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Chronic Illness Bingo

The Hemiplegic Migraine Foundation recently shared this picture and it could not be more perfect. I swear they’re in my brain half the time! That’s the point, right? When something is wrong with someone you care about, your first reaction is to offer any advice you can find. My life quickly turned into every conversation being about the latest trending Dr. Oz fix or Pinterest home remedy. I hope these nifty tricks do work for some, but having Hemiplegic Migraine, I just kept striking out.

  1. Acupuncture- BINGO! So many people swear by this method so I was ready to try it…for me it was just really hard to sit still for 20 minutes with tiny needles in my face😬 (strike 1)
  2. Chiropractor- BINGO! Although the chiropractor hasn’t helped my headaches, I absolutely love going to mine. Twice weekly, she works carefully with me to make my body feel better overall.
  3. Hypnotist- BINGO! I was never into this route…but I was willing to try anything. Needless to say I napped while the lady was “hypnotizing” me. (Strike 2)
  4. Muscle Stem- BINGO! This is another alternative treatment that may not be helpful to my HM directly, but does provide me with some relief. (Strike 3)
  5. Gluten Free Diet- BINGO! I fully committed to this diet twice, since a gluten allergy looked like a real possibility. My dad adopted the diet with me both times so I wouldn’t be doing it alone. It is not an easy life style change. But I now know I am not celiac sensitive. (Strike 4)
  6. Lime on forehead- BINGO! As funny as this sounds, rubbing a lime across your forehead to relieve headaches was a Pinterest find. It worked a time or two for me when I was having a sinus headache or something. (Strike 5)  (lime and infused headband)
  7. Peppermint Infused Headband- BINGO! Another Pinterest find. Turns out peppermint is one of my smell triggers. Awesome. (Strike 6)
  8. Iced Head/Heat Feet- BINGO! Nope. This is a common migraine home remedy, you soak your feet in warm water while you ice the back of your neck. When I think about me doing this, I just laugh. I lasted maybe 2 minutes bent over before I passed out and just ended up soaking wet. Ha! (Strike 7)
  9. Hormone Therapy- BINGO! This was a valid try and I liked the doctor, however Dr. Diamond advised me to avoid this route due to the stroke risk with HM . (Strike 8)
  10. Brain Training- BINGO! I hated this because it required me to have all the EEG nodes glued to my head once a week, a disaster to get out. The first time I had an episode the guy freaked out annnd that was the end of that. (Strike 9)
  11. Inversion Table- BINGO! If hanging out upside down was all it took, you could totally count me in. (Strike 10)
  12. Essential Oil Baths- BINGO! I have to be careful what oils I use since my sense of smell is so sensitive, but lavender and eucalyptus are helpful. I think this really is successful for other migrainers. It is relaxing and I use it for that sometimes. 
  13. Supplements- BINGO! I think we got one of everything at the natural market. (Strike 11)   
  14. Low Tyramine Diet- BINGO! This was an idea from Diamond so I had full faith in it…(strike 12)
  15. Drink LOTS of water- BINGO! I still do this and always have, I just cannot maintain my own hydration, another symptom of Hemiplegic. Thank goodness for weekly IV fluids! (Strike 13)
  16. Exercise- BINGO! I still try to make an effort to be active but it’s quite the challenge sometimes. Running and working out used to be two of my favorite hobbies, especially in the summer. Unfortunately, exercise tends to be an HM trigger.👎🏼 (strike 14)
  17. Regular Sleep Schedule- BINGO! I love sleep. It is one of my favorite things. But that nasty HM cycle really screws with sleep and even with all the tricks in the book, 2 hour sleep class at Mayo included, that is out of my control. (Strike 15)
  18. Meditation/Yoga- BINGO! I still practice this from time to time but haven’t seen real results. (Strike 16)
  19. Retail Therapy- BINGO!😉 Of all the different therapies I’ve tried you would think this would be my favorite. It is actually my least favorite. Shopping is one of the worst things for me. I have found Fluorescent lighting to be a big trigger, so I rock sunglasses everywhere I go. (Strike 16)   (Mall of America retail therapy)
  20. Botox- BINGO! This treatment is becoming more and more popular in the world of migraine. I won’t count it as a strike yet, as I am about to receive only my third treatment. But I didn’t miraculously feel better after I got it like some sources say you should.   

Clearly I don’t play by the “three strikes, you’re out” rule. That’s 18 strikes without including any MDs. I know many of these methods really do work for lots of people, this just shows how complicated Hemiplegic Migraines are. HM is SO SO much more than just a migraine. It’s taken me three years of trail and error to find something that helps just a little bit. Honestly, there is no “jackpot” or “bingo” for us HMers. But we take every little give we can get!

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