew physically, mentally and emotionally she would not be able to fulfill her duties.
            There are many ways to manage having migraine headaches. There are two types of medications that are mainly used to treat migraines preventive and abortive. Preventive medication is something that you take daily so that it stops you from getting a migraine. Some commonly used preventive medications are beta-blockers, anti-depressants or anti-seizure. Abortive medication is used to treat and quickly stop migraine headaches in a middle of an attack. The most common name for abortive medication is “triptans” which are like Zomag or Maxalt. These medications are used when you have a migraine not to prevent them.  “Triptans” cannot be used more than two days a week because they are known to cause rebound headache which will cause you to take more medicine that can harm you liver or other organs.
            You may be asking yourself is medication the only way this can be treated? Isn’t there surgery that can be done or something else that is not so harmful on the body?  Acupuncture is a commonly method that is where a doctor inserts and manipulates fine needles at various, pressure points on the body. Biofeedback is use as relaxation therapies designed to control the body's response to stress by doing deep breathing exercise and visualization. Chiropractors can be used to help relief pain through massage, spinal manipulation and periodic adjustment of joints and soft tissue.
            Within the past five years there has been a break through treatment for chronic migraine suffers. It is a surgery called the StimPath. There are four wires that are placed at four points on your head and all connect at a main point in at the back of the neck. Then these wires run down your back to your hip where it connects to a battery. The point of this device is to send electoral impulse to the nerves that are believed to cause the migraine. These electoral impulse interrupt the signal that the nerves are sending to the brain that there is pain present. The feeling of these wires is like a light massage on the forehead and back of head. I have had this surgery and it was like a miracle. I was pain free a few hours after the surgery. The surgery is a very long-lasting relief for people who suffer from chronic migraine and is minimal invasive on your body.
            Though migraines are very debilitating they don’t have to control your life. There are many treatment options out there for you to do trial and error with. For people who have not felt what it is like to have a migraine you should not be quick to pass judgment. Migraines have become a more common disease in America because of the amount of stress that is place on us from our jobs and family. I know from experience that migraines can be life changing, but with the right tools and life style changes they can become manageable. “Migraine does not discriminate. It affects individuals from all walks of life, professions, and cultures. What sets migraineurs apart is not who they are or what they do, but how they take control of their lives and their disease.” (Ford-Martin)
 Works Cited
Ford-Martin, P. (n.d.). Inspiration: Famous Migraineurs. Retrieved October 5, 2011, from
John Merach, M. F. (n.d.). Migraine Headache in Children. Retrieved October 4, 2011, from
Mirgraine Awareness Group: A National Understanding for Migraineurs. (n.d.). Retrieved 11 4, 2011, from Treatment and Alternative Therapies.
Warner, J. (2011). Me, Michele and Our Migraines. The New York Times, 3.
Chronic Migraine Support Ribbon

I am home now from college and adjusting to the weather and lifestyle. I love being back home with my family and having to support. I have a break for now till I start babysitting and online class. I am going to start post more thing that are not so related to migraines but I hope the are more interesting.

Here is a song that I have really enjoyed lately.