Thursday, July 31, 2008

Chocoholic: Not just a cute name made up by Cathy Guisewite

I had my first migraine a couple of weeks ago. Or I should say, I identified my first migraine a few weeks ago. I had one a few weeks before that but it went away before I figured out what it was.

The identified migraine began while I was working out with kettlebells, Rob's latest obsession. I really enjoy working out with them too. So much that I was envisioning myself in the best physical shape of my life (if not resembling a Russian strongwoman) from working out 4 or 5 times a week. I wasn't using particularly heavy weight, but many of the exercises involve holding the weight above the head. Maybe something about it strained my head? (I did not drop the weight on my head, if that's what you're thinking, although that is sort of a fear of mine.)

I'm very afraid that kettlebells are the cause of the headache. This has happened before, I think ... I actually enjoy some form of exercise, and then discover some kind of physical ailment that prohibits it. I would have been a way better high school cheerleader if my knee hadn't started hurting. I would have done a lot more yoga between the years 1995 and 2001 if I hadn't had a ganglion in my wrist that prevented me from enjoying the poses that put weight on my hands (downward dog & plank - to name two). I would have eaten a lot more raw vegetables and fewer french fries if I hadn't had TMJ ...

I've only done one kettlebell routine since the migraine, and although it did not trigger a migraine, I did feel (or imagine I felt) strain in my head. But ... I've been having tension headaches about once a day. Which makes me think the kettlebells are not the root cause.

Some say birth control pills cause migraines, but I've been on the same one for five-plus years. My doctor said that's what we should look at if the migraines return.

In the meantime, I'm trying to eliminate a couple of the things that are common headache triggers. I've never been much of a caffeine consumer, as coffee gives me heart palpitations, but there are spells when I drink Diet Pepsi or iced tea regularly. No more! Caffeine is out.

The other...I don't know how to give it up. Chocolate. M&Ms make me break out. Specifically M&Ms, so I've given those up. But I don't think I'm capable of giving the stuff up altogether, even to determine whether it is the cause of my headaches.

I need it. I think about it. When I finish a reasonably healthy lunch, I think to myself, "Now, where can I find a bit of chocolate?"

I have rescued myself from the brownies my mother made during her visit last week. Rescued by putting them in the freezer. To ration them. And then eating them all. (Also I have a zit on my chin. Coincidence?) I'm like Jeff Conaway the day before he checked into Celebrity Rehab.

How can I go cold turkey? Does chocolate ice cream count? How much chocolate is really in there? If dark chocolate is the purest chocolate, it's probably the worst for triggering headaches, right? Even though everyone's talking about how good it is for you. Red wine too...good for you, also a headache trigger. That's easy enough to give up, I barely drink.

But chocolate? I don't see how this is possible.

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