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I have had a notion about migraines for a while that they were caused by too much glutamate building up in the brain and that migraine sufferers probably have a problem clearing the stimulating chemical out. I thought this in part because MSG is a very common trigger, but other trigger foods (aged cheese, etc.) are also usually high in glutamate as well, and also because there is a "wave" of stimulation that happens in the brain with migraines, so a stimulating chemical seemed like a probable culprit there.

Turns out- I was right!! ETA: Well, at least that glutamate is a critical player. The exact mechanisms still aren't known.

I really think the key to a good migraine drug is going to be one that blocks or removes excess glutamate which will keep it from messing with our brains. There is a drug for alcoholism that supposedly has effects on glutamate levels, and I really wish that it would get into trials for migraines.

I am so excited that there might be a real solution, a real one, not just treating the symptoms solution to migraines coming up soon, there is so much good research appearing lately. A real solution would change my life.
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The NYT is running a little "Ask the Dr." series on migraines (which is a bit ho hum as yet, we'll see if it picks up- I mean, the response to the weather and migraine topic was, in a nutshell: "Yes, there is a link, keep hydrated and take your NASIDS" um, yeah, and? I was hoping for a bit more insight) and the guy from http://www.thedailymigraine.com posted a question, so I went to browse his blog. I hadn't in a while. His blog is one of the best migraine blogs I've found. He posted about this article, which is interesting (though I need to find the actual publication for more meat):

Abnormal Brain Activity in Migraineurs Is Not Restricted to Attacks
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100623085526.htm

and from that I found

Migraine Sufferers: More Difficulty Tuning out Visual Stimuli?
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100408163858.htm

Both very interesting. I hope the scientific community is making some progress, its about damn time. They don't know what causes migraines, what happens in the brain when they do happen exactly, or how any of the preventive meds work for sure. I'm so tired of reading "something happens deep in the brain" as the first vague step of migraine in the lay-people literature. It'd be nice if they could add some specificity which would lead to better treatment.

I do have a mild migraine today (thankfully mild- with one of the weirder symptoms, numb hands- but I am considering a second dose of NASIDS to beat it back, I'm having trouble with focus, I hate to take more pills though, poor tummy, poor kidneys).
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Migraining yesterday and today has put a bit of a damper on the trip. I had a feeling once the prednizone I was taking for the horrible poison ivy rash ran out I would start back up with the head ache, and yeah, so it goes. I'm taking it very easy today. The pills kept things back just enough for me to go out to a nice breakfast at Hells Kitchen, meet a friend for coffee and go play frisbee with my high school D and D gang last night (which was good fun, if a bit of a "oh god we are old and unfit now" moment), but it was still uncomfortable. Today I'm really scaling back, I skipped the family in law brunch in the morning and plan on making a vegan cake and getting packed to go bright and early tomorrow and that's about it. I was going to try to squeeze a few more folks in, but I apologize, I'm feeling quite woozy and its not happening. I need to save energy for the party this evening.

I love driving in the Twin Cities, because there are multiple ways of getting every where and I can actually orient myself easily. This is in contrast to NC, where I'm always on the verge of being lost and my anxiety level while driving is always high as a result.

I visited the Hampton Park Co-Op for vegan sugar, I was amazed that it was still around. Super expensive, but still there, and seemingly doing well. I got a cookie and walked around the little green space across from it. That was nice. I wish there were more parks with paths where I live. I really could take more advantage of the State Park near my house, though I worry about walking there alone.

Sigh. I do not want to go back to NC and not vacationing. Which is a little childish, but there we are. I'm all ready being inundated with emails from my research team about things that need to happen immediately upon my return (which is completely silly- there really is no need for this kind of urgency and I'm going to have to have a talk with them about that). This is not to mention the fact that I really need to get my Historical Ecology course in some kind of reasonable shape so I can teach in August. And all the house crap that needs doing. And the book chapter that is due next month. Okay, thinking about all that is just making me more oogy. Time to bake a cake!
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Everything has been derailed by headaches for the last month. As of today I've had 3 migraine/headache free days with only low nausea. This is the longest free stretch for at least a month, if not a month and a half. I'm continuing with acupuncture. I am about to pull the trigger on the Topomax, if things ramp up again, but I'm going to try to finish as many writing projects as I can before I do (major side effect of Topomax: loss of words). I've got one tiny (so tiny its a challenge) edited volume chapter to finish, I want to get at least 2 weeks of my Hist Eco class lectures done, and I need to finish my chunks of the article I'm co-authoring. So it'll be three weeks, at a minimum.

So I've been stunningly anti-social as a result of all the headaches.

And I can't seem to get anything done. It is appalling. I still haven't gotten all the garden beds done. I have hopes of finishing this week. The soil I had trucked in sight unseen needs so much work its just outrageous. Fortunately I have lots of leaves to compost. But things are growing. I have lettuce. The tomatoes have fruit growing. The silly little potted Kaffir Lime has finally, finally decided to grow after a year of just sitting there with two large leaves and nothing else. And the fig starts mes amis [livejournal.com profile] borea and Eric kindly brought me lost all their leaves but are happily popping out new ones.

In politics... oh Richard Burr, our incumbent senator officially announced his re-election campaign. Such the money bags, 19 million raised all ready (were he to give all that to Gulf clean-up I might vote for him). Is there any hope of defeating him? Probably not. Which is a damn pity.

And this Helen Thomas rail-roading out is sad. I feel so bad for her. Can no one speak their mind anymore? Are journalists not allowed to be against Palestinian occupation? (I have decidedly mixed feelings about the occupation myself) Yes, her phrasing was poor, but she's 89 years old and speaking off the cuff is not always going to be polished at 89.

Erg. I don't think I like millet, I'll have to agree with the ancient Romans on that one. I'm trying to vary my diet more so I made millet and mixed veggies for lunch instead of the usual pasta, and its not sitting well in my tummy. Any one out there have any millet recipes that are likely to improve my opinion?

Ah, washing machine is done. Time to put the wash out on the line.
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I haven't been posting much because I've been ill. So has Jj, lately. I think this weekend we finally beat it back and I feel back to "normal." Sort of. I'm still nauseous, which makes me worried. I hope this is not a new symptom for which nothing can be done and no explanation can be found. I have enough of those. On the other hand, I don't want it to be anything bad either- much better inexplicable than possibly terminal.

I started acupuncture for chronic migraines. There are a passel of peer reviewed studies out there that show it is better than a placebo or sham acupuncture for reducing headaches. And the drug options I have left for prevention (Topamax, Depakote) are pretty grim as far as side effects. So acupuncture it is. And I have to say, it hurts. Anyone who is like, oh, it doesn't really hurt is just fibbing. All I've noticed so far is I'm getting better sleep, which is nice. Still getting the headaches though. But I'm willing to give it time, I just started this week.

I haven't finished the garden beds, or the fence, the compost bins, getting the gutter up, or removing the poison ivy. The house needs a complete cleaning. I have a ton of academic related stuff to do. Being down for the count for nearly two weeks has really thrown me off. I'm scared to really do up a to do list because I know its going to be a multi-page nested list nightmare at this juncture. Ugh. But my schedule is pretty flexible, so I have some room to be social, which is nice.

There were little outings into the world here and there, after which I'd go home and fall over again. But one of note was visiting this place and its gardens: http://www.plantdelights.com/
The plants there are kind of pricey, but I've never seen so many interesting varieties of hellebores before. I got a few sweet williams and and interesting white salvia from Texas. I enjoyed that outing.

Now... must resist temptation to go out to brunch... ooooh I want biscuits. And I don't have the makings of them here. I also really want to try Watts Grocery. That would be really naughty, however, as we had out to eat at the Indian Food Truck (its a bus, with Indian food, near Duke) last night.
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The following is currently keeping me from my PhD:

1. On the Title page, remove the quotation marks. The Approved by section needs to be moved down lower.

2. The first page of the Abstract should have a 2 inch top margin.

3. The first page of the Table of Contents should have a 2 inch top margin.

4. The first page of the Introduction and Chapters should have a 2 inch top margin.

Now, the kicker is that they don't actually spell out that the first page of the introduction and chapters should have a 2 inch top margin in their guidelines. Nor do they specify where the approved section should be, except to say: "On the lower right." I had been looking at someone's recently accepted dissertation for guidance, and the hell if he has 2 inch top margins on the chapter pages. Grr... when I change all of those margins I'm going to have to rejigger all of my page numbers, and the table of contents etc. will have to change. And since the landscape pages have text boxed page numbers (don't ask, but it was the only way, trust me) I'll have to change those by hand.

Arbitrary bullshit from the graduate school? Oh never. And this may not be the end of it, either, as they reserve the right to make more requests.

If I had this to do over again, I totally would fork over 200 dollars or so to have someone else format my dissertation.

And I'm on Day 3 of an exceptionally bad migraine- my super pills knock it down, but it comes back with a vengeance a few hours later. I'd go in for a super shot but my Dr.'s office is closed and my only option is the emergency room, which sounds like hell to me. Le sigh. Woe is me.
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I was in denial most of the day about this damn headache. Oh, its nothing. I took two Aleve and carried on. Oh, we'll ignore the nausea, flashing lights, pain in my teeth, weird swollen eye feeling, yup. But after my meeting with my adviser (and a nice lunch at Top of the Hill, where we did not talk about the dissertation at all) I fled home for the heavy medicine (Maxalt makes me grooogy).

On the way home in a desperate bid for normalcy I stopped at Chapel Hill Comics and picked up the Manga Bible(annoying flash site, you have been warned), which is just as amusing as I hoped. And I had a Locopop, Gingersnap, raisin and caramel flavor. Fantastic! I almost went with Pear Tarragon flavor, but I'm glad I didn't. The fall and winter flavors are always so good at Locopops.

But then I got home, took my pill and decided that it was a beautiful blue silky smooth day and I really was not going to huddle in a dark room in spite of my headache. So I went out and took pictures of some of my favorite trees and other things I see everyday but have never photographed.

Fall Pictures )

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