June 2020 According to my iPhone

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It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these monthly picture posts. I usually write a little description of what picture is but I think this time I’ll just leave you with the pictures.

June was another month of working from home but we finally got to spend some time with family! I started a little container garden on our back deck, studied hard for my exam in July, and spent so much time outside. It was a good month!

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How was your month?

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How I Manage Working with Migraines

working with chronic migraine

One of the most popular questions that I get about having chronic migraine is how I manage to hold down a full time job. In honor of Migraine and Headache Awareness Month I thought I’d share a few ways I have learned to manage working with migraines.

I have been working consistently since I was 17, so almost 10 years. I worked all the way through college, excluding the few months that I studied abroad in London. After my college graduation I found my current role and have worked here for almost 4 years.

Working isn’t easy and I’ve really struggled to balance everything. 2018 was my worst year by far and I really considered taking FMLA. However, I am very fortunate to work at a company with unlimited sick days. They truly care about me as a person but I never want to take advantage of their generous sick leave policy.

Here are a couple of ways that I manage working with migraines.

  1. Open communication. My co-workers know that I have migraines. They have asked me questions and we have discussed them at length. Having them know makes me feel a million times better because they can tell just by looking at me if I’m having a rough day. It’s easy to talk about and I don’t feel overwhelmed trying to act “normal”.
  2. Working from home. Again, I am extremely lucky to work for a company that values me and my individual needs. I am able to work from home whenever I need to. Sometimes the biggest trigger for me is just waking up. I wake up and feel like I’ve been run over by a bus and there’s no way I can drive to work. I always have the option to work from home and take the day at my own pace.
  3. Taking frequent breaks. I work at a computer all day and even with blue light glasses my eyes get fatigued which causes me to have a headache. I make sure to take frequent breaks to re-fill my water, talk to a co-worker, or walk around the building. Working from home is nice because I can walk outside and sit on my deck or snuggle with my puppy for a few minutes. Taking breaks is super important for everyone!
  4. Planning ahead. I am always ready for a migraine. I have all of the essentials at home, in my purse, in my car, and at my desk. It depends on the level of migraine I’m having but sometimes I am able to work through them if I catch them soon enough. My migraine essentials include electrolyte water, caffeine, magnesium, and an abortive medication if needed.
  5. Sick days. As I mentioned, my company has unlimited sick days and while I never want to take advantage of those day I still appreciate them. My mindset on sick days is that I’m going to have a migraine no matter what. It’s not going to go away and I’m not going to get “better”. If I can work through my migraine I will but sometimes I really do just need to lay in bed all day with my ice cap on. These are the days I will take a sick day and just focus on myself. I appreciate these unlimited sick days more than anything.

I know that I am extremely lucky to have the job that I have. I work hard and put a lot of pressure on myself but I always know that my team has my back with whatever I need. I have heard so many horror stories from the migraine support group that I’m part of where people have lost their jobs or have had to go on disability because of their migraines.

It is hard to balance everything and there’s no right or easy way to balance work with any type of health condition. I have had my fair share of struggles and an embarrassing amount of tears while surrounded by co-workers. At one point I thought I’d have to quit because there was no way I’d be able to face them again but I did.

If you are struggling just know that you are not alone.

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Photo by Corinne Kutz on Unsplash

 

Migraine Update: Rebound Headaches & Caffeine

Chronic Migraine

It’s been a couple of months since my last migraine update where I decided not to try Amiovig and instead work on diet and lifestyle changes. The past couple of months have been weird for everyone but it’s given me plenty of time to work on my next plan of attack for my migraines.

In honor of National Migraine and Headache Awareness month, I thought I’d share another update.

Since I’m at home with nothing better to do, I decided it’s the perfect time to wean myself off of my abortive medicines. I’ve been in an endless cycle of rebound headaches for the last few years and this was the perfect time to break the cycle. This has meant days of extreme pain but I know it’ll be better for me in the long-run.

I have also been experimenting with my caffeine and magnesium intakes. I don’t drink coffee so my caffeine intake is typically zero but I’ve started drinking Sparkling Ice + Caffeine waters which have 70 mg of caffeine per can. I do think it helps, especially if I drink one during lunch which is typically when I start to get another headache. I also take at least 250 mg of magnesium a day. I take mine at night and I’m planning on gradually increasing my intake as needed.

I’ve also weaned myself off of the Keto diet. I really did like it and do think that it helps my migraines. I want to go back to a full Ketogenic lifestyle soon! I was just having a hard time staying on track during quarantine. We are only going grocery shopping every 2-3 weeks so it was hard to maintain eating only fresh veggies and meat. We also had a hard time finding eggs which was a staple for me!

The biggest change for me has been working from home everyday. Not going into work has helped my pain so much. I think the stress of driving and being “on” all the time didn’t help with my headaches and migraines. Being home is so much more relaxing and I’m able to rest when I need to without feeling like a failure.

Brett and I have talked about trying to start a family in the next couple of years and I know that I have to take better care of myself if I have any hopes of being able to have a baby. I can’t be in constant pain and be taking so much medicine. That’s been my main motivation because I know it will take time.

I have a couple of other migraine related posts for this month. There is so much going on in the world right now. So much that it almost feels wrong to continue sharing my journey. I know that this is also important though. I know there are millions of others struggling everyday with headaches and migraines.

Thanks for reading!

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Photo by Emma Simpson on Unsplash

 

Migraine & Headache Awareness Month

National Headache and Migraine Month

June is National Migraine & Headache Awareness month.

In June, the migraine and headache communities come together to raise awareness and recognition of migraines and headaches as debilitating diseases. June is also a time to encourage people suffering in silence to find a specialist or a doctor to help them. It’s a month to talk about current treatment options and new ones that are being created. It’s a time to celebrate how far the community has come in the past few years.

One of the hardest parts about having chronic migraines is feeling alone and misunderstood. I really struggled trying to fit in while being in constant pain until I found the migraine community. Now I feel like I have people in my life who understand how I’m feeling and who I can turn to with questions.

I wrote about my migraine story in 2018 and a lot has changed since then. The biggest thing that has changed is that I learned to advocate for myself. Instead of staying with a neurologist who pushed the same medication over and over I found a new neurologist who actually listens to me. I have so many more treatment options and I feel like a whole new world has been opened up to me.

I have put so many medications and treatments into my body in hopes of treating my migraines. I have had horrific side effects and have been sick for months because of these medications. I’ve gained weight, lost weight, and felt really crummy. I’ve tried diets, physical therapy, and different doctors. There is no cure but there is always hope. 

I’ll be talking about migraines and headaches a lot this month. I never expected to find a migraine community through blogging but I have. Blogging about my migraine journey has been really beneficial for me and I hope I’ve been able to help others know that they are not alone in this.

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Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash

 

 

 

 

National Migraine Awareness Month

June National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month

I’m sure you have heard of other National “insert illness” Awareness Months before. June is the awareness month for migraines and headaches. The goal is to raise awareness and recognition for migraine treatment, patients, and more.

As a migraine sufferer I know how hard it is to have other people understand what it’s like to live day to day with the constant pain of a headache or migraine. I understand how debilitating and lonely it can be. What gives me hope is knowing that there are millions of other people who want to raise awareness too. People who want to share their stories and join the fight to find new research and treatment options.

My migraine story started when I was in high school and have continued throughout my twenties. I don’t know if I will ever not have a headache or migraine but the odds seemed to be stacked against me. However, three new treatments options were released in 2018 so I have hope that something will be created that will help me.

If you are struggling with migraines or headaches, just know that you aren’t alone. There are millions of other people in the world who are also suffering which is why it’s so important to raise awareness. If we all stand together we have the opportunity to have our stories make an impact and bring about real change.

Migraines are an invisible illness. When you call in sick from work with a “headache” most people think you are lying or should suck it up. But for some people, including me, living with the constant head pain is reality. We are told that we look healthy and not chronically ill.

Well, this is what chronic migraine looks like. I drag myself out of bed every morning, brush my hair, and throw on enough makeup to look somewhat decent. I don’t feel good, I want to go back to bed, but I go to work and continue living my life the best I can. If I really don’t feel good I work from home or take a sick day. I know I’m lucky to work for an amazing company but I’ve heard other people’s stories about being fired for not being able to come into work.

This pain could ruin my life if I let it. I could stay in bed all day and feel sorry for myself. But I won’t. I’m out living my life and talking about how I feel. I want spread awareness. I want people to know that headaches are a real problem. I want doctors to find new treatment options. I want to be taken seriously.

I won’t let migraines ruin my life. Some days are better than others. Some days feel like the worst days of my life. But I know that things could be worse. I’m still able to work, own a house, be a dog/cat mom, and travel. Migraines make all of these things so much harder but it’s rewarding to know that I am able to overcome the pain most days and accomplish big things.

June 21st is the Annual Shades for Migraine Awareness Day led by the Association of Migraine Disorders. If you see people on social media posting pictures of themselves wearing sunglasses with the hashtags #shadesformigraines and #MHAM this is why. These people are sharing their support for the millions of people worldwide with migraines.

I’ll be wearing my sunglasses on June 21st. Will you?

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Image via American Migraine Foundation

 

Five on Friday #10

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TGIF! It’s been a longggg week and now I’m going to have a busy weekend. Here’s to hoping I’m able to sleep in past 7:30 Saturday morning!

  1. The first airshow of my season (Brett’s already been to a couple) is this weekend. I don’t enjoy airshows that much but Brett loves them and it gives me a chance to do a ton of reading!
  2. Brett and I got a couples massage on Tuesday after work and it was really nice! He got me a gift certificate for Valentine’s Day and we finally found time to use it. The massage was at a castle that is right outside of our downtown area. We’ve had dinner their a couple of times and I went to a bridal show that they hosted but the massage was a new experience. It was really nice!
  3. It’s been a dream of mine since I was really young to write a book. I’ve been bouncing around this idea in my head for the last couple of years and I’m finally getting to work. I don’t think anything will come from it but it’s still fun to brainstorm.
  4. Every summer my city has an art fair downtown in the park across the street from where I work. The art fair starts today and I can’t wait to explore during lunch with my co-workers. My mom is meeting me downtown after work to walk around too. It’s great to be able to support local artists and businesses!
  5. June is National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month (MHAM). This month is special to me because I often feel isolated because of my migraines. During the month of June thousands of migraine patients come together to spread awareness for their disabling conditions. I’m planning to do a post about it soon because I’m passionate about advocating for my self and for others who also suffer.

Do you have any plans this weekend?

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Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

 

 

I Needed A Break

blogging break

I took a week off of blogging and nothing bad happened.

I’ve been in a bit of a writing slump lately. It’s been an endless cycle of the comparison game and I’ve just felt like there’s no reason for me to keep writing.

I opened my laptop several times to start writing but I couldn’t find the words. I have drafts that I could have easily set to publish but none of them seemed right either. I needed a week to recharge, regroup, and find some new inspiration so that’s what I did.

Blogging is supposed to be a fun, creative outlet to get me outside of my comfort zone and de-stress. Sometimes it becomes the source of my stress and that’s when I know that I need a break.

I have a lot of big things happening in June. I’m throwing a baby shower for my sister in law, traveling to meet up with some friends, and the start of our busy airshow season. All of these things are creating a lot of stress even though I’m excited for them. As always, just trying to take things day by day.

How do you feel about taking a break from blogging?

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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

 

Migraine Update: Discharged From PT

physical therapy, migraine awareness month, chronic migraine headaches, treatme

Hey, friends!

I took a sick day today for a migraine and slept on and off all morning and afternoon. If you read my Migraine Story you know that my Neurologist recommended physical therapy and weaned me off of the preventative medicine that I’ve been on for years.

Well, my headaches have been terrible since weaning off of my medicine. I have had to take ibuprofen four times per day in order to dull the pain enough to go to work. My long-term goal is to not need to take any pain medication unless I have a migraine because it’s extremely bad for my body.

So I’ve had this migraine for about four days now and haven’t taken any medication in 30 ish hours. The reason I’m not taking anything for my migraine is because I know that I’m having rebound headaches which are caused by overusing medication. I need to get to the root problem which means stopping any rebound headaches.

Today was also a scheduled physical therapy day for me which I did not want to cancel. I went to PT expecting to do the stretches I have been practicing and maybe learning some new ones. My physical therapist is awesome but she knew that our appointments were not helping me reach my goal of being pain-free.

I didn’t expect to be discharged today. I didn’t expect to cry over being discharged. I didn’t expect to feel a wave of hopelessness when she told me that she didn’t think she could help.

I did feel like she heard me and believed me. I felt like she wanted to help me find an answer. She empowered me to not take “no” for an answer from my neurologist and doctors.

She will be sending a note over to my neurologist with her treatment recommendations which include a pain clinic or headache institute in either Ann Arbor or Chicago. I am doing my research and will talk to my family and doctors about the next steps. I’m sad that another door has been closed but I am hopeful that another will open very soon. My physical therapist reminded me that on the outside I look healthy but I need to remind people that I’m still suffering.

I did take away one important thing from physical therapy that I wanted to share with everyone. I know that I am extremly lucky to not have a brain tumor or a terminal disaese. But just because I can’t be “diganosed” doesn’t mean that I’m not still fighting for my life. Every day I am fighting for a quality of life that doesn’t involve constant pain, sleepless nights, and bottles of medication. I am fighting for a life where Brett and I can start a family which is currenly not an option. I am fighting to travel and spend a day at the lake with my family like a normal twenty-something.

I’m not asking for a miracle. I’m just asking to feel okay again.

June is migraine awarness month. Hopefully me sharing my story can help others who are suffering the same fate that I am. I’m not alone in this and I won’t stop fighting for myself and everyone else who is impacted.

I’ve ordered some books and will be spending the next few weeks researching my next steps. Let me know if you like these updates and want to stay informed on my treatment options!

Thanks so much for reading!

 
Lifestyle Blog, Life of Hayley

 
Photo by Imani Clovis on Unsplash

June Goals

June Goals // www.lifeofhayley.com

Hello again! I am back from my little blogging break! 🙂

This past semester I studied abroad in London which turned into the best experience of my life. I still have many posts that I would like to share with all of you about things that I did while I was abroad. I flew back to Michigan on May 30th and have just been putting my life back together ever since. It was hard coming home because I feel like I am a much different person now then I was in January when I left for London. I don’t fit the same way in my old life anymore so there are many things that I need to adjust.

Now is my chance to change whatever I would like about my life. I have decided to set myself a few goals for June in order to stay on track and get some things done. This is a new kind of post for me so let me know what you think!

  1. Spend more time with my family and friends: After being away for four months I have a lot of catching up to do. I also realized while I was gone that in the past I haven’t had much time off to spend with my family and I really regret that. I need to start putting my family first.
  2. Take Megan on at least five walks a week: Megan is our family’s three and a half year old puggle. We got her in October and she is a little bundle of energy! I’ve been taking her on a walk every day since I have come back and she really loves it.
  3. Focus on eating healthy: While I was abroad I ate whatever I wanted to and never thought about the consequences. Now that I am back I need to focus on eating healthy and getting back to a heathy pre-study abroad weight.
  4. Organize my bedroom and donate/sell clothing: I have already started doing this and it’s exhausting. While I was gone I lived with just a few clothing options and I liked it much better than having an exploding closet. Now that I am getting older I need to start investing in quality pieces instead of focusing on quantity.
  5. Start working again: I’ve been home for almost a week and haven’t started at work yet. I am going back to my old job which I am excited about but I needed some time off before going back to figure things out.
  6. Finish study abroad blogs: I got really behind on blogging while I was in London because I spent the majority of my time doing things with my friends or exploring London. I have so many adventures that I would still like to share with you! Hopefully I will have time to finish everything this month!

I’m thinking that setting goals each month will be a great addition to my life and this blog. I would love to read about all of your goals so please let me know if you are also doing these posts! I’m always so inspired by other bloggers! Also, at the end of the month I may or may not to a recap where I review the goals that I had set for myself.

Thanks for reading! It’s so nice to back to blogging!

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June Goals // www.lifeofhayley.com