Five on Friday #18

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It’s finally Friday and I couldn’t be happier! This week was so busy for me, mostly because it was the end of the month and end of the first quarter so work was incredibly crazy. I’m happy to be busy though because I’m not feeling bored while quarantined.

Without further ado, here are five random things for your Friday morning.

  1. I received my spring FabFitFun box a couple of months ago but I just started using the Gravity weighted sleep mask that was in my box. I think many people were disappointed with this product because we have seen a few eye masks from FabFitFun already. However, I am a big fan of eye masks because they are really helpful when I have migraines and need to block out all the light. I’ve been sleeping with this one this week and the weight is so comforting! It sounds weird but wearing this eye mask is soothing and I fall asleep really quickly!
  2. This was my first full week of being quarantined and I think it went really well. I have my normal work setup at home so it’s not super difficult for me. We have a great phone system that allows us to work remotely and have video conferences easily so that hasn’t been an issue at all. How are things going for you?
  3. I’ve been loving cooking dinner lately! I’m trying to be more creative with meals now that we are exclusively eating at home. I got a few Keto cookbooks for Christmas from my mom this year so I’ve been using those in addition to just making recipes up as I go. My favorite Keto cookbook is this one by Amy Ramos which is usually under $10 on Amazon!
  4. If you knew me in real life you’d know that I pretty much always have a Sparkling Ice water in my hand. I’ve loved them for years and drink at least one a day. I don’t eat sugar so these are my sweet treat and a great substitute for soft drinks. When I was visiting my sister in New Hampshire I tried the Sparking Ice + Caffeine waters and they were a game changer! I don’t drink coffee but every once in awhile I need a little caffeine. I can’t buy them at any stores around me but I did find them on Amazon. The Blue Raspberry is my favorite!
  5. I have been loving watching YouTube lately. For three years Brett and I only owned one TV which was fine by me but I got used to not ever watching the TV so instead I’d watch YouTube. I like to play videos when I’m cooking, cleaning, writing, etc. I recently discovered Jen Chapin and I love her grocery hauls, meal prep, and day in the life videos. She really inspires me to create a healthy work-life balance.

I usually share my weekend plans in these posts but these days I have nothing going on. I have to admit, I am enjoying my one-on-one time with Brett. It feels like everyday is a date while we are eating our meals together and watching movies. I’m really glad to have some time to just spend with him.

Do you have any plans for this weekend? What are you loving lately?

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Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

Keto for Migraine: 1 Month Update

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I have heard SO many negative comments about the Ketogenic diet and I completely understand. For your normal everyday person a low-carb lifestyle might not doctor recommended. The Keto diet was created for people with Epilepsy and works well for other Neurological conditions. I have chronic migraines and there is no “cure”. I was told that Keto may lessen my symptoms and it sounded better than trying another medication.

One month ago I started following the Ketogenic diet. This is my third attempt and I was really successful on my first two so I went in very hopeful. My other two attempts were more for weight loss so I didn’t track my migraines as much as I should have. This time I’m trying to only focus on my headaches and migraines.

How were my migraines this past month?

I actually had a really great month overall! I caught a nasty cold but I didn’t let that stop me from following the meal plan that I had created. There was no guarantee that Keto would help me but I’m happy to report that I am feeling better! I’ve known for the past couple of years that sugar is a trigger for me so it makes sense that not eating sugar would have a big impact on my overall health. I basically cut my migraine days in half so far!

One of the hardest parts of chronic migraine for me is rebound headaches which are also called medication overuse headaches. I couldn’t beat my headache cycle so I started taking ibuprofen or another type of over the counter pain medication every day to get me through. This constant use of medicine started causing rebound headaches and I ended up in a never-ending headache. By eliminating my triggers I am hoping to be able to end this vicious headache cycle.

Have I lost any weight?

Yes, I’ve lost a little over 10 pounds in a month. In reality I’d like to lose 30 more to be at my “normal” healthy weight. I wrote my weight gain story here if you’d like to understand more about why I say my “normal” weight. Most of the weight loss at the beginning of Keto is just water weight and I’m really not concerned about losing weight at this point. I am tracking it in my migraine journal but it’s not my main goal right now.

Has Keto been hard? 

Not really! I have found myself reading my cookbooks and looking forward to grocery shopping and meal prep. I’m learning new recipes and I feel more confident than ever in the kitchen. My overall mood has improved so much and I think a lot of it has to do with Keto.

My sugar cravings went away after about two weeks. I don’t feel deprived of anything though! I eat a square of my favorite dark chocolate after dinner and that keeps the sugar cravings away. I’ve also found substitutes for my favorite snacks like salt and vinegar almonds instead of chips.

Let me know if you have any questions about Keto! I am not a doctor so please ask yours before you start any new “diet” program. I hate calling this a diet and I only feel the need to share how I am doing for others with migraines who may find this helpful.

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Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

 

2019: Fourth Quarter Goals Recap

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It’s still so hard to believe that 2019 is over. 2019 was the first full year that I created and recapped quarterly goals even though I started doing them in 2018. I’m really proud to have a full year of  quarterly goals and to be able to track how I did with them.

Setting quarterly goals is something that I really love to do! I find myself reflecting on the list and actually checking items off. I set quarterly goals now instead of creating the typical “New Years Resolutions”.

Here’s a quick recap of my fourth quarter goals to see how I did.

  1. Treat myself for my golden birthday. I love celebrating my birthday and I was planning on buying myself a new laptop for a gift. However, I also like to save money so we pay our car insurance semi-annually and it was due at the same time as my birthday. So I guess I bought myself 6 months of car insurance as a birthday gift! It’s hard being an adult!
  2. Try not to over-indulge during the holiday season. I’m pretty proud of how I handled food and the holidays this year. I was able to enjoy myself but I never felt out of control. I started Keto again on January 2nd so I feel back in control and SO much better.
  3. Buy new pajamas. I really want to pair down the items that I own so I didn’t go crazy with pajamas. I bought a couple of comfy jogger style pants and some crew necks that can double as both pajamas and lounge-ware. I went through my pajama collection and got rid of most of it and am feeling really good.
  4. Fight my migraines once and for all. Sometimes I’m not even sure why I bother with setting goals about my migraines. Fourth quarter was tough with the changing weather, food, and typical year-end stress. I felt really good after my Neurologist upped my medication dose but I had some really tough migraine days. I see my Neurologist later today so I’m hoping he can up the dose one more time which could help now that I’m back doing Keto.
  5. Schedule some days off! I’m super proud to say that I was able to use a couple of my leftover vacation days to go visit my sister in New Hampshire and to have a day off completely to myself where I watched Atypical on Netflix, wrapped Christmas presents, and just relaxed. I could use another day off again soon!
  6. Be more productive during the week. Done! I’ve been super productive both during the weeks and the weekends. I’m feeling motivated to clean, organize, meal plan, and meal prep. I hope that the motivation continues for the rest of 2020 too!

How did your 2019 goals go? Were you able to cross everything off of your list?

2019 Quarterly Goals: Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4

2018 Quarterly Goals: Q1, Q2, Q4

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Photo by Adam Chang on Unsplash

2019: Fourth Quarter Goals

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I can’t believe that I’m already writing my last set of goals for 2019. This year has been crazy!

I can’t write this post without mentioning that one of my friends passed away last week. He was my classmate all through school and my freshman roommate’s boyfriend. Many of my college memories involve this sweet, funny boy who was always down to watch a movie, grab late night, or just hang out. He was hit by a car and passed away after being in ICU for two weeks. He was young and still had so much to offer to the world. Just a little reminder to not take anything or anyone for granted.

Now onto fourth quarter!

  1. Treat myself for my golden birthday. I love birthdays and this one will be super special because it’s my golden birthday. I’ve been wanting a new laptop for the past couple of years and I think I might just treat myself to one as a birthday present!
  2. Try not to over-indulge during the holiday season. I still have a weird relationship with food and sometimes I want to eat anything and everything in front of me. Holidays are hard because the food is plentiful and it’s easy to go crazy. I want to enjoy what I’m eating but not eat everything in sight. It’s all about balance!
  3. Buy new pajamas. This may sound crazy but every year I pick an item of clothing to stock up on during the after Thanksgiving and before Christmas deals. This year I want to get all new pajamas that I love and feel comfortable in. I’m so excited!
  4. Fight my migraines once and for all. These past few weeks of migraines have been terrible. I’ve been so sick and miserable and have wanted to give up so many times. I had a great appointment with my Neurologist and he offered some new ideas that I have been thinking about for the last week. Every day is a fight and every day I have the choice of how I want to deal with the pain. This quarter I’m going to try some new things and will not give in to the pain.
  5. Schedule some days off! I have ended up with 4.5 days of vacation time leftover. I’d love to go visit my sister in New Hampshire and take a day off for Brett’s birthday. December is crazy at work but I’d love to have some time off on Christmas Eve to spend with my family.
  6. Be more productive during the week. I’m crazy busy on the weekends with cleaning, laundry, and errands. I’d love to get more done during the week so that I don’t have to spend all my time cleaning and doing necessary things. I have plenty of time after work to get some of my chores done to make my weekend easier and more relaxing.

Do you have any goals for the last quarter? How are you doing on your News Years Resolutions?

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Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

September According to my iPhone

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September was a good month! I was able to spend a lot of time with my family and I got a ton done at my house and my parent’s house. All in all, it was a really productive month!

We started September in Cleveland for the Cleveland Air and Water Show. You can read all about our adventure at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame here.

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I celebrated 7 years of blogging in September! Life of Hayley has only been around for 6 years (in November!!!) but I had another blog before this one.  We had to write a blog in 2012 for my college English class. It mostly consisted of debate notes and current events relating to the 2012 election but it still sparked my love of blogging!

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I started decorating our house for fall! Let me know if you want to see the rest of the decor! The buffet table and hutch have changed a lot since I took these pictures.

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Oscar, Bruno, and Megan had many doggy playdates! Oscar is the one on the arm of the couch smiling. Bruno always looks confused!

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We had many cookouts with my parents. My dad even brought out the pig roaster to make ribs for us and the neighbors one weekend.

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I took a trip to Saugatuck, MI with my work team for team building at the sand dunes! SO much fun!

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My dad found this dresser on the side of the road and re-painted it for our upstairs guest room. I’m in the process of decorating and making it look super cute! I ended up buying IKEA Hemnes lookalike knobs from Amazon for this dresser and the rest of our furniture.

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I got my first FabFitFun box! I wasn’t super impressed but I’m waiting to see how I feel about the next box. I only bought the seasonal membership so I can try a couple before committing to the annual.

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Lots and lots of baby cuddles from my nieces. ❤

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Oscar crawled under a towel while I was folding laundry and fell asleep. He’s the cutest little baby!

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My migraines have been really bad which is why I’ve been a bit MIA. I just don’t feel good and I don’t know if/when I’ll feel better. I had a good visit with my Neurologist and I go back again in a couple of weeks to discuss my options.

How was your September?

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Migraine Update: Elimination Diet & New Meds

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Everyday I’m worried about when I will have my next migraine. I always have pain medication on hand and an excuse at the tip of my tongue to leave early. I avoid making plans outside of work and family obligations because I never know how I will feel on that day. I’ve let my fear of pain control my life for years and the anxiety that comes along with this fear holds me back from doing what I love to do.

My migraines are genetic and I can go on and on about all of the reasons why I may never be completely pain free. My current neurologist is a headache specialist. He’s a great guy who wants to help me live my best life. But he doesn’t have all the answers. He’s willing to try new things in hopes of them working but a lot of it is up to me.

It was up to me to realize that I was taking too much ibuprofen. It was up to me to realize that I wasn’t fueling my body properly. It was up to me to realize that I was feeling sorry for myself and needed to change.

Last summer I read Grain Brain by David Perlmutter which was recommended to me by my physical therapist. I learned about gluten, carbs, and sugar and how they interact with our brains. I wanted to try an elimination diet but it seemed like too much work at the time.

This summer I’m willing to do anything it takes to live a pain-free life. I’ve changed my lifestyle to balance the amount of gluten, carbs, and sugars I am eating. I’ve made my health a priority.

It never feels like enough though. I’m on day 3 of a debilitating migraine right now. I’ve had to leave work early and sit in the dark with ice packs for hours at a time. I’ve had to miss meetings and time with my family. I’ve been angry at my messed up brain for constantly hurting. I’ve told myself that I’m a terrible employee and co-worker because I can’t stand being in the office when I feel like this.

I’m also having trouble sleeping again. I can stay up pretty much all night and have gotten used to functioning on very few hours of sleep. I feel like a zombie.My neurologist prescribed me a medication to help me sleep since I was going days without sleeping for more then a couple of hours. He also prescribed me a pain medication for when I have migraines.

I didn’t like the sleeping pills. I was dead asleep within an hour on the couch. Brett had to help me get to bed. I don’t like not knowing what’s going on and feeling helpless. The pain medication didn’t help and I don’t plan on taking it again. I ended up being sick to my stomach while on it.

I’ve felt pretty angry about my migraine situation lately but I’m trying to do my best to take care of myself. Whatever that means. I went 5 days without a migraine when I first started the elimination diet which is a long period of time for me.

Hopefully I will have a positive migraine update for you soon!

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Photo by Carolyn V on Unsplash

National Migraine Awareness Month

June National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month

I’m sure you have heard of other National “insert illness” Awareness Months before. June is the awareness month for migraines and headaches. The goal is to raise awareness and recognition for migraine treatment, patients, and more.

As a migraine sufferer I know how hard it is to have other people understand what it’s like to live day to day with the constant pain of a headache or migraine. I understand how debilitating and lonely it can be. What gives me hope is knowing that there are millions of other people who want to raise awareness too. People who want to share their stories and join the fight to find new research and treatment options.

My migraine story started when I was in high school and have continued throughout my twenties. I don’t know if I will ever not have a headache or migraine but the odds seemed to be stacked against me. However, three new treatments options were released in 2018 so I have hope that something will be created that will help me.

If you are struggling with migraines or headaches, just know that you aren’t alone. There are millions of other people in the world who are also suffering which is why it’s so important to raise awareness. If we all stand together we have the opportunity to have our stories make an impact and bring about real change.

Migraines are an invisible illness. When you call in sick from work with a “headache” most people think you are lying or should suck it up. But for some people, including me, living with the constant head pain is reality. We are told that we look healthy and not chronically ill.

Well, this is what chronic migraine looks like. I drag myself out of bed every morning, brush my hair, and throw on enough makeup to look somewhat decent. I don’t feel good, I want to go back to bed, but I go to work and continue living my life the best I can. If I really don’t feel good I work from home or take a sick day. I know I’m lucky to work for an amazing company but I’ve heard other people’s stories about being fired for not being able to come into work.

This pain could ruin my life if I let it. I could stay in bed all day and feel sorry for myself. But I won’t. I’m out living my life and talking about how I feel. I want spread awareness. I want people to know that headaches are a real problem. I want doctors to find new treatment options. I want to be taken seriously.

I won’t let migraines ruin my life. Some days are better than others. Some days feel like the worst days of my life. But I know that things could be worse. I’m still able to work, own a house, be a dog/cat mom, and travel. Migraines make all of these things so much harder but it’s rewarding to know that I am able to overcome the pain most days and accomplish big things.

June 21st is the Annual Shades for Migraine Awareness Day led by the Association of Migraine Disorders. If you see people on social media posting pictures of themselves wearing sunglasses with the hashtags #shadesformigraines and #MHAM this is why. These people are sharing their support for the millions of people worldwide with migraines.

I’ll be wearing my sunglasses on June 21st. Will you?

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Image via American Migraine Foundation