2019: Fourth Quarter Goals

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I can’t believe that I’m already writing my last set of goals for 2019. This year has been crazy!

I can’t write this post without mentioning that one of my friends passed away last week. He was my classmate all through school and my freshman roommate’s boyfriend. Many of my college memories involve this sweet, funny boy who was always down to watch a movie, grab late night, or just hang out. He was hit by a car and passed away after being in ICU for two weeks. He was young and still had so much to offer to the world. Just a little reminder to not take anything or anyone for granted.

Now onto fourth quarter!

  1. Treat myself for my golden birthday. I love birthdays and this one will be super special because it’s my golden birthday. I’ve been wanting a new laptop for the past couple of years and I think I might just treat myself to one as a birthday present!
  2. Try not to over-indulge during the holiday season. I still have a weird relationship with food and sometimes I want to eat anything and everything in front of me. Holidays are hard because the food is plentiful and it’s easy to go crazy. I want to enjoy what I’m eating but not eat everything in sight. It’s all about balance!
  3. Buy new pajamas. This may sound crazy but every year I pick an item of clothing to stock up on during the after Thanksgiving and before Christmas deals. This year I want to get all new pajamas that I love and feel comfortable in. I’m so excited!
  4. Fight my migraines once and for all. These past few weeks of migraines have been terrible. I’ve been so sick and miserable and have wanted to give up so many times. I had a great appointment with my Neurologist and he offered some new ideas that I have been thinking about for the last week. Every day is a fight and every day I have the choice of how I want to deal with the pain. This quarter I’m going to try some new things and will not give in to the pain.
  5. Schedule some days off! I have ended up with 4.5 days of vacation time leftover. I’d love to go visit my sister in New Hampshire and take a day off for Brett’s birthday. December is crazy at work but I’d love to have some time off on Christmas Eve to spend with my family.
  6. Be more productive during the week. I’m crazy busy on the weekends with cleaning, laundry, and errands. I’d love to get more done during the week so that I don’t have to spend all my time cleaning and doing necessary things. I have plenty of time after work to get some of my chores done to make my weekend easier and more relaxing.

Do you have any goals for the last quarter? How are you doing on your News Years Resolutions?

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Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

September According to my iPhone

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September was a good month! I was able to spend a lot of time with my family and I got a ton done at my house and my parent’s house. All in all, it was a really productive month!

We started September in Cleveland for the Cleveland Air and Water Show. You can read all about our adventure at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame here.

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I celebrated 7 years of blogging in September! Life of Hayley has only been around for 6 years (in November!!!) but I had another blog before this one.  We had to write a blog in 2012 for my college English class. It mostly consisted of debate notes and current events relating to the 2012 election but it still sparked my love of blogging!

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I started decorating our house for fall! Let me know if you want to see the rest of the decor! The buffet table and hutch have changed a lot since I took these pictures.

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Oscar, Bruno, and Megan had many doggy playdates! Oscar is the one on the arm of the couch smiling. Bruno always looks confused!

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We had many cookouts with my parents. My dad even brought out the pig roaster to make ribs for us and the neighbors one weekend.

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I took a trip to Saugatuck, MI with my work team for team building at the sand dunes! SO much fun!

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My dad found this dresser on the side of the road and re-painted it for our upstairs guest room. I’m in the process of decorating and making it look super cute! I ended up buying IKEA Hemnes lookalike knobs from Amazon for this dresser and the rest of our furniture.

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I got my first FabFitFun box! I wasn’t super impressed but I’m waiting to see how I feel about the next box. I only bought the seasonal membership so I can try a couple before committing to the annual.

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Lots and lots of baby cuddles from my nieces. ❤

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Oscar crawled under a towel while I was folding laundry and fell asleep. He’s the cutest little baby!

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My migraines have been really bad which is why I’ve been a bit MIA. I just don’t feel good and I don’t know if/when I’ll feel better. I had a good visit with my Neurologist and I go back again in a couple of weeks to discuss my options.

How was your September?

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Migraine Update: Elimination Diet & New Meds

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Everyday I’m worried about when I will have my next migraine. I always have pain medication on hand and an excuse at the tip of my tongue to leave early. I avoid making plans outside of work and family obligations because I never know how I will feel on that day. I’ve let my fear of pain control my life for years and the anxiety that comes along with this fear holds me back from doing what I love to do.

My migraines are genetic and I can go on and on about all of the reasons why I may never be completely pain free. My current neurologist is a headache specialist. He’s a great guy who wants to help me live my best life. But he doesn’t have all the answers. He’s willing to try new things in hopes of them working but a lot of it is up to me.

It was up to me to realize that I was taking too much ibuprofen. It was up to me to realize that I wasn’t fueling my body properly. It was up to me to realize that I was feeling sorry for myself and needed to change.

Last summer I read Grain Brain by David Perlmutter which was recommended to me by my physical therapist. I learned about gluten, carbs, and sugar and how they interact with our brains. I wanted to try an elimination diet but it seemed like too much work at the time.

This summer I’m willing to do anything it takes to live a pain-free life. I’ve changed my lifestyle to balance the amount of gluten, carbs, and sugars I am eating. I’ve made my health a priority.

It never feels like enough though. I’m on day 3 of a debilitating migraine right now. I’ve had to leave work early and sit in the dark with ice packs for hours at a time. I’ve had to miss meetings and time with my family. I’ve been angry at my messed up brain for constantly hurting. I’ve told myself that I’m a terrible employee and co-worker because I can’t stand being in the office when I feel like this.

I’m also having trouble sleeping again. I can stay up pretty much all night and have gotten used to functioning on very few hours of sleep. I feel like a zombie.My neurologist prescribed me a medication to help me sleep since I was going days without sleeping for more then a couple of hours. He also prescribed me a pain medication for when I have migraines.

I didn’t like the sleeping pills. I was dead asleep within an hour on the couch. Brett had to help me get to bed. I don’t like not knowing what’s going on and feeling helpless. The pain medication didn’t help and I don’t plan on taking it again. I ended up being sick to my stomach while on it.

I’ve felt pretty angry about my migraine situation lately but I’m trying to do my best to take care of myself. Whatever that means. I went 5 days without a migraine when I first started the elimination diet which is a long period of time for me.

Hopefully I will have a positive migraine update for you soon!

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Photo by Carolyn V 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

 

I Can Be Healthy (And You Can Too!)

Health and Wellness

It’s been a few months since I posted about gaining weight. The cold hard truth is that I’ve only lost ten pounds since then and have been struggling to keep the weight off.

I’ve struggled with headaches and migraines for the past 7ish years which means that I’ve been on and off medications more times than I can count trying to find a solution. In 2017 I started to gain weight from the medicine that I was on and couldn’t seem to lose it. I gained about 40 pounds very quickly and there wasn’t much I could do. I know that sounds like an excuse but the medicine I was on really does cause weight gain and at the time it was prescribed I was a healthy 23 year old so my neurologist wasn’t worried about that particular side effect.

In 2018 I stopped taking that medication and stared taking Trokendi XR which I’ve talked about a few times in past posts. I was so sick the whole time that I was able to lose 10 pounds in under a month. One of the side effects of Trokendi is weight loss so I worked with a doctor and knew that it was “healthy”.

Now I have about 40 pounds to go before I’m back to my healthy weight. I only really weigh myself when I’m at the doctor because I have such a negative association with the scale.

I wanted to share this post to let you know that my mindset towards weight loss and being “healthy” is going to change. For the past year I have beat myself up every single day for letting myself go. I’ve refused to look in the mirror or be in pictures. I have told myself over and over again that I’m fat, worthless, and that I’ll only love myself if I lose weight.

But guess what?

All of those statements are wrong. I’m not worthless. I shouldn’t be embarrassed of being in pictures or looking in the mirror. I should love my body for carrying me through every single day of my life thus far.

I can be healthy. We all have choices everyday and these choices lead us down a certain path. In believing that I am worth the struggle, worth the time and energy I will start working towards a healthy lifestyle.

This is my year and I can choose to be anything I want to be.

I choose to be healthy and you can choose to be too. You first need to find the mindset and make the choice.

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Migraine Update: New Neurologist & New Preventatives

Migraine Update - Chronic Migraines and Headaches - Trokendi XR

Hey friends!

After my last update about feeling discouraged in my migraine journey I have finally found a new source of hope, a new Neurologist! This Neurologist has his own practice separate from the hospitals. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to be seen by a small practice instead of a hospital. I have seen this new Neurologist a couple of times now and he listens to what I have to say and is open to trying different treatment ideas when others fail. 

During my initial consultation I explained to him how frustrated and hopeless I was feeling because of my migraines and headaches. I always cry when I’m explaining how I’m feeling because I just feel so depressed about the situation. I think he could tell how desperate I was for a solution and started coming up with a treatment plan right away.

He prescribed Trokendi XR which is an extended release version of Topamax, an anti-seizure medication. I want to do a full post about my experiences on Trokendi at some point but the short and sweet version is that I spent the next six weeks or so pretty miserable. Trokendi can be a lifesaver for many people with migraines and I was really hoping that it would work for me. Unfortunately, it also has nasty side effects that left me feeling worse than normal. 

I went back yesterday afternoon to see my Neurologist to discuss Trokendi and my next steps. After explaining to him just one of the many side effects he immediately decided it was time to wean me off. I was so anxious to visit him yesterday because I so badly wanted to stop taking Trokendi but my old Neurologist would have wanted me to keep trying. This new Neurologist listened to how miserable I was feeling and decided to try something else. I honestly think my old Neurologist scared me away from doctors and now I have this fear of telling them how I feel. 

The new plan is to try a beta blocker and a round of steroids to break this headache cycle that I’ve had for almost a year. I also have to wean off of Trokendi too. I’m a little nervous to start the steroids but I’ve read that they can be miracle workers for people suffering from rebound headaches. 

I’m feeling hopeful because this new Neurologist is willing to try new things to lead me towards a pain free lifestyle. He listens to what I am saying and how I’m feeling and never rushes through my appointments. If I have questions I can always call his office between appointments and talk to him. It’s been a whirlwind to get here but I think I am at least headed it the right direction now. 

The hilarious part is that the other hospital in my area is finally willing to take me as a patient and has graciously booked me an appointment for January. I’m planning on cancelling. I think I need to be done with hospitals for awhile. 

What I’ve learned through this whole process is that sometimes you just have to learn to be your own advocate. I’ve been fighting for a pain free quality of life for eight years so far and I will continue to do so for as long as it takes. This journey isn’t easy and it will never be easy. It’s going to be painful, annoying, and depressing but the goal is to one day be able to travel and have a family with Brett. To me, that goal is worth it. 

Thanks so much for reading!

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My Migraine Story

 

Chronic Migraines, Chronic Headaches, My Migraine Story, Migraine Treatments

Hey, hey.

It’s me, back with one of the most personal posts I have ever shared on the internet.

It’s no secret that I have been living with daily headaches and chronic migraines. I have often shared my struggles with balancing life and work with the constant pain. I still don’t have any answers and I may never receive them but I thought I’d share my story because I know that I am not the only one struggling.

I can remember having headaches as a pre-teen but they never lasted that long. My junior year in high school was when my headaches started to become a routine problem but I was able to take an ibprofen and be fine to go about my day.

My mom, sister, and I got into a car accident that same year. My head went through the passenger side window and I still can’t remember the accident. I have a brief memory of waking up in the ambulance but I mostly just remember waking up at the hospital.

After the car accident, I continued to have headaches but they started to get a little stronger. I also started to get migraines that made me sick to my stomach. Senior year was when they became an almost constant problem. My eyesight started getting blurry and it was painful to wake up in the morning. My brain felt like it was pressing up against my skull at all times.

College was when I started to see a neurologist. My headaches had become constant and I was getting migraines a couple of times per month. I was living in the noisy dorms and trying to balance 5 classes, a part-time job, and a minimal social life. It was not how I imagined college to be. For the first time, I was prescribed something for the pain. We discovered early on that I have a bad reaction to most of the commonly used medicines for headache pain. My stomach could not seem to handle it.

I went to London and hoped for the best. My headaches followed me and I spent more time then I want to admit in bed with the blankets covering my eyes. I had to say no to experiences with my friends and missed many of our lunch time adventures. I vowed to make a change when I got home. I didn’t want to keep missing out on things due to my headaches.

Not much changed when I got home and I can’t exactly pinpoint the moment where my headaches started to rule over me. I needed to take ibprofen three times a day in order to function. My head hurt the worst in the morning when I first woke up and at night when I was trying to sleep. The pain would wake me up from a deep sleep. I started to become dependent on ibprofen because it was the only thing that made me feel normal, if only for a few hours.

Now I understand that my constant intake of ibprofen actually began to cause rebound headaches. My body became dependent on it and it made my headaches even worse. I actually felt like I couldn’t function without it. But what was I to do? I was a full time student and almost full time employee at a job where I couldn’t just call off work if I didn’t feel well. It was a never ending cycle.

I graduated in April 2016 and began looking for a full time job in my field. I spent a lot of time in bed in between working and applying for jobs. I was exhausted and didn’t take care of myself. I stopped taking the preventative medicine that my doctor had given to me because it wasn’t working and I felt hopeless.

Fast forward to me accepting my current position and being thrown into a field that I I knew very little about. I thought that college had prepared me for a corporate job but I was very wrong and very out of my element. I was depressed and sick. I started seeing my neurologist again and we discussed the lifestyle changes that I would need to make in order to start feeling better.

It’s been a year and a half and very little progress has been made. I have a headache every single day and am almost constantly nauseous. I struggled a lot in the beginning of my career because the pain made me feel really self conscious and I didn’t want my new co-workers to know my problems. But now they know and understand that sometimes I need to sit in my corner quietly and just work. I try to miss as few days as possible at work but my boss is very understanding if I need to take a break.

So, that’s where I am at. Many years and no answers. I should mention that my mom and grandma both have these headaches so the doctors know that it is genetic. I am also consulting a neurologist when taking medications. It is very important to speak to a medical professional when taking any sort of medication.

I am trying to stay hopeful that my neurologist will find something to help me. At my last visit we discussed trying physical and massage therapy.  I start physical therapy this week and am super hopeful that it will help! And now you know that if I ever go a long time without blogging it is most likely due to having a bad headache week.

Let me know if you have any recommendations! I might write a post on all my tips and tricks for dealing with headaches or migraines.

Thanks so much for reading!

Lifestyle Blog, Life of Hayley

 

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