Working with migraine. How do you cope?

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Working with migraine. How do you cope?

Post  sevdah on Mon Sep 02, 2013 1:18 am

I'm 23 and have really bad migraines since.. well, the beginning of this year. Before that I had them once or twice a month, but since February one out of three days I'm with migraine. At some point I decided that this is the perfect time to try to become a freelance graphic designer and illustrator and for a month or two it worked just fine and I was very busy. But than came the summer and all at once my phone got silent and I didn't get a single email all summer. Now I feel like I want to give up on this and I want to get back to work - any work! - so badly (right now my husband is supporting me and I feel guilty all the time). I have a dream of becoming a pilates instructor, but I need to work on my flexibility and strength for a few more months before that and just the thought of being unemployed until then is killing me. I've tried 4 preventive medications for migraine and I don't know how many painkillers - nothing works and now my doc said I need to take a break for a month or two before trying something else. I want to try some herbs and stuff since I'm tired of side effects, but for the moment I just can't find anything.

I feel like all of my friends are tired of listening to my problems and since I don't know anyone in real life with a migraine (so no one to ask for advice) I decided to see how do you cope with working. Working out when I can and running are the things that are keeping me positive so for the most part I'm optimistic but there are days like this when I just don't know what to do next and I feel stuck.

sevdah

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Re: Working with migraine. How do you cope?

Post  dcook60 on Mon Sep 02, 2013 11:09 am

here's my story, which may give you a bit of hope....

my M's started at age 29, when my body had the insult of what was probably lyme disease.  i've now coped with them for 44 years.  i raised 5 children, often with not much help from their dad, although he provided an adequate living.

husband was not at all understanding.  i find it ironic and funny that his "new wife" of 13 years now has them also!  what goes around comes around?

blessedly, i did not have to work til the youngest child was 4, and then it was part-time.  i was barely keeping my head above water, with housework, kids (2 hyperactive sons) etc.  

life goes on, and now i'm 73 and still working.  actually, working more than ever; 30 hours/week.  it's easy work, for the most part, doing home-care of the even-more-elderly-disabled than myself.  it involves a lot of driving, so even if my head is killing me, i have to divorce myself from the pain and concentrate on the (awful) drivers where i live.( i've been hit twice in the past 3 years.)  one learns to do that, with long experience.  distract oneself from the pain, i mean.

i will have to work til the day i drop, and for me, this is good, as it gives me a deadline.  otherwise, i might just fiddle around the house accomplishing very little.   how can i do this, you ask?  because for the past 12-14 years i have taken a triptan almost daily.  these are my savior drugs.  they never take all the pain away, but they allow me to function.

i've been through all the preventives and pain drugs, and like you said, none are worth a thing.  having been to the ER through all the years, too many times to count, i NEVER got any help there.  once a migraine gets beyond a certain point, nothing in this world is going to make it quit except time.  if i take a triptan in time, then i'm good to go.

also, as i have reported in the past weeks, coconut oil (yes, oily, coconutty, liquid off a spoon) has helped quite enormously.  oh, i still have sinus infections every 2 months, which set me back, and fibromyalgia which flares up.  i guess i'm so used to pain that it only stops me in my tracks occasionally.  

for me, diet is THE all-important clue to prevention.  everyone has different triggers.  you have to persevere and keep a diet record to see if you can figure that part out.  many good wishes to you!  you have a support system and husband, and this is vital.  do NOT feel guilty for not contributing to the family income.  you would if you could, and hopefully will find your ways to cope very soon.  dianne
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Re: Working with migraine. How do you cope?

Post  sevdah on Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:27 am

Dianne, you truly are the sweetest. Thank you for your message! I'm so sorry you had to go through all this pain, physical and emotional with the non-supportive husband.
It really does give me hope you've found something that gives you relief and you can work. Sometimes I think all these drugs don't actually work for anybody at all. I feel like the only way I can start working again (even freelancing probably, since I find it hard to meet deadlines) is to figure out my triggers or find something that works for me. I saw your message about the coconut oil, I love it for my skin and hair and sometimes I put it in my smoothie, but I still haven't committed to eating a spoonful every single day. Will have to try that along with a few other things I read about in a medical book about natural remedies (it suggest trying one of the following: Feverfew, an extract that provides 0,25-0,50 mg of parthenolide daily; Common Butterbur, 50-100 mg Petadolex daily, taken with food; or ginger (fresh, around 10 g daily or dry - 500 mg 4 times a day).
I still haven't figured out a single food trigger and that makes it a bit difficult to me. I've had cheeses, red wines, beer, chocolate, figs, chinese food (so MSG) and other common triggers quite a few times and nothing happens. But I guess figuring them out takes quite some time.
Strange this is, I feel like my migraine is not something permanent, not something that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Probably because both my mother and aunt had them and around of after giving birth they both had their last migraine and are free from pain for 20+ years. I'm thinking maybe my migraine is connected to some kind of hormonal dis-balance (I know for a fact that my prolactine is out of norm and soon will check other hormones as well. Maybe if I fix them everything will get back to normal?). So I have some acceptance issues as well. : ) Anyway. I feel better now, thanks again for your time and your sweet sweet post.

sevdah

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Re: Working with migraine. How do you cope?

Post  dcook60 on Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:06 pm

sevdah, i'm so glad i could help a little. maybe you'll find that feverfew or petadolex or ginger WILL help you; they do help a minority of folks. the problem remains, with migraine, that there are so many different causes, or even a complex combination of causes. no wonder most doctors want to throw drugs at us and get us out of their offices asap!

coconut oil is so EASY; hope you will give it a try. 2 T./day seems to be the magic dose for many conditions. i can only take 1 T. but others take up to 4T./day. experiment! life is the great experiment, eh?!

please let us know whether you are about to figure out the hormone situation (mine had nothing to do with hormones, but many peoples' do, of course) and update when you can. keep reading and studying here, the best place on the web imho.

and i truly hope you are correct in thinking that your M's will be temporary. dianne
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Re: Working with migraine. How do you cope?

Post  sevdah on Thu Oct 10, 2013 2:24 am

Wow, it's working. At least for now it is. I was taking 5-HTP, magnesium, B6, Feverfew, olive + coconut oil and felt so good, I only had 6 migraines that month! I've found this treatment in a book and am not so sure how long can I take it, so for now I'll take a break. Don't know if it's the wisest thing to do, but I don't know where to find a doc to consult with and also the lady in the pharmacy said it's okay to take them for a month. Well. So the good news is, I can work again! I started working as an illustrator on a big project which makes me feel sooo good. And now I'm thinking about trying to find a regular job after I'm finished with the project. But I guess I'll have to wait and see. I've had "good" months pain-wise so many times. I just hope that's not a period and the pills are actually working.
Just thought I might share. I always find such comfort when someone shares their success story. (Right now, I can feel a migraine developing, haha, the irony. But I'll make myself a strong cup of coffee and maybe that will stop it.)

sevdah

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Re: Working with migraine. How do you cope?

Post  Seaine on Thu Oct 10, 2013 4:42 am

You may also want to try a new possible food trigger, artificial food coloring. I've had migraines since 12, 26 years old now, and probably everyday for about 10 years. When I randomly tried cutting out artificial food coloring (red #40, yellow #5, the stuff with numbers), my migraines got about 90% less painful, the nausea went away, no more constant IBS symptoms, and my emotions even got more stable. I still take Imitrex of course, it's not 100% solved, but now my Imitrex works in 20min flat and I'm fine for the rest of the day whereas before it didn't work well. Just wanted to mention a food trigger you might not have heard of.
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Re: Working with migraine. How do you cope?

Post  ConcordGrape on Wed Oct 23, 2013 1:43 am

You should totally go for being a Pilates instructor! Exercise works wonders to prevent migraines, and I'm sure becoming an instructor requires a large number of hours of training--that should be plenty to improve your flexibility & strength Smile

Don't doubt yourself! I know migraines make that easy for us to do, but mental strength goes both ways, so stay positive!
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Working with migraine: how do you cope?

Post  doximom on Thu Nov 14, 2013 7:51 am

I understand how you feel. We all do!

My migraines started at age 23 also. I was sitting at work one day, a very exciting job for an airline based in NY City, and I got my first classic aura. I thought my eyeball was falling out. Then the headache. Then the nausea. Then the doctor told me what it was. I got this type of migraine a few times a year for about 10 years.

They disappeared during and after pregnancy, so I know mine were (and still are) hormonal. At around age 38 or so, I had 2 children and was working part-time as a yoga instructor. Suddenly my migraines became much more frequent, and different -- no more aura, much more severe pain but less nausea. But that pain stopped me in my tracks. So much so, that I developed anxiety and quit teachng yoga because I felt like I couldn't help others if I couldn't help myself. Which of course put us in a financial bind... it's all related. A snowball effect.

At 42 or so, they again got a little more predictable and I finally got meds that work for me -- Relpax and Frova. Both triptans. I was able to start working full-time and I am still working today. I am 48 years old. We are still catching up financially from the years I was not able to work, and I have 1 kid in college and one going to college next year. So it's very tough. But I am so grateful for the one and only doctor who gave me the right medication -- like Dianne, they do not take the pain away completely but I am able to function to the point where I very rarely miss a day of work. They are not quite as severe as before, and not as nauseating, so I believe they are getting a little better as I get older (knock wood) because they are hormonal in nature. I will say though, that my sister's migraines actually have gotten worse after menopause, which is pretty damned disheartening.

Everyone is different and you have to figure out the regimen that works for you, preventatively and acutely. Staying fit and strong really helps -- while it won't take away the fact that you get migraines, you will be better at coping with them. Don't worry -- you are in good company and we all wish you the very best!

Mary

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