It’s NOT a tumor! (Starting off holiday weekend revisiting disco lights of migraines past!)

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:13-04:00 May 27th, 2017|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, art, artists, children, coffee, creativity, dining, dinner, gratitude, health, Life, mental health, mind/body, stars, stress, stress relief, totems, Uncategorized|

Update:Today marks my second experience with these super bizarre migraines, but at least now I know what it is! Enjoy the weekend all!


Arnold Schwarzenegger in Kindergarten Cop, that was the scene running through my mind the other night, when I was convinced I had a brain tumor.

Thankfully, Arnold’s words mirrored the doctor, who also said “It’s not a tumor, it appears to be a migraine.” Good news! So good, I started to cry with relief. Here’s the scene: My boys and I were getting ready to sit down to dinner and I was doing a last check of email on my phone. There was a smudge on the screen that I tried to wipe off, but it wouldn’t go away. Oddly enough when I looked away from the phone screen, the smudge followed me. Too much screen time perhaps? My eyes must be dry!  I put some rewetting drops in and waited, and that’s when the technicolor-disco lights-shimmering prisms started dancing before my eyes. Only on the left side of my periphery, but visible when either eye was closed. I sit down at the table, and we are psyched because we have just started the final season of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, and I can’t really see the TV with all these lights dancing in my eyes. And there it is, that warm, far-away gurgle, that starts deep in my gut, then buzzes through me with a flash, where for a moment I feel lighter than air. Sounds almost pleasant right? Well, it’s not, it’s the start of a major panic attack because I have just realized that I’m in the middle of some kind of episode involving my brain, and I’m half expecting to drop, right there at the dinner table during Buffy. I get up and head to my room where I can take very slow, deep breaths, in an effort to calm my climbing blood pressure. The visual disturbance meanwhile, is becoming more pronounced. Thankfully my babysitter was still around, as I knew I needed medical attention. I had her do the stroke test with me so I could rule that out, and then I called my mom. By the time my mom came to get me, the disco had pretty much stopped. You’d think I would have been happy about that, but as soon as all the dancing lights faded away, a lovely headache creeped up on the opposite side of my head. Yup, I’m a goner.

There’s an Urgent Care around the corner so we headed there, my stiff upper lip, my headache, and my mommy. One friend had suggested it was a migraine, but I had never really had one before so I was skeptical, but clearly there’s a first time for everything! I experienced what is perfectly described as an ocular migraine with aura! I always knew I had a pretty shimmery aura, but I thought the point was for other people to notice it, not me! I have a sense of humor about it now obviously, but I was terrified, and I have tremendous empathy for everyone I know (and even those I don’t), that suffers from any kind of migraine. I got off easy with this one because I actually was functioning and doing fine considering the dull throb. So fine, that I was able to keep my chaperoning duties with 28 fourth graders for a trip to the Whitney Museum! I saw a piece from the Frank Stella exhibit that reminded me of my disco lights!

Like my migraine, only art!

I’ve read about all the triggers, and of course, most of them are things I thoroughly enjoy (red wine, chocolate, etc.), I might just have to do process of elimination to determine what I can get away with!! It’s scary when something is going on and you feel helpless, I am grateful that Totem Tamers helps to remind me to take deep breaths, because I’m certain those deep breaths kept me from fainting out of fear. I hope I never experience this again, but at least now I know what it is and knowing is half the battle! Would love to hear from all you migraine sufferers, tips, triggers, suggestions!!!

Stay well.

It's a jungle out there!

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:40-04:00 April 8th, 2015|anxiety, childhood, children, dinner, Life, parenting, sharing, strangers|

Totems in the wild!

Totems in the wild!

My kids and I were invited to a Passover seder last week, at the home of a dear friend. The kids all know each other and have a great time together, and the adults, well, we’ve known each other so long, we are family. I dropped my kids and went to park the car. As I was walking to our hosts’ home, one of my kids sent a text that read “There are strangers. Yay!” If you didn’t catch it, that was sarcasm. OMG! There was another family invited to Seder! How dare they expose us to completely unknown individuals? What were they thinking? From my perspective, I’m always happy to meet new people, and I baked, so I’m even happier when I get to feed new people! This “stranger” family was absolutely lovely, with their two kids being the same ages as my youngest two. My oldest son clicked well with the stepdad because he’s a music guy, and the mom and I immediately bonded over parenting issues. Sure there were moments of discomfort as we all gathered around the table, but food is an incredible equalizer. The kids giggled at my youngest, who delighted in the attention, as he munched heartily on the parsley. The grownups recited passages from the Seder pamphlet (religiously and affectionately known as the Haggadah), which was sponsored by Maxwell House, of course. We had a nice giggle at that. Food was served and enjoyed and even though it was not a deeply religious event, the spirituality in just coming together and sharing a meal was truly felt. My kids had begged before the evening to make sure that we didn’t stay too long. Five hours later, with plenty of laughs and full bellies, we were all in agreement that it was a lovely evening spent, even with strangers.

Next time you end up in a room or at a gathering with people you don’t know, open your hearts and your minds, and you may just end up making some new friends! There’s that saying that sounds something like “A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet!” I like it, and I’m going to try and live by it.

Stay well.

If you’re headed to an event with lots of unknowns, maybe bring a Totem along to help keep you calm. Get one today by clicking on any of the Totems on the side of the page!