I assume that many of you who follow this page are struggling with migraines, since that is the focus of this blog. As you know the struggle is physical, emotional, and difficult for others to understand. It is frustrating in its persistence and severity, leaving many wondering, “Why is this happening to me?” The impact on relationships, work responsibilities, and ability to go places raises questions about purpose in life.
Some have wondered how I have been able to have joy in the midst of this kind of suffering. There is only one answer to that question: my faith. I used to wonder how a person’s faith could provide strength to bear afflictions. Now I know, and I want others to know. In my new book, “More Precious Than Gold,” I have written specifically about the thought process I have gone through the past several years during my worst period of migraines and vertigo. You may wonder how I felt like writing a book, given that it is so difficult to even come up with words during the pain and brain fog of a migraine. I have been feeling better, but not migraine-free, and worked to get my thoughts down while I could.
I am aware that many of you may not be Christians and therefore not interested. However, I ask you to consider the following questions:
- Do you have hope for the future?
- Do you have peace with your circumstances?
- Do you have joy even when you’re not enjoying?
I answer yes to all of these questions because of my adoption into God’s family, the care He gives while I am in this life, and the promise of the life to come with Him in Heaven, where there will be no more tears or pain. This is only possible by accepting Christ as my Savior.
“More Precious Than Gold” is not all about me. Rather, it is an explanation about how the Christian faith works to strengthen a believer going through a trial. I do use “clips” from my migraine experience as illustrations, but the points made apply to any type of trial. If you are a believer, please be encouraged by this book. If you are not a Christian, please consider my testimony as a taste of what is possible.
Available now on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle
Follow me at: www.facebook.com/KimDunkelbergerAuthor/
All of the tortilla recipes we have tried have produced tortillas that do not fold well… until now. My daughter developed this recipe which only requires 2 ingredients and a little time. Although it works very well to wrap around chicken strips and veggies, my favorite way to eat it is toasted with almond butter melting on it. I’ve missed my nut butter toast, but now I can enjoy this treat again.
As an added bonus, these tortillas freeze and thaw well!
1 c. quinoa cooked in 2 c. water
- Allow quinoa to cool.
- Roughly divide cooked quinoa into 4 portions.
- Add 1 portion and 1 egg to a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
- Spread on parchment-lined cookie sheet to create a large rectangle.
- Bake for 17 minutes at 350 degrees.
- Flip the tortilla and parchment over onto the same cookie sheet and attempt to peel off the parchment. If the parchment will not release, flip back over and bake for another 2 to 4 minutes. Once it peels off easily, turn the tortilla over, score it down the center, and bake it for an additional 5 minutes.
- Remove from the pan and allow to cool on a rack.
- Repeat for the remaining 3 portions.
- Complete the cut down the middle of each tortilla to create 2 tortillas per rectangle.
While I will continue to post here as I have new recipes and information regarding how I manage my migraines, I want to let you know that I am starting a new blog. The purpose of “Commissioned by Him” is to share what I am learning in my Bible study as I attempt to focus on how to endure my trials biblically.
As you know migraines are miserable. I have been able to endure through faith in Christ who helps me to bear all things. I hope that something I share on this new blog will encourage you as I have been encouraged.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Among the many foods I have had to eliminate from my diet is chocolate. I actually stopped eating it after I had a really bizarre reaction to it many years ago. In the past couple of years, I discovered that it was good that I had stopped eating it, because it can trigger migraines. I’ve grown used to not eating it, but I really enjoyed it when I was still able to.
Recently, my daughter was developing a new recipe in the kitchen, and I smelled chocolate. I was surprised to find out that she was not using chocolate though. Rather, several ingredients mixed together just smelled like chocolate to me (and they tasted really good on my fingertips as well). Her ingredients were only parts of a more involved recipe, but we decided to mix them together later to see if we could make candy.
This fudge doesn’t taste exactly like chocolate, but it has an awesome flavor on its own.. I mean really good… Like I can’t stop eating it good. Here’s the recipe:
1/4 cup smooth almond butter
2 2/3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp. vanilla
- Mix all ingredients in a microwavable cup.
- Microwave for 25 seconds and stir until smooth.
- In parchment lined freezer container, spread mixture and freeze for 6 hours, or until hard.
- Cut and enjoy.
While I am blessed to finally be at a point that my migraine frequency and severity has been greatly reduced, there has been a price to pay. It has been relatively easy to accept the food limitations, shields from bright lights, and frequent earplug use. However, it has not been easy to accept everything I must do to avoid airborne chemical triggers. This requires that I stay at my home with the air and water filters that we have installed, a lonely proposition.
Many of the triggers for my migraines and vertigo are chemicals included in air fresheners and cleaners commonly used in most buildings, such as grocery stores, doctors’ offices, restaurants, libraries, and churches. The perfumes, scented lotions, and laundry detergents used by people who go to these places also fill the air with chemicals that quickly reduce me to an immobilized lump. Until now, my only option to feel well enough to function in my roles at home was to stay there. I have finally found an option that allows me to venture out of my house for short periods of time: a respiratory mask.
The first one I tried was the “I Can Breathe” mask which I found to be comfortable. Elastic bands fit around the ears rather than the neck which I like. I had a good seal around my chin but could not get a good fit across the bridge of my nose. Therefore, air leaked in without being filtered, and air leaked out, steaming up my glasses. I ended up getting a migraine the first time I used this in a room with a lot of perfumes. I also felt like I was struggling to breathe, perhaps because I had to breathe in and out through the filter medium.
The second mask I tried was the “Respro Allergy Mask” with the chemical and particle filter. This mask includes one-way valves that allow exhaled air to be easily expelled, an improvement over the “I Can Breathe Mask”. However, this mask is strapped around the neck which was initially uncomfortable for me. It presses on areas in my neck that tend to hurt during migraines, and I initially thought this would trigger a migraine. This has not been a problem as I have adjusted to the mask though. Other adjustments have been necessary for comfort and effectiveness. I sewed cotton fabric into the chin area because it did not seal well initially. The metal bar across the nose is uncomfortable after wearing the mask for about an hour. So, I placed a thin piece of padding to the underside of the bar. It seems to me that securing the mask around my neck tends to pull the mask downward, causing the chin to leak and the metal bar to press harder into my nose. The adjustments I have made have resolved these issues though. The huge upside to this mask is that IT WORKS! I have been able to attend church, take children to appointments, and run short errands without getting a migraine!
My hope is that there is a more comfortable option at some point, but I am thankful for what I have now.
While we’ve been able to modify or develop recipes to meet many of our needs, there have been gaps that we haven’t been able to fill. Two of those gaps are now filled with yummy recipes we found online. I take no credit for these, but refer you to the original sources as applicable.
Until now, it has been a mystery to determine how to make a birthday cake that works for the different dietary needs of the people in our house: peanut and tree nut free, migraine free, and Low FODMAP. While not a traditional “cake”, this pumpkin bar recipe is definitely meeting our expectations for a birthday cake as well as an everyday snack option. Here are a few details that I think are necessary to remember when making this recipe:
- I found that the use of PAM to grease my baking dish resulted in a bitter flavor on the edges of these bars. I now spread coconut oil in the pan with my fingers instead.
- We bake, puree, and freeze pumpkin in the fall to use rather than canned pumpkin to avoid the amount of tyramine that builds up in canned goods.
- We chose the maple syrup option. We never tried honey in this recipe, because the maple syrup worked so well.
- We use King Arthur brand almond flour, because we feel comfortable with the way this flour is handled with respect to our food allergies.
- Since chocolate is off the list for a migraine diet, we do not add this optional ingredient. However, this recipe is so good that we can’t even imagine adding chocolate to it!
The second gap that is now filled is a much-loved recipe for biscuits. This recipe also uses almond flour, but we have been using honey for the sweetener. Although honey is not ok on the Low FODMAP diet, our family members on this diet have not had problems with the very small amount of honey actually present in each biscuit. These biscuits are so good that they don’t need any toppings like jam, butter, or gravy. We eat them alone as snacks or on the side with a meal. Here are the details I keep in mind for this recipe:
- We use coconut oil instead of butter.
- We use white distilled vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar.
We have found both of these recipes to freeze well, making them easy snacks to warm for a few seconds in the microwave when the need arises. One person in the family even loves them frozen!
As I write this, I am on the tail end of a migraine. However, I am eager to update what I am finding to be helpful with acupressure. In the last two days, I have found a modified use for a technique I posted here and here as well as a new product that has been beneficial.
Originally, I had posted that I used a scarf, a small washcloth, and a rubber ball to apply pressure to the daith region of my ear. I no longer use the washcloth because it just hasn’t been necessary, and I find it easier to get the ball in place while I’m struggling with pain. What I found during the migraine that is now ending is that there may be a better location for me than the daith. Last night, I palpated my skull around the back of my ear and found an extremely tender spot. Rubbing it with my finger felt strangely comforting, so I tried placing the ball at that location with the scarf and went to sleep. After a few hours, I woke up with much less pain!
My other acupressure find is this ball which I originally purchased to relieve pain in the arches of my feet. It definitely works for that, but I have been using it the past couple of days to relieve pain due to my migraine as well. When I have a migraine, the muscles in my neck and back get increasingly painful as the migraine wears on. I find myself attempting to rub them with my fingertips or seek massages from family members. Both are difficult to do. It is a struggle for me to use my fingers long enough to do any good while I’m in so much pain anyway, and family members aren’t always available. However, I easily rolled this ball back and forth over my neck muscles with the palm of my hand while resting in bed. The nubs are firm and get into the right places, even more so than fingertips do. I also relieved my upper back pain by rolling over onto the ball. This doesn’t make the migraine go away, but my overall suffering is reduced!
I would love to know if any of you have found acupressure to be helpful. Please feel free to comment below.