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April 11, 2013


My good friend had headaches for weeks and was finally diagnosed with a spinal fluid leak? That needed a patch? From landing hard off a slide at an indoor children's play place? Just curious if you might have had some kind of injury. Could it be related to your concussion? I'd bark up those trees if I were having a horrible migraine chain.

First time commenter (I think), long time reader with twins a year younger who are also wildly different from each other. They're in a preschool that fits the challenging brother and I'll always feel a little bad for the more academic sister.

Oh my, I almost swallowed my gum. Orson Scott Card is very against, um, any unnatural fondness between people of the same sex. I'm sure you must have misunderstood.
Actually I enjoyed the book as well. I must have read it when it first came out, may be a boy thing. Don't bother with the rest of the books. Make Patrick read them on his own.

I'm also very sorry about the migraines. Hope you find a solution soon.

Last month, I asked the psychiatrist if any new migraine medications had been approved recently which I could take. She said, "Sure! As long as you don't take them every month. Or more often."

Well! That means no. Because the triggers are : weather, stress, hormones, incandescent or fluorescent lights, and I suppose something like the position of Pluto in relation to one of Jupiter's moons (because sometimes THERE IS NO REASON).

As for Concordia camps, I went to Swedish camp every summer between ages 10 and 14 and loved it (1 week, 2 weeks x3, 4 weeks). Granted, 20 years later, all I retain of Swedish is the ability to pronounce their words and a combination of 70's pop music and folk songs. But a lovely, wonderful time.

Zut alors! I was rooting for l'ecole francaise.

If you both hate Ender's Game so much, why not just stop listening to it and switch to something less horrific?

Wait. Concussion followed by migraines? Could there be a link there?

If you've kept a migraine journal you probably would have seen this but it seems to be helping me so here: I have hormonal migraines. I've had a hysterectomy but kept my ovaries and am in the menopause cycle. So it's hard to tell when hormones will flare, especially since they're all out of whack. I can't take migraine meds so my migraine treatment plan is early migraine, weak muscle relaxer that rarely if ever does anything, painful migraines get vicodin and zofran, ice packs, and a nap in the closet as needed. This isn't ideal so I decided to cut nitrites to see what happened. It's been about 6 weeks and I've had only 2 migraines instead of 2 4 day migraines and a few less severe ones which would have happened. It turns out that I crave protein/salt something around the time of my migraines and had been eating a lot of nitrites. I've had 2 not bad migraines in those 6 weeks so I'm now nitrite free, praying that chocolate isn't another trigger (I think it is) and am completely shocked. When it started I had a Mirena in and was having migraines 15 days/month. We did a diary sort of but it was so clearly hormonal (Mirena out, migraines decreased to 5 days per month until after my hysterectomy when the migraines picked back up. The best was getting an email response from my dr. telling me that I needed to go to an ER for morphine shots and IV zofran when I was on vacation on an island 3 hours from an ER. We figured out other approaches then).

I doubt that's the link and your skull fracture would make me nervous but I also know that psych meds can cause dehydration and migraines so maybe that's it.

Hope you figure it out. Migraines are awful.

My migraines are always directly following any change of barometric pressure. So if you are having Weather and migraines, perhaps yours are too? Sometime during last years tornado season I thought perhaps if you could just kill me. ..the migraine had lasted over a week without a break and so after three hospital visits they put me on daily topomax. And I haven't had a real migraine since. Oh sure, I get the little ones where my vision is. .off. ..but I haven't needed an imitrex since then.

Ender's Game is hard to read as a mom. Pre-kids I liked it, my kids like it, but now I find much sadder. The sequels are much more adult, although there are side-books that again have no problem doing horrid things to kids.

I really didn't notice any sexualizing of the kids' bodies though; kids do enjoy their skin and I thought that was pretty real. The person Orson Scott Card firmly and publicly upholds his church's opinion about homosexuality (i.e., don't do it, per Mormon law), but he's actually written quite sympathetic gay characters into his books. They do have a tendency to come to bad ends, but then so do almost everyone else.

Have you guys done Tamara Pierce? I really like those audio books. Much more cheerful. Maybe start with First Test. My eleven year old recommends Top Dog, which is nonfiction and that's all I know about it.

I, like others here, cannot help but wonder if a skull fracture could be a migraine trigger... Hope things get better.

Right now, the ad I'm seeing in the upper right corner is for a new book by Marie Osmond, alleged "beloved superstar." I mention this because I am in the middle of a chapter referencing said "beloved superstar" in Book of Mormon Girl. I know you're more often into fiction, but if you're going to read an uber-conservative (arguably bigoted) Mormon author, I can't help but recommend one I think you would actually like.

Seriously. Joanna Brooks, Book of Mormon Girl. Fast read and worth it. (And lacking in the creepy, which is always a plus.)

Orson Scott Card has significant homoerotic subtext in a number of his books (or text - I wouldn't recommend Songmaster, but a friend of mine got a very interesting academic paper out of it). This, combined with his frequently expressed sentiments on homosexuality, which include statements like the following:

"Men, after all, know what men like far better than women do; women know how women think and feel far better than men do. But a man and a woman come together as strangers and their natural impulses remain at odds throughout their lives, requiring constant compromise, suppression of natural desires, and an unending effort to learn how to get through the intersexual swamp."

mean that I retain a tiny amount of sympathy for him as, most likely, an incredibly unhappy, self-hating, closeted individual. Most of the time, though, I wish he'd just shut up.

I feel for caroline and her languages. I don't suppose it is feasible to hire a nanny/housekeeper/babysitter type person (don't know what you americans would call it) to drive her to one or other immersion school? That's what we've done but I guess London is different from rural minnesota...

Have you tried escitalopram (Lexapro) instead of citalopram (Celexa)? I started on citalopram and my blood pressure skyrocketed and my heart raced. It was helpful, but side effects were awful. Enter Lexapro. Great alternative. Maybe you're experiencing side effects as well?

Hi, menstrual migraine sufferer here. My dr. put me on an estrogen patch for a week out of the month - it helps. Low dose, relatively safe (I think). Apparently I have a "sensitive brain" that doesn't like the drop in estrogen when I get my period. Also, she said Pristiq, which I am on for depression (and, incidentally helped my anxiety that I didn't know I had) can help with headaches and she doesn't want me to stop taking it just because I think I'm doing well.

Good luck fending off the migraines.

Personally, I liked Ender's Game a lot, but it was many years ago. My older kids love it too. Let Patrick hear it or read it by himself, if you hate it so.

I think close schools - if reasonable - are a good choice. You can always consult the person in
about Caroline's options. Obviously he found some that work :)

I had daily headaches that started at the same time every day for months once and the doctors/meds were useless. They turned out not to be migraines despite my doctor's insistence. I went to a chiropractor in desperation and after two visits the headaches disappeared. Now, yours might very well be classic migraines. I'm just mentioning it because thinking outside the box sometimes works.

Now I feel bad. I was getting all impatient for my next fix of your blog and now I find out you've been suffering migraines the whole time. I'm so sorry you're going through this and I have zero advice (although the suggestions above that concussion + increased migraines = something worth exploring seems reasonable).

Schools: Even if you can't make the French (or Chinese) schools happen for Caroline, is there any chance you could hire a local college student to tutor her? It would be a win (extra $$$!) for the student and a win (language!!) for Caroline. Just a thought -- you know, something more to add to your days because I'm sure you don't juggle enough already....

I also get migraines due to stress, weather, hormones etc. My doctor put me on daily topomax to try and prevent them, and while I still get them has made them much less painful and not last as long. However, I am not sure of its interaction with anxiety meds, which often do not play nice with migraine meds.

I'm not sure if I've opined on this here before but...

Add me to the list of people who get hormonal migraines. In my case it's the drop in estrogen that is one of my main triggers. The solution? Hormonal birth control 24/7! It's kind of like having a mirena, but in my case I've done it with birth control pills and - more recently and even more convenient - the Nuvaring. Fewer migraines, with the delightful side effect of no menstruation, which means no PMS symptoms either. No skin breakouts, no bloating, no emotional ups and downs, no anemia... it's like I've been let in on some big secret, and it is wonderful! I cannot recommend it enough to people for whom it is deemed medically appropriate by their doctor, and who hate getting their period and would not be freaked out by not having it anymore.

One warning: it does mess up your cycle something fierce for a long time, even after you stop doing it. I'd suggest waiting until you're done having kids, or know you're years and years from wanting 'em. Seriously, stop doing it if you're even within a few years of deciding to try.

So what does Patrick do at restaurants? Does he ask for extra forks?

Two things that might not help you but might help someone:

- my entire headache situation (daily minor headache plus a migraine every few weeks) was pretty much wiped out entirely by getting the right prescription of glasses, and

- I haven't used it myself yet, but Google Flights is supposed to be a brilliant and use-friendly price-finder type thing. https://www.google.com/flights/

I had ongoing migraine that would go from relatively normal to blinding pain in about 5 seconds, literally. I would have 3 or 4 of these episodes a day, lasting a couple of hours each. The only way to get through them was to pace-- I had to keep moving. The only thing that would touch them was morphine. My neurologist put me on neurontin, which broke the cycle, and effectively prevented them until I was able to go off it a couple of years later; haven't had them since. I know everyone is different, and what works for one person may not work for another, but I haven't seen this particular drug mentioned yet. It would be worth asking about.

Have you and Patrick listened to the "His Dark Materials" series by Philip Pullman? It's such an awesome story AND the audiobook is full cast (including Kathy Bates!). I highly, highly, highly recommend!

Chemicals (read: celexa) - food = migraines for me.

Turns out my body needed nutrition at the very time i felt less like providing such. And it took me a VERY LOOOONG time figure that out.

I second the Tamora Peirce Books.

Mercedes Lackey has some lovely stuff too. Retelling of fairy tales set in the 1800s England.

I assume you have exhuasted the Susan Cooper and Frank L. Baum books. Lois Duncan is a great young adult paranormal mystery writer that I loved when I was Patrick's age.

If he likes puns at all, Robert Asprin's Myth series is FANTASTIC.

The Drangon Singer Trilogy from Anne McCaffrey may be appropriate to his age, I think. Some of the other Pern books are alittle over his head - I read most of them as a 'tween and completely missed the homosexuality undertones of the green dragon riders.

I'm not sure how many of these are in audio form, however. :(

Did you ever do the Hitchhiker's books? Douglas Adams is fantastic as well - and oh the Brits with their humor. I bet Patrick would love old Dr. Who episodes too.

Re:Anxiety - I second the poster who suggested Lexapro. Its a bear to come off of, but I loved it - it was like I was still living my life, but about 30 feet away from everything, so it was nice and removed from CRAZY WORRY. I also get migraines - Doc last year gave me Relpax and I almost kissed her. I also have a common reaction to Zyrtec (the allergy med) that puts me to sleep for about 16 hours. When I combine a Zyrtec and a Relpax, its like MAGIC.

But I would also agree you need to mention the concusion in the context of the headaches to your Dr. There may be some additional forces at play.

While it might tweak the budget unpleasantly, it would help the driving situation of 3 kids in school if you brought in an au pair. You can get a native French speaker and have her talk to Caroline only in French! Voila, immersion.

Sorry re: the migraines, I hope you can find a solution that works!

I have done "name your own price" and other such programs before. One was a direct flight to Colorado which was conveniently timed and great. Another was a trip from Los Angeles to London via Charlotte, NC of all places, that featured a four hour layover both ways. Another time on a trip to CT I had layovers and crack of dawn flights both times. So I would say -- do it if if price is your highest priority, understanding that timing and layovers may not be ideal.

I am taking it personally.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) has worked really well for me in preventing migraines. My doctor suggested a supplement, but I just drink 8 oz of Odwalla Blueberry B every morning, and no migraines. If we run out, and I start hitting triggers (stress, not enough sleep, hormones, caffeine, eating crap) then they'll start up.

I feel badly - I think I might have suggested Ender's Game. I don't remember the discussion of boy's bodies (like at all....makes me wonder how oblivious I am.....). I too am enduring the never-ending MN winter, and it doesn't look like it gets better this weekend either....getting VERY tired of the indoors.
We are getting ready to do a not-close school for my son next year (FAIR School, in Crystal), but in theory we have some bussing options because it is an interdistrict school. So.

Ok, so I have no comments re:schools, migraines, name your own price, but I loved the House Hunters International reference. We watch way too much HGTV!

Two things: (1) Thanks for adding some corroboration to my suspicion that Celexa is responsible for my more frequent migraines! (2) Also still snowing here. Not much to do about it, is there?

p.s. Make sure Patrick doesn't find the Enders Shadow series too! I agree with the earlier poster about making him read them on his own.

my oldest used separate utensils per meal items for years...right about the time he left elementary school age, he grew out of it...now it's all about being completely oblivious to slurping food sounds.

hoping you feel better soon!

I loved Ender's Game as a kid, and read a number of Card's other books over the course of several years. But it gradually dawned on me that the author's worldview is incompatible with mine. So I'm with tgsdmom: Let Patrick enjoy the rest of Ender's Game on his own, while he can still read past the subtext.

Can't help with the migraines. My only experience is my 11 year old daughter who just suffered her first about 6 weeks ago.

We used Priceline to travel to Florida for a family funeral a couple of years ago. We used their airfare, hotel, rental car combo where we got to select the hotel and everything else was their choice, but our price was set. We got a great deal -- the whole package (4 nights at the Hyatt Place) for about $50 per person over what the airfare would have been if we had booked through the airline.

It was a little odd to travel from central Ohio to Milwaukee in order to get to Fort Myers, Florida, but it only added an hour to our flight time -- connections were timed such that we got off one plane, rushed to the next terminal and got on our next flight. Our flight to Florida was an early one, but the flight home was around 4:00 p.m. -- just like I would have attempted to plan myself. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Do not, under any circumstance, use Priceline, etc. for flights. I love, love, love it for hotels, but have found it to be a nightmare. Think Boston to Florida flights by way of Chicago, etc. It's just not worth it.

Ooops. A nightmare for FLIGHTS.

I adore Fyn's comment and want to meet and fall madly in love with Fyn. Fyn, let's make this happen.

And HA HA HA HA HA HA about Orson Scott Card and his raging, all-over-the-news homophobia. Recent studies are backing up the correlation between closetedness and hating-on-the-queers-ness. Not that any of us are surprised. But still. It's very satisfying.

(I apparently don't have it in my heart to be generous at all. Go ahead and pickle in your self-hatred, haters.)

(I'm really not always this vicious, honest. Hugs and love to you! I wish I had something positive to contribute about migraines or immersion school! I am certain that Caroline will seek&find languages and anything else that her heart desires with fierceness. She seems very driven.)

P.S. Is Patrick still accepting license plates? I just got mine changed, and the old ones are from Texas and say "DMB," which always amused me + any cop who ever caught me doing anything stupid, and I think that Patrick might be amused too.

google botox and migraines.. they did a study on it years ago at the cleveland clinic. i remember reading about it in the cleveland paper..

Julia - have you ever tried Fiorcet (butalbital) for your mirgraines? I had vice-like migraines subjecting me into Hectors labyrinth for 30+ years a week after my "cycle"until my primary unearthed this histrionic drug not widely prescribed since 1961 and its like seriously a miracle. I still need the reemptive imitrex but this knocks it out of the water if it survives the preemptive drug. Just a thought. :)

just wanted to second (?) the chiropractor suggestion - it might not work, it might not be your thing, but I think it'd be worth a shot. I know a lot of people who've had really swift and positive results after getting adjustments. But then, maybe they had headaches rather than migraines...?

But honestly - I don't consider myself particularly hippy-dippy (as my husband would say) but both chiro and acupuncture have helped resolve some of my body issues - back/neck/headaches in the case of the former and hay fever/seasonal allergies with the latter. (As in, I had life-destroying hay fever every spring for a decade; last year I had two - TWO - acupuncture treatments and it was GONE. Lasted the whole season. This year I have some sniffles early in the morning (and am considering returning to acupuncture, but we moved and it seems too much trouble to go hunt down someone new), but that's all. Night and day.

I've wondered if acupuncture and/or chiro would be helpful for Patrick with all his sinus travails as well... I think if he were mine and he were up for it, I'd definitely go those routes. It's worked wonders on my kids' ear infections and colds.

But I completely understand if that's not your bag. I also seem to remember that P hates needles..? If so, that would obviously rule out acupuncture!

Good luck with resolving the migraines; they sound awful awful awful.

Sorry that Mandarin or French doesn't work out for Caroline, but agree with the majority that it's most important to consider the strain on you of all the transportation -- and the fact, from your accounts, that Edward would hate immersion. Clearly, Caroline is brilliant -- it would be great to get more language work for her before she is 11, however you could swing that, but just keep her engaged and balanced....
Also feel badly about suggesting Ender's Game, which I think I did. I loved it, but in retrospect did pick up vaguely on a homoerotic tang. When I read it, however, I was childless, relatively young, naive, and reading through an academic lens, so screened that out.
For the migraines, would urge trying vitamin B3, Blueberry B, and strict attention to triggers, but definitely getting more medical advice. Good old Mayo, perhaps?

I have mixed feelings about the whole Ender's Game saga, more to do with the use of such tiny children for military purposes, and I found the writing so wildly unrealistic, given their extreme youth ... I would say, let Patrick read them on his own.

Tamora Pierce yes yes YES.

If hiring a French au pair is at all feasible for you all in terms of sharing the home, emotionally, financially etc etc, I would think that would be a great way to go towards the linguistics ... Wish I could hire one!!

So sorry about the migraines. No advice, except the whole avoid triggers thing, which isn't helpful I know (two of my children get migraines regularly, the one who doesn't only avoids them because we know his one trigger, chocolate).

The Great Lakes are a great insulator so our winters are several weeks shorter on both ends than our neighbors on the other sides of them. We got down to bare ground save a few drifts, the mud had dried, lake Irwin shrunk down to pond Irwin and disappeared entirely.

Two nights ago we got an inch and a half pf as you once noted charmingly named "winter mix" (read: Nature's concrete and lubricant, all in one icy package) and today it's snowing in earnest.

It isn't much sticking in Grand Rapids where I currently sit, and they have actual lawns again, scraggly, but completely green,

We had, presumably, hopefully still have, little brave tendrils that decided to peek up and say "hi".

Meanwhile I have a very big, very unhappy mare due in a week, and some fence to put up before I can release a pony from pony jail and set Mama up with a nice birthing suite.


All to say, I get it. And I'm sorry. I don't have much room to complain, we got a nuisance, you guys got the real deal. I watch it come across trying to gauge fence building opportunities.

It looked pretty raw out there a time or two.

The only upside is these spring storms can dump, but the sun comes back and there isn't the snowpack there needing to melt.

Once it warms up again it will disappear much more quickly.

Hang in there. :)

I would prefer if you would see a Neurologist....just saying. If it was P or C or E with your symptoms you'd probably go there. Second - Priceline - if it's for just you fine, family no. Sundy nytimes article about a new one - and you pick two cities - can't recall the name and it chooses which city....I liked the sound of it more than Priceline. Hang in there, grim is right. And Caroline - she will be fine - maybe better - think a different language after schoool....French Fridays, Tagalog Tuesday's, Mandarin Mondays....I imagine this will all get significantly more complicated when it comes to HS. Feel better!

I actually wonder if the headache is related to the skull fracture? I suffered from daily, debilitating migraines for 6+ years, cycling through every "preventative" med mentioned above (plus about 20 others) and trying a number of unconventional treatments. Nothing worked. Not even the 8 day stay in the hospital. One of the neurologists suggested that my weight might be causing the problem (apparently estrogen is stored in fat cells? Okayyyyy....) Anyway, I went on a modified Atkins plan and the headaches stopped. Turns out I've got a gluten sensitivity. Cut out gluten and I cut off the headache. I have had 3 migraines in the last 3.5 years, 2 after accidental ingestion. So there ya go.

Sorry you're suffering...glad you felt well enough to write! Hang in there!

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