My head hurts!

When I was a child my parents told me I had a serious disease. One day I marched into the Nurse’s office telling her I was really sick and my parents told me I had hypochondria. I just think I am a homebody and wanted to be near my parents. I admit sometimes I can be a little dramatic… most of the time I am joking. But these past couple many years I have had weird symptoms. Symptoms I thought for sure I must be making up because they are so broad but symptoms that were horrible. I just worked through the pain and discomfort because I had no choice. I lied through the pain and brushed them off making them seem small. But something was wrong. It felt wrong and it was frustrating. In my mind at times I was having a stroke. Or had early on set Alzheimer’s (minor hypochondria). But it didn’t stop me from going to work and working hard and doing a great job. It didn’t stop me from serving my seniors and working long hours to ensure they had a good quality of life. I didn’t want to complain more than having a bad migraine because I didn’t want people to think I was “faking it” and I know some people suffer so much more. Maybe one to two years ago I decided I deserved to feel better. I went to a neurologist, tried more medications and still did not have relief. In fact over the years I had tried 35 different medications without relief for my migraines. Last December I had 2 MRIs and 2 more in February. No tumors we’re found and I was grateful.

But, these symptoms?

-Migraines- the worst headaches, oh, the pain… enough to make me cry. It is so hard to explain and unless you have felt it you might not know. The pain and headaches that could not be controlled by countless medication trials.
-Neck and shoulder pain- they always hurt. Always. Lidocaine patches, medications, muscle relaxers don’t touch the pain or loosen the muscles. Chiropractic care and PT made it worse.

-Balance, dizziness, and sleepy arms- Daily I walk into walls. I can’t help it. I just accepted the fact I am a clutch. Recently I passed out at work. Missed a couple steps in the Harry Potter closet from blacking out. I can’t sleep at night because my arms, legs, and shoulders fall asleep off and on ALL night long.-Swallowing- sometimes I literally forget how to swallow. It is scary. I panic when it happens. I can not remember how to swallow. The muscles do not work.
-Extreme Nausea and horrible gag reflux- I throw up a lot. I am nauseous a lot.
-Word loss- sometimes I forget proper nouns. When my head hurts a lot words just disappear. Names of family and friends I have known my whole life. Names of places. Just gone.
-Memory Loss- there are holes. A lot of holes. Like years of my life just disappeared. (The last two symptoms are what really made me think I had a stroke or Early Onset Alzheimers).
-Insomnia- this might be genetic though.
-Vision problems- eyes feel like they are popping out of my head at times, seeing stars frequently, night blindness.

Weird symptoms, right? And symptoms from my head to my toe. They do not seem like they go together. It literally made me feel like I was crazy. Like I had a mental disorder where I was making it up and feeling these pains and miserable symptoms.

But the MRIs did show something.

They showed a Chiari Malformation. Something I probably had my whole life and just lived with.

Mayo Clinic defines it as “a condition in which brain tissue extends into your spinal canal. It occurs when part of your skull is abnormally small or misshapen, pressing on your brain and forcing it downward.”

In February my neurologist suggested I see a neurosurgeon. I had an appointment scheduled the middle of March but CoVid happened and my priority was keeping my oldies safe. The beginning of July they called to reschedule. July 7th I met with the neurosurgeon. He said no surgery. July 8th he called me back and said after looking over imaging more closely he recommended surgery. I had a 3rd virtual visit with him on the 10th and on the 24th met him in person to schedule surgery. To say it was a roller coaster ride in July is an understatement. A lot of emotions I will write about later.
Although my brain tissue herniation is relatively minor, the back part of my foramen magnum is putting pressure against my cerebellum and pushing it into my spinal cord. The is very little to no cerebrospinal fluid flow between the posterior foramen magnum.

It is kind of a relief to have some sort of an answer. So treatment? August 20th I have brain surgery scheduled. The operation will remove part of my skull near the foramen magnum to make room for my brain.

I like to explain it that I just have a big brain.

Hopefully these next couple weeks I will be better at recording my feelings. I want to remember conversations I have had the past month.

Day 3 of SNOW

I know people are mocking Seattle. But we have gotten more snow in a day than we usually do in a year. It is a giant ice skating rink and the coldness bites your bones. We have two more snow storms and I am so over it. The sleep deprivation from the overnight at work has taken its toll. I am just hoping I can keep being positive at work. I think that is the hardest part– maintaining my sanity being so tired. (There is really only one person I want to push over in the snow and lock the doors!)

I am so tired I am waiting as long as I can to go to bed. A 7:00pm bedtime tonight? That seems okay to me! 7 days in a row of work… 4 more to go. I deserve an early bedtime!



The sleep over at work has been so much fun. It was nice to be told it wouldn’t have been as fun if I weren’t around. I am glad I could provide some stress relief for the staff who sacrificed and stayed overnight. I work with such a great team! A coworker and her husband left for work early today so they could try and find breakfast for those of us who stayed.


Leave it to me to fall flat on my face in the snow. A coworker even caught the photographic evidence…. because if there isn’t a picture, it didn’t happen, right? (There is another of my face in the snow…)

Today I thought I would take a whack at starting up my Bullet Journal again. I have not touched one since the beginning of 2015. This has been a fun project so far!


#bulletjournal #plannergirl #planneratheart #happyheart #thehappyplanner #happynotes



If you haven’t heard about it, the Seattle area is experiencing a snow-ocalypse. My town is all HILLS. Every direction I go it has a hill making it near impossible to get anywhere, let alone out of my driveway. I work at a memory care facility as a life enrichment director and help provide care for these sweet seniors. We can’t just stay home for work. Many of us packed to spend the weekend at work knowing not everyone would make it. WAY TO BE PROACTIVE! I not only packed… I PACKED. On my day off I am currently sitting at the front desk making stickers for my planner watching the snowflakes fall. I think I packed enough supplies to get through spring in my planner. I am here for the long haul.


There is just something so stress relieving about doing creative things. I love that I now have the desire and time to do this again!




I really fell in love with planners and the art of making them my own a couple years ago. I have ALWAYS loved planners, writing things in notebooks, and making lists. I am one of those crazy people who will write something on my shopping list (at the store) just so I can cross it off. These past four years I have kind of lost my passions and hobbies. I was miserable (still am sometimes), gained weight during the commute (pre-commuting I would work out at the gym twice a day…), and was just not a happy person. It was hard having to put on a happy face, working a job where it was kind of required, when I was feeling so lost inside. Last April, I transferred to a community 1.3 miles away from my house. With years of commuting, I lost HOURS a day and lost all motivation to read, write, and plan. This past week I met a friend at the library and we PLANNED. It was great! It was amazing! It was stress-relieving. I am starting small again, but I am starting. It makes me happy! I have also read three books. I really can not tell you how long it has been since I read a book (maybe four years)! I really feel these little steps are helping me add some joy back into my life. It is a start.

2 down…

…3 to go. I love Christmas. I really do. I love the twinkling lights and the music. But putting up Christmas trees is a pain. I feel it is important for every neighborhood to have a Christmas tree. My residents deserve to see those twinkling lights in every room. They deserve to feel the magic of the season. So, this year I will smile while snapping together trees, while fluffing the branches, and while wrapping the lights.

I will be happy to do this for my oldies. This may be their last holiday season. They deserve the happiness.

Hapiness Day 11: My sister makes me happy.

She is such a hard-working, dedicated, loving mother of 3 crazy, but super adorable children. When I was a commuter I had such huge amounts of guilt from being too tired to see family on days off. Huge amounts to the point that I would cry for hours on my days off because I felt horrible. That is truly no life to live. Working in Kent has been a blessing. I was able to surprise the kids at Ashlee’s volleyball game after work and spend the day with them today. I feel at peace when I am with my family.

How do you counteract those feelings of guilt? What are your go to coping mechanisms? Comment below. I would like to hear them!

Black Friday

Did you go Black Friday shopping? Every year I make one stop: Fred Meyer. I buy 5 pairs of boots and socks and call it good. My yearly boot shopping tradition makes me happy. My local store doesn’t always have my size. I think I only purchased one pair of boots this year that was my size. I will have to drive to the other Fred Meyer stores this next week on a hunt. When I commuted to work I would leave 2 hours earlier on my search.

Shoes make me happy. As my mom would say, “You need another pair of shoes like you need another hole in your head.”

Happy Thanksgiving

I hate holidays. Next year I have a feeling I will like them so much more.

I need to be thankful though. I am thankful for my family, for my job, for the LeGrande family, for the Hart family, for the Crutchfield family, for Cara, for my job, for my oldies, for my health, for my intelligence (on most days). I am just grateful.

I wanted to create a new habit of journaling/blogging everyday. So this is today’s attempt. I am shooting for 21 days of digital journaling before I start handwritten journaling.

P.S. Please enjoy Maple for a second day in a row. He got dressed up for the holiday. Hmm… might need to start making bunny outfits. Can you say Santa Bunny???

Happiness Day 8- Just Being Real

I hate holidays. I miss having big family get togethers and having my parents around for holidays. Chicago is just too far away and so expensive to fly to. Today has been a rough day. I found myself crying ALL day… from watching feel good things. I feel mom and dad sick today. I miss them…. So, today it is hard to feel happy.

But, I still feel so blessed. Today I am happy that I cuddled with Maple. Maple is our dwarf bunny at work. He stays inside and brings so much joy to our seniors and their families. He is just so stinking cute that you can’t help but feel happy seeing him.

On days when you find it hard to be happy, what do you do? Please leave a comment and let me know.