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12 January 2019

Will The Day Ever Come

For the last 13 years, I have been waiting for the day when things will get better. A day when a medication actually works, or for the very invasive neuromodulator implanted in my body to lower the pain and frequency, or for the 31 injections I get quarterly to bring me back to being episodic. Nothing has truly worked for me. In truth, my particular case of intractable migraine has always been resistant to medication, or anything else for that matter. But, with each new approach comes a faint hint of hope. Maybe this one will be the one. And like clockwork, it fails me and I'm back at ground zero.

18 December 2018

RetreatMigraine: Registration Details

retreatmigraine, champ

CHAMP is grateful for the overwhelming excitement about RetreatMigraine. Due to the volume of interest, we are pushing the registration period to January 4-7, 2019. Registration will open at 10:00am ET on Friday, January 4, 2019 and close at 9:00pm ET on Monday, January 7, 2019.

We will be conducting the registration process via a lottery. We believe this approach will be more equitable than "first come, first serve" as we recognize we are serving a community of people who may be experiencing a migraine attack when registration opens. We want to give everyone a chance to attend, but space is unfortunately limited. 

Please see our website for more details about the registration process.

19 November 2018

No Woman, No Cry

Six years. That's how long it's been since my suicide attempt. Last Sunday, as I wait in the terminal for my plane to start boarding, I was reminded of it by a Facebook memory. The realization of it hit me pretty hard. I immediately became sad and all of those horrible feelings came rushing back. But I shoved them down and tried to concentrate on getting to Arizona, with a migraine no less, in time for that evening's working CHAMP dinner.

15 October 2018

Accepting the Curve

Over the past six years, I have been proactive in being kinder to myself. As a part of my healing and management of depression and anxiety, I had to learn to accept that I am not always going to be okay. Changing how I spoke about mental illness made a big impact in how I coped. I was able to let go of the guilt and shame associated with having depression and anxiety much more quickly. With practice, it has gotten easier to deal with the bad flare ups.

During this same time frame, my body was changing and I was starting to look like a completely different person. Antidepressants and sleep meds were causing weight gain. I went from 180 pounds to 240 pounds. The person I saw in the mirror was a stranger. Who is this woman? I was so uncomfortable in this new body. Although I was doing the work to be kinder to myself in regard to mental illness, I was not doing the same with accepting how I looked physically. I was extremely mean to myself... I still am.

Fat. Ugly. Unattractive. Frumpy. Gross. Lumpy. Huge. These are just some of the words I use to describe myself. My stomach is not flat, my thighs are big and rub against each other constantly, and my arms are flappy. I've got cankles and back fat. Even my wrists are fat. I always feel like the biggest person in the room. Even when I am by myself I am constantly aware of my size.

You will rarely see photos of my whole body these days. Selfies are my new bff. I love makeup but I wear it more often because I feel it distracts people from looking at the mess below my neck. If I can hide my body I will in a heartbeat. Changing how I look physically is hard since exercise is a migraine trigger. I eat healthy but my weight isn't dropping. I feel stuck in this body that I didn't ask for.

Then, something interesting happened last week. I was getting myself ready for my first keynote speech in my hotel room. I wore a dress that showed off my arms and legs, which I rarely do. As I stood in front of the mirror I saw a beautiful woman full of curves. I was shocked to see such a different version of myself. It wasn't the makeup or the hair that made me feel this way. For the first time in a very long time, my body made me feel beautiful. It's not as bad as I thought. Even my cankles looked sexy.

In that moment, I embraced myself wholly. It's okay that I'm bigger than other women I know. This body has been through a lot and it deserves to be treated better. I may never lose the weight and I'm slowly starting to be okay with that. Will I feel this way every day? Most likely not. But, it's a start and one I'm hoping will continue to grow.

the migraine diva, jaime sanders, jaime m. sanders

11 October 2018

Resources for Migraine: American Chronic Pain Association

If you are newly diagnosed with migraine or are just seeking helpful resources to help you navigate life with chronic pain, the American Chronic Pain Association has some very useful tools you can use to help you better manage your pain.

Understanding Migraine

Read the video transcript here - https://www.theacpa.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/ACPA-Migraine-Transcript.pdf.

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