Three 10 Minute Mind and Body Stillness Practice I Find Helpful to Combat Stress and Anxiety

Do you have a daily stillness routine to help you manage stress and anxiety?โฃ

โฃEver since I started living with #๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—บ๐—ถ๐—ฝ๐—น๐—ฒ๐—ด๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—บ๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฒ and #๐—ฑ๐˜†๐˜€๐˜๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ถ๐—ฎ, life has become very #๐˜€๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜€๐—ณ๐˜‚๐—น. Navigating work, home, and social life became very taxing. The unpredictability of attacks brought my #stress and #anxiety level way up high. I started to get frustrated, angry, and restless. I was irritable and quick to snap at every little thing. I knew then that something needed to change, not only for my benefit but also for my family. They are my support system and have been with me through my ups and downs, this is why I’ve decided to find ways to calm my mind and body.

โฃI started utilizing my good days to explore exercises my body would tolerate, and I found swimming and yoga favorable. Although I cannot do this as consistently as I would like, I try to do them whenever I have my โ€œgood daysโ€ and am physically able to do them. Exercise has also been found to be beneficial for people with #migraine. According to American Migraine Foundation, “Exercise helps manage the symptoms and triggers of migraine on multiple fronts. Exercise releases endorphins, which are the bodyโ€™s natural painkillers. Endorphins also induce positive feelings and a sense of well-being, an asset for people living with migraine, who face increased risk of anxiety and depression. Exercise can improve sleep quality and consistency and help relieve stress, which are both common migraine triggers.”

Why yoga? Aside from my distaste for running? Lower intensity exercise such as simple yoga stretching is less likely to trigger my dystonia symptoms. According to Dystonia Medical Research Foundation, “The benefits of exercise and physical activity for neurological disorders is well-known. Individuals with dystonia may experience numerous barriers to healthy levels of exercise, including the fact that physical activity sometimes worsens dystonia symptoms.” However, DMRF found that “A team of exercise scientists and physical therapy experts at University of Auckland in New Zealand conducted a survey of 260 dystonia patients about physical activity and barriers to exercise. The survey revealed that lower intensity exercise, such as light walking and general stretching, were among the least aggravating for dystonia symptoms.” Dystonia Medical Research Foundation.

On top of the exercises I’ve incorporated into my weekly routine, Iโ€™ve also created what I now call ๐Ÿฏ/๐Ÿญ๐Ÿฌ ๐—ฆ๐— ๐—ฃ+H20 practice. ๐Ÿฏ/๐Ÿญ๐Ÿฌ ๐—ฆ๐— ๐—ฃ+H20 is an acronym for ๐Ÿฏ – ๐Ÿญ๐Ÿฌ ๐—บ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜‚๐˜๐—ฒ ๐—ฆ๐—ง๐—ฅ๐—˜๐—ง๐—–๐—›– ๐— ๐—˜๐——๐—œ๐—ง๐—”๐—ง๐—˜๐—ฃ๐—ฅ๐—”๐—ฌ + HYDRATION. I use this as a guide to my daily calm and stillness.โฃ According to Mayo Clinic, “Meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance that can benefit both your emotional well-being and your overall health. And these benefits don’t end when your meditation session ends. Meditation can help carry you more calmly through your day and may help you manage symptoms of certain medical conditions.

โฃI usually start my day with this 30-minute practice. โฃ

๐Ÿญ. I begin with what I call the “accept and release” mentality as I sit on a yoga mat before starting the SMP+H2O practice. I think of any tension that I may have accumulated, whether physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual, and I welcome them all, but I make sure that I accept the things I cannot change or control. I take a deep breath and release all the tension from within, leaving what I like to think of as a blank canvas inside me. โฃ

โฃ๐Ÿฎ๐—ฆ๐—ง๐—ฅ๐—˜๐—ง๐—–๐—› – After feeling the release of all the stress from my mind and body, I start with a few simple yoga ๐˜€๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐˜๐—ฐ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐˜€ that engage the whole body for ๐Ÿญ๐Ÿฌ minutes. I focus on the simplicity of the stretches and the slow inhale and exhale breathing technique.โฃ The key is slow and simple, and I only do what my body allows me. It is essential to listen to your own body before and while doing this.

๐Ÿฏ๐— ๐—˜๐——๐—œ๐—ง๐—”๐—ง๐—˜ – Once Iโ€™m done with the stretches, I use the meditation app called #calm. I sit on the mat and listen to the ๐Ÿญ๐Ÿฌ minute daily calm, following its instruction to bring stillness through my mind and body, ending with a few deep breaths. โฃ I also allow myself to hydrate at this time.

โฃ๐Ÿฏ๐—ฃ๐—ฅ๐—”๐—ฌ- I then proceed to the next step. I use another app called #youversion to listen to a chapter from the Bible. (๐˜ ๐˜ข๐˜ฎ ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜—๐˜ด๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ฎ๐˜ด ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต.) I find the audio voice from “youversion” calming. During this time, I incorporate my prayer. I do this for a total of ๐Ÿญ๐Ÿฌ minutes, taking slow and deep breaths in between – accepting, releasing, and connecting with God. โฃ

โฃDepending on what time of the day I do this, I spend a few minutes ๐™ง๐™š๐™›๐™ก๐™š๐™˜๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ, ๐™ง๐™š๐™˜๐™ค๐™œ๐™ฃ๐™ž๐™ฏ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ, and ๐™–๐™ฅ๐™ฅ๐™ง๐™š๐™˜๐™ž๐™–๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ. I begin with reflecting about my day, taking slow and deep breaths in between thoughts, then recognizing what I canโ€™t control or change, and I ๐™ง๐™š๐™ก๐™š๐™–๐™จ๐™š them all as I exhale. I then acknowledge and remember the good things that have happened throughout the day, welcoming them into my canvas, appreciating them, and feeling grateful for the blessings; this is what I call the moment of replacing. I replace the tension with blessing, repainting my canvas with good thoughts for the day or night.

โฃ๐ŸฐH2O – I end each session with slow and deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling. I do this 3x and finish the session with a glass of cold water to refresh and hydrate.

๐—œ ๐—ฎ๐—บ ๐—ป๐—ผ๐˜„ ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฑ๐˜† ๐˜๐—ผ ๐˜€๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐˜ ๐—บ๐˜† ๐—ฑ๐—ฎ๐˜†! โฃ

โฃThe whole practice takes only 30 minutes out of my dayโ€”three 10 min separate sessions of simple Yoga ๐˜€๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐˜๐—ฐ๐—ต๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐˜๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป, and ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐˜†๐—ฒ๐—ฟ. However, you can extend this to 45 minutes or an hour if you like, the choice is yours, but I find it easier to set aside 30 minutes out of my day and use it any time of the day. I usually find it more beneficial first thing in the morning to start my day or right before bedtime to end a hectic day. โฃI find it a helpful practice for stress and anxiety as well. However, make sure that you listen to your body and talk to your doctor if you have stress and anxiety.

โฃ๐—ก๐—ผ๐˜๐—ฒ: ๐˜š๐˜ต๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ต๐˜ค๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜จ๐˜ข ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต ๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฆ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ. ๐˜š๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ค๐˜ฉ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ช๐˜ค ๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ญ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ด ๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ด ๐˜ง๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ช๐˜ต ๐˜ข๐˜ด ๐˜ข ๐˜ต๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜จ๐˜จ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ช๐˜ณ ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ด๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ถ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฅ๐˜บ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ต๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ฌ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฐ๐˜ค๐˜ต๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜จ๐˜ข๐˜จ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜บ ๐˜ต๐˜บ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ฆ๐˜น๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ค๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ฆ. โฃ

โฃ๐——๐—ผ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚ ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐—ฎ ๐—ฑ๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐—น๐˜† stillness ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐˜๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฒ? Would you please share what works for you? Please tag me on IG @wonderfullymade_jenn  or @writes_jennifersenne, and let’s empower each other!

When Tummy Ache Could Potentially Be Abdominal Migraine

I’ve written a few blogs and articles about migraine, the confusing and debilitating symptoms it posits, and all the other odd phenomenon that comes with the disease. I am, yet, writing another migraine-type that many people are unfamiliar with, not even those who live with migraine.

My daughter was eight years old when she first had her migraine symptoms. We were at a water park all day with some friends and had decided to end the fun day with dinner. She then began to feel nauseous, though she had a hard time explaining how she felt at the moment. “Mommy, my stomach feels weird,” she said. I thought she was probably dehydrated from being under the sun all day or perhaps hungry, so I told her to relax, and that we would get her something to eat and drink. After a few minutes, we found ourselves in the bathroom with her vomiting and in excruciating pain. Not long after, she said, “Mommy, my head hurts.” The day ended with my baby asleep on my lap. 

According to Americanย Migraineย Foundation,ย “Migraineย is hereditary, so if one or both parents hasย migraine, there is a 50-75 % chance their child will be affected.” As a person who lives withย migraineย attacks almostย every day,ย I knew right away,ย  that she had justย experienced her firstย migraineย attack.”ย I took my daughter to her pediatrician to make sure there was nothing more seriously wrong with her. I was surprised by her diagnosis.ย “She has a stomachย migraine,”ย my baby’s doctor had informed me. A stomachย migraine? Baffled, I asked myself,ย Migraineย is aย headache, isn’t it?ย 

According to Americanย Migraineย Foundation,ย “Some children experience abdominal pain with an attack.”ย AMF further explains,ย “Abdominalย migraineย is a sub-type ofย migraineย seen mainly in children. It consists of episodes ofย abdominalย pain with nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or pallor. Between episodes, there should be no symptoms. Children withย abdominalย migraineย generally go on to developย migraineย headachesย later in life.”ย I then realized that there is so much more to aย migraine condition. It is not just aย headache!

My baby is now eighteen years old, and as AMF had explained, she, now, tooย experiences headaches with herย migraineย attacksย which were always preceded by stomach discomfort. We would often miss the warning signs blaming her episodes on different issues such as food poisoning or a simple stomachache until I’m reminded of her firstย migraineย experience. Of course, not all stomachaches areย migraineย symptoms, so it is always vital to check with your doctors. It is also beneficial to learn aboutย migraineย attacks, especially if you or your child have been diagnosed with the condition.

What are the symptoms of abdominal migraine in children?  According to Yale Medicine, “The main symptoms of abdominal migraine are recurrent episodes of moderate to severe stomach pain that lasts for between 1 and 72 hours. Other symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and pale appearance. (The symptoms rarely occur between episodes.).” 

If you, as a parent, live with a migraine or suspect your child might be experiencing an abdominal migraine, please see a neurologist or a pediatrician and get the proper diagnosis. Though it is essential to read and be knowledgeable about migraine conditions and their symptoms, it does not replace an accurate diagnosis from a neurologist.

So next time your child or anyone in your family complains about abdominal pain without a cause, especially if you as a parent live with the debilitating symptoms of migraine yourself, seek medical help from a pediatrician or a neurologist and ask about the possibility of abdominal migraine. Remember that a Migraine is more than just a headache.             

Show You Care!

Image from Shades For Migraine

June is Migraine and Headache Awareness Month.

Migraine is NOT just a headache. It is a debilitating condition that affects millions of people; adults and children worldwide.

According to American Migraine Foundation, “For more than 90% of those affected, migraine interferes with education, career and social activities.” This is very true in my case. On top of dystonia, I have had to stop working because of the unpredictability of this condition. Lately, I have devoted my time on writing, connecting with advocates and spreading awareness about chronic health condition, including migraine.

While headache is the most common symptoms during a migraine attack, According to Association of Migraine Disorders, Migraine is a full body disorder.

“While this is the typical classification for migraine disease, we at AMD recognize that migraine is a complex neurological disease with symptoms well beyond a headache. Migraine can impact the entire nervous system. This means people may experience symptoms in various parts of their body. One may think these widespread symptoms are not related but in fact, migraine could be the underlying cause.

Migraine is NOT just a headache. It is imperative that we understand what migraine is, how it affects people, and how we can help and spread awareness, this is the reason why I jumped on board with Shades for Migraine Campaign. On June 21st, show you care, and join hundreds of people worldwide by wearing your shades for migraine in support of friends and family who live with this debilitating condition.

Silent Migraine Isn’t So Silent After All

“Shhh… keep it down; I have a silent migraine.” Yes, you read it right; – a silent migraine. What in the world is a silent migraine?ย 

Have you ever heard someone say they have a migraine, but they don’t have a headache? What?! Yes, that was my reaction, too! Aren’t you suppose to have head pain when you have a migraine? According to my research, you don’t necessarily have to be. You can have a migraine without a headache. Migraine without pain is another baffling phenomenon that many people are not familiar with or do not understand. If you haven’t had chronic migraines and have not experienced the frustration of having all the mysterious symptoms migraines can bring, perhaps, you would not have heard of silent migraines.ย 

During one of my neurologist visits, I was reluctant to bring up what I was feeling lately. I did not want him to think I was going crazy. I had all the migraine aura, yet I didn’t feel pain and, I told him this. I waited for him to look at me and say, “that’s impossible!” but instead, he gave me a sympathetic look and said, “You are suffering fromย acephalgic migraine,ย sometimes called “silent” migraine.” A what?! I was shocked to hear this – a migraine without the headache! Isn’t migraine always associated with pain? I guess not. I left the clinic knowing that I wasn’t going crazy after all.

I’ve learned from that visit that silent migraines could bring out some if not all migraine aura without the head pain. Though hard to comprehend, silent migraines sounded fascinating to me, so I tried to educate myself. Don’t let the name fool you. Silent migraines can still be enfeebling. Migraine aura such as

  • light sensitivity
  • vision loss
  • seeing zigzags or
  • squiggly lines
  • numbness
  • tingling
  • weakness
  • confusion
  • difficulty speaking
  • dizziness
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • Abdominal pain (- sometimes called stomach migraine – I think I should write about this, too! My daughter suffered from this.) can still be present without the headache.

As you can see, despite not having any pain, these symptoms are enough to put a halt to anyone’s life. I was diagnosed with hemiplegic migraines presenting additional symptoms on top of some mentioned above; these symptoms usually mimic stroke-like symptoms, then a massive headache would usually follow. However, there are days when I only experience an aura, but they are enough to bring my whole body down.

Because silent migraine is “silent,” taking the proper medication can be a little tricky. There were days when I didn’t know what I was feeling; all I knew was that I didn’t feel well; therefore didn’t know what medicine to take. Medication for regular migraines usually treat silent migraines, my neurologist told me, but this has been a hit and miss for me. It has been challenging for me to catch silent migraines in their early phase. Often, I wouldn’t realize that I was having one till it’s too late. 

There are many causes for silent migraines, or what most of us call triggers. Below are common causes for migraines, even silent ones. 

  • neck problems (number one for me!)
  • noises (this, too!)
  • bright lights (yep!)
  • fermented foods
  • caffeinated drinks (This is very inconsistent for me)
  • wine (aha!)
  • barometric changes (ugh!)
  • MSG (I think so…)
  • stress (definitely!)
  • hunger (yes!)
  • exercise ( sometimes)
  • pain or other illness
  • odors (yep!)
  • eye strain (phone!)
  • too much sleep (yes!)
  • too little sleep (What?! – shaking my head)
  • hormonal changes (yes! Pregnancy, menstruation, peri-menopause-yikes!)
  • chocolate (Ugh!-my favorite.)

Did I comment on all of them? Oh well! By the way,ย It’s a great idea to have a migraine trigger diary.

I try to find ways to avoid all the triggers, but it is not easy. Sometimes, we are not in control of our environment. There are times when I am very religious at watching my triggers, but at times, I slip, oops! Chocolate!!! Rocky Road ice cream is my one guilty pleasure. I would usually pay the price for my “oops” later, though(pouting).

If you hear someone say they have a silent migraine, no, they are not crazy! Know that even though it’s called silent migraine, it doesn’t mean there are no symptoms present. Silent migraine manifests in different debilitating and crippling ways. Someone who experiences this mysterious phenomenon needs rest, just like those who are having migraines with pain.ย 

If you experience a migraine aura without a headache? There’s a possibility you could be experiencing a silent migraine. Talk to your neurologist and see what treatment is best for you. 

Please remember, just because one does not feel the pain doesn’t mean they are not struggling. Silent migraine is just as enervating and paralyzing as any migraine can be, so please be compassionate and understanding.

I guess silent migraine isn’t so silent after all.ย 

Why I wrote Wonder Mommy

In my opinion, mothers have the most challenging job in the world, and I believe that ALL moms are wonder mommies, but Iโ€™ve never considered myself as a wonder mommy before; in fact, far from it! Moms wear different hats; one minute, theyโ€™re doctors patching their little onesโ€™ boo-boos, then turns into a judge the next trying to settle their childrenโ€™s misunderstandings; it sounds like a magic trick, right? No, they are merely moms! They are cooks, nurses, teachers, drivers, coaches, and so much more! In other words, all moms are wonder mommies, including me!

Mommies who struggle with chronic illness face different challenges, however, they wear different hats, but they have to be creative in accomplishing the given responsibilities each hat requires. Every day is unpredictable for mommies with chronic illness. Though they try to push through the pain, sometimes they miss planned playdates and other fun activities with their children. For some, they couldnโ€™t even plan activities for the next day, let alone the following week. Even moms of teenagers and young adults go through the same challenges; I can attest to both experiences.

It isnโ€™t easy to simultaneously be a mom and a chronic illness warrior; other mental and emotional factors play a significant role in our lives. I, for once, was stricken by guilt each time Iโ€™d missed fun activities because I had to rest and feel better. I felt as if I wasnโ€™t enough and that I was a burden to my family. I thought that Iโ€™d failed my children; my husband and I felt as if Iโ€™d disappointed them. Insecurities crept in.

Migraines and dystonia have no place in my life, but it is what I was dealt with; I have to accept them and move forward. As challenging as it was for me, Iโ€™ve decided to make the most of my situation and decided to influence and uplift other mommies out there positively; I know I wasnโ€™t alone in my struggles; this is why I wrote โ€œWonder Mommy.โ€ I hope that this book would encourage and remind mommies how amazing they are. My goal is for moms to realize that our best is enough, that we are enough, that we are wonder mommies in our childrenโ€™s eyes despite our battles and limitations. I want to encourage mothers that though we have some bad days physically and emotionally, itโ€™s okay. We may feel defeated one day, but we will surely get back the next; thatโ€™s what makes us wonder mommies!

I dedicate my book to all moms, but most especially to moms like me who have to be โ€œwonder mommiesโ€ to our little wonders while being chronic illness warriors! To all moms out there, I salute you! Stay strong!

Wonder Mommy!

Even when days are tough, mommies are a wonder – For Mommies with Chronic Illness.

Motherhood is a blessing, it is full of excitement and jubilation, but motherhood is also full of challenges and trials. I am a mother of three beautiful children. I am also a mother who happened to struggle with chronic illnesses. Being a mother is tough, period. Being a mother while battling a chronic disease faces different types of challenges, at least it does for me.

I’ve always suffered from headaches, even when I was a child. Headaches were no stranger to me, although I never understood why I would sometimes faint when I got them; later on in life, I found out I had migraines. I knew everyone had had a headache at one point in their life, but I never heard of a migraine before until I became an adult, and even then, I thought migraine was just a worse kind of headache; was I wrong!

My headaches subsided for years. When I delivered my second child, it seemed to have come back more often. Hormones! I blamed it all on hormones then. For the most part, I was able to handle it pretty well. My third child came, and the headaches came back more frequent; other odd symptoms accompanied it. My face would tingle, my left eye would get smaller, and parts of my body would feel numb. I would feel nauseated, and lights and sounds started to bother me. I would nap when my little ones napped, hoping it would go away, and it did, but a couple of days after, a massive headache would come. I had to learn how to cope with this condition. It was pretty challenging to do daily activities with my three children, especially when required to be out in the sun, going to the movies, or anywhere where my senses could be heightened.

One day, while walking into a grocery store, my left leg gave out. My left calf spasmed, and it became hard as a rock, I almost fell to the ground. It wasn’t painful, but it was uncomfortable enough to hinder me from walking. I ignored the scene until it started happening frequently. I saw several doctors and had all the tests we could think of, but they couldn’t find anything wrong with me, although they found out I had a complicated migraine called, hemiplegic migraine where it mimics stroke symptoms. On top of the typical aura, migraines brought me, my left body would get heavy, my left eye would shut, I had difficulty speaking, and at times, I would live in a brain fog for days; Voila, Migraines! However, I still didnโ€™t know what was causing the other symptoms.

The spasms came more frequently and lasted longer. Eventually, it started affecting other parts of my body, including my vocal cords, making it tough to speak; it felt as though it involved my chest, too, but it turned out my diaphragm was spasming, causing me to catch my breath at times. During a severe attack, my ankles would twist in, making me scream in excruciating pain and leave me unable to walk. Finally, after seeing more specialists, I was diagnosed with a condition I have never heard of before called dystonia. Dystonia is a condition characterized by involuntary muscle contractions and other debilitating symptoms. On top of the other symptoms I was getting from migraine, I had to watch out for dystonia symptoms as well, which I later discovered would overlap each other, at least for me. When a severe migraine hits, dystonia would surely follow.

My days became unpredictable, not knowing whether I would wake up having a good day or having one of those days where I can’t do much. Living with a chronic illness is no easy task; the days can be frustrating. Some fall into depression, especially when they do not have a support system as I do. I thank God for blessing me with a husband who understands and is willing to face the challenges with me, especially when it came to my responsibilities as a mother.

I felt guilty for not being enough. There were days when I felt robbed of opportunities to be the best mother to my children. Sometimes I felt my children’s disappointment when I could not do the fun things they would want to do at a particular moment, or so I thought, insecurities played with my mind.  Many times I felt defeated until I realized that my children were capable of empathy. When times are tough, I would explain how I felt to my children, and I was greeted by surprise at how understanding they were. They taught me how to be creative in my parenting style. I remember one day, one of my daughters would ask me, “Mommy, are you feeling ok? I can be your doctor.” We would play doctor and patient, and I would get my rest while they “treat” me. There were many other ways my little children showed their understanding and compassion. I want to think that my situation taught them how to be as such.

Photo by Kamaji Ogino on

Mothers with a chronic disease fight a powerful enemy; we do not only fight the illness, but we also face insecurities. We require a different type of strength each day, knowing when to rest, when to ask for help and knowing that we are loved despite our limitations. Mothers need the power to realize that we are doing the best we could despite our circumstances and the force to see that regardless of the challenges we face every day in raising children, we are wonder mommies in our children’s eyes.

To all the “Wonder Mommies” out there, with chronic illness or not, be present for your little ones. The only way to do that is to take care of yourselves physically, mentally, emotionally, and most of all, spiritually. Realize that there is no perfection in motherhood; instead, realize that you are the perfect mother to your children. Be patient with yourselves; know that you deserve to relax and take a break; after all, warriors need their rest to win a battle.

Stay strong and see the WONDER MOMMY in you!

This is a tribute for mommies with chronic illness. This book reminds little readers that even when things are tough, Mommies are a Wonder! Pre Order it Now @

Donโ€™t Let Your Struggles And Pain Go To Waste.

I used to believe that pain and struggles were worthless and unnecessary part of life. Who would want to go through pain and struggles anyway? After going through so much in life, I could honestly say that I would not want anyone to go through what I went through. The question is, are we immune to struggles and pain? You may have not experienced what Iโ€™ve experienced, but I am certain you have your own stories. Perhaps, your story is about your ย physical, emotional or even spiritual struggles. Now, it all depends on whether you want to tell your stories or not. Some may be too painful to share. However, I believe that struggles and pain should not go to waste.

Iโ€™ve fallen and had been broken so many times before, but somehow Iโ€™ve been put back together several times, piece by piece, cracks visible and roughness felt. Despite those flaws, today, I stand beautiful and robust. Some may look at me today and see someone who was once broken and now stood with a sign that says, โ€œfragile,โ€ or โ€œhandle with care.โ€ What they fail to realize is that I am still standing, and my experiences are what made me strong. Thanks to the one who created me. I have a creator who molded me to be something beautiful and wonderful from the moment he decided to breathed life into me. Unfortunately, life brought challenges in my life, and many times, those challenges left me broken. However, God picked up the pieces and glued them back together to show how magnificent an art I still could become. I was put back together, stronger for His purpose. 

 Struggles and pains are inevitable; they are part of life, and it is up to us how we deal with them. Do we run and hide in fear, or do we face them with tenacity and strength? Donโ€™t get me wrong, at times exhaustion creeps upon us, and many times, we will face defeat, but thatโ€™s okay; we are human, after all. Whatโ€™s important is that we know how to get back up. 

As Helen Keller once said, โ€œThe struggle of life is one of our greatest blessings. It makes us patient, sensitive, and Godlike. It teaches us although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming of it.โ€

Letโ€™s continue to fight, and fight not only for ourselves but for those who cannot fight for themselves – yet! Donโ€™t let struggles and pain go to waste. Use them as your source of strength and empower others. There will always be storms in life. Instead of drowning in them, why not be ready for them to come? Swim through the struggles and when you reached the other side, show others how you got there; inspire and empower. Do not let your struggles and pain go to waste.

I hope this empowers you today! ๐Ÿ™‚

Writing Helped Me Overcome Stress and Gained a New Perspective On Life

A mom living with Dystonia and Hemiplegic Migraine

Dystonia is a frustrating condition that many people do not understand. I also happen to suffer from hemiplegic migraines. Like many migraineurs out there, living in a fog, constant body aches, and some other unexplainable symptoms are quite frustrating. Every day is an unpredictable day for those of us who suffer from chronic illnesses, not knowing whether we will walk, talk, or able to plan the days ahead of us.

For the past few years after my diagnosis, stress was high. The thought of being a burden to my spouse haunted me. The loss of my ability to plan activities with family, schedule meetings at work, or simply jump in the car and go somewhere left me feeling defeated. I lost my independence, and my conditions forced me to take a long break.

I quickly realized that I have to find ways to occupy my time and not focus on my condition, after all, chronic illness doesn’t define me. Whenever I could not move around from dystonia, I sat on my recliner and let my mind wander. I am not a writer, but I love to create stories; I have a broad imagination! When I was younger, I would write poetry even though I did not know-how. Some were so bad only, I could understand. I also enjoyed writing song lyrics. I wrote about happiness, sadness, and pain; whatever came to mind. However, when migraine hits, I had to learn to accept that I have my limitations.

When able, writing, whether it turned out to be good or bad, gave me a sense of peace and accomplishment. Whenever I felt discouraged, writing would always lift my spirits. I remembered the feelings writing brought me when I was younger, and I started writing again. Whenever a dystonia episode would come on, instead of fighting and getting frustrated, I picked up my laptop, and I wrote. I wrote about anything, whether it made sense or not, I wrote!

Writing, unlike my conditions, gave me a sense of control. I could be whoever I wanted to be; I could be a famous author or the queen of England. I could be wherever I wanted to be without leaving home, perhaps sipping piรฑa colada at a beach in Jamaica. In my writings, I could feel any emotion; I could be sad; I could be happy. I could be excited; I could also be angry. I often wrote about how angry I was for being sick all the time and to my surprise, it somehow made me feel better. Writing made me feel invincible. Because writing allowed me to express my emotions; all kinds of it, it gave me a great sense of satisfaction; relieving stress and frustration.

Writing stories was a hobby that turned out to be therapeutic for me.
Even though my conditions forced me to quit my job and stay home, it also opened new opportunities. As a result of the unexpected halt dystonia and hemiplegic migraine brought to my life, I learned to publish a book. “Believe,” a faith-based, Christmas book was published in 2017. “Good Morning, Mirror!” a children’s book about the importance of positive self – talk followed in 2018. Perhaps the best thing that came out of all these, was that I was able to help other moms with chronic illness navigate their days while raising their little ones. Thus, I was inspired to write another children’s book that shows how strong moms with chronic illness are. “Wonder Mommy!” is a sweet tribute for mommies with chronic health conditions. The book reminds little readers that even when things are tough, Mommies are a Wonder!

Coming Out Soon!

Writing brought out the creativity in me; it has given me an outlet to release my emotions and calm my daily battle with my conditions. Writing helped me managed stress and gave me a new perspective on life. It is not easy, there are times when writing is not possible. Whenever a migraine hits, there is no way in the world, I’ll be able to write. It is quite challenging to think and remember simple things let alone with words or stories; this is when I allow myself to relax my brain and recharge. It is always good to remember that it’s okay to rest or to take a break, and that it’s okay to ask for help. It is good to find something you can do to manage the stress any chronic illness brings. For me, I know when things get better, I will always have writing to go to and help me brighten my day.

Hugs and Kisses

Today I brought her home,
my sweet little baby.
In the cradle I laid her
oh, ever so gently.

I promise hugs and kisses
will always be my way
to show her love and affection
every single day.

I stepped out of the room,
slowly without noise.
I looked back and whispered,
“I love you” in a hushed voice.

Only minutes had passed,
but my heart says, go back
to see how she’s doing,
make sure she’s on her back.

She looks like an angel
sleeping oh, so peacefully
and there I stood watching,
my sweet little baby.

An amazing Father
from the heaven above
has blessed our family
with an angel to love.

Now I’m holding her hand
as she takes her first step.
I am right there behind her
in case of a misstep.

One day, she decided
that today was the day.
No more kisses for mommy
I didn’t know what to say.

She saw the look in my eye
and said, “mom, a hug will do.”
I was taken by surprise
I thought, “Oh, boy, this is new!”

Then our hug was replaced
with a wave of a hand.
“Hugs are not cool,” she said
I’m not sure I understand

You are growing way too fast,
can you please stop and pause?
Give mom hugs and kisses
simply just because.

Seems like it was yesterday;
she was right behind me.
Now she’s finding her way,
as a brave young lady.

Where has the time gone?
I’m not sure I can hold on.
My little baby girl
facing the world on her own.

Today she’s leaving home
to find her destiny.
So ready to face life
oh, so courageously!

I could not help but wonder,
has it come down to this?
Is she going to leave mom
without a hug or a kiss?

I hope that she remembers
wherever she may go
that my hugs and kisses
will always overflow.

She stopped to look at me,
“Oh sweet Momma,” she said
as she hugged me in her arms
and kissed me on my forehead.

She hugged me so tightly
and whispered in my ear,
“hugs and kisses we have
will never ever stop here.

I will always remember
everything you have taught me,
and please don’t ever forget,
I will always be your baby.

And though we’re miles apart
in the wind rides my kiss
Your hug lives in my heart
always remember this”.

I thank God for my life,
full of love, and blisses.
I thank God for my baby;
and for all the hugs and kisses.

Dedicated to my lovely daughters, Haley and Kayla