I spend my free time talking to insurance, pharmacies and doctor’s offices

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Am I the only one who uses her free time talking to insurance, specialty pharmacy or a doctor’s office?  I find that I spend a lot of time on the phone with these places.

Talking to my insurance company is a really frustrating situation.  It seems like no one seems to have exact clear answers.  I spend most of my time being transferred, re explaining my situation and receiving complicated documents.  Documents all seem to be labeled differently.  My insurance company wants form ABC then I call my doctor’s office and they either don’t know what I’m talking about or respond with, “Oh, do you mean DEF form?”  I’m not a doctor nor in the insurance field so I am confused often and go in circles.

Along with the confusing verbiage, I’m in pain when speaking with these individuals.  I take notes when we talk so I can rearticulate to the next person but don’t always know what it means.

Even when I can clearly articulate my situation, my insurance company loves to claim my treatments as “experimental.”  Being that a variety of medications are used to treat migraine but specifically designed for other health impairments (such as seizures, depression, high blood pressure etc.) insurance companies will not cover it.  Even if I have taken the medication and found success, it’s still “experimental.”  My response is “I have experimented and know it works.”  Yet this is not enough evidence to cover my costs.

So I spend time making more phone calls, filling out and gathering more forms and appealing the denial.  Even when I appeal, I have never had a denial reversed.  So I pay out of pocket or don’t receive the treatment I need.

I also receive many phone calls.  I have my pharmacy automated system call me daily.  I know very few phone numbers by heart, but my local CVS is one of them.  I also get reminder calls about an upcoming appointment or returned phone call from a nurse. 

I spend so much of my free time on the phone often going in circles.  So I’m confused in pain, talking to people with in consistent information or information that leads me to more phone calls.

Am I the only one who spends her free time like this?  I’ll check your response later; I’ve got to take this call first……

Emotions triggering migraine (sadness, stress, excitement, anticipation and more)

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This summer was fun, fast and filled with migraines.  In the last few weeks, my emotions have been building for the fall excitement.  My first child is entering Kindergarten.  For some that may not be a big deal, but for a stay at home mom it’s momentous.

On top of this momentous moment, I am also starting a job after 6 years.  Over the last 6 years my only focus has been on my babies, family, dog, and home that we make.  It’s the biggest and hardest job to stay home and I’m so lucky to have had the opportunity.   One of the luxuries of staying home is that I can deal with my migraines on my own.  With a job, my migraines are public and open to scrutiny.   Absences require subs and placing responsibilities on others.  The stress of missing work, throwing off schedules and not being a good employee is huge!  I love the position I was hired for and really want everyone to grow and thrive.

So between the stress of starting a new job, the devastation of my baby leaving me all day and a change in our whole dynamic, I’ve been walking on needles to avoid a migraine.  Here’s the thing with migraines, they don’t care who, what, where, when or why you don’t want it, it comes!  In fact, sometimes it feels like my migraines know the worst time and hits me right then.

That’s because emotions trigger migraines!  All emotion filled events I get a migraine anticipating, during, or after the event.  I have had one on most holidays, many weddings, baby showers, birthdays, concerts, sporting events and more.  Events bring migraines, change brings migraines.

So with all these events and change, I have tried to numb my emotions.  I remind myself of Scarlett O’Hara saying “I’ll think about that tomorrow.”  I haven’t allowed myself to fully feel the change because I just can’t.  I cried a bit when I dropped my daughter off but had a staff meeting and needed to pull it together.  I didn’t sleep the night before and lack of sleep is another trigger I was trying to deal with.

The excitement of my job is huge and setting up is a trigger also.  The heat, the lights, the cleaning, and the reorganization takes a lot.  It’s all wonderful and fun but those things can also be a trigger.

So I sit here thinking to myself, how do I fully feel these emotions without being sick?  I can’t.  I can’t sit and cry about how yesterday I was holding my baby in the hospital and now she’s waving goodbye to me for the day.  I have been with her, planned every event and known exactly where she is for the past 6 years.  Now I just wave and don’t hear from her for almost 7 hours!  The worry just sends me through a tail spin.

Next I throw myself into a new job and I don’t have time to be in my dark room.  I need to be planning.  Once I’ve planned I need to be well enough to fulfil those plans.  I have such high hopes and my ambition scares me in that I will not be able to live up to it.

Bottom line is, emotions trigger.  I can’t imagine being able to feel how I feel and not worry about it.  As if emotions aren’t complicated enough, controlling them is imperative.  So I’ll just worry about that tomorrow, shake off those tears, numb the fears and just keep swimming.

What do you do to control your emotions from triggering you?  How do you do it?

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Birthday wishes and healthy dreams. Just keep swimming with Migraine

 

 

Yesterday was my birthday!!!!  Thank you for all the well wishes on my day!

I was busy and felt pretty good.  I decided to cancel my massage and take my children to see Finding Dory.  This is the last week before school starts and they have wanted to go all Summer.  So my birthday was the day.

 

 

We started by painting our nails with Dory nail polish and lip gloss.  Then we baked cookies and painted with edible paint and decals.  Yum!  Nothing says a birthday like cooking and crafting with my babies!

 

 

I ate way too much junk food, I forgot to take a picture of my cake and I was up most of the night in pain with my mind racing with the upcoming week. (next week school starts)

With the Summer ending and school beginning, I just need to listen to Dory and “Just keep swimming!”  This has been a rough Summer for me Migraine wise, as always, and I hope this Fall brings nothing but joy and new adventures in good health.

For the entire year in  good times and bad, sickness and health, I want to remind you all to “Just keep swimming.”  Sometimes things may seem really hard, dark, and lonely.  Other times may feel too good to be true.

Through it all, Dory reminds us to:

Keep going

When faced with a new challenge, look around and find a way

Friends can become family

Family can help you find the way home

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So as my family faces many new adventures this school year, we are all going to keep swimming and find our way!

 

Aromafloria, helping me relax with essential oil bath products

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I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.

Aromafloria delivers finely crafted, artisanal quality body care and aromatherapy products.  I was approached by Aromafloria to review their Muscle Soak collection.  This collection restores vitality with essential oils of eucalyptus, peppermint, and lemongrass. These nourishing formulas soothe sore muscles, ease tension and leave you feeling energized.  Knowing that I like eucalyptus and peppermint already, I knew this was the line for me.

This summer I have decided to cut down on my workouts and focus more on relaxation and taking care of my skin.  These products allowed me to do so.  Here is a breakdown of all the products I tried:

Aromafloria

Muscle Soak- Ocean Mineral Bath Salts

Restore a sense of well-being to ease sore muscles with an aromatic steaming bath infused with healing essential oils and muscle relaxing sea salts.

The bath salts were a real treat to me.  I never take the time to take a bath and reviewing these forced me to relax.  I found that that the salts dissolved easily and had a light pleasant aroma.  I have used over powering products in the bath before and this one is subtle and not too strong to soak in for a lengthy bath.

Muscle Soak- Foaming Bubble Bath

The Muscle Soak Bubble Bath’s essential oils of Eucalyptus, Peppermint and Lemongrass are fresh, cooling and invigorating.

My children helped me review the bubble bath.  They love bubble bath and were thrilled with  the lush foamy and pleasant smell.  I felt good about allowing them to use the eucalyptus bubble bath when my son has sensitive skin and sinus issues.  His skin was soothed and breathing was clear after soaking and playing in the bubble bath.

Muscle Soak- Sugar Salt Glow Body Scrub

Cleanse away fatigue and invigorate the body and soul with refreshing cool herbs and aromas to leave your skin softly polished and younger feeling.

This was my favorite!  I love scrubs and this one was great!  Once again, it was a lovely light aroma.  I enjoyed the fine scrub and how it was not messy.  It stuck to my skin and allowed me to exfoliate without splashing it all over the shower or it chunking up and falling to the drain.  It left my skin smooth and slightly moisturized and not dry.  It is so gentle I used it daily and concentrated on areas of bumps or imperfections on my skin.  The only problem is how quickly I have been using it!

Muscle Soak- Bath & Body Massage Oil

Relieve tired muscles from aches and pains with an icy hot massage with Muscle Soak Bath & Body Massage Oil.

This one I used on my husband.  He is at a desk job all day and gets a lot of back and shoulder pain.  I treated him with the body oil and a massage and he now requests it often.

Sinus Help- Inhalation Beads

The decongestant and cooling properties of essential oils have been shown to help clear stuffy nose and enhance breathing.

These came very in handy!  After receiving all of the Aromafloria products, I went into a migraine cycle followed by a sinus infection and pink eye.  The pressure in my face was extreme.  I helped treat myself with baths (and salts) along with breathing the inhalation beads.  The sinus beads are pretty strong.  The first time I breathed deeply with them my eyes watered from the essential oils.  I brought the beads with me when we were outside to help clear my sinuses and allow me have some relief as the allergies grew.

Sleep Ease- Inhalation Beads

The restorative properties of essential oils have been known to help quiet the mind and calm the body for healthy, natural sleep.

These beads are not as strong as the sinus beads.  They are pleasant and relaxing.  I plan on adding these to my travel bag.  The smells of airplanes and the people surrounding me often trigger migraines.  I also will use them before bed in the dry air conditioned hotel.  They are relaxing and help calm my migraine brain before bed.

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Overall, I loved trying all of the Aromafloria products.  Being under the weather and pampering myself with these soothing products allowed me to feel more energized and vibrant.  As a busy mom, quality bath products are like an escape to the spa in the comforts of my home.

 

Spoon theory and My Migraine Life

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picture by @mymigrainelife

 

Have you heard of the spoon theory?  The spoon theory was written by Christine Miserandino (www.butyoudontlooksick.com)  It started with a conversation she had with a friend about being chronically ill.  It applies to so many different types of people and has become common verbiage as us “spoonies” go through life.  The conversation was how “normal” people get an endless number of spoons or an abundance of them each day.  As a spoonie, we are only given a few.

So each day, each person has their set number of spoons.  Each event in life requires spoons.  Getting out of bed, walking to the bathroom, going to the bathroom, washing hands, brushing teeth, putting on deodorant, putting on makeup and so on.  Imagine, this is only the first 5 minutes of a day and some spoonies may already have used up their supply.

A spoonie is given a small number of spoons to spend throughout the day.  Every event is thoroughly thought through on how and where to use spoons.  While getting my child to put his shoes on may use up one spoon for a “normal” person, it takes 3 for me.  While buttoning a shirt may not even take a spoon from you, a person with arthritis may use 4.

Each person gets a different amount, uses a different amount, and requires a different amount for each task.  The whole point of the spoon theory is that people who are chronically sick have fewer spoons, use them more quickly and run out fast!  Some days I feel like I’ve used my spoons by 10:00am and still have a long day ahead of me.  On those days I feel like I steal spoons from my next day leaving myself more depleted than the day before.  This borrowing makes me so tired,  worn down and triggers a migraine.

The only way I can recoup spoons for my next day is using less spoons in a day and resting.  This is often seen as lazy (lazy post) and that drives me crazy.  My resting is saving spoons one day and allowing more to be used the next.  And let’s be honest, I don’t get a chance to rest that often therefore I’m not saving much. I’m not lazy, I’m building my supply.

So how do I deal with having a handful of spoons in a world that requires thousands?  I rest, I pace myself, I prepare, and I plan.  My husband used to get up for work and leave.  Now I have asked him to get the kids out of bed and start them on breakfast.  This takes him 5 minutes of his day before he heads out the door but saves me a few precious spoons.  If I am able to sit and drink a cup of coffee without bouncing back and forth from the refrigerator a few times, I save spoons I need for the dreaded battle of getting dressed and out of the house with two small children.

At the end of the day, I ask him to help with bath time.  Bath time uses way more spoons than I have in the evenings.  I am low or out of spoons, plus a loud bathroom, cranky kids, and no spoons to use seems near impossible.  Drying off, lotion, brush teeth, potty, read books, hugs and kisses (I always have spoons for those) and more.  The last hour before my children’s bedtime is by far the toughest time of my day depleting any supply of spoons I have rationed for my day!

I plan where to use my spoons all day.  I prep food so I don’t use extra spoons at meal time.  I fill up waters in our refrigerator so my children can help themselves when they need it.  I do small things each day to help conserve spoons and help for the next day.  It’s all about pacing myself and preparing for how I’m going to use each spoon.  It sounds crazy, but that’s the life of a spoonie.

Where do you use your most spoons?  How do you try to conserve or prepare?

 

Cold vs Migraine

I rarely get colds. I jokingly say that it is too small for me.  I am allergic to viruses and get very sick when I contract one.  I react harshly to medications so colds just seem not that bad to me.  I have been burning my candle from both ends, so to speak, lately and got a cold.

The first day I was wiped out with no energy, lost my voice, and was overall down and out.  The following days I continued to cough a lot and have other various cold like symptoms.  I have to say, colds are no fun and I’m glad I don’t get them often.  It really is more annoying than anything else though.  I was just ready to be over it.  I could continue on with my life but slowed down a bit.

Here’s the difference between a cold and my everyday life….migraines!  I tried not to take a lot of over the counter cold meds because I really don’t like to take OTCs in general.  I lived a period of my life getting rebound headaches not understanding the repercussions of OTCs and I have not taken them since.   So med free, I had a coughing fit one night.  This fit triggered a migraine and I immediately went into abort migraine mode.

I actually thought to myself, “wow, a cold is annoying but a migraine sends true fear through me.”  The proverbial trick or treat.   A cold is no treat, but with a migraine looming I took it as one.  My trick being pain, pain, pain, and I wasn’t falling for it.  I had  balking at taking meds all week but once the migraine hit I immediately took what I hoped would be effective.

With the coughing, lack of sleep, stuffy head/sinuses and so on, I knew a migraine would not be far away.  So why can’t I just get a cold?  Like I said, it’s no fun at all (especially with 2 children that take advantage of not hearing my voice) but I almost felt normal.  I actually got a normal thing that everyone gets and was having a normal reaction.

But back to reality.  Luckily for me my meds worked and I avoided a head banger of a migraine and throwing up pain.  Yea for me because my throat was already stripped.

Bottom line being, colds are ok, migraines are not.  I actually felt relieved in the morning when I didn’t have a migraine yet my voice was gone, my stomach was crazy nauseous and my body was weak.  How was that a relief?  I was relieved that my normal migraine life was more miserable than a cold  and all I had was a cold.

Oh the life of a migraine sufferer.  Only I would be ok with having a cold.  Not happy, but ok, and I’ll take that for today.

Zecuity for Migraine treatment

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Recently I shared my experience taking Zecuity, a new medication, with New Life Outlook.

It’s an informative experience that you can learn from.

Check it out and tell me your thoughts.

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Zecuity via My Migraine Life