Category Archives: Migraine Art
Suffering, today, I headed home with a photo-sensitive headache that caused me to draw the blinds all-day at work. Blue skies up the hill in Negaunee, and heavy dark snow clouds hanging over the big lake in Marquette, this is one trigger of headaches, weather fronts that cause a drop in barometric pressure. Other triggers, fears of money , lost shifts, and how I will survive the month of January. The doubt of how on Earth I can follow a dream when broke. Luckily, the sun cast a golden light reminding me of my “sight” my gift of framing up a photo even when in pain and fear. I went with the flow and listened to that voice in my head. The voice that says no, not here drive up the hill. Click. Click. Quick now to the harbor. Click. Out to the island. Click.
You do your best to maintain a plan, keep to the Day Planner, make progress. But it is March and winter lingers on, this time with an intensified artic blast leaving you in the powerful gusts of -12 Fahrenheit. Fingers numb as you break in your car from the only unfrozen door, crawl between driver and passenger seat, up to the front and wiggle between the seat and wheel. Luckily your smaller, 30 pounds smaller.
You’ll make it to work despite feelings of trepidation and try as you may with clear sun, cannot get past this mood. You are already bailing on the day, looking for outs that lead back to bed and blanket. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? Signs of fatigue, flare-ups, aches too reminiscent. The mail box haunts you, calls to you, it’s what does not arrive. It is what you cannot control. Worries. Fears. Short comings.
You send out ships, visit harbors, waiting. Plays of light make steel look like putty. Blink eyes, shake head, get it clear, form a frame on the image. Losing your grasp you walk away. Run even. Scroll through want ads, wonder at this life and how you got here. Here?
You have a lack of friends, but appearnaces would not lead one to think this. Yet happiness finds you on the trail. Light. Frame. Click. Shutter, exposure, elements. Balanced then tweaked. You pull out the hue and use a strong contrast and ice turns blue, orange, green. Magic creeps in in the digital dark room.
Just the moon last night, full. Just your cycle mothly, annual, crazed. Tired. The blanket is so close. Or 30 miles away. You can turn the phone off. Or forget it on the bathroom counter in some random house. You don’t have to go near the balck mail box. You don’t have to come up empty handed. Rejected. Overlooked.
Go to a shoreline. Breathe. Cloud Hands on Gaine’s Rock. Part the Clouds. Biting wind. Icy walk and slip away.
You think of two men walking a boat across ice, tied to each other. Tied to each other. Ties. Tied. Strung. Out. Dangerous. Winter.
You’ve forgotten to write all these years. You’ve kept your distance. Stiff. Cold. Dead. Under all that ice, sheets, heavy.
But the light is bending. Rift.
I have a lot of visitors that seek out my blog by the keyword “migraines.” And as I was checking my hits/stats I noticed a visitor from blogspot, Reading after the Robe. The author of the blog goes by the user name Mustardseed and the blogger was reviewing a book, Claire’s Head by Catherine Bush. I had never heard of this book and I think I will pop over to Amazon and order it. This is a fantastic review! I am now a fan of Mustradseed’s writing style. But the book, that intrigues me as well :-).
In the past I have described my home as having an almost romantic view of Lake Superior–just hold up a hand and block out the two sticks of the Shiras Steam Plant. Now I get to illustrate that. Last night while Mike and I ate chicken curry, I looked over his shoulder and saw a huge rainbow and all I could manage to say is go grab your camera. Quickly we determined we had to get past the electrical wires of our neighborhood and drive down to the waterfront approximately 4 blocks away.
The first capture is from the backyard, zoomed of course. The two photos that follow are on the shores of South Beach. This is where my electricity comes from, a coal power plant ran by the City of Marquette–the Shiras Steam Plant. We have two power plants here in Marquette this one and the power plant at Presque Isle. Both are a huge part of our landscape, skyscape, and the light plays off the stacks in many ways that capture the imagination. I even have photos of coal and limestone piles that I will share with you one day. The limestone is used by the local iron mines in processing pellets. They offload at the power plant(s) from freighters or what you might call barges that travel the Great Lakes.
As some of you know I have been suffering from a headache since Sunday September 28th. I first thought it a migraine, then the flu, and now I am thinking migraine due to the intensity. I know one thing, it most likely has to due with the barometric pressure and the low weather front that is hanging over head. Therefore I will count these photos in my Migraine Madness. I cannot believe, as weak as I was yesterday that I even managed to tie my shoes. But I did and I took 12 photos when normally I would have shot 100s. But I like these. I have some on weird slants that I need to re-angle somehow. I will poke around and see if I can figure it out and let you see some more magic rainbow light.
Here is a flash forward–a look at a winter pond without ice–I was playing with sepia–but the pond was too bright–so in photoshop I toned it down–the result takes away a lot of the sepia but enhances the contrast and detail–even though the whole image has a washed out faded antiqueeky quality that I am lovin’ today–then I curved it more to even the shading a bit. The result I call Flash Forward Pond in Sepia–a very late autumn look for a photo taken in August here in Marquette, Michigan.
Sunday night I felt tremendous pressure around my head in a band and pressure behind my ears. I kept catching the whiff of burnt things periodically throughout the day. My TMJ point was sore as was the musculature of my face. I again for those of you who search out this site while researching migraines–please drop a note on the blog. I share this to help build a community of creatives who find hope and healing thru art.
Monday I had a migraine and by 1pm I had taken an Imitrex and it did nothing for my right ocular migraine with ear pressure. By 3pm I took a second Imitrex and it did something. That dose allowed me to work the next two hours before the headache returned full force. I used lavender oil and scalp massage. I lowered lights. I lowered volumes on TV and Radio. My shift was 3-9pm. I drove home at 9pm on wet dark reflective roads that drove me nutz. God got me home. It was not my driving alone.
I went to sleep in pain with heat on my head it is a shoulder kozi and I love it. I can wrap my head or ball it up hard and push it into my skull at points that give me some relief. The pain was so bad I could not sleep. The headache lasted through the night. I have it still. The weakness is also present. I feel warm and chilled alternately. For those of you wondering why I do not do more–I have no insurance. the two Imitrex I had were free samples, the last my doctor had.
I promised myself that if I have a migraine it is a push to create. This allows for a release of energies that I have pent up in my mind. I am slowly today creating a couple things. I am throwing out things and creating space both physical and mental. I am transferring photo captures from my Canon S5 to the puter.
This is day three of clouds. It is raining hard right now. I am so cold. I bet I will chose warm photos to show you today.
Questions today are:
Will the stock market continue down?
Will my migraine go away?
Will I find a way to make money with my art?
How can I afford a printer?
Can a simple blog post create hope with a country in crisis?
Migraine, day three, and the intensity comes and goes. I noticed someone searched out this blog with the key words “first rib migraine.” To my visitor, I hope you found some of what you needed in these pages. If you come across this page and you are challenged with migraines please leave a comment as I would love to talk to you and share experiences. I avoid the word “suffer” when it comes to migraines as I do not want to live a live of suffering. But these past few days I have been bound. Which leads me back to the first rib.
We all have tendons that extend down to our first rib and complications can result in Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. My symptoms include, tennis elbow, pain in my right wrist, weakness in right arm, tricep pain, shoulder pain, shoulder blade pain, migraine, TMJ pain, tooth pain, ear pressure and pain and migraines.
Activities I love to do and must limit: Bike riding, swimming, giving massages, bouldering.
I avoid activities where I have to offer continued pressure using my extensor muscles and I try not to lift or press anything over my head.
Things that have helped me include wearing a tennis elbow brace which can help alleviate some lower arm and wrist pain. My D.O. adjusts my first rib on occasion. Chiropractic is helpful but not when I’m severely constricted. Thai Massage. Calcium/Magnesium supplements. Anti-inflammatories which I try to stick to foods and herb sources. I have had excellent luck with cherry juice concentrate. You can try yoga and do stretches to manage this condition as well.
There are other treatments and surgeries. I have avoided these options but my lifestyle is so affected at this point I am going to my doctor this week to try and discuss what can be done as we move forward. I have never had an MRI. I have not tried cortisone or botox injections. There are surgeries for this condition as well.
I think these photos taken during Pirate Days in Marquette have an interesting metaphoric value. The ropes of the Madeline and the Coaster II. All in perfect order and well-maintained. I will post again soon on tendon health as I have more to share. I will also post more Pirate Day photos, arghhhhhhh.
Creative Tips for Migraine Self Care
1. Lavender essential oil rubbed into scalp and areas of high tension.
2. Lower the lights or try natural lighting in offices and classrooms.
3. When working in front of a computer take frequent eye breaks by looking away and refocusing frequently.
4. Breath deep, preferably fresh outside air.
6. Hot packs placed on my forehead, crown, and r. temple work for me (some report cold works best).
7. Self massage with calming essential oils: lavender, peppermint, Young Living’s peace and calming.
9. Do not deprive yourself from preventative measures-massages are not a luxury!
10. Create! What are you holding back? When I made a deal with my body that as soon as I feel a migraine coming on I would allow for creative expression the frequency and urgency of migraines diminished.