Thankful list 2017 On My Migraine Life

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Thank you to those who showed gratitude in November on My Migraine Life.  I am so thankful to have a community of supporters and those I can support throughout the year.  We may suffer a lot but we appreciate the things in life that make us better.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!  May it be filled with health, gratitude, and many blessings!

Here are some comments you made:

  1. “Thankful for friends, family, a safe place to live and ability to pay my bills.
  2. For this group.
  3. Thankful for modern medicine
  4. Laughter
  5. I live for the pain-free moments of laughter with family and friends!!
  6. When pain level is low enough to be functional
  7. I am thankful that I am able to still keep a job that I love and be a good mommy to my kids
  8. Thankful for my family, my jobs, and my animals!
  9. I am so thankful for my amazing husband who allows me to tag out when I need to lay down and take care of myself. And for his willingness to work past exhaustion to take care of me and our family when I cannot “pull my weight” during times of pain.
  10. I’m thankful for my amazing and supportive husband. I’m also thankful for the awesome support system I have at work! Without my husband and my work family my life would be awful.
  11. I’m thankful for my amazing husband and children who support me every single day and for my beautiful family of migraine warriors!
  12. I am thankful for your blog! I do not like having “this thing” in common with anyone….but am thankful that you can put into words what I often can’t…or won’t.
  13. I am thankful to live in a city of doctors and options.
  14. I am thankful for a long list of relatives that share in our unfortunate disease, but not all at such a high level.
  15. I am thankful for my husband, who from day one has understood me, and what the future holds with my health, and has never flinched, never questioned, never judged.
  16. I am thankful for my children, good lord are they a blessing, God’s greatest gift to me by far.
  17. I am thankful for my energetic children, who give me a reason to muddle through my painful fog, even though sometimes I’d rather hide in bed.
  18. I want to thank My Migraine Life for your post on being a mom with a migraine.  You are right it takes a village to raise a kid.  That’s why God gave us the ability to ask for help.   But reading that other moms felt like I did was wonderful.  So thank you and I pray that your message touches other people like it did me.
  19. I feel blessed in many ways and could write a very long list, but the big one I will share is that I am thankful my migraines and headaches are not as frequent as so many others who have to deal with them so regularly.  Because I know how painful and debilitating from life they are, I am amazed at the strength that you and so many others have in not only “getting through the day” but kicking ass doing it.
  20. I woke up today, I’m thankful for that.
  21. I’m thankful to be finding community here, too. I’ve struggled with migraines for years, tried a variety of meds and elimination diets without very good results. It’s so helpful to find understanding, optimistic peers! I’m looking into a headache hat and a new pair of glasses this month, thanks to you!
  22. I am thankful for so many things I can’t name them all, so I am very thankful & although I may not have the best of everything I am blessed
  23. Thank you for this post.
  24. I am thankful for my wonderful husband who puts up with a house that’s not always clean, listens to me when I’m frustrated with doctors or treatments that don’t work, and doesn’t care that I don’t cook (lol).
  25. I’m thankful for my two grown children and 6 beautiful grandchildren.
  26. I’m thankful that I have two best buddy dogs that snuggle when I need it and keep me entertained when I’m stuck in my house for days on end.
  27. I’m thankful I woke up today even though the moment I woke up my headache knocked on my brain.
  28. I’m thankful for communities like this one that is a place of kindness and support.
  29. I’m thankful for today despite the challenges.
  30. I’m thankful for people like you that make me feel less alone in this struggle with chronic headaches.
  31. Like others have already said – I’m thankful for finding your blog, and this post especially.
  32. Love reading this blog and hearing how inspiring you are. “

Thank you to all who chose to take time out of your day to give thanks and share with My Migraine Life community.  I am inspired by all your kind words and strive to make this blog the community, support system, and positive place it is.  Migraines are painful, being a mom is overwhelming and life is chaotic.  May we all find strength and take each day at a time hopefully towards health and happiness!

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends!!!

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Throwback Thursday to Indians World Series 

I’m so excited for game #1 of the playoffs tonight! Here is my experience from last year.  ⚾️⚾️⚾️⚾️⚾️⚾️⚾️⚾️⚾️⚾️⚾️⚾️⚾️⚾️⚾️⚾️⚾️✨Sports can teach so many lessons and provide memories that last a lifetime! ✨


https://mymigrainelife.wordpress.com/2016/11/05/thankful-thursday-indians-vs-cubs-world-series-2016/

Monday Munchies and Meals: Pumpkin Muffins

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I love to cook!  I don’t always follow the directions, I use what I have, I avoid trigger ingredients and I go from there.  It has become part of my family’s lives.  My children love to measure, get out ingredients, mix, taste and see the results of their hard work.    And I love all the math, science,  reading, social, fine motor and even cultural lessons it provides.

Although cooking deliciousness is my goal, the process sometimes seems like  so much!  It’s a commitment to shop, prep, cook and clean up.  Often times it takes way longer than I’d like and uses way more energy than I have which is frustrating.

So I’ve decided to start a Monday Munchies and Meals series.  I hope to post a recipe each week in hopes of inspiring you to make something healthy and feel good about, being a  a snack or meal.  Why am I posting on Tuesday then?  Because life happens and I’ve been in bed with a killer migraine for the last 36 hours.  I wrote this post on Saturday after making  it last Monday and I couldn’t even open a computer to press “publish” for 2 days.

It isn’t always possible to cook everyday with having Migraines and living a busy life.  One recipe a week will be enough to share, make and encourage you to do the same.  So whether I post on Monday or Friday, you can make it whenever it fits your schedule and health also.  It’s meant to inspire, if you have an ok day, try it!  If you don’t, try again another day. 

If you like the recipe, please make it and share it with me.  I’d love to see your results and adaptions to Monday’s  munchie or meal of the week!!!  Post on facebook, twitter and Instagram and comment on the post to inspire others.

I do not follow a strict diet.  I avoid trigger foods but have not cut groups out of my life (gluten etc.).  I try to find recipes that are clean, real ingredients, that are anti-inflammatory and nutrient dense.  I am not a nutritionist and fully admit I eat way too much sugar.  I hope to share recipes that make me feel better and taste good.  If you have one you’d like me to try, please email me at mymigrainelife@gmail.com

This month I’m focusing on pumpkin.  Everyone loves pumpkin in the Fall and the benefits of it are great!

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Here’s the recipe I followed:

http://www.makingthymeforhealth.com/healthy-flourless-pumpkin-muffins/#_a5y_p=4349482

We ate these for breakfast, in lunches and as an after school snack.  Easy and great for grab and go.

Pumpkin Muffins

 

 

13 ways to survive working with Chronic Illness

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I have been a full time teacher with Chronic Migraine.

I have been a full time stay at home mom with Chronic Migraine. 

I am a full time mom and part time teacher with Chronic Migraine. 

They all are difficult jobs and adding a chronic illness makes life even more complicated and difficult.  

So the questions remains, how do you work while having Chronic Migraine?  How was I able to return to work

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  • Work part time

I only work a few days a week and seem to have letdown migraines on my days off.  I save time for self-care during those day.

Tip: Know time off policies and if a substitute is available

 

  • Find coworkers who support you

At my job that I missed a lot of time off, my boss was arrogant and my coworkers were judgmental.  With my new job, my coworkers are like a supportive family and my boss is loving and understanding.  This benefits the group because I’m not motivated to work out of judgment or consequences but out of commitment and love for the job and workers I call friends. I really have fun at work and love to be there.

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  • Ask for and learn how to accommodate your needs 

I requested that my classroom be on the side of the building that does not get direct sun or heat.  I also have control over the lighting.  Heat and lights (fluorescent) are especially big triggers.  I use Axon Optics glasses on days I need extra light protection for my eyes.  I use other lotions, oils and natural products to treat myself topically.

  • Understand clients

I found that when I disclosed that I had Chronic Migraine to my boss at one job I was judged and at my current job she understood me better.  The same goes for clients.  As a teacher who was missing work, I sent home a letter explaining my chronic disease.  I found that the parents were very open and appreciated my honesty but I was unsure what the feedback would be.  Understanding the children and families I work for has allowed me to personally connect more.  I feel like my families want the best for me as I want the best for them and mutual respect once again motivates me.

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  • Low stress, high reward

With a part time position, my stress has decreased tremendously.  I am able to focus on myself, my family and other aspects of my life other than my job.  Stress was my main factor in turning episodic to chronic.  I now have a handle on how to deal with stress and my priorities are different.  As a teacher without children and now with children, my views on teaching are very different. I have always had a passion for teaching and love children.  The reward is huge!!!  Being someone who is making a difference every day and seeing growth in my students is so rewarding. 

It gives me pure joy and joy is great medication! Find joy in your job.

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  • Set realistic goals and expectations

Putting pressure on myself to be something I’m not only raises stress.  I have realistic ideas of what I can do, what I want to do and how I’m going to attain those goals.  Setting myself up for failure will only derail my treatment.  I set goals I know I can reach and am proud when I meet them.  A positive attitude and learning from the past allows me to move forward.

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  • Commute

Driving is extremely difficult with even a low grade migraine.  At my old job I had a longer commute and found that many days I was throwing up on the side of the road before and after work.  At times I liked it to decompress but most of the time was pained from the drive.  I now have a short drive that I can drive to with my eyes closed (don’t worry, I don’t but I could).

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  • Water, coffee and snacks

Caffeine can be a benefit or trigger.  Coffee  is beneficial to my migraines. During my morning of teaching, I drink coffee before the students arrive and drink a huge water bottle throughout my day.   As a class, we have scheduled potty breaks and snack time so we all get time to refuel. 

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  • Sleep schedule

I wake up the same time every day whether I’m working or not.  I stay on a consistent sleep schedule in order to be refreshed and ready for my day.

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  • Take breaks

When I feel a migraine raising, I get a bit panicked.  During my students specials I have the ability to take a break, focus, drink more coffee, or water.  Just allowing 10 minutes of quiet and focused breathing make a world of difference to my rising pain.

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  • Use flexible work time if possible

I am able to get a lot of my work done outside of the classroom.  I am also a busy mom and find that planning and prepping can be done once they go to bed.  Instead of staying late at school, I bring a lot of my work home and also plan ahead.  By being over prepared I am able to relieve stress.  If I’m sick in bed and worrying about work, I get sicker.  When I have everything done, being sick for days doesn’t stress me out about work because I know I’m prepared.  Planning and being prepared makes my life, in general, much easier.

  • Moving my body and distraction

There are days I go to school feeling sick and am completely consumed by my students.  The minute my students leave and all is quiet, the pain comes flooding back.  I’m so distracted and filled with endorphins while I’m at school that at the end of the day I’m punished more.  There have been days that I work till lunch and am in bed until the next day.  The distraction of a job that I love helps me get through many mornings.

Having a job that I am active in helps.  Stretching, dancing and moving keeps my body active.  I would not be unable to sit at a desk staring at a screen all day.  My body needs to move and my brain needs a break from technology.

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  • Money vs time

As a part time employee in the teaching field, you can imagine I’m not a millionaire.  Working salary and full time was not something I could keep up with.  Working part time, I do not make a lot of money but am able to do what I love with people I care for.  Sometimes money isn’t everything (although it pays for my medical expenses, so I really need it).

 

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 With all of this said, I found a dream job.  Not everyone gets to work part time (either financially or in their field of interest).  Disability is difficult to get as a migraine sufferer and most jobs it is difficult to find balance.  Time off isn’t always possible without consequences and substitutes are not common. Falling behind on work is inevitable.  Finding coworkers that are friends is not a choice but a lucky draw.  The same goes for bosses.

All circumstances and lives are different.  I encourage you to find something you love.  Find a part time job, a job online, a job that can be flexible and a job that makes you happy.  Migraine is the definition of pain and unhappiness…..find something you love and makes you better.  Easier written than done, I know!!!

I, honestly, was not sure if I’d ever be able to go back to teaching with how severe my disease is.   I took a chance and it paid off.  I was very aware that it may not be possible, but I never let that deter me.  I tried it and it worked.  Not every job works but I’m so glad I took that leap.

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Runnin’ for Headache and Migraine Research 2017

 

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Here it is….that time of year where the leaves are changing, the air is getting crisper and it’s time to donate.  During the Fall, I participate in many charity walks and Runnin’ for Research is one that makes me feel like I’m making a difference for my own cause

The last 2 years I have participated virtually.

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2016

Runnin’ for Research, Inc. (R4R), was founded in 2015 as a charitable organization dedicated to research, awareness, empowerment, and advocacy in all areas of headache and migraine disorders. The primary mechanism to accomplish the missions is the organization and implementation of 5K runs and walks throughout the United States.

Contributions to R4R are used to recruit, support, market, and manage local race events with all proceeds from these events being used to support the missions of the organization. In 2016, R4R completed three run/walk events, including Morgantown, West Virginia; Louisville, Kentucky; and Kansas City, Missouri. Donations totaling $48,000 were given to various organizations, including the American Migraine Foundation, National Headache Foundation, Migraine Research Foundation, American Brain Foundation, and the American Headache and Migraine Association. Other entities may be supported upon request if they align with the mission of R4R.”

Runnin’ for Research is now an independent 501(c)(3) organization. Their mission is to “To improve the quality of life of those who suffer with headache and migraine disorders through fundraising for quality research and the promotion of patient empowerment, community awareness, and local and national advocacy.”

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How you can participate:

Check out the upcoming races

Runnin’ for Research will be run in Kansas City, MO September 30, 2017

Morgantown, WV, and Denver, CO on October 7, 2017

If you are unable to participate in those locations or aren’t able to “run for research” all donations are welcome and MUCH APPRECIATED!  A small donation goes a long way….

Thank You!!!

How do you feel about Participation Trophies?

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Growing up, I was involved in a lot of athletics and competitive events.  I have a box full of trophies, medals and certificates showing my success.  As my children begin their own adventures into the sports world, their generation’s parents have created a push for participation trophies.   While receiving a medal for my participation and fundraising efforts for Miles for Migraine, I took a second to reflect.

How do I feel about participation trophies?

When I received my medal, I felt good.  I felt happy, proud, and I did something for a good cause and myself.  The trophy made me feel like a success.  My children also received participation medals for their Tball and softball efforts this summer.  In our cases, we were not playing winning or losing games.  We participated and were rewarded for our efforts.

I think participation should be recognized at a noncompetitive level.  I see the recognition for both my children and myself this summer as motivation.  The medals we received were mementos of the hard work and dedication to the race and season.  My children are young and beginning to find what interests them.  Children need to be motivated.  My son’s league was not keeping score, there were about 20 four-year olds playing in the dirt more than playing the game.  They didn’t even understand the concept of score.  A game without a score is a game of instruction  not winners or losers.   

The only thing I can say about the medals is that they look at them and want to play next year.  They have a physical reminder of their good memories and the fun they had throughout the year.  If the medals were a pat on the back to say good season, I think a snack would have done the same.  My son looked forward to the snacks at the end of the game as much as the game.  I think a pizza party and snacks could have been just as an effective participation trophy.

Once they get into the winning and losing age of sports, I think medals should go to the winners.  Will they always win and be rewarded?  No, that’s life.  They will learn how to overcome setbacks, see progress, learn how to have sportsmanship and how to be a team.  Loosing is part of life and participating does not mean a reward is given.  If you show up at work but don’t get the job done, are you still paid?  Probably not for long.  Sports teach lessons of winning, loosing and working hard to be the winner and best.   Endless lessons can be learned without rewarding those who just showed up.

I think rewarding those who show up when it’s noncompetitive is ok.  We all felt good and were reminded of our dedication.  I felt proud of what I did and want my children to feel the same.  Overall, I think we all need to be reminded to keep trying and getting better.  I think a snack can be swapped for a medal and that the trophies can be saved for the winners once they are to that point.  If they don’t have a box full of trophies at the end of their lives, does that mean they are losers?  No!  In fact, they may learn more from losing than winning.  It’s all about the process not the gift.  I will take lots of pictures to save those moments as reminders of the ups and downs.  They won’t need a trophy to remind them they showed up.

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Participation trophies have turned into a way of saying the game doesn’t matter.  As long as you got dressed and showed up that day you are a winner.  The real world doesn’t reward you for showing up.  The real-world needs people to show up then do something!  It’s the something that counts.  They don’t need to just show up for school, they need to do something!  They need to work hard and get better to be a winner in life.  It will hurt to learn that sometimes they just aren’t good enough, smart enough, fast enough.  As an overprotective mom, I don’t look forward to those moments.  I will sit and cry with them when they lose but I won’t be giving them a trophy.  I’ll give them a hug, a sports tap and get them back out there.  It’s not the things in life that motivate, it’s the experiences.

When you fall off your bike, get back on and ride.  Your trophy will be knowing how to ride the rest of your life.

Now let’s go have a snack!

 

Miles for Migraine virtual walk and race dates 2017

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In June, I did a virtual challenge to raise money for Miles for Migraine.  “Miles for Migraine is a registered 501(c)(3) Non-Profit with the mission of improving the lives of migraine patients and their families, raising public awareness about headache disorders, and helping find a cure for migraine. Miles for Migraine produces fun walk/run events, typically 2 mile walk and 5k and 10k race to raise money for migraine research. We also host youth camps for kids and teens impacted by migraine or other headache disorders.”

I made the goal of raising $300 for the 3 years I’ve been blogging and I’m happy to announce we met that goal and exceeded it!  Thank you to those who donated!  Migraine is terribly underfunded and every dollar goes a long way towards fellowship programs for training new doctors as well as research. THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

For those of you that missed the fundraiser and would like participate yourself, I have a few more opportunities for you.

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Philadelphia                October 7, 2017

Washington, DC             October 15, 2017

Virtual Race                       Anytime!

 

Keep moving!  I have more race dates coming for Runnin’ for Research in which I participated last year.  I hope you are motivated to take one step at a time and each day get a bit stronger.  As a chronic migraineur, I feel like one day I step forward, the next I’m knocked back down .  The most important thing is that I take that step forward again…..