Feverfew…a migraine miracle?

  In one of my recent blog posts, I listed several of the many blessings I experienced in 2016 (see Happy New Year (and belated Merry Christmas)!). One of them was in reference to the reduced amount of migraines I have been having, thanks to a little herb called Feverfew.

I didn’t want to write a blog post about Feverfew right away, even though I have been taking this particular herb for several months now. Sometimes, a supplement will work for me at the beginning, then it’s effectiveness is reduced over time. Also, the results I saw at the beginning seemed so fantastic, I was wary regarding whether or not it would actually continue to work.

Now, several months into taking this herb, I am ready to share my news!

 

  First, a little history…
  At age 13, I began experiencing a headache…that never, ever, EVER went away. Then, the one headache decided it wasn’t doing enough damage, so several other headaches decided to join in on the fun. The headaches were my first symptom of chronic Lyme disease (which I discovered 10 years after first experiencing the never-ending headache). During those 10 years of searching for a reason/cure, I had an average of 5 headaches daily and would often have a migraine on top of those 5 “regular” headaches. Life was not much fun.
  After my diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease, I began working on serious treatment…and am still continuing to work on treating the Lyme. After 17 years of fighting this horrible disease (that in many ways, is worse than cancer), I still have not beaten Lyme disease. However, I have found several supplements/treatments/medications that help keep the symptoms under control.
  For the headaches, I’ve tried so many things…so many things. My doctors have given me several prescriptions over the years that have helped to curb the pain, but I am always seeking alternative treatments versus prescription medication. I had researched and tried this particular herb called “Feverfew” but it had never done much for me…the instructions indicated I should take it at the onset of a migraine, and that is what I tried. Even so, the migraine always persisted.

woman-with-migraine

A few months ago, after experiencing over 10 migraines within 30 days (the kind of migraines that make you want to just throw your hands up and die), I began researching anew and found this forum about Feverfew. After reading several comments, I found one from a mother who said that she gave her daughter Feverfew EVERY DAY as a preventative to migraines, and that it was working for her daughter. I had never thought about/read about taking Feverfew as a preventative, but I figured, why not try?

Here are some basics on Feverfew:

  • Feverfew is a traditional medicinal herb called tanacetum parthenium, and is plant based

  • Feverfew has been used as an herbal treatment to reduce fevers, treat headaches, treat arthritis, and treat tummy issues

  • Trial studies have not proven to be 100% effective in reducing headaches for the participants (out of 5 trials during a 2004 study, 3 were effective, 2 were not)

  • Feverfew can be taken in capsule or tablet form, in a tincture or tea, or, it can be home-grown and harvested

  • Feverfew is not recommended during pregnancy or breastfeeding

 

While many people have found relief from headaches with this herb, it is not always effective. I still keep over-the-counter and prescription drugs ready, in case of a serious migraine.

woman-with-migraine-2

 

Since starting Feverfew several months ago, I have noticed a serious decrease in migraines. I mean, SERIOUS!

I was experiencing, on average, two migraines per week. Those migraines would last 24-48 hours each, despite medication, and would often bring difficult side effects with them (such as blacking out/getting seriously nauseous). It would take a minimum of three days to recover from one migraine.

Now, for the past three months, I have experienced a total of three migraines. For those of you who have difficulty with math, that is one migraine per month.

 

One migraine per month, versus two migraines per week, is an amazing result for me. After the first month I was holding my breath, fearful that it was simply a fluke. But low and behold, the next two months were the same (even with the holidays!).

happy-woman-in-rain

Needless to say, I am EXCITED to share my news with you!!! Currently, I am taking Feverfew in capsule form, once in the morning. In each capsule, there is 700mg of actual Feverfew (a high dose – many bottles have 200-300mg in each pill, in which case they often prescribe 2 pills/day).

 

  If you are interested in trying Feverfew for yourself, I would recommend you research the following sites (just type in Feverfew in the search section):

http://www.themigrainetrust.org

http://www.botanical.com

http://www.herbwisdom.com

 

Also, do a search online to find forums/personal reviews of others who have tried this herb. Everyone’s experience is different.  My experience of taking Feverfew as a preventative is too good NOT to share however, and I sincerely hope that results are similar for those of you who try it.

happy-woman-2

  If you do try, or if you have tried in the past, what was your experience with Feverfew? Would you recommend it to others?

 

Check out other blog posts on my fight with Lyme disease:

Lyme Disease Facts, in pictures

Stress, Anxiety and Life

Weight and Lymies

Weight and Lyme Disease, Pt 2

A Day In My Life

 

You can also sign up for email alerts and get notified whenever I write a new blog post!

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Ah, My Life

 

WORK, WORK, WORK

The other day, my boss scheduled a store meeting.  As I prepared to drive to work that morning, I wondered just how this meeting would go, considering the personality differences encountered in the few months I have worked there.

 

At the start, my boss “suggested” we take notes, to make sure we remembered everything.  Here are a few notes I took:

  • Store is too neat.
  • Store needs to be more clean.
  • When writing on a piece of paper, use every line.
  • When putting storage boxes back under tables, be sure to line them up exactly with the edges of the table.
  • When handling storage boxes, be gentle. They are showing signs of wear.
  • If using Windex and paper towels to clean the windows, don’t let the paper towel become too wet. It can leave streaks.
  • Don’t line up the coffee mugs. Place them randomly on the display.
  • Don’t tell her (boss) about things she already knows about (no one knew she already knew about those items) but communication needs to improve.
  • Go slowly when ringing up a customer.
  • Don’t go too slowly when ringing up a customer.
  • Count correctly.
  • Check that you counted correctly.
  • Do it right the first time and there won’t be any problems (even if no instructions are given on how to do it right the first time).
  • Ask more questions (at which point a co-worker asks a question; the response was a rather dismal attempt at enduring the fact that questions were asked)

 

  Having just turned 30, it made me feel like I was fulfilling my purpose in life, listening to an hour and a half of instructions such as these. 

lonely-girl-in-woods
‘TIS THE COLD/FLU/FEEL LIKE CRAP SEASON

  In the past 7 weeks, I have been ill.  Normally, I deal with numerous symptoms each day from Lyme disease, but in the past weeks symptoms such as runny nose, inability to breathe, inability to sleep, and headaches due to the massive amount of sinus issues have been added to the list.

Finally in desperation, I called my doctor.  To counter the cold/flu-like symptoms, I did things such as:

  • Make Elderberry syrup (great for fighting infections) multiple times
  • Make bone broth soup
  • Double up on Vitamin D
  • Triple up on probiotic
  • Quadruple up on Vitamin C
  • To name a few…

After hearing my list of attempts I have made on my own, my doctor decided to put me on antibiotics. Ugh.

 

Although some would tell me to “suck it up,” that “everyone gets the flu,” my story is a bit different. I’ve dealt with Lyme for nearly 17 years. In the past 6 months I have bottomed out my adrenals at least once, messed up my hormonal balance (which affects everything), endured multiple migraines that lasted up to a week each, and now, dealt with a “cold” for almost 2 months.

 

I’d really like a break.

trees-black-and-white-2

For selfish reasons, mostly.  I’d like to find a new job.  Something that doesn’t make me feel like an idiot…something that allows me to make a difference in others lives.  I would like to go back to school.  Education is important when thinking about a career.  And yes, I’d like to pursue a career.

walkinwoods

So in asking for a break in life, I’m really asking for a chance.  A chance to prove that my life means something, something other than defeating the daily challenges that come with Lyme disease.

 

  Ah, my life.

The life of a Lymie.

Dear Diary… 4/25/2013

Dear Diary,

 

  I’ve almost made it through a week of heavy antibiotics (pulsing three for three days per week, the fourth antibiotic for two days per week); one more week to go until I get a break.

 

  Except I’m not getting a break.  The two weeks in between “antibiotic weeks” have been just as hard in many ways, although the symptoms decrease in some cases but leave other symptoms, worse that ever.

 

  It would be nice to get a break.  That’s the goal here – that my body heals itself in-between the heavy antibiotic weeks.  However that goal has, for the most part, just been a dream while my body tempts me to depths of hopelessness and discouragement.  If this treatment does not work, what am I to do? I’ve been trying different ways to heal my body for thirteen years; medications and supplements have stocked up my entire dresser as well as a few drawers in my room.  Believe me, I’ve kicked butt.

 Headaches, muscles aches and joint pain, fatigue, air hunger, mental confusion and word-search, nausea… It’s 24/7, and with these certain symptoms significantly higher than before I began these weeks of pulsing antibiotics require me to, once again, learn to live with pain.

  LIVING life, not SURVIVING life, is my goal.  It’s a tough path though – over 13 years of experience still has not brought me to the mountaintop that is supposed to rise before me as I walk along this path.

  Thanks for letting me vent, Diary.  You rock.

 

 

The Madness of Migraines

migraine this big

Over this past weekend, my body had a major breakdown due to the intense medications I’m taking, ending in several sessions of extreme nausea and a twenty-four hour migraine.

 

I’m no stranger to migraines – I’ve experienced them since I was thirteen. 

Would you believe that I wake up every single day with a headache? Thankfully every day is not migraine-quality.  However when explaining this side-effect of Lyme disease to doctors, I put it this way – if, on a scale of 1-10, number 10 was the WORST pain you could feel, I would rank my daily headache a number 7.

 

I can hear your doubts already. 

Most people don’t believe me and I understand that some of you reading this post will most likely believe me to be over-stating my case, blowing the pain out of proportion, or simply lying to get attention.  I’ve been accused of all three (and more) many times. 

 

Nevertheless the story is true.  At times, the pain increases to “migraine-quality” and this past weekend, a migraine invaded my life and simply refused to leave.

It was a lovely weekend, thanks for asking

I stayed in my darkened room, curled up on my chair with pillows, blankets and a personal heater (my dog Bella).  The television ran constantly, although I wasn’t always watching due to light sensitivity.  During these times it was background noise (at a low-level) to keep my mind off the pain.

My wonderful father gave me comfort after I finally got control of the pain, allowing me to burst out in tears on his shoulder for a few moments as the exhaustion of fighting such intense pain had finally caught up to me.  Bless my father’s heart; although I’m a fighter, taught to be stubborn and independent, I’m also a girl at timesGirls cry, even though this girl has practiced for thirteen years to show little of the battles raging inside to the outside world.  However, as I wiped my tears away I looked my father in the eye and murmured, more for my benefit than his, tomorrow is a new day

Thank heavens for tomorrows.

A few of the Migraine Side-Effects that I feel

(everyone is different and can experience these symptoms to different degrees

as well as many other side-effects not listed here):

  • Extreme light sensitivity
  • Extreme tension around shoulders, neck and entire head.
  • A feeling that if only I could cut off the top part of my brain, the world would be set right again.
  • Unbalance
  • Little sleep
  • Nausea
  • A tendency to be just slightly short with people
  • Little to no energy to chat
  • A tendency to not care about “stupid” things like having on matching socks, wearing make-up, or even looking like I belong to the human race
  • A strong feeling of accomplishment that I made it from my bed to my chair, or from my chair to my bed, or to the restroom and back without falling apart like Humpty Dumpty

I’m missing out!!!

surprised-black-spider-monkey-funny-animal-picture

THINGS I MISS OUT ON

BECAUSE OF CHRONIC LYME DISEASE:

These may make you smile, but I’ve included a few of all the wonders of the universe that pass me by…only A FEW. 

  1. Dusting (gives me a horrid headache!)
  2. Vacuuming
  3. Folding clean clothes (oh, just stuff them in the drawer, who cares about being wrinkle-free)
  4. Staying outside in the cold (no concert, display or  museum tempts me to knowingly enjoy the aching muscles I’m sure to feel any moment is worth the aching muscles)
  5. Going out for “Girls Night” (I do it sometimes, when I feel able, but I try hard to be home quite early.  Like 8:00pm or earlier).
  6. Volunteering (I volunteered at the local SPCA and found it SO rewarding; it honestly makes me sad that I can’t physically go and render my services, knowing that the most likely given me will involve heavy lifting or extended, straining cleaning).
  7. Making my bed (it happens occasionally!) – it is one of those tasks that easily wastes the little energy I have.
  8. Going to a salon more than twice a year and doing nails/waxing/whatever else they do
  9. Opening my mail immediately (what mail can’t wait a few days until the feelings of being overwhelmed by the little things in life pass for a time and I feel able to conquer the enclosed papers?)

10.  Remembering more AMAZING LIFE EXPERIENCES that are slipping by me (my brain is fried and turned to mush so DON’T ask me to think – you will regret the decision) …

They say youth is wasted on the young. 

Yep, that’s what they say…

HOW I FEEL ABOUT LYME

Bite Me Lyme Symbol

 

I have a migraine right now.  This is especially how I’m feeling at the moment.

DON’T MESS WITH ME… I’VE GONE GREEN AND I BITE BACK, BABY!