2021: Third Quarter Goals

I’m a little late with my third quarter goals but I still wanted to get them posted. I tried to be really intentional with these ones because life has been a bit of a struggle lately and sometimes the smallest things feel unbelievably hard.

I think blogging has been so hard lately because this has always been a space where I feel comfortable to share and be vulnerable but right now I don’t feel ready to share everything going on in my life so writing posts feels a bit fake. Blogging has never been about the views for me and I’ve been brutally honest about where I’m at in life. I want to get back to being comfortable sharing but that might take me a bit of time. Thanks for sticking with me!

Here are a few goals for Q3:

  1. Be kind to myself. Sometimes I feel like I’m at war with myself to do better and be better when I really just need to take a break. I want to practice self-care and be kind to myself as I walk through this stage of my life.
  2. Setup health appointments. I go to the Neurologist this week for a checkup but I need to find a new primary care doctor since mine moved away. My SIL recommended one so I want to make an appointment. This doctor was the one who helped advocate for her during her infertility journey so I think it would be a good place to start.
  3. Spend time with friends and family. Now that we’ve pretty much gone back to almost normal after the pandemic I want to make sure I’m catching up with friends and family. I haven’t spent enough time with my grandparents lately and I know I’ve been slacking in the friendship department. I want to prioritize my relationships this quarter.
  4. Celebrate 10 years with Brett. The past few months have been hard because Brett and I haven’t been able to spend much time together. I want to make sure we set aside time to celebrate our 10 year anniversary!
  5. Read 3 books. I used to also say that I wanted to read 3 books and write reviews but that probably won’t happen. I’ve really been enjoying reading lately though and finally read Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. I’ve already passed the book onto a friend because it was so good and I wanted to make sure she read it too.

I hope you are all doing really well! I’m going to try to catch up on some of the blog posts I’ve missed.

Do you have any goals this quarter?

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

2021 Migraine and Headache Awareness Month

June is National Migraine & Headache Awareness month. I’ve been pretty quiet this year in regards to advocating and sharing my experience but I didn’t want the month to pass without me mentioning anything. You can read my story about my migraine and headache experience here for background.

One of the biggest challenges I’ve had with having chronic migraine is suffering in silence. I look pretty normal from the outside so having an invisible illness is hard to explain and advocate for. It’s been even harder now that I’ve entered corporate America and I feel like it’s a major roadblock for my career. My team is super understanding but I hate talking about it and feel bad that I have different needs than the rest of the team.

I try to advocate and raise awareness for those suffering in silence or with invisible illnesses as often as possible but June is always a good reminder to say something. The migraine community is greater than I imagined it would be. I never knew that there were so many resources available and I was even able to find a new Neurologist because of these resources. If you are suffering in silence, please know that you are not alone and there may be resources available to help you too!

I’ve tried many different medications and treatments but over the past 15 months I’ve focused on my health and prioritized putting myself first. This was only possible because I was working from home. I never imagined that what would help me the most was simply being at home in a controlled environment.

I’ve learned a lot about migraine and headaches over the past few years and finally feel like I’m in a better place. With the U.S. opening back up after the pandemic I just hope that I’m able to stay in a good place. I don’t know how I’ll feel going back into the office but I hope it doesn’t ruin 15 months of actual progress.

Photo by Carolina Heza on Unsplash

Migraine Update: Rebound Headaches & Weaning Off Meds

I haven’t done a migraine update since July and SO much has changed since then. I’ve worked really hard the past six months or so on my health. Being in a vicious migraine cycle for the past 7+ years was a nightmare and I knew that something needed to change. I couldn’t continue being in constant pain everyday.

Before I continue, please read my migraine story and know that my journey will be different than yours if you also have headaches or migraine. I should write an updated migraine story since I wrote that one in 2018 but I have done many migraine updates since. It took me years to find a Neurologist that worked with me and understood me. My story would be much different if I hadn’t found my current Neurologist.

Muscle Relaxers

In July I wrote about taking muscle relaxers at night to help me sleep and lessen the tension in my neck and jaw. I was very skeptical when my Neurologist suggested muscle relaxers but I’ve been pleasantly surprised! I only take them on the weekends because I do sleep almost too well and have a hard time waking up on workdays. But I do notice a huge difference when I take them and it really has helped me.

Rebound Headaches

How many times have I mentioned rebound headaches now? For years I lived off of ibuprofen because I was in constant pain and it was the only thing that made the pain manageable. Taking all that ibuprofen was not only extremely unhealthy but also put me in an endless rebound headache cycle.

I made it a goal this summer to break my rebound headache cycle which meant weaning off of ibuprofen and any other pain medication that I was relying on. It’s almost like an addiction and I didn’t think that I’d be able to get through it. It’s been about 4 months since this journey began and I’m happy to say that I’ve only taken pain medication a handful of times per month since. I still can’t get through a bad migraine without rescue meds but I don’t take anything daily for pain.

I should mention that weaning off of pain medication was very painful. I had about a month of severe pain and basically withdrawal symptoms. I’m still in awe of myself that I was able to break the cycle. I still have daily headaches and migraine cycles a few times a month that last days but I know my overall health is much better now.

Weaning Off Medication

I’ve always wanted kids but it’s felt impossible because I was in constant pain and relied of medication to keep me going. Over the past few months I’ve finally felt like I might be able to start a family which is a huge deal for me. I’ve watched friends and family members start their families while knowing that I might never be able to have that same experience. Now I feel like it’s a possibility.

Because of that, I made the decision with my Neurologist to wean off of my daily preventative medication. These meds were also controlling my tremor so weaning off them meant that my tremor would come back full force. It took about a month for me to completely wean off of them and I really noticed a difference right away. I have a constant headache, tremor, and an increase in migraine days.

It won’t be easy but I hope that weaning off of this medication will be okay. It’s only been a couple of weeks now so it’s hard for me to say. I hope that one day soon I feel comfortable and confident in deciding to start a family. The thought of being pregnant still terrifies me but I hope it’ll be worth it!

So much has changed in the past several months and I feel like I have a lot to be proud of. My journey with Chronic Migraine hasn’t been easy but I’ve learned a lot.

Photo by Logan Nolin on Unsplash

Migraine Update // Muscle Relaxers & Anxiety

jesse-orrico-rmWtVQN5RzU-unsplash

Last month I went to my Neurologist appointment not really knowing what to expect. I wanted something to change but I wasn’t sure what to do.

It was extremely weird going into the appointment since I had to fill out extra forms and be temperature checked at the door. I wore my mask the whole time and felt safe but it was a much different environment than I’m used to.

Overall the appointment was really good. I do like my Neurologist and feel like he listens to my concerns and answers my list of questions that I always bring with me. He isn’t pushy and I really appreciate that since I had such a bad experience with my previous Neurologist.

We decided to take a bit of a different route this time around and try a muscle relaxer in addition to my normal preventative medication. The muscle relaxer is supposed to help relieve tension and can be especially helpful for people suffering from tension headaches. I had never considered taking a muscle relaxer for my migraines but my Neurologist was really informative and I decided to try them.

It’s been about a month and I have mixed feelings. I sleep so well when I take the muscle relaxer at night but I almost sleep too well. I feel like I’m in a coma and just pass out and then have a hard time waking up with my alarm. I also feel pretty groggy the next morning which isn’t great for working.

Lack of sleep is a huge trigger for my migraines though so sleeping this well is also great. I get more sleep than I used to when I take them. I haven’t really noticed a decrease in migraines but I think it is a little helpful to take the muscle relaxer.

I’ve also had an increase in anxiety over the last month. I have a small tremor in my hands that I take medicine for. I was so stressed out and anxious last week that my small tremor turned into a full blown episode where I was shaking so bad I couldn’t hold a drink. My mom thinks this was brought on by stress and I took a video to show my Neurologist at my next appointment.

Since my increased tremor last week, which thankfully lessened after a few hours of rest, I have been trying to take it super easy. My body obviously isn’t responding well to stress and I need to keep that in mind and stop pushing myself so hard.

I also had a level 10 migraine last weekend. I haven’t had one that bad in so long and I barely made the car ride home from my sister in law’s house. I laid on the bathroom floor for awhile before Brett helped me to bed. I think the trigger was a small glass of wine that my SIL gave me. I know I shouldn’t drink wine but I thought it wouldn’t hurt me that much.

I have a lot of notes for my next Neurologist appointment but I still feel hopeful. I have the option to do the Amiovig injections so that might just be my next path.

There’s a lot of trial and error when it comes to finding the right treatment plan for migraines. I try to open to trying new things and I just remain hopeful that one day something will work!

As always, if you are suffering from migraines just know that you are not alone. There are millions of people suffering in America alone and I’m just trying to share my story and advocate.

Thanks for reading!

Footer

Photo by jesse orrico on Unsplash

Migraine Update: Keto Diet & Positive Thinking

hello-i-m-nik-z1d-LP8sjuI-unsplash.jpg

My migraines and headaches have progressively gotten worse over the past couple of years but I have gotten stronger. It’s easy to let my fear of a migraine or my day-to-day pain bring me down but I’ve decided that I am stronger than my migraines and I deserve to live a life worth living.

There is no cure for migraines. There’s no easy way out. I haven’t been able to find a medication that will magically take all of my pain away and leave me symptom free. Instead I have decide that I am mentally strong enough to withstand the pain. There are still many days where I don’t want to get out of bed and sleeping is the only thing that helps. And that’s okay.

I had an appointment with my neurologist last week and I was a bit disappointed at first. It’s easy to feel like all of my doctors have given up on me when they can’t find a way to help my migraines. In this case, I think my neurologist was trying to push me to make a decision that I wasn’t ready to make at the time. He wanted me to make the decision on how much I’m willing to put my body through in order to be pain free. He wasn’t doing this to be hurtful but wanted to have an honest conversation with me. He’s a good guy and a great doctor.

I needed to take a step back. We talked about Amiovig at my last appointment and I had been thinking about it since. I hadn’t decided if I was ready to make that leap. So instead I decided to take some time to take care of myself for once. I’ve had a little success with my current medication so I’ll keep taking it. I’ve had a lot of success with eating a low-carb, low-sugar diet so I’ll try that again.

This is my third time doing the Ketogenic diet. I know that tons of people say that it’s not healthy but both of my neurologists have suggested it to me. According to them, Keto was originally created to help people with Epilepsy and can help those with other neurological problems as well.

Losing weight is not my main concern. I just want a healthy and happy brain. Sugar has always been a huge trigger for my migraines so now I’m putting my health first and saying no to sugar.

I don’t know how sustainable Keto will be for me. I already have so much more energy, less brain fog, and I’m sleeping better. I did not experience the “Keto flu” and I’m making sure that I still eat enough calories and drink enough water. I’m cooking new recipes and meal prepping and planning. I feel really good.

I want to push myself to do Keto for at least three full months and am keeping notes about how my body feels. I’m hoping that eating a healthier diet and avoiding my known food triggers will help me. I want to do what’s best for my body and this feels right for now.

I’m still taking things one day at a time but every morning when I wake up I remind myself that I am worthy of having a good day. I won’t let migraines bring me down forever even when I do have my really bad days.

Have you tried the Keto diet? Let me know if you have any tips!

Footer

Photo by Hello I’m Nik 🇬🇧 on Unsplash

 

Migraine Update: Steroids & Trying Aimovig?

yuris-alhumaydy-mSXMHkgRs8s-unsplash.jpg

I had an appointment with my neurologist in September and was surprised with how helpful he was. Is it bad that I’m still so surprised to receive good medical advice? After having a terrible neurologist for years I’m so happy to have found a good one!

We started our appointment by talking about my migraines and how we haven’t been able to find anything to break the cycle. I was on day 8 of a migraine when I saw him and I’ve had constant head pain since December 2017. Late last year he had me do a round of steroids to try to break the cycle and I had mild success. We decided to try another round of steroids to see if they would help.

I had a couple of good days on the steroids where I didn’t need to take anything for the pain. I still had a headache but it was more mild than normal. Unfortunately, as I weaned off of the steroids my headaches came back full force and I ended up with another migraine week. I’ve had to take a couple sick days or leave early in the past few weeks because the pain has been unbearable.

My neurologist also upped the dosage of my preventive medication that I’ve been on for 9 months or so. I’m really hoping this helps!

We ended my appointment with talking about Amiovig which is an injectable migraine medication that was released in 2018. I’ve done a ton of research on Amiovig and am unsure if I’m willing to try it. I could experience some serious side effects and I’m deathly afraid of needles so I’m not sure how I’d handle giving myself a monthly injection. I’m still weighing the pros and cons but am excited that he’s willing to try something new! Have you tried Amiovig?

I’m feeling pretty hopeful after this last appointment. I just have to keep advocating for myself and fighting for a pain-free existence.

Footer

Photo by Yuris Alhumaydy on Unsplash

September According to my iPhone

IMG_4725

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.

IMG_4749

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!

IMG_4751

IMG_4824

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.

IMG_4760

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

IMG_4763

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.

IMG_4782

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

IMG_4798

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.

IMG_4812

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.

IMG_4822

Lots and lots of baby cuddles from my nieces. ❤

IMG_4829

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

IMG_4835

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?

Footer

Migraine Update: Elimination Diet & New Meds

carolyn-v-dPkn4562j3E-unsplash.jpg

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!

Footer
Photo by Carolyn V on Unsplash

Five on Friday #11

link-hoang-31747-unsplash.jpg

Hooray! We made it to Friday! This was my first week back to work after vacation and I’m exhausted.

  1. Fourth of July is next weeks which means that it’s our biggest airshow week of the season. I’m exhausted just thinking about it! The fourth was always my favorite growing up because both sides of my family would get together to celebrate America and my sister’s birthdays. I loved having everyone together at the lake.
  2. We went to Oregon last week on vacation with my friend, Anna Sophie, and her boyfriend. You might remember her from my study abroad posts. We hadn’t seen each other since leaving London in 2015 so it was so nice to catch up! I’m hoping to write a whole post about our trip soon.
  3. Before vacation I was really motivated on my health and fitness journey. My goal is to not only lose weight but to accept my body at every stage along the way. I’ve spent the past couple of years being really terrible to myself with the way I talk about and treat my body and I know that needs to stop. Body image is a huge issue in our current culture and I’ve really had to step back from social media in order to get my head back in a good place.
  4. Going on vacation has really made me realize that I need to spend more time away from work. My work-life balance has gotten much better since last year but I still worry and think about work way too much. I need to step back every once in a while and just worry about me.
  5. I had a neurologist appointment on Monday afternoon and I’m thinking about doing a Migraine update post to share what’s been going on. I haven’t done an update post in awhile because there hasn’t been any updates.

Do you have any plans for this weekend?

Footer

Photo by Link Hoang 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?

Footer

Image via American Migraine Foundation