Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Monday, 30 August 2010

Such a Perfect Day

I have not been very social (or happy) recently, but yesterday was so perfect we just had to get out and about and what a lovely lovely day we had.

A hike up Lion's Head and then Sinnful Ice Creams and then playing on Camps Bay beach - including a hand-stand competition, which I won! - and then a sunset picnic.

Image

Image

I feel full now again. Some days are just right!

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Hearts are crying endlessly....

Another awesome local song...

4am - Sirens

Friday, 27 August 2010

Why do I feel barely alive...?

I really like this song!

Wrestlerish - Oliver Tambourine 


I get the strangest feeling you belong

I can't sleep tonight
Everybody saying everything's alright
Still I can't close my eyes
I'm seeing a tunnel at the end of all these lights
Sunny days
Where have you gone?
I get the strangest feeling you belong
Why does it always rain on me?
Is it because I lied when I was seventeen?
Why does it always rain on me?
Even when the sun is shining
I can't avoid the lightning
I can't stand myself
I'm being held up by invisible men
Still life on a shelf when
I got my mind on something else
Sunny days
Where have you gone?
I get the strangest feeling you belong
Why does it always rain on me?
Is it because I lied when I was seventeen?
Why does it always rain on me?
Even when the sun is shining
I can't avoid the lightning
Oh, where did the blue skies go?
And why is it raining so?
It's so cold
I can't sleep tonight
Everybody saying everything's alright
Still I can't close my eyes
I'm seeing a tunnel at the end of all these lights
Sunny days
Where have you gone?
I get the strangest feeling you belong
Why does it always rain on me?
Is it because I lied when I was seventeen?
Why does it always rain on me?
Even when the sun is shining
I can't avoid the lightning
Oh, where did the blue skies go?
And why is it raining so?
It's so cold
Why does it always rain on me?
Why does it always rain...

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

A migraine is no normal headache!

What is a Migraine?
A migraine is a neurological syndrome characterized by altered bodily experiences, painful headaches, and nausea. It’s a common condition which affects women more frequently than men. The typical migraine headache is 1-sided and pulsating, lasting 4 to 72 hours. Accompanying complaints are nausea and vomiting, and a heightened sensitivity to bright lights and noise. Up to one third of people who experience migraines get a preceding aura, in which they may sense a strange light or unpleasant smell. Some have noted that they smell burnt toast preceding a migraine.

Migraine is believed to be caused by the release of a chemical called serotonin or 5HT into the bloodstream from its storage sites in the body, resulting in changes in the neurotransmitters and blood vessels in the brain. Exactly what causes this to happen is still a subject for research and debate.

Although the exact cause of migraine remains unknown, the most widespread theory is that it’s a disorder of the serotonergic control system. Recently, PET scans have demonstrated the aura to coincide with spreading cortical depression after an episode of greatly increased blood flow (up to 300% higher than baseline). There also appear to be migraine variants that originate in the brainstem and involve dysfunction in calcium and potassium ion transport between cell membranes. Genetic factors may also contribute.

Signs and Symptoms
If you have 2 or more of the following symptoms during an attack it’s likely that you’re suffering from migraine:
• Intense throbbing headache, often on 1 side of the head only
• Visual disturbances (blind spots, distorted vision, flashing lights or zigzag patterns) – called aura
• Nausea and / or vomiting and / or diarrhea
• Increased sensitivity to light (photophobia)
• Increased sensitivity to sounds (phonophobia)
• Increased sensitivity to smells (osmophobia)
You may experience other neurological symptoms (known as aura), which is the 2nd most commonly seen form of migraine. Those who primarily suffer from migraine with aura may also have migraines without aura. Symptoms include:
• Stiffness of the neck and shoulders
• Tingling or stiffness in the limbs
• An inability to concentrate
• Difficulty in speaking
• Paralysis or loss of consciousness (in very rare cases)
A general rule of thumb is that if a headache and / or other associated symptoms prevent you from continuing with normal daily activities it could be a migraine.

The signs and symptoms of migraine vary, so what one experiences before, during and after an attack cannot be defined exactly. The 4 phases of a migraine attack listed below are common but not necessarily experienced by all migraine sufferers. The phases experienced and the symptoms experienced during them can also vary from one migraine attack to another in the same migraineur (migraine sufferers):
• Prodrome, which occurs hours or days before the headache
• Aura, which immediately precedes the headache
• Pain phase, also known as headache phase
• Postdrome

Prodrome Phase
Prodromal symptoms occur in 40 to 60% of migraineurs, which may consist of altered mood, irritability, depression or euphoria, fatigue, yawning, excessive sleepiness, craving for certain food (such as chocolate), stiff muscles (especially in the neck), constipation or diarrhea, increased urination, and other visceral symptoms. These symptoms usually precede the headache phase of the migraine attack by several hours or days.

Aura Phase
For the 20 to 30% of people who suffer migraine with aura, this aura comprises focal neurological phenomena that precede or accompany the attack. They appear gradually over 5 to 20 minutes and generally last fewer than 60 minutes. The headache phase of the migraine attack usually begins within 60 minutes of the end of the aura phase, but it is sometimes delayed up to several hours, and it can be missing entirely. Symptoms of migraine aura can be visual, sensory, or motor in nature.
Some people experience the aura only, without the development of other symptoms or with only a mild headache.
Visual aura is the most common of the neurological events. There is a disturbance of vision consisting usually of unformed flashes of white, black, or rarely of multicolored lights (photopsia) or formations of dazzling zigzag lines. Some complain of blurred, shimmering or cloudy vision, as though they were looking through thick or smoked glass, and some cases tunnel vision. The somatosensory aura of migraine consists of a feeling of pins-and-needles in the hand and arm as well as in the nose-mouth area on the same side which can migrate up the arm and extend to the face, lips and tongue.
Other symptoms of the aura phase can include auditory or olfactory hallucinations, temporary dysphasia, vertigo, and hypersensitivity to touch.

Pain Phase
The typical migraine headache is unilateral, throbbing, moderate to severe and can be aggravated by physical activity. The onset is usually gradual. The pain peaks and then subsides, and usually lasts between 4 to 72 hours in adults and 1 to 48 hours in children. The frequency of attacks is widely variable, from a few in a lifetime to several times a week, and the average migraineur experiences from 1 to 3 headaches a month. The head pain varies greatly in intensity.
The pain of migraine is invariably accompanied by other features. Nausea occurs in almost 90% of people, while vomiting occurs in about one third. Many patients experience sensory hyperexcitability manifested by photophobia, phonophobia, osmophobia and need a dark and quiet room. Blurred vision, nasal stuffiness, diarrhea, polyuria, pallor or sweating may be present during the headache phase.
There may be localized edema of the scalp or face, scalp tenderness, prominence of a vein or artery in the temple, or stiffness and tenderness of the neck. Impairment of concentration and mood are common. Lightheadedness, rather than true vertigo and a feeling of faintness may occur. The extremities tend to be cold and moist.

Postdrome Phase
One may feel tired, have head pain, cognitive difficulties, ‘hungover,’ gastrointestinal symptoms, mood changes and weakness. Some people feel unusually refreshed or euphoric after an attack, whereas others note depression and malaise. Often, some of the minor headache phase symptoms may continue, such as loss of appetite, photophobia, and lightheadedness.

Triggers
A migraine trigger is any factor that leads to the development of an acute migraine headache. Certain factors have been identified which can trigger attacks which are known as ‘precipitants.’ The MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia offers the following list of migraine triggers:
• Allergic reactions
• Bright lights, loud noises, and certain odors or perfumes
• Emotional or physical stress
• Changes in sleep patterns
• Smoking or exposure to smoke
• Skipping meals
• Alcohol
• Menstrual cycle fluctuations, birth control pills, hormone fluctuations during the menopause transition
• Environmental
• Hormones
• Tension headaches
• Diet or food — foods containing tyramine (red wine, aged cheese, smoked fish, chicken livers, figs, and some beans), monosodium glutamate (MSG) or nitrates (like bacon, hot dogs, and salami), chocolate, nuts, peanut butter, avocado, banana, citrus, onions, dairy products, and fermented or pickled foods.
The effects of migraine may persist for some days after the main headache has ended. Many sufferers report a sore feeling in the area where the migraine was, and some report impaired thinking for a few days after the headache has passed.

Unfortunately there is no cure for migraine, but it is possible to bring your condition under control. There is a wide range of treatments available, both orthodox and complementary, which can be very effective. However, migraine is a complex condition, and a treatment that’s successful for one person may have no effect or produce unacceptable side effects for another. It is important to persevere until you develop a management plan that works for you.

Migraine Attack - save me!

I haven't had a dreaded migraine since last May. I had kind of thought I'd banished the damned things.

But then last night I was half-way through a lovely run and decided to pop into the Claremont Chinese shop for some sushi supplies. As I was paying I noticed a weird spot in my left eye's vision, but didn't think to much of it. A few minutes later the penny dropped and I realised what it meant. I was about 5km from home still and just carried on walking slowly and breathing deeply hoping I could take it away by staying calm.

By the time I got to the little shop around the corner though, I could not see anything unless I glanced sideways at it. I had huge blind spots in the middle of my eyes. I grabbed some extra strength headache tablets and took 2 right there. The cashier was all snotty with me because she refused s a credit card for less than a R20 purchase. I just explained calmly with my hand over my eyes that I needed help and was not there buying stuff for fun and just needed to get myself home while I still could. Luckily she didn't keep arguing. By the time I left I was a bit worried about crossing the roads as it was getting dark and I wasn't convinced I was seeing enough or compus mentis enough to avoid the traffic. I managed a light jog for the last bit home and my vision seemed better when I got in. I was hopeful that I'd managed to dodge it. Wishful thinking! The boys though took one look at me and knew. I think I was slurring a bit too by then. They flanked me and marched me inside and straight to my room. Where I took a Myprodol too. (3 tablets in under an hour - that's a record for me!!! I never take medication AT ALL.)

I got in the bath and Quinn massaged my shoulders for a bit and made me a cup of tea. I hoped that if I just relaxed in the bath I could get rid of it. But by the time I got out the bath the seering headache, tingling/numb hands and nausea was setting in too and I just had to lie down.

Shame the boys had to feed themselves & Roxy, lock up the house and put themselves to bed, all of which they did in complete calm and quiet and cooperation and with a lot of attention care and concern for me. Quinn brought a bucket and water to my bedside - without being asked etc. We were all asleep just after 8.

I feel a bit weak and sensitive this morning but I do think the headache meds helped because usually I'd have an intense headache still and it would last for about 24-36 hours and leaning forward would feel like being stabbed in the head.

My sister gets such bad migraines that her brain pretty much shuts down and she can't remember anything. She was once at a hotel and couldn't give them her name or room number or anything. Luckily her husband walked past and found her in the lobby and was able to rescue her. I sometimes have trouble remembering specific words, especially nouns. It's very weird. You can visualise the thing and sometimes even the word but you just don't KNOW it anymore, and even if someone says it it sounds weird and foreign. It's scary but actually quite fascinating to observe...

The best thing for me is just to escape into sleep and hope it's over when I wake up. The headache tablets do seem to make a difference so I am not so puritanical about not taking ANY med anymore. For migraines I am more than happy to bend the rules if it helps!


ARGH.

I am not sure I can go to work though as my head feels very fragile and like it could break if any pressure is applied and I am still vaguely nauseas.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Hugely Inspirational or Totally Insane??

So my best friend and 'person'* is undertaking a MAMMOTH challenge on Friday/Saturday....

Is she running a half marathon? No
Is she running a full marathon? No
Is she running an Ultra Marathon? No
Is she running a hectic trail rain like Table Mountain Challenge? No
Is she running the most hectic trail run event of the year in cape Town called the PUFFER, which is an 80km off road race from Cape Point to the V&A Waterfront over the back of Table Mountain and down Platteklip Gorge...?? Yes... and no.

Because she is doing the TUFFER PUFFER which is Waterfront to Cape Point and BACK again - yes that's 160km of trail running, with a cut-off time of 30 hours!!! :shock:

Note that only 125 people do the PUFFER every year and this year only 9 (yes single digits) are doing the TUFFER PUFFER with her being one of only 2 women attempting it.

I am in awe that she can even consider this never mind be ridiculously excited about it. She is the kind of person who runs a race in bunny ears and whoops and laughs the whole way. She LOVES it.

Wish her luck on Friday and if you are in Cape Town come see her come in sometimes after 2pm on Saturday - Ferryman's at the V&A.

* She is the one person in my life who if I was ever in trouble at 3am I would call her and know that she would drop everything to help me. She is a second mom to my boys, and the most vibrant, enthusiastic, energetic and generous person ever. We have been friends for 11 years now.

Monday, 9 August 2010

I'm glad I spent it with you.

Lou Reed - Perfect Day

Just a perfect day,
Drink Sangria in the park,
And then later, when it gets dark,
We go home.
Just a perfect day,
Feed animals in the zoo
Then later, a movie, too,
And then home.

Oh it's such a perfect day,
I'm glad I spent it with you.
Oh such a perfect day,
You just keep me hanging on,
You just keep me hanging on.

Just a perfect day,
Problems all left alone,
Week-enders on our own.
It's such fun.
Just a perfect day,
You made me forget myself.
I thought I was someone else,
Someone good.

Oh it's such a perfect day,
I'm glad I spent it with you.
Oh such a perfect day,
You just keep me hanging on,
You just keep me hanging on.

You're going to reap just what you sow,
You're going to reap just what you sow,
You're going to reap just what you sow,
You're going to reap just what you sow...

Sunday, 8 August 2010