Miss Migraine Runs: Wrap-Up

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The Adventures of Miss Migraine is an ongoing column about my life with chronic migraine. June was National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, and I ran as part of the Miles for Migraine Virtual Challenge to raise money for migraine research. Read parts one and two.

Ten of you fantastic people helped me raise more than $400 for migraine research in June! I will be sending you all cards, but in the meantime, thank you! Overall, Miles for Migraine was able to raise $3,500—quite a bit short of the $10k goal, but still nothing to sneeze at.

While my original plan was to train in June and July and run a 5k in August, that bought of runner’s knee I experienced mid-June delayed our progress quite a bit. Our new plan is to train through September and run the Miles for Migraine 5k race in Philadelphia on October 6.

A brain hat, a race medal, and a pair of socks with the Miles for Migraine logo.

Unfortunately, runner’s knee is not the only setback I’ve dealt with so far. I also had trouble getting past the third training week workout because of my asthma, which would kick in around the 2 minutes of running mark and leave me wheezing and gasping for air. My doctor gave me a new inhaler, which I use about 20 minutes prior to each run and helps significantly.

I’m not yet tracking how many miles I run, as I’m still focusing on time spent running. Again, my progress hasn’t been as quick as I’d have hoped, but the important thing is that D.J. and I have stuck with our three-runs-per-week regimen since late May, with the exception of the weeks in June I had to use the elliptical instead of running.

Something else that’s interesting is the way the connection between my migraines and exercise has changed. A workout can still trigger a migraine, especially if the weather is bad or I’m already on the edge of one, but for the most part, running hasn’t caused any migraines. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s helped keep them at bay. I feel significantly better after a run, and have been generally less migrainey the past two months than the months prior. Now, I feel crappy if I have to miss a run–D.J. and I have even woken up at 5 a.m. multiple times to get our run in before he has to go to work!

Most importantly, though, Miles for Migraine sent me this cool brain hat and a medal, which clearly means I win, right? ;p

Again, thank you all for supporting me, donating money to this important cause, and spreading migraine awareness!

Miss Migraine Runs: Part Two

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The Adventures of Miss Migraine is an ongoing column about my life with chronic migraine. June is National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month. Help me raise $300 to support migraine research and awareness!

Despite my runner’s knee not really being cleared up, we decided to wake up at 5 a.m. and resume our 5k training program this morning.

Despite painful knees, I’ve tried to still do some form of exercise 5 days a week, whether it’s going for a walk or using the elliptical.

I am not a morning person. Never have been, probably never will be. I’d much rather run at 8 or 9 p.m. than wake up before the freaking sun rises. But, I’m getting ready for a monologue show in a few weeks, and I’ve got evening rehearsals all this week and next week. Early morning is the only time we could run, so that’s what we did.

And hey–it wasn’t as awful as I expected it to be! Waking up was easy enough. I laid my running clothes out last night, so all I had to do was pull them on. I ate an apple, leashed up the dog, and off we went.

Over the past three months, I’ve increased my overall activity level. Each bar represents a week’s worth of steps.

This week the program has us running varying intervals of 90 seconds and 3 minutes. The first set of runs were fine. My knees ached a little but it wasn’t bad. But then we did the second set, and I definitely should have stopped because it felt like my knees were on fire. But I am stubborn as fuck, so I finished the workout and then spent a good long while icing my knees. Surprisingly now they feel pretty okay, which means I’ll probably be stupid and run again Wednesday morning.

Running and walking has also been helping me with the grief of losing my corgi dog Lexi–it’s not that I miss her less or feel less sad, it’s just that being outside and working my body provides a good expression for those emotions. I think it’s helping Jaina cope, as well.

Now I just need my knees to stop hurting!

 

Miss Migraine in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Banner that says "The Adventures of Miss Migraine"

The Adventures of Miss Migraine is an ongoing column about my life with chronic migraine.

After my last post about Aimovig, the first-ever drug designed specifically to prevent migraines, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette contacted me about doing an interview with them. You can read the full story on the P-G’s website! Here’s a snippet:

“I can’t even conceptualize what’s it like to not be in constant pain,” said Kelly Lynn Thomas, a patient at UPMC. “So, the possibility of having time where I’m not in any pain is mind-blowing.”

For years, Ms. Thomas, 31, of Spring Hill-City View, has written a blog “The Adventures of Miss Migraine.” The most recent post features the new drug. “Guys. This is huge,” she begins.

I was thrilled to be able to help shed some light on this important issue, and am so glad Aimovig is getting so much press.

Now, I have an ask. Help me raise $300 to support migraine research and awareness!

Last week I started the Couch 2 5K running program. Exercise is a good tool in the migraine management tool box, but it is unfortunately also difficult to get started because, well–migraines sap your energy and suck the life out of you, and exercise tends to trigger them. So far I like the C25K program because it starts out slow and alternates running with walking for the first few weeks.

While I am already feeling the benefits of regular exercise (I really do have more energy!), I’m not just doing this for me. I’m running to raise funds for migraine research as part of migraine advocacy organization Miles for Migraine’s June Virtual Challenge.

I won’t be ready to run a full 5k by the end of June, but I’ll be halfway there. I’ll continue running in July and hope to run my first 5K in August or September. Throughout June, on non-running days, my goal is to at least go for a 30-minute walk and/or attend a yoga class. Starting June 1st, I’ll post weekly updates here about my progress.

Here’s how you can help this June and beyond:

  1. Make a donation through my fundraising page.
  2. Share my page with your social networks.
  3. Reach out to someone living with chronic migraine and let them know you care. If you’re able, offer to do something nice for them, or send an encouragement card or small token (just lay off smelly lotion or candles, as perfume can trigger migraines).
  4. Share the Post-Gazette article with your networks to help spread awareness of how difficult, isolating, and depressing chronic migraine can be.
  5. Ask your health insurance provider if they plan to cover Aimovig, and when. If they say no, ask why not and reaffirm how important this drug is to migraine patients.

I’m also working on some gift ideas for anyone who pledges a certain amount of money, so stay tuned for more on that!