Working with the monster?

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Working with the monster?

Post  pittiemom on Mon May 12, 2014 10:19 am

Just wondering how many of you hold down full time jobs? Do most of you have episodic migraines that are under control with abortive treatments? Those of you with chronic migraines are yours controlled enough that you can work?

I was able to work within my chronic flare ups until 2 1/2 months ago. I woke up with a 9/10 migraine that hasn't given up. I had an occipital freezing treatment last week that gave me a day of "relief". I was down to an 8 for a day, but now I am back to square one. I work from home and am trying to work, but it isn't happening. I can't concentrate- well, you all know how it is. There is only so much TV I can watch LOL!
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Re: Working with the monster

Post  micheletroyer on Mon May 12, 2014 10:53 am

I have been on Disability since 2008, due to the frequency and severity of my migraines.  My treatment team's goal is to get me back working part time, while remaining on disability.  Not sure how that works, but reaching that goal seems impossible.  I do, however, miss my profession (Occupational Therapy) a great deal.  I worked darn hard for that degree, and I can let myself get really angry if I think about it, which only serves to intensify the migraines.

mt
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Re: Working with the monster?

Post  pittiemom on Mon May 12, 2014 12:49 pm

Michele
I know exactly how you feel. I can't imagine what I would do if I was back in an office. However, attempting to concentrate on anything complex makes my migraines worse. I loved my job and I miss my co-workers. They email and call to check on me, but it makes it worse. Right now I am doing about 2 hours of "easy" work (from home) to keep me in the loop. Crying about it and getting angry only intensifies the pain. Ben & Jerry help, though Smile
Angela
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Re: Working with the monster

Post  micheletroyer on Mon May 12, 2014 3:46 pm

Gotta love Ben and Jerry's.  Corn products set off my migraines, so can't eat Chubby Hubby anymore due to the corn syrup. Smile
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Re: Working with the monster?

Post  Seaine on Mon May 12, 2014 7:26 pm

I am one of the lucky ones who has no problem holding a full time job.  I am a zookeeper and have been ever since I graduated with my biology degree in 2009.

Up until last year, I had a problem with my "attitude" at work.  Occassionally my supervisor would speak to me about it.  People thought I did not enjoy being at work and I seemed irritable.  Of course, they had no idea of the pain I was in everyday.  My migraines are daily - the longest time in recent memory I've gone without a migraine is 10 days, which occurred 3 years ago and I have no idea why.  Sometimes there will be a few days scattered around the month where I don't get a migraine.

In retrospect, I am not quite sure how I did as well as I did at work with the pain level being what it was.  I guess maybe it's because I've had migraines since I was 12, and they were daily at extreme pain since I was at least 16.  So maybe I adapted to it?

Since I discovered that artificial food coloring makes my migraines unfathomably more severe, and also gives me many other symptoms, my life has been incredibly better.  Sometimes I'll accidentally eat food coloring, and can hardly believe the pain I'm in and wonder how I dealt with that before.  I moved to a new job last summer and have had no "attitude" problems here, which is of course because I am much better.  My migraines are still daily, but now all I need is 1/4 of an Imitrex per day at the onset.  Sometimes, I will need 1/4 twice per day.

Still searching for more triggers in the hopes that I won't need daily abortives anymore.

There are still a few times per year where I get a very severe migraine that my Imitrex doesn't work on - aside from the food coloring migraines.
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Re: Working with the monster?

Post  jewel6 on Wed May 14, 2014 6:21 pm

I have chronic migraine and am completely disabled by it. Try to stay in the loop with your coworkers as long as you can, because you will miss the daily interaction tremendously.
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Re: Working with the monster?

Post  ConcordGrape on Fri May 16, 2014 6:52 am

I am also not working due to chronic daily migraine. Mine have slowly increased over time from once a month to once a week to headaches daily to M daily. I was interning at a company part-time for 3 months, then switched to a full-time role. As soon as I switched, I began getting daily headaches. The last week I was there, they were daily migraine.

I have found that although I have lost work due to this, it is an open invitation to examine the current state of my life (usually not very good) and change things. I am exercising more, watching everything I eat, staying on a more regular schedule, minimizing stress, doing CBT, and trying to stay positive overall. Typically when working, I cannot control all these factors, hence the crazy migraines, so I am considering jobs where I can set my own hours.

If you are in a job and struggling with daily headache/migraine, definitely let you closest (proximity and relationship) co-workers know that you are in pain. I always appear incredibly irritable when I have a migraine, so it is important to let your co-workers know what is happening before they jump to their own conclusions. Test the waters, and see how they react to determine just how much you tell them.

As many have suggested on here, DON'T TELL YOUR BOSS! I told my boss, thinking she'd be sympathetic because she suffered from chronic back pain, and I was fired at the end of the week.

I received a lot of suggestions from others on how to cope while I was still working--take frequent breaks, walk around, eat and drink often, stretch, relax throughout the day--and I found they has minimal effect once I was already in the migraine cycle. The key is preventing stress and stressors in the first place. If you learn to manage stress, as I am doing now with CBT, you will have a much better time working with headache/migraine.

Good luck!
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