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? 

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. 

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 from acephalgic migraine, 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, 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. 

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. 

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 I’ve never considered myself as a wonder mommy before; in fact, far from it! Moms wear different hats; one minute, they’re doctors patching their little ones’ boo-boos, then turns into a judge the next trying to settle their children’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 couldn’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 isn’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 I’d missed fun activities because I had to rest and feel better. I felt as if I wasn’t enough and that I was a burden to my family. I thought that I’d failed my children; my husband and I felt as if I’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, I’ve decided to make the most of my situation and decided to influence and uplift other mommies out there positively; I know I wasn’t alone in my struggles; this is why I wrote “Wonder Mommy.” 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 children’s eyes despite our battles and limitations. I want to encourage mothers that though we have some bad days physically and emotionally, it’s okay. We may feel defeated one day, but we will surely get back the next; that’s what makes us wonder mommies!

I dedicate my book to all moms, but most especially to moms like me who have to be “wonder mommies” 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 didn’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 Pexels.com

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 @ https://amzn.to/3sSxsuS

Don’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 I’ve experienced, but I am certain you have your own stories. Perhaps, your story is about your  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.

I’ve fallen and had been broken so many times before, but somehow I’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, “fragile,” or “handle with care.” 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? Don’t get me wrong, at times exhaustion creeps upon us, and many times, we will face defeat, but that’s okay; we are human, after all. What’s important is that we know how to get back up. 

As Helen Keller once said, “The 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.”

Let’s continue to fight, and fight not only for ourselves but for those who cannot fight for themselves – yet! Don’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! 🙂

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 piña 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

Beautiful pain

Beauty and simplicity
compassion and love
These you were created
Thankful that you are

Some decided to be
Some tried as they can
The ultimate decision
Only comes from One

Photo by luizclas on Pexels.com

You gave up your self
for another to form
heartbeat you share
with another soul

You welcome the pain,
As you carried a being
giving up your comfort
making your body a safe haven

Laughing one moment
in a split second, tears fall
One day you are high
and then you are low

It must be confusing
when things are uncertain
but with arms wide open
you welcomed them all

Composure and confidence
Now filled with anxiety
A plethora of mixed emotions,
happiness and fear

Everything is changing
it is fearful I’m sure
but with grace you carried them
full of the love of the unknown

Uncertain about everything
but somehow anticipating
for that day to arrive
when you finally meet

Oh, this beautiful baby
so many adore
many don’t understand
the sacrifices of them all

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

To endure such pain
is simply a beauty
to be called a mother
is the reward of it all

Empathy

Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

What is Love?

What is love without respect?
Respect comes from love.
Can there be respect without love?

What is love without compassion?
Compassion derives from love.
Can one be compassionate and not show love?

What is love without kindness?
Kindness trickles from love.
Can kindness exist without love?

What is love without honesty?
Honesty is a result of love.
Can one be truthful and not have love?

What is love?

Where does love reside?
Is it in me? Is it in you?
Is it a feeling, can you tell?
Would you know when it leaves you?

“Love conquers all,” people say.
Is love enough then?
Can one survive with love alone?
Or will one die from not knowing?

We all need love
We need to love all
we need to be loved
Do we even know how?

What is love?

Love is what I want
love is what I need
Love is my being
Love is what I am.

If you can see inside my heart
You’ll realize that love is real
For the one who knows love
Is the one who can feel

They Are Not My type, So I thought!

I see them everywhere lurking around, trying to get my attention. Some are gorgeous, I must admit, but I cannot see myself having a life with any of them. “They are sweet and lovable,” I often hear others say, “Thank you, but they are not my type,” my quick reply to them.

One day, I saw him from afar, and his dark and tantalizing eyes caught me by surprise. He wasn’t gorgeous, but something about him was charming.
An odd feeling came over me, but I quickly shook it off; it can never be, he is not my type.

I saw him again a few days later, and I sensed something about him that was quite intriguing; what it was, I did not know. I saw an evident charm that drew me into him; “Could I be?” I asked myself, attracted to him, that is. His gaze seeped deep into my soul, and at that moment, something inside me changed; “should I?” I did!

I decided to give him a chance to get to know me, or perhaps it was the other way around. I gave myself a chance to get to know him. I let my guards down and allowed him to court me and court me he did!

He showed me affection I never thought his type possessed. He had a look in his eyes that captivated me, making me stop whatever I was doing. Instead, I was compelled to spend time with him. It didn’t take long; he made me searched deep into my sanity and asked, “am I falling in love with him?”

He jumped to settle on my lap as if he’s done it before. His alluring eyes met with mine, and there was nothing I could do but return his affection. I picked him up, drew him close, so close to me that I could feel his heart beating; it was overwhelming! He rolled on his back; he stretches his legs; showing me the cutest paws I’ve ever seen! He claimed his territory; he felt at home. I couldn’t help but smile.

For the first time, I heard him purr; it was a sound of satisfaction not only for him, but surprisingly, I shared his sentiment. No, I did not purr. He closed his eyes and curled into deep sleep. I felt his body quiver in comfort as if saying, this is where I belong. Suddenly something magical happened as I watched this precious guy sleep peacefully on my lap; I fell in love.

For the first time, I fell in love with a kitten, yes, a kitten! He has the most gorgeous black fur with specks of grey that almost shines in the light. He possesses the most dazzling yellow eyes with intensity like the sun. He is irrefutably handsome! He has an undeniably prodigious personality that can go from being in charge of everything to total helpless submission. Yes, he can be annoying and demanding at times, but what cat isn’t?

I delight in watching him chase a ball, tossing it everywhere and, at times struggling to get it off his claws. I enjoy watching him jump for the feather I dangle in front of him. I love to see him crouch down like a tiger ready to catch its prey, but for him, he is merely playing, trying to snatch the dog’s tail. I am fascinated by his curiosity as he goes from one area to another, checking everything in his environment; he is quite intelligent!

I enjoy every moment with him! I never thought I could fall in love with a cat. I was gravely mistaken about them. Yes, cats are lovable! Yes, cats are sweet! Yes, I fell in love with a cat, and his name is Kula!