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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Truth in Advertising and product claims to treat, cure or prevent

Recently, a popular website named “Goop” became under fire for deceptive marking with disease treatment claims.  It is a blog that focuses on fashion, beauty and wellness.  Some of their products claim to treat, cure or prevent a host of diseases.  It seems that Goop is taking advantage of those looking for answers.  A nonprofit, Truth in Advertising requested it to be taken down.  In response to the official complaint, a spokesperson for Goop told E! news that they would “make those improvements that we believe are reasonable and necessary in the interests of our community of users.”

I was especially interested in this topic being I give product reviews.  My goal is not to sell or make money off of my reviews and recommendations (although I do have affiliates).  The products I post in SHOP things that I love are products that I use to treat myself.  I recommend them hoping they may help you also.  I am not a doctor and what works for me may or may not help you….but I hope it does!

With full disclosure, I have received products that I have not reviewed or recommended.  My rule is, if I don’t like it, I don’t write about it.  I have had offers for paid opportunities that I have rejected due to false claims.  I like to help weed out the “snake in the grass” products that are looking to make money and find the products that are the “real deal” in natural healing.

Red flags I see with products:

  • Claims that it will “cure”

o   There is no current cure and advertisers play off the emotions of people desperate for answers and help.

  • It works for everyone

o   Nothing will work the same for everyone.  The body is unique and will respond in such a way.

What does “reasonable and necessary [changes] in the interests of our community of users” mean?

Is it list price, retail price, price margin, cost of good, claims documented or product reviews?  What are the interests of community of users? Retail price, effectiveness of products, type of product?  It is all quite subjective. Products should be measured only on yourself.  If it doesn’t help YOU then stop using it.  Stop wasting your hope, your money, give your body a break and try something new.

Why do I try so many things?

Nothing works the same every time.  Body’s change and so do the reactions to products.  I typically like to recommend products that are not taken internally because of the complexities of how the body reacts.  Vitamins and pills get tricky but I enjoy encouraging juices and healthy foods to nourish.  I love trying new products and feel I can never have enough “self care” items regardless of my ailments.   While I try new products I encourage you to try the products and see how you feel.

 

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

Rockwell Pets Pro review of natural dog shampoo

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Everyone knows I love my dog Lucia!  She is my support animal, best buddy and first child.  I treat her the best because she gives me her best everyday and deserves the same!  That’s why I was thrilled to partner with Rockwell Pets Pro.   I reviewed their non toxic natural dog shampoo on my two favorite dogs with my 4 favorite little ones.  It was a great summer day to wash, rinse and shake.

Although I was given the product to review, my opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way.  If you buy a product from my recommendation I will receive a small commission for sharing my love of Rockwell Pets Pro.

The creator of Rockwell Pets Pro was tired of having to use normal potentially toxic products for her dog and she found there was nothing natural readily available. Therefore, she created a product line of non toxic products for everyone who is in the same situation.

I had the opportunity to try the “safe nontoxic pet shampoo made from Aloe Vera, Hemp Seed and Argan Kernel as well as Natural Willow, Meadowsweet, Chaparral and Olive Extracts. Without synthetic detergents that could be toxic and harmful specifically for pets with sensitive skin. Re-moisturizes dry skin for better health and well-being.”

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The benefits are:

  • MOISTURIZES AND SOOTHES
  • PROMOTES NATURAL SKIN FLORA
  • COMFORTS DRY AND ITCHY SKIN
  • ECO-FRIENDLY
  • MADE IN THE USA
  • 100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEE

 

 

 

I had plenty of small hands and two very willing Golden Retrievers to receive a spa day.  From young (1) to old (12) our dogs enjoyed Rockwell Pets Pro shampoo.

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It smelled great

Lathered and cleaned well

And best of all, was a natural wash for my girl who loved the extra attention and rub down.

Thank you Rockwell Pets Pro for making a product safe for my dog!  If you love your dog and want to treat her to nontoxic safe products, this product may be for 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.

Axon Optics and Shades for Migraine

FullSizeRenderJune 21st is World Migraine Solidarity Day! It’s a great social media campaign that is meant to raise awareness for Migraine and what better way to express it than in SUNGLASSES?!

With that said, let’s talk about my favorite indoor and outdoor glasses!!!!!  I am an affiliate of Axon Optics because I truly wear their glasses and love to spread the word of how they help.  If you order their glasses I will receive a small compensation for my recommendation.  Thank you!

“Axon Optics has utilized the latest research exploring the pain pathway associated with migraine and photophobia to develop the SpectraShield FL-41 migraine glasses lens. These lenses may help to reduce exposure to certain types of artificial light, particularly blue light and green light, which may exacerbate light sensitivity in those who suffer from migraines.   Both indoor migraine glasses and outdoor migraine sunglasses are an option.” Axon Optics

 

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Wearing my indoor glasses on a partly cloudy dinner date on the patio

 

Personally, I use the indoor glasses almost everyday.  I have both the indoor and outdoor and love them both.  I recommend going to the website and looking what may be best for you.

The reason I love the indoor glasses is the tint.  I am a teacher and mom so I spend a lot of time in fluorescent lights.  I teach in them, go grocery shopping in them and make dinner in my own home with them.  On cloudy days, I wear my indoor glasses outdoors because the glare still hurts my eyes yet regular sunglasses are too dark to wear.  I can not recommend enough Axon Optics Migraine Glasses!!!!

Check me out on: Instagram, facebook, and twitter

I’ll be wearing my Axon Optics for the Shades for Migraine campaign and more.  Remember to participate in the Shades for Migraine campaign and tag me in your sunglasses #shadesformigraine

If you’d like to purchase a pair of Axon Optics, they are generously offering My Migraine Life readers a discount for Migraine Awareness Month!  They are a company that truly cares about migraine sufferers and not just selling a product.  Their customer service is amazing, their return policy is comforting and the founders are people invested in helping!

Use code mymigrainelife to receive 15% off your order

You have nothing to loose but light sensitivity pain!