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!!!

Migraine Awareness ChronicAlly box to relieve, relax and enjoy!

This month I got my Limited Edition Migraine Awareness ChronicAlly box.*  During the month of June, Migraine Awareness month, the box was offered to support Migraine Research Foundation.  I had treated myself to a 3 month subscription for June, July, and August.  My birthday is in August so “Happy Birthday to me!”  It’s been fun to receive a package made for comfort, support and with love.

migraine chronically.jpgThe box had something to use in a variety ways for My Migraine Life.

It included:

A sleep mask to block out the light.

An organic essential oil and electrolyte spray for pain and migraine relief

Headache and migraine relief roller for pressure points

Shower fizzie with lavender, eucalyptus and peppermint

Meditation unscented soy candle

I love it!  I’ll use the products to sleep, take a bath & shower, on the go and at home.  They are great “allies” for my headache and migraine needs! Check out all ChronicAlly has to offer here*

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Don’t forget to endorse My Migraine Life for Wego Awards.  Please scroll down to the thumbs up and endorse for Best in Show: blog, Instagram, Facebook, and twitter.  Tweet and share on Facebook to let others know.  I appreciate you taking the time to say “Thank you!” and “Keep up the good work!”  It means a lot to be recognized for my hard work for the Migraine and Chronic Illness community.

 

*This post contains an affiliate link

Wego Health Award for My Migraine Life

I’m so honored to be nominated for Wego Health awards!!!!!!!!

I have been nominated for best in show for blog, Instagram and facebook and twitter.

“WEGO Health is a mission-driven company dedicated to transforming health care by harnessing the experience, skills and insights of patient leaders.  The WEGO Health Awards were created to embody the mission of WEGO Health: to empower Patient Leaders. We connect with countless patient advocates, influencers, and experts who are helping others and transforming healthcare–often without recognition.  The WEGO Health Awards offers a way to introduce new Patient Leaders to the online community, and to allow network members the opportunity to recognize and say “thank you” to the leaders they look up to.”  Check them out at Wego Health

Now I need your help.

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Please go to: https://awards.wegohealth.com/nominees/4071

Simply go to the link and click the orange thumbs up to endorse My Migraine Life.  Use the pull down menu to endorse each award I am nominated for.

If you would like, you can tweet and support on facebook once you’ve done so to encourage other to do the same.

If you are reading this, chances are you have been touched by My Migraine Life in some way.  Please vote to show your support and give thanks for my advocacy work helping others.

THANK YOU!

 

Chronic Headache and Migraine Summit, July 10-17th

Chronic Headache and Migraine Summit, July 10-17th

Chronic Headache & Migraine Summit

This week, I have teamed up (and become an affiliate for) Health Talks Online to bring you “a free online event hosted by headache and migraine experts.  The Chronic Headache and Migraine Summit brings together over thirty clinicians and researchers who have success in helping people look deeper into the root issues causing their headaches or migraine pain.”

Up until now, most “so-called” solutions only addressed the symptoms of headache sufferers, not the causes–often times causing side effects that were as bad, or even worse!

The Chronic Headache & Migraine Summit starts on July 10th, and tens of thousands will learn from the expert wisdom so important to reaching the root cause of suffering!

 

Will you be there?

What you could learn at The Chronic Headache & Migraine Summit:
Broader understanding of contributing factors
Hormonal, digestive and psychological influences
Potentially life-changing holistic remedies
Easy, practical, at-home tips and secrets
And more!

If you learn even one fact from an expert that changes your life, it will be worth it!

1. Register immediately to make sure you’ll see the free talks:

2. [SALE ENDS MONDAY!*] Purchase all of the expert talks (I will receive a small commission) and help us reach more people struggling to live healthy lives (thank you for supporting the mission!):
*The online access package for all of the expert talks is $59 now through Tuesday morning at 10 A.M. U.S. eastern. After that, it increases to $79.

It’s true, tension headaches are one of the most common diseases on the planet. Your support of this event, in sharing or buying the talks, will not only help the host, but will help me continue to reach those who are in dire need of my message and expertise. Thank you!

Click here to learn more about owning this expert advice and supporting the mission:

Chronic Headache & Migraine Summit

Simply by forwarding this email to a friend or family member can help them tremendously. The more people we reach, the more quickly we can improve the health of the world…together! Thank you!

ImmunizeLABS Breathe Easy nasal spray review

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Recently my immunologist advised doing a nasal spray versus pill when treating my sinuses and allergies. He explained how the majority of infection is coming through the nose and it is best absorbed at the source.  Since then, I’ve treated my sinuses with a nasal spray.  I also have migraine medication that is a nasal spray that works quickly and avoids me throwing up the pill.  Therefore, in my case, nasal sprays seem to be the best for treatment and prevention of both sinus related issues and migraine.

Because of this advice, I have been trying Breathe Easy nasal spray.  I was 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. It claims to provide relief for hives, Sinusitis, Migraine, Allergies and rash. 

 “ImmunizeLABS is a new perspective on how to deal with chronic illnesses and help boost your natural immune defenses reducing the chances of getting sick….[Their] products are based on fairly straightforward ingredients that have been tested by the medical community over the last 50 years. The breakthrough has been in the delivery process that allows the supplements to be absorbed and not digested, thus dramatically raising the absorption rate, efficiency and reducing gastric distress.”

What I like about Breathe easy is that I know the ingredients listed.  How many times do you look at a label and not understand what is?  I am happy I recognize the ingredients and ImmunizeLABS goes the next step to explain how each specifically treats and prevents cold, allergy, headache or other nasal and throat related issues.  Some ingredients include sea salt, cayenne pepper, horseradish, wintergreen, oregano, lemon oil, rosemary oil and more.  Although these statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, references have been provided for each ingredient supporting their claims.

What I found interesting was the use of ionic and colloidal silver.  I have been reading about cleaning towels that have collodial silver in them and how it naturally is antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal eliminating the need for harsh chemicals.  I’m looking to eliminate toxins in my cleaning and especially in my body.  It is also anti-inflammatory which is an element I look for when treating and preventing both my migraines and allergies.

The story behind ImmunizeLABS is about healing.  It’s about health and wellness without relying on medication and building the immune system.  Like many of us, it was made out of desperation of feeling and being better without flooding the body with toxins.  They made a supplement protocol and did extensive tests on themselves and found life changing results.  They now share their journey and have made their health solutions available.  They offer more than just nasal spray.  They sell a variety of products that can be found here.

Overall, I love the idea of switching my sinus nasal spray to a natural preventative nasal spray that can help sinus, allergy and migraine.  I do two sprays in each nostril at bedtime and when waking.  Both morning and evenings are my highest spikes in migraine and I have felt a difference with using Breathe Easy.  I will be bringing it with me when I travel as I always get sick from air plane travel and change of climate.  I look forward to feeling a difference in my immune system with continued use and am grateful that I found another nontoxic way to treat and prevent my symptoms.

Make a difference for Migraine

Today is the official Chronic Migraine Awareness Day.  All month I have been supporting Migraine and Headache Awareness to advocate.  Even though today’s the day and June’s the month, the reality is it’s an everyday, every month type of suffering.  Please continue to read, share, and pass along My Migraine Life’s information and stories to raise awareness all year long.

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This picture is a perfect example of how I fight each day.  I was writing in my office wearing my migraine relief and photophobia glasses.  Why do I wear indoor glasses while the lights are off?  Sky lights!  I love the sun but it doesn’t always love me so I protect my eyes with Axon Optics.  I am an affiliate of Axon Optics which means if you buy them I will receive compensation for my referral.

Axon Optics has generously  offered 15%off your purchase today and tomorrow.

Use code mymigrainelife and purchase here

Another bit of support that I’m wearing is my “Migraine warrior, it’s more than a headache” tank.  It is in the official Migraine color, purple, and is sold by a fellow Migraine blogger Migraine Warrior

Not pictured are my walking shoes.  Please remember to donate to Miles for Migraine.  Skip the Starbucks today and give $10.  It will make a bigger difference in this world…

Do something that makes a difference for all of us who suffer today.  You may not suffer, but someone you know does.  We all need your help!

Donate, buy and wear something that makes a change.

You can’t ask for change without being a part of it.