Getting to Know Lisa

You know what’s contributors and moderators think about migraine, but there’s more to us than migraine. We’re doing a Getting to Know… series to introduce you to the people behind the names. We’re sharing information in a variety of formats, but the goal is always the same—to help you get to know us a little better.

I've listed 36 fun facts about me in honor of the American Migraine Foundation’s 36 Million Migraine Campaign.

  1. Middle Name: Robin
  1. Siblings: One older brother
  1. What states have you lived in? In this order: Massachusetts, Japan, Massachusetts, New York, Massachusetts. I guess I keep coming back to the frigid north!
  1. Favorite Movie: Miss Potter—the story of author and artist Beatrix Potter.
  1. First Concert: Tori Amos.
  1. Favorite Sport: Ice hockey.
  1. Name one thing you do every day: I play with my kitten, Moon.
  1. Favorite Book: The Girl with the Silver Eyes by Willow Davis Roberts. It was my favorite childhood book and I recently re-read it.
  1. Favorite Quote: “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. It is not important that he should mature as soon as an apple-tree or oak. Shall he turn his spring into summer? If the condition of things which we were made for is not yet, what were any reality which we can substitute? We will not be shipwrecked on a vain reality." –Henry David Thoreau, “Walden.”

This quote got me through graduate school when migraines often made me feel behind my other classmates. I now live close enough to Walden Pond, where Thoreau wrote these words, to visit there on a weekly basis.

  1. Favorite TV Show: All-time favorites are Star Trek (Generations and Voyager) and The X-Files. Currently enjoying Orange is the New Black.
  1. Name a place you want to visit: The UK and Tibet.
  1. Do you collect anything? I collect pretty mugs and cups, though since our shelf is now full, I’m done collecting until a few break!
  1. If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be? Currently it would be Joseph Campbell as I have been studying a lot of his works and love how well-spoken he was about life and the human condition. I find him truly inspirational.
  1. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? When I was really little I wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer. Then I switched to wanting to be a writer or an artist. I am now a writer and an artist! I guess I fulfill my “doctor” dream by learning and educating about migraine. Maybe I’ll retire one day and practice law…
  1. What scares you? Amputation. (So much for the “doctor” dream—see above).
  1. What is one thing you've always wanted to do? Publish a novel.
  1. What was the last song you heard? “All My Mistakes” by the Avett Brothers.
  1. Favorite Game: A card game called Netrunner.
  1. Use three words to describe you: Creative, Intuitive, Silly.
  1. Do you have any furbabies? Yes, a black cat with green eyes named Moon. We adopted him last year and he has brought a lot of laughter and joy to our house. He’s looking at me now.
  1. What would be your talent at a talent show? Probably drawing or sculpting something… does that count?
  1. What is the most outrageous thing someone told you would help your migraines? Someone once suggested a healing ceremony involving some sort of drug that produced an altered mind state. Um… my migraines produce enough altered mind states on their own, thank-you-very-much! At least this person was being creative and showing concern?
  1. What comfort food do you want when you are ready to eat during or after a migraine attack? Honestly it doesn’t matter. I just want to eat anything!
  1. Do you use any alternative methods? I’ve tried Ayurveda (traditional Indian medicine), yoga, meditation, and chiropractic adjustments as well as many supplements and herbs. I find some things helpful and other things worth the try at the very least.
  1. Have you met another person with chronic migraine outside of social media? Yes, it’s strange but I’ve met quite a few people. Despite the same diagnosis we’ve all had vastly different experiences. One person I met had a constant migraine aura and acupuncture helped her a lot. Another person was finding some benefits from Topamax.
  1. What is the kindest thing someone has ever said or done regarding your health? When my chronic migraine started, I was in grad school and my best friend there was always so supportive, understanding and helpful. We used to walk everywhere together (we were in the city) and she didn’t mind when I needed to start taking the subway because I wasn’t feeling well. She never complained when I had to cancel, and she empathized with me on a bad day and let me talk about it as much as I needed. All this despite never having a single migraine herself.
  1. Do you have a name for your migraines? No because I never want to call them anything for the hope that they’ll just go away!
  1. What song describes your migraines? “Alice to Wonderland” by the Scattered Pages, because I feel like when I get a bad migraine I am falling down the rabbit hole to a whole new weird world where nothing makes sense.
  1. On a scale of 1 to 10, how good are you at faking being well when you have to? I think around a 7 or so. It’s less that I’m good at faking and more that I’m naturally happy and bubbly so even with a certain amount of pain most people wouldn’t know I feel as bad as I do—and I hate being a downer so I almost never call attention to it when I’m outside my home. Certain people who I’m close to, however, do see me grumpy and in pain on the bad days. Sorry, guys!
  1. What is one thing you've done to feel normal, but paid the price the next day (and it was worth it anyway!)? Well, I completed grad school with chronic migraines and it was totally worth it!
  1. Besides writing for, are you able to work outside the home? Yes, I work as a full-time artist and writer. I focus on sculpture and design commissions, and I do some food writing and am starting to write fiction again.
  1. Name one thing you miss doing: I miss those days, oh-so-long-ago, that I could go outside without having to grab my sunglasses and just… be.
  1. Would you rather have a 3 day migraine attack or a broken arm in a cast for 6 weeks? Since I am an artist the broken arm would potentially mean I could not work for 6 weeks. A 3 day attack could be severe, meaning I miss work for 3 days, or it could be mild or moderate, in which case I would only be partially impaired. So as much as I dislike migraine attacks, that’s my answer.
  1. Do you have any goals you are working towards? Yes, my husband and I want to complete a hike in Japan that goes by 88 temples. We are starting it soon but it will take repeat visits to Japan to complete. A few years ago I would be worried about going and getting stuck in a bad migraine cycle. Now I think it’ll actually go well and I feel very thankful for that.
  1. Do you have any advice for someone newly diagnosed? Yes, think of the diagnosis as a blessing not a curse. Many aren’t diagnosed so that’s half the battle. Also, know there will likely be good times and bad times with your migraines but we are here for you through it all.
  1. Are you watching the Olympics? I don’t have cable TV but I have seen some on family’s TVs or out and about. I am always really captivated with what people can do with their bodies!

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