Monday, November 30, 2009

Headache-free and Happy Now!

About three months ago I started getting debilitating headaches daily. They would almost always hit in the afternoon, and they'd last a few hours at a time. Some days they made working (or any other activity) pretty unbearable. A few times they would last longer than a few hours and I'd just go straight to bed after work because I couldn't handle them. In the beginning I would take two Excedrin migraine, and that would help. As one month of this turned into two, however, the Excedrin stopped being effective. Some days I had to resort to Hydrocodone to bear the pain. It was a miserable feeling knowing that every single afternoon I was probably going to get a headache. A couple times I actually had to miss an important event or activity because of my horrible headaches.

I first thought it might have to do with staring at a computer screen for hours every day at work, but I was getting the headaches on the weekends too. I had heard before that some people would get headaches if they went a couple hours without caffeine because they had built up an "addiction" to it. I didn't think this applied to me, because I was drinking sodas constantly and doubted it was withdrawal. But, this did raise another possibilty - maybe my constant caffeine intake was causing the headaches. I had increased my Sonic visits over the past few months, either stopping for a drink before work or during lunch most every day. I decided it was worth a shot to give up caffeinated drinks to see what would happen. The first few days were typical - still headaches in the afternoon. I was taking Excedrin to alleviate them, before realizing that Excedrin has a pretty high level of caffeine also. I stopped doing that and switched to a pain reliever without caffeine. A couple more days went by and the headaches were still pretty bad. I think those days might've been me experiencing withdrawal. After about 9 days of this, I had a day without a headache. It was amazing!  I had forgotten what those days felt like.  And then, another day and another day. After 5 days in a row of no headaches, I almost cried from joy. I can't believe I suffered through months of  unnecessary pain, but I'm so thankful it was an "easy" fix. Now I strictly drink decaffeinated sodas, or water if none are available. It's kinda crazy to think about the harmful effects I was experiencing from something as "tame" as a diet soda. I'm just glad I figured this out and cured myself!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My (October), November, and December Selection

If you've read my blog in the past, you know that we typically pick a different organization to send a donation to each month.  It's fun to research charitable pursuits and find ones we really believe in.  In October I decided to change my approach, and I'm ready to share the details!  Instead of sending smaller monthly donations to a charity of our choosing, we are going to switch to a quarterly schedule.  My company has a wonderful matching gift policy, and the minimum donation amount is higher than what we've been sending to our monthly selections.  So, we will now pick one organization a quarter to support, and then submit proof of our donation to my company for matching.  This will help our donation go even farther.  It's silly not to take advantage of an opportunity like this!  If your company has a matching gift program, I strongly encourage you to participate, even if it means rearranging the timing of your donations so the amount meets the minimum necessary.  It's free money that goes to a good cause!

For the last quarter of 2009, we have chosen to support the North Texas Food Bank.  From their website, "The North Texas Food Bank (NTFB) is a nonprofit hunger relief organization that distributes donated, purchased and prepared foods through a network of feeding programs in 13 North Texas counties. The NTFB supports the nutritional needs of children, families and seniors through education, advocacy and strategic partnerships. Close the Gap is the NTFB’s 3-year initiative to unite the community to narrow the food gap by providing access to 50 million meals annually."  A dollar donated to the NTFB represents 4 meals.  Based on Charity Navigator's research, the NTFB only spends $.02 to raise each $1, so they utilize donations efficiently. They are very focused on ensuring the funds they raise support their mission.

There are other ways to support NTFB besides just donating money.  You can volunteer your time, donate food directly, or sponsor a canned food drive.  In just a few days, I'll be volunteering in the warehouse with my coworkers.  My company has graciously allowed us to take time off from work to help this worthy cause.  We'll be boxing and sorting food for distribution to the NTFB's 260 member agencies.  If you aren't available to participate in something like this, I encourage you to take part in a canned food drive.  There are numerous companies, hospitals, grocery stores, and schools holding them right now.  Take a moment to imagine what it would be like to be hungry, and then help put an end to that problem in someone else's life!  Have a great Thanksgiving.        

Monday, November 16, 2009

Just a Reminder

Life can change in an instant. Cherish the time you have with the ones you love. Don't put off something you've always wanted to do.  Take that trip, run that marathon, paint that picture. 

Various people around me have received unsettling news lately, and while I am very hopeful and positive they will overcome their setbacks, I am reminded to not take anything for granted.  This is your friendly reminder to do the same. :)


Monday, November 9, 2009

The Komen 3 Day

The Komen 3 Day Race took place in Dallas this past weekend.  I didn't participate as a racer, but I helped in other ways!  The race path passed in front of my sister Jo's house on Saturday, so we set up shop outside to cheer on the racers.  Jo had an awesome spread available to the racers - bowls of candy, beads, kleenexes, anti-bacterial soap, and lawn chairs for breaks.  We cheered, took pictures, shouted words of encouragement, and thanked the walkers for being a part of something great.  Livy even participated too - she zonked out after an hour of cheering, so she napped on Jo's 3 Day T-shirt blanket and provided smiles for the racers. 

On Sunday, the racers made their way through Downtown on the path to Fair Park where the race finished.  Kim, Jo, my mom, and I all volunteered at Pit Stop 4 with Komen employees.  We handed out buttons, cheered the racers, replenished water bottles, answered questions, distributed snacks, and helped tear down the Pit Stop after it was over.  At that point, the racers had just 2.9 miles left on their 60 mile journey.  Many were tired, but their spirits were strong.  It's so fun to be a part of something like that, because the vibe is just so positive.  Everyone is hopeful for a cure, and knows they're playing a part in making it happen.  The most interesting part to me is just how grateful all of the participants were to us.  I hope they realize just how thankful we are for what they were doing.  Maybe next year I can be a racer instead of a volunteer.