Migraines and work

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  • #40359
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    Editorial Team
    Participant

    Welcome to the Migraines and work Forum

  • #41836
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    Ellen
    Participant

    Cynthia, I’m so sorry you’re having such a tough time mixing Migraines and work. I know I did too. I found I had to change jobs to be able to function normally again. It was a very sad time for me because I loved my job, but I loved the job I ended up doing afterward too. I have since had to move on even from that job, but once again, was able to find a job that suited me even better. Diana Lee, another patient advocate here might be able to give you more information on the legalities of functioning within your job. I’ll email her and see if she’d like to jump into this conversation if you’d like :)

    • #46754
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      mymaybelife
      Participant

      My migraines have been getting so bad im unable to hold a job as a medical assistant. Im crushed. The last position lasted 2 weeks. On second week i told new job i had migrain on mon morning. I left to get injection at drs office, came back and worked until taking their advice to go home a little early. A few days later they let me go, saying i just wasnt the right fit! I began a sales position latly and fear i will have migrain and miss work and not be the right fit again! My anxiety is so severe a panic. I feel so useless and out of control, not knowing when i will be bound to bed for days at a time. My triggers are hormones, weather, light sensitivity. Im very worried about it leading to a stroke. It terrifies me. I used to power through if i had to or was able. Now im worried for stroke so im extra careful. I hate making plans not knowing if i will make it. I live a maybe life! I have little support so im trying this group.

  • #41837
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    Dawn Gilbert
    Participant

    I don’t understand how migraines and work can co-exist either. Unfortunately, when I have a migraine, I can’t eat, speak, or even get out of bed for anything more than to run to the bathroom to vomit every 30-45 minutes for atleast 48 hours, sometimes longer. Aside from the throbbing pain in my head, I also suffer from, nausea, vomiting, tingling in the my lips and fingers, blurred vision, and complete body weakness. It drives me totally insane when I hear people who have a regular headache claim to have a migraine and go through their day as they normally would. Just last week, I suffered from a migraine that I woke with on sunday morning. Monday morning I was still in bed and vomiting with the throbbing headache and was not able to go to work. Finally late monday night, the vomiting stopped and I started feeling a little better. Tuesday I struggled to pull myself together and off to work only to leave half way through the day. Of course no one wants to believe that I do actually suffer from true migraines, they say migraines don’t last that long, are you sure you don’t have the flu, or they say I get migraines all the time too, but never missed a day because they couldn’t stop vomiting or couldn’t open their eyes. It infuriates me to no end. they ask if i have seen a doctor. I felt like saying no, I self diagnosed a regular headache as a migraine. Of course I have seen a doctor and several specialists, they are real migraines that I have been receiving treatment for for several years. The more I hear people who have never experienced a true migraine say their typical every day headache is a migraine and hear the doubt in their voice when I explain why I couldn’t come to work with the migraine, the more my blood boils. Has anyone else expereinced the same?

  • #41838
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    sdavis
    Participant

    This mixture is stressing me out.. which in turn makes my migraines worse. I am either worried about getting a migraine before I go to work or while I am at work. Trying to be here and work a 40+ hr job, be a mother and wife and having 3-5 migraines a week is enough to push anyone over the edge. My Dr tells me that I can go on intermitten FMLA so I submit my paperwork to his office. My HR department here at work just got them back. He excused 2 days of absences from the first of March and says I shouldnt have to miss any more work or need anymore treatments in the next year. So now my job is on the line and I have to fight with him to hopefully get them filled out correctly! If I had my choice I would give up my career and go home and rest, take care of myself and get healthy. I am stuck in a bad cycle and I don’t see it stopping anytime soon! I wish anyone who has to work and suffer with migraines at the same time all the luck in the world and prayers!

    Staci

  • #41839
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    sdavis
    Participant

    Oh and I forgot to mention.. I truely enjoy advising my boss that I have a migraine and need to leave work and his response is always “another one”?? Last time I checked migraines werent limited and if they are I sure should be at the end of my alloted amount!

  • #41840
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    Diana-Lee
    Participant

    SDavis, you absolutely did the right thing by establishing your right to FMLA leave. You might be interested in this article to make sure your rights are being respected with respect to your FMLA leave: http://migraine.com/blog/migraine-law/the-family-medical-leave-act-migraine-patients/

  • #41841
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    sdavis
    Participant

    Diana

    I have given my dr FMLA paperwork for the second time and I am praying the second time is a charm. I have an upcoming appointment at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville where I will be gone for at least 3 days. I advised my boss of the this time and he said I am not allowed to be gone at that time due to him being on vacation..

    Needless to say this really bothers me in regards to the stability of my job but I have got to go and get some help. I am suffering daily from migraines and can’t keep on like this. I will go to the scheduled appointment with Mayo regardless of my FMLA or my bosses permission. Mayo is currently scheduling something in July but happen to have a cancellation for April 28th. This isn’t the type of situation where you just say, sorry that time doesn’t work for me. Sometimes you have to think about yourself and your health. No one else is feeling this pain but me and I know I can’t handle much more!

    Staci

  • #41842
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    ladykricket
    Participant

    I have a question about social security disability. Has anyone been approved the first time they applied? I applied back in January and just got a letter from SSDI to create a password. I did so and it took me to my benefits and it shows that I am to get monthly direct deposits. I never expected to get approved as I have heard that it takes so long to be approved and they did it in 5 months.

    The thing is I just had to go back to work on Monday or I would have been terminated. Now I don’t know what to do. Can you work and collect SSDI or do I need to call them and tell them that I was forced to go back to work. I can’t live on what they are going to give me so it’s not like I can quit my job. Does anyone know what I need to do?

  • #41843
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    Ellen
    Participant

    ladycricket, I wish I had an answer for you. I hope Diana will get a chance to chime back in – she’s great with these kinds of issues! I have heard of a few that have gotten disability the first round, but unfortunately not many. When I I had to quit my job I wanted to apply for SSDI, but when I saw what I was going to have to do, I was simply too sick to do anything about it. I wish I knew then what I know now.

  • #41844
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    Melisa71
    Participant

    2 1/2 years ago, I had several small strokes followed by one major stroke. The diagnosis was, finally, the strokes were caused by my migraines. I worked in a casino, on the main floor with all of the flashing lights, smoke and noise 40 hours/week. 3 months of FMLA for the stroke and I went back to work because I’m a single mom and had to support my 4 kids at home. I was put on Topomax for prevention and Imitrex. The longer I was back at work, the worse my migraines got, the more scared I got, the higher dose the Topomax. I’m up to 200/day. After 5 years of employment, my migraines and I couldn’t take the environment anymore, and I’d missed enough work days that I was terminated in June. I tried repeatedly for intermittant FMLA, my primary care dr didn’t think I needed it. Now, they don’t want to pay me unemployment because I was a “absentee problem”. I got my medical records…nothing that says the environment was a health issue for me, so I can’t use that to fight for my unemployment. I’ve been relying on help from family to pay bills, food stamps, traded my van for a smaller car to save on gas costs when I can afford to drive anywhere. I don’t know what else to do to fight unemployment and let them know that this was a real issue! I’m almost out of my medications (which are several after the stroke)and stress is not my friend. If anyone has suggestions, I’m more than happy to hear them!

  • #41845
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    Diana-Lee
    Participant

    Melisa, I think your best bet at this point is to get a doctor on board who is willing to write a letter detailing the ways in which the environment you worked in caused your need to be away from work. Perhaps that could be your primary care physician, but since that doctor sounds somewhat uncooperative, I’d recommend seeking out a new opinion, preferably from a migraine specialist.

    As far as moving forward, if your migraine disease leaves you unable to work you should consider filing for disability benefits. You can read more about that at these Migraine.com blog posts I’ve written:

    http://migraine.com/blog/social-security-disability-insurance-benefits-the-basics/

    http://migraine.com/blog/living-with-migraine/common-myths-about-applying-for-social-security-disability-benefits/

    http://migraine.com/blog/10-things-you-should-know-about-chronic-migraines-and-applying-for-social-security-disability/

    I hope this helps. Sending you healing wishes and much luck. – Diana

  • #41846
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    Melisa71
    Participant

    Diana~
    Thank you for your suggestions. I do have a neurologist that I have a call into and am awaiting an answer from. I’m hoping for that soon!
    I am able to work, and am itching to get back to doing something more productive and earning a paycheck. But the fast paced, noisy, casino world won’t be it. I have several applications and resumes out there, and in this economy (still) it’s a hurry up and wait game. :)
    Best wishes for a great day~Melisa

  • #41847
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    nikkiwills
    Participant

    I am having a really tough time at work right now. I have been experiencing migraines for the last 8 years, but these last 6 months have been the worst by far. I have missed sometimes 3-4 days per month and in many cases they are all in a row during the same week. I have a lady at work who is bullying me SO badly about them. I even went so far as to forward a few articles from here to my boss about migraines asking if she would be willing to read them to perhaps give her some perspective of what it’s like for those of us with this disease. She said she would read them, but either she lied or it just didn’t sink in because last week I called in on Thursday with a migraine (actually I texted because any slight sound made me want to puke) and she came back with “Well, can you come in anyways? Someone else called in sick too”. Um hello? No I can’t come in I have a MIGRAINE! Then when I called in the next day to say I still was not in any shape to come in she said “Ok well I REALLY need you to be ok for tomorrow so rest up and get better so you can come in ok?” Right. Because I have any kind of control over the situation right? I just hate that people don’t get it. They think it’s a joke or that we are making it out to be more than it really is. As much as I’d hate to wish this pain on anyone I almost wish they could, just once, experience my worst migraine. Maybe then they would get it. Probably not though, too consumed by their ignorance and apathy.

  • #41848
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    nikkiwills
    Participant

    Oh also I should add that I went in on Saturday even though I still wasn’t well enough. I had vertigo and nausea so bad. I lost my balance while at work, fell, ripped my favourite pants and cut my leg. It wasn’t a life threatening gash but that’s not the point. I shouldn’t have been there and they don’t care.

  • #41849
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    Ellen
    Participant

    nikkiwills – it really adds to the burden of this disease when those we count on to understand don’t. It does sound like this person was at least attempting to be polite, but I share your frustration at the situation. At some point I think we all have to figure out where to draw the line. There are simply going to be some people who don’t *get it* and don’t want to try. We still have to live – and work – with them. My own philosophy is to do the very best that I can at all times, don’t make excuses except that it is what it is. If you could change it, you surely would. This person will eventually figure that out. If not, could you contact your human resources personnel and see what can be done?

  • #41850
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    hoopress
    Participant

    So Migraine and work is not going so well for me. Today I was given three options: 1) Leave the office for the assembly line (over 100 degrees on the floor, loud, and standing all day), change of hours – 6 to 2:30(most of my Migraines hit early morning), 2) use all the rest of my intermittent FMLA leave at once, 3) or take short term disability. The last two choices were presented to me with the expectations that I should have all the tests, and doctors visits I needed to get healthy. Oh and also work out the perfect medication. REALLY! I have lived with this disease since 14(20yrs), if it were that easy dont you think I would have been cured by now!! I am at my wits end. I was able to move up a doctor’s appt to have yet another physical, but how do you explain Migraines to someone who is only interested in your performance at work? I do not view the transfer they are suggesting as comparable. I now that transfers are possible while on FMLA, but from a CSR/Sales Coordinator to Assembler on the Manufacturing floor??? Just fustrated- thanks for listening!

  • #41851
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    Ellen
    Participant

    Hoopress, I am so sorry you’re having to deal with this :( Have you considered having your physician write your company a letter explaining your predicament?

  • #41852
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    hoopress
    Participant

    Thanks Ellen! I saw my physician today and he is providing a letter for my employer explaining chronic Migriane and the ongoing treatment it takes. Hopefully it all works out – Thank you!

  • #41853
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    Ellen
    Participant

    Hoopress, please do get back with us and let us know how things go!

  • #41854
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    jbinsley77
    Participant

    I was doing fine with my FMLA until yesterday. I have chronic migraine and clusters too. my clusters were in remission until about 3 wks ago, my neuro is out of the country, (just the right time for it) I have FMLA for work, rarely use it, I try to work through my migraines as best I can and leave when I know I they are about to blow up. but this month obviously has been bad. I have 10 days a month where i can miss up to 6 hrs each day. but their system flagged me already for missing to many fridays and mondays. I have missed 5 days and 1 was a monday and the other a friday. so I have to recert and they want their dr to review my records now. and my time for this month is now pending after they already approved it. I am normally a pretty positive person, but this has me with no where to turn. my husband is the worrier not me. My company has a “no fault” absence policy. but I always come in and then leave for my FMLA. I have a great Neuro but I have heard horror stories about this company that manages our disablility claims and fmla. I don’t know if i should call back and question my case work (if you want to even call him that) and tell him that I am not coming in late, that I will gladly show him my timesheets, whatever. I just don’t trust another dr looking at my medical records. (that for all I know they could get some quack thing I guess)

  • #41855
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    sylvan629
    Participant

    I have a really difficult acting supervisor,and we just do not hit it off,I recently appilied for FMLA,it was approved. I can miss up to 3 days a week,no limit on how many times in a month….this has helped but my supervisor questions me constantly,,uh,you didn’t have a migraine when you came to work,what happened? If I call out or have my husband do it she wants to know why I don’t just try to make it in and see how it ges from there…..she is stressing me out causing more migraines…she demanded that I go back to my neuo,and get evidence of having a migraine…..how stupid is that? I used to be a shop steward and I Also was a temporary supervisor,I know the ins and outs of FMLA and sick leave usage…..I am currently taking,Amerge,klonopin,pamelor,zofran for nausea,and percocet as a rescue drug….some times I am having a migraine several times a month….this woman thinks I am just trying to take time off,well no I need my paycheck and have exhausted all of my vacation time and have less then 2 days of sick leave,left….ugh work and migraines do not mix well ……..

  • #41856
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    Ellen
    Participant

    Sylvia – a letter from your neuro probably wouldn’t be a bad idea. Unfortunately, the nature of this disease is that it is essentially a diagnosis of exclusion. We assume you have Migraine because your symptoms match and nothing else can be found to cause them. Someday we will hopefully have genetic testing that will tell the story, but until then many of us find ourselves fighting the daily battle of having to prove what we feel. I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with this…

  • #41857
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    sylvan629
    Participant

    Ellen,thanks for your reply.I have an appt with my neurologist in two weeks,I will def tell her and see what she says…..wouldn’t that be awesome if they came up with a test to prove we have what we say we have,last night after I wrote on here I ended up with a full-blown migraine,took some meds went to bed after praying that it would be gone by morning….who WANTS to lay around all day,and not get paid for it,not me I like to shop way too much…lol

  • #41858
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    Ellen
    Participant

    Sylvia – you make me laugh, lol. I think someday there will be a test FOR Migraine, but until then, hang in there. You know how you feel…

  • #41859
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    rabidreader
    Participant

    I’m in a weird position. Currently unemployed, while I deal with applications for social security disability and federal disability retirement, although I’m trying to find something I’d be able to do in the meantime. My last job, my supervisor was absolutely amazing, but when it got to the point where I could function for a day and a half a week if we were lucky…there was nothing useful I could do. I’m in a branch of engineering that there are jobs, especially with an MS…but they all require site visits. My more painful migraines are usually not very bothered by light and sound, but instead by movement (I always have some level of headache; over the course of a few years, the migraines started getting worse and closer together until they mushed together and just never left).

    But in the meantime, I’m going to have to leave my cats for a time when I move out of my ex-ish fiance’s house over the next month (moving in with my mom as soon as SHE moves, but it’ll be slow, because our stuff is mixed, with a lot that’s not clearly anybody’s anymore), which means I lose both the significant other AND the pets for I-feel-like-crap cuddles at the same time, since daytime visitation’s just not the same. My whole family thinks they have the magic cure if they can just force me into whatever behavior they want. My fed retirement application’s on hold while I figure out what to do about the doctor with ALL OF THE MIGRAINE TREATMENTS who won’t fill out the form unless I come in for an office visit, despite what he explicitly told me in my last visit. I checked, because it was important, since I can’t just pop into a Virginia Beach doctor’s office for a visit (home is now Atlanta). So, so, so frustrating.

  • #41860
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    Ellen
    Participant

    Emily – Hang in there. Remember that this is a journey, not a destination. Baby steps are slow, but if you take each tiny baby step at a time, eventually you will get where you need to be.

    Have you contacted your doctor’s office and requested a phone consultation yet? This will allow you a few moments to remind him that you no longer live there, but that he agreed to assist you with this issue before you moved.

    Just an idea…

  • #41861
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    rabidreader
    Participant

    Any phone consultations go through the nurse-from-hell – you ask her the question, then she calls you back with an answer. I’ve never successfully been able to get the doctor on the phone. But since then, I decided to just quit worrying about them, and get my neurologist here to fill it out. I’ve seen him a few times, and he’s done an MRI, EEG, and cognitive tests (those mostly to make sure the amount of medication I’m on hasn’t made me a zombie). He’s got all the old records and I’m sure he’ll support me in this. Once I get that back, and probably get some from a couple of my other doctors (I’d missed a paragraph that wanted medical stuff from within 60 days of filing), I’ll have the whole thing together and ready to send in. So that can be moving along in parallel with my SS disability appeal (technically in reconsideration now, but I know very few decisions are reversed there) that’s being handled by an attorney from the start.

    I’m not as flustered as I was when I last posted, but still not great – it’s hard dealing with this on top of the end of a 4-year relationship with the subsequent move and division of shared stuff. And as much as I like my mom, I’m not thrilled to be moving back in with her. It would be one thing if I could have my own section – I lived in her basement for a while a few years ago, and that was fine. But this house has no basement or upper floor, so I just have a room. And no cats. And no job to save up and get my own place.

  • #41862
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    naolstaylor
    Participant

    I suffered with abdominal migraines as a child and now at 37, I have full fledged chronic daily migraine. I’m having about 25 a month right now. I’ve been to Mayo Clinic in Jacksonsville who said nothing could be done. Maybe try relaxation techniques. And I was sent home. I finally got in with Emory in Atlanta after waiting 8 months who have suggested doing the Occipital Nerve Blocks. Nothing else is really left. With that being said, work and I are headed for WWIII. I requested a place to lie down during an attack…which my aura affects vision and speech and even droopy left eye and face. I was told to ask my assistant if I lie in her floor? Really? I work at a college with medical rooms with tons of cots….and I can’t use one? I have 22 emails asking about FMLA. I used it for 12 months. It’s renewed again, but wait….they just told 2 weeks prior to renewal that it was the Rolling method, and counted backwards. I sent 4 more letters asking what that meant. I got 4 different answers. I had to press to get that. My original FMLA was written for 1-3 days a month. With this spell for the last year, I spend 3 days at least at doctors or the ER, and 3 more out cause I can’t even see to drive my 40 minute commute. My next request was to be positioned at another college satellite campus that is 2 miles from home. At least I could get someone to drive me. The person in the current position lives where I WORK. We would just swap and neither would have a commute. I was told NO, the other person liked her office and it wasn’t as busy as mine. Geesh. My third request was the lighting-please could I remove a few UV bars over my desk. Nothing but yeah they think maintenance would do it. I’m an instructor and Academic Advisor. I stand 10 hours a day. I can’t even do anything past 2 hours without being sick and having to rest and take medicine. Sorry for the rant. I’ve cried. I’m going to try to go in tomorrow. Who knows? I could wake up thinking my head is in a French guillotine? It’s not even living day to day anymore…..it’s truly hour to hour. Maybe I have a pain free one? Maybe I wont? Maybe the nerve blocks will help. My next option is Dr Reed in Texas. Good luck to you all. I’ve never known anything so frustrating yet discouraging. I just need some advice how to handle FMLA? Should I do ST Disability? Or apply for disability? I don’t know what to do. I’ve always scored great on reviews with work. I’m a good worker and love my job…I just need to be able to see how to drive there.?!! Geesh.

  • #41863
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    Nancy Bonk
    Moderator

    Hi naolstaylor,
    I’m sorry you are having such an awful time with work and migraines right now. You mentioned that you’ve been to various clinics, but I wonder if you’ve seen “true” migraine specialists – the doctors that are board certified in headache medicine? Just because they say they are a headache specialist doesn’t necessarily make it so. Let me first give you some information on how to find a true migraine specialist; http://migraine.com/blog/the-mrf-directory-of-headache-and-migraine-specialists/ and http://migraine.com/blog/looking-for-a-migraine-specialist/
    As far as work goes, Diana has some helpful information I can give you, but I’m wondering if in addition to emails, it may be time to set up a meeting with the HR department to go over the FMLA. Just a thought. We do have info on the American with Disabilities Act that requires employers to help their employee with certain accommodations; http://migraine.com/migraine-basics/ada-accommodations-the-workplace/
    FMLA information can be found in this link; http://migraine.com/migraine-basics/social-security-disability-insurance-benefits/. I hope this helps, let me know what you think, OK?

  • #41864
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    2mnyheadaches
    Participant

    My migraines are getting more frequent I’m having 12 to 15 full blown migraines a month, I am working with my neurologist to find a preventative medication that works for me, but so far no luck. I am going to walk-in clinics once a month for a shot of nubain when the migraine has gone on for days and I can’t take it anymore. I miss at least 1 day of work a month which is frowned upon by my employer. I am considering trying to go to the Migraine Treatment Center in Dallas. Does anyone have an experience with this? I too experience anxiety about missing work or getting a headache and having to leave work, but I have to work to support my family. I try to be tough and push through the pain and keep going to perform my “normal” activities but I think that just makes my condition worse. I don’t know what to, if I was to take FMLA I would not be paid during that time which would create a financial burden on my family. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  • #41865
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    Ellen
    Participant

    2mnyheadaches – noalstaylor’s post right above this has some excellent links you might want to read in case there is helpful information there you can use. I wish I could tell you an experience about the clinic you are looking at, however I’ve never been there myself so don’t have any firsthand knowledge I’m afraid. Hopefully someone else might chime in with more to say though :)

  • #41866
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    erickaericson
    Participant

    This is my first time posting here and I am glad to see the support from everyone! I have been working for six months at my current employer and yesterday had to call in due to a migraine I got the previous day at work(was unable to leave). My manager not only sounded annoyed but is now in the process of hiring someone else and she is going to cut my hours…and on top of that I am being written up! I am so frustrated because chronic migraines are not something I chose to live with and I definitely don’t get to decide when I get one. What can I do? This doesn’t seem very fair at all =/

  • #41867
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    Nancy Bonk
    Moderator

    Welcome to the forum~! I’m sorry you’re having such a difficult time with your supervisor. Is this the first time you’ve had this problem? Have you tried discussing your migraines with your supervisor, maybe supply a note from your doctor?

  • #41868
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    Ellen
    Participant

    eriicka – I have contacted one of our advocates – Diana Lee – who is an attorney and is super good at helping patients like you learn the best way to deal with these kinds of issues. Sometimes it’s just a matter of education, but other times it really takes a heavier hand. I hope your issues are of the education variety <3

  • #41869
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    rilniski
    Participant

    i have intermintent FMLA for wwhen I absolutely need it and stay home when I have to. I know how you are feeling sometimes migraines and work just don’t mix. And it really makes my blood boil when people who have ordinary headaches claim to have migraines and say they still go to work.

  • #41870
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    Nancy Bonk
    Moderator

    Hi rilniski

    It is great when FMLA works like it was designed to.

    Yes, we have a long way to go regarding migraine and its stigma.

  • #41871
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    erickaericson
    Participant

    Ellen and Nancy, thank you for the support and advice! My manager was disinterested in a note from my doctor but I think I am going to have her write me one next time I go in anyway. My hours ended up being cut but not drastically, though any loss is unfortunate. The few days following my absence at work were especially frustrating because I was threatened with being written up and was left multiple notes about how I am a bad worker(pretty immature, imo).

  • #41872
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    Ellen
    Participant

    eriika – I think the doctor’s note is a good way to go. The employer may be disinterested, but they will notice it. I’m sure they need an employee they can count on, but there are different ways of handling a situation like this. Have you discussed other possibilities with him/her? Have you talked to your doctor about what they might suggest?

  • #41873
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    MsMillie
    Member

    Hello – first time poster here.

    I was on short-term disability for 3 weeks in 2011 after my doctor recommended some time off to recover from stress-related migraines. I felt really guilty about it because my supervisor at the time really had it out for me. I remember calling the office to say that I passed out and went to the emergency room the day before. She called me and the first thing she said was, “What’s the status of your project assignment?” Not even a “Hi, hope you’re feeling better.”

    Anyways, since then, I have been feeling guilty whenever I take sick leave. I am at a different job now but still suffer from migraines, perhaps even more frequently than before. I used up all my sick leave and am now dipping into my annual leave. There are so many days where I know that I shouldn’t be driving a vehicle, or feel nauseous during a work meeting, but I am afraid of being labeled as a “slacker” so I will stick it out, probably much to my detriment in the long-run.

    No one at my current job has accused me of slacking off, and my new colleagues have actually been quite supportive in saying “go home” if I don’t look well. But it’s something that I need to get over from my last experience. I feel that I may need to have a doctor write a note again for 2 weeks’ leave (whether it’s paid or unpaid, I don’t care).

    I am 28 years old and I am currently working full-time. But my migraines make me so miserable that I am considering working part-time. I’m not sure how I can financially make it on part-time hours, however.

  • #41874
    Avatar Image
    Ellen
    Participant

    MsMillie – A couple things for you hon…

    Are you seeing a board certified Migraine and headache specialist? Here is a link that has places to go to find out if your doctor is listed as well as where to go to find one that is. http://migraine.com/blog/looking-for-a-migraine-specialist/

    Also, are you on preventive medicines? It sounds like you might be having Migraines frequently enough to warrant this type of treatment. Have you discussed it with your doctor yet?

  • #41875
    Avatar Image
    Nikirae14
    Participant

    I have had chronic migraines since the birth of my first son (who is in college now) and spend all of those years as a working mom. My kids learned to be understanding. Bosses didn’t. I left my job of 10 years last month because of the bullying I had been experiencing from my supervisor. She seemed to think she had migraines, however all she had to do to cure hers was drink a Gatorade. I HATE when people hijack migraine to mean any kind of headache! I would give anything to just have a headache.

    Anyway, I have a 2nd interview today and I think I am more afraid of GETTING the job than I am of the interview. Facing rush hour traffic every day, trying to work with this disease, people who just don’t understand what a blessing it would be for me to ONLY have 2 or 3 migraines a week instead of 5 or 6.

    I am thinking of doing an online medical transcription course. A job I could do at home would at least allow me to control the noise/light/activity level in my work environment.

  • #41876
    Avatar Image
    Nancy Bonk
    Moderator

    Nikirae14,

    That’s a very good idea. Working from home can be the answer for many people with chronic illness. While working at home you will be able to work when you feel well enough to, at your own pace and you can avoid your triggers but modifying your home office. :)

  • #41877
    Avatar Image
    melissaatooker
    Participant

    I am a long time chronic migraine sufferer. I get on average 15 a month. I’ve always had a very supportive boss. He has allowed me to take extra days and HR has gotten me a place to nap. Both have been super helpful. Today I just learned that my position is being moved into New York City. Which is like a minefield of migraine triggers for me. Noise, perfume, lights, etc. Not to mention a hour and a half commute 1 way rather than my current 15 minutes. Imagine sitting on a train trying to get home during an attack. Not something I ever want to do. So now I am in a position to continue with my job and potentially suffer even more migraines or take a severance package. I’m leaning towards taking the package because my health is most important to me. No one I knows understand the extent of living with chronic migraines and thinks I should keep my job. So any suggestions, encouragements would be helpful.

  • #41878
    Avatar Image
    Nancy Bonk
    Moderator

    Hi Melissa,

    This is a very personal decision one I’m sorry to say you need to make on your own. Now having said that, I would approach this like anything else I do – make a pros and cons list and see what happens. Writing the pros and cons down on paper so you can clearly see the picture may put things in perspective for you, one way or the other.
    There are so many considerations when making this kind of decision; will you be able to find other work within a short period of time in your industry, do you have savings that can help sustain you until you get job, do you have a partner who helps with the bills or are you by yourself? Is there any chance of working from home a few days a week instead of commuting every day? Bad part about the train during an attack is all the noise and lights – good part is you won’t be driving :)

    You are right, our health is most important because with out that we don’t have much.

    My other thought is what kind of doctor are you seeing now? Is it time to see a migraines specialist?

    Let me know your thoughts,
    Nancy

  • #41879
    Avatar Image
    Nancy Bonk
    Moderator

    Hi Melissa,

    This is a very personal decision one I’m sorry to say you need to make on your own. Now having said that, I would approach this like anything else I do – make a pros and cons list and see what happens. Writing the pros and cons down on paper so you can clearly see the picture may put things in perspective for you, one way or the other.
    There are so many considerations when making this kind of decision; will you be able to find other work within a short period of time in your industry, do you have savings that can help sustain you until you get job, do you have a partner who helps with the bills or are you by yourself? Is there any chance of working from home a few days a week instead of commuting every day? Bad part about the train during an attack is all the noise and lights – good part is you won’t be driving :)

    You are right, our health is most important because with out that we don’t have much.

    My other thought is what kind of doctor are you seeing now? Is it time to see a migraines specialist?

    Let me know your thoughts,
    Nancy

  • #41880
    Avatar Image
    melissaatooker
    Participant

    Thanks Nancy.
    I have thought of all of those things. I just feel a little silly I guess which I really should not. I know so many people who would love a fulltime job and just can’t find one and I’m so quick to give mine up.

    After a lot of back and forth and a long talk with my partner. I decided to take the severance. He was very supportive and really encouraged me to take the severance. He hates seeing me in pain and just wants there to be less bad days. Don’t we all.
    I’m a photographer and it is very easy to get freelance work. I have already reached out to past clients and they have said they would love to work with me. Some of them are in nyc but if I know its for 3 days I can usually push thru it.

    I am seeing a migraine specialist. One of the best in my region. I drive 1.5 to see her. I have been working with her for about a year. We just haven’t found the right preventative. Since seeing her my migraines go away quicker and are less on the pain scale but I’m still seeing a lot of them.

  • #41881
    Avatar Image
    Nancy Bonk
    Moderator

    Hi Melissa,

    Congrats on making a difficult choice, but one that is right for you! Your partner sounds so supportive, that’s wonderful.

    I’m thrilled to hear you are seeing a migraine specialist.

    It’s really nice to read that you seem to understand it may take some time to find the right treatment plan. I’m afraid many of us want our pain to disappear overnight and that may not happen. Baby steps and setting goals are much better options then setting ourselves up for unattainable ideals.
    Keep us posted on your progress, OK?

  • #41882
    Avatar Image
    melissaatooker
    Participant

    Thank you! Today is my last day at my job and then I immediately go to my neurologist.

    After having migraines my whole life I know its a constant struggle. Some years are better than others and its a lot of trial and error. This year just happens to be a bad one. Shooting for under 10 migraines a month, I’ve done it once in the last 6 months. There are days I just want a normal brain but my struggle with migraines has made me who I am. Its very nice to have finally found other people who understand. I feel not so alone in this. I will definitely keep you posted.

  • #41883
    Avatar Image
    Ellen
    Participant

    melissaatooker – Good luck in making this big change. I remember when I had to stop working. I loved my job, but I had to do something. At least you have someone who is there to support you and help when needed. Hang in there and yes, I hope you’ll let us know how things are going. We’ll keep fingers and toes crossed for you…

  • #43113
    Avatar Image
    MsMillie
    Member

    Most people just don’t understand migraines. They group them into the regular headache category and throw some Tylenol my way thinking that’ll solve the problem.

    At work, we have some field trips that are, inevitably very long days with lots of walking around outside and mealtimes are never set for sure. With the hot summer months coming up, this is a prime condition for migraine, so naturally I dread this trips. Fortunately they are not mandatory, so usually I opt to staying in the office on those days. Some coworkers ask why I’m not going to these things, and I say because I’m afraid I won’t be feeling well (it’s true). Today one replied, half jokingly, “excuses excuses.. convenient excuses…”

    I know she was joking but that is probably the worst thing to say to a migraineur. Many of us are hardworking overachievers and don’t want to be seen as slackers. This just adds to the vicious cycle. Sigh. Some people don’t understand.

  • #43222
    Avatar Image
    Ellen
    Participant

    MsMillie – I’m so sorry you have to work in a toxic environment. This certainly isn’t helping your situation out at all I’m sure. There are many articles here on Migraine.com that can possibly help your co-workers understand your Migraines. Here are a couple of links for you:

    The Migraine Dirty Dozen http://migraine.com/blog/the-migraine-dirty-dozen-things-not-to-say-to-a-chronic-migraineur/

    I know this one sounds like it might not apply, but it really might be helpful: 10 Things Migraine Families Wish Their Schools Understood http://migraine.com/blog/10-things-migraine-families-wish-their-schools-understood/

  • #43366
    Avatar Image
    nyc329
    Participant

    I work in a Mental Health Agency as a Coordinator and am so saddened and frustrated that when I have had to take leave whether its for a week, a day… or two weeks due to my migraines… that I hear ” she’s out again” or I am told that the other Coordinator ” ran my team and her team” I already have a supervisor who lacks compassion and who doesn’t do it blatantly, but penalizes me nonetheless, by denying my requests to attend conferences and to participate in committees…I already feel guilty when I have to call in because of my migraines, which increases my anxiety, and the tension in my neck, shoulders… etc… I keep telling myself, four more years and I will be vested, then I can leave there and do private practice and work maybe three days a week… I don’t know if i can make it. I don’t feel well and the stress is making me worse right now. I have Intermittent FMLA at work and because I have had to take unexpected time off because of my migraines and never really take time off for vacations…and my boss has even said she was going to be at times denying those requests because one of the Coordinators needs to be on the unit… even though there are four Coordinators who can cover… again, her not so blatant way of telling me- she’d be watching my time off- I feel like I can only take time off for FMLA. I hate what my job has become…. my husband doesn’t truely get it… we have been together five years, made one year and I have a sixteen year old ( migraine sufferer) daughter and 7 yr old daughter… he doesn’t get how debilitating my migraines really are… and how difficult it is for me to plan, when I may be laid up for five days, under the influence of prescription medication and having the pain behind my eyeball and wanting to somehow detach it from my head… This is no way to live…

  • #43398
    Avatar Image
    Nancy Bonk
    Moderator

    Hi nyc329,

    It’s awful that your boss does not understand migraine disease and clearly makes your work life very uncomfortable. Is there any way you can speak with your boss’s boss in HR? Although it’s hard going over your boss’s head, some situations warrant it.

    The American with Disabilities Act may be useful for you. We have information on this in this link; http://migraine.com/migraine-basics/ada-accommodations-the-workplace/. Maybe there will be some helpful hints for you to work out with your employer.

    Keep us posted on how you are doing, OK?

  • #43513
    Avatar Image
    nas123
    Participant

    I had a visually intensive computer job, not great posture, and anxiety. I had to quit my job, but still wasn’t getting much better. I also had tight muscles in my neck, shoulders and legs. I went to the eye dr. they said I didn’t need glasses, but I still tried getting some just for working on the computer and it didn’t seem to help. I have red fl-41 glasses now because they supposedly can help with migraine, I don’t know if they really help but I have been doing pretty good so I keep wearing them at home. What has helped me the most was Botox injections that I was getting every three months for about a year. Botox may take a while to kick in and help. My injections were at forehead, sides of head and back of neck and shoulders. Also switching from Gabapentin to Lyrica seemed to help as well. My Physical Therapist had me avoid TV, computer, reading and texting for more than 15 minutes in a day for two weeks and I definitely saw results.

    He has had me continue to limit my time on screens and worked on my neck, posture and lower back, etc. I was really bored during the two weeks, but the improvement in my headaches encouraged me to stick with it and find things to do around the house. I seem to be able to tolerate TV watching more when standing than sitting down. I am still not back to normal, but have made a lot of improvement and can work out without paying for it the next day. A LED hdtv we had increased my headache right away, but the Panasonic plasma we got now is better for me and we like the picture better anyway. I am still considering eye/ vision therapy and would appreciate any input on it. I hope this can inform others with similar problems.

  • #43519
    Avatar Image
    Nancy Bonk
    Moderator

    Hi nas123,

    It’s wonderful to hear you are seeing a reducing in your migraine frequency and severity. That is great news and thanks so much for sharing it with us.

    I don’t know much about vision therapy other than a few patients have benefited from it. Hopefully someone will be in to share their experience with you.

    Nancy

  • #43567

    Hey fellow migraineurs,

    I am running into the “Catch 22″ of my migraines plus some new developing symptoms. I have constant vertigo and have to hold on to things when I walk around the office. My boss has been very understanding and I’ve started the paperwork for FMLA/short term disability to cover those times when I can’t get into work.

    I do not have a spouse or children (unless you count my dog), and I am afraid I’ll have to start the disability process. I don’t know how I’ll be able to pay the bills while I’m waiting for the “hurry up and wait” process of disability. What have others experienced during this process?

    Stef

  • #43658
    Avatar Image
    Nancy Bonk
    Moderator

    Hi Stef,

    I’m glad to hear your boss is understanding, that will make your life a bit less stressful.

    I did want to let you know the general rule of thumb is any time we have new and/or different symptoms we need to discuss them with our doctor. If you haven’t done that yet, please contact him next week and let him know what’s going on, OK?

    It’s not easy having a chronic illness and making ends meet, “creative” finances are fun!

    Here is some information that may be helpful;

    https://migraine.com/blog/common-myths-about-applying-for-social-security-disability-benefits/ and https://migraine.com/blog/social-security-disability-insurance-benefits-the-basics/ and
    http://migraine.com/blog/can-you-receive-disability-benefits-if-you-have-migraine-disease/ and https://migraine.com/blog/10-things-you-should-know-about-chronic-migraines-and-applying-for-social-security-disability/.

    Let me know if this helps.
    Nancy

  • #43883
    Avatar Image
    merrie
    Participant

    I just recently got a promotion at work, which I took because my family really needs the money (who doesn’t). However, I am struggling big time and not really confident I am able to stay in this new position which involves a lot longer hours and a lot more responsibility. I am now the gm of a restaurant. I am happy to have made it this far but already regret my decision to accept the job. I don’t know what to do. I have worked for this company for 15 years and don’t want to let them down, but maybe it is better to back out now? Any thoughts?
    Merrie

  • #43942
    Avatar Image
    merrie
    Participant

    Had to go home early from work today. Things are looking up…or not:(

  • #43981
    Avatar Image
    Chris Hicks
    Participant

    Wow, lots of struggles here! It is nice to know that we are not alone. I write this, on my lunch braek, at the office (with a migraine). There are days when I feel like I cannot go on with work, but I do and have. I seem to muddle through with the help of some understanding and compassionate supervisors and directors over the yeras.

    I work in healthcare, currently in a role that combines time in front of the computer with some internal consulting work (observing and interviewing a variety of team members at different locations). Regardless of desk time or field time my migraines (I have Chronic Migraine) get in the way BIG TIME.

    Honestly, I have thought about disability, but never seriously considered it as an option. At 42, married with 4 boys (9 to 17) my family depends on both mine and my wife’s income. The thought of a significant drop leads to some pretty critical financial issues. So, I carry on. Even on days like today, I put in my time and try to contribute and produce as much as I can. Thankfully on my better days I can mostly make up the difference.

    Some days I just want to give up. I want to give up working, give up fighting, give up hope and crawl into a dark room. This is one of those days.

    I want to turn this around and end on a positive note, but I don’t have that perspective at the moment so…

    Take Care,
    Chris

  • #43990
    Avatar Image
    merrie
    Participant

    I have contemplated disability too. Haven’t done it yet, and so far my husband has covered for me at work, but with my new position that is going to change. I had to email my district to say I probably won’t be in tomorrow. He was not impressed. I wish I had nit accepted the new position bc while I am capable in my migraine free times, those are so few and far between. on a different note, can’t figure out why it won’t let me put up a picture here. Oh well, not the most important thing right now. Missed a trip to see my daughter today too.

  • #43997
    Avatar Image
    Nancy Bonk
    Moderator

    It’s hard to be positive when we are in chronic pain. Some days are better than others, and then there are the days that just plain stink!

    We get it, and you don’t have to be positive all the time. This is a safe place to “let it out” and get support.

    Nancy

  • #43998
    Avatar Image
    Nancy Bonk
    Moderator

    Hi merrie,

    It never occurred to me to apply for ssdi, that’s something we just didn’t do, Well, after 10 years of not getting better, that’s exactly what I did and now am on disability. You know what, some days it’s still a hard pill to swallow.

    I’m really sorry you weren’t able to see your daughter. It’s things we look forward to and miss that really take their toll on our lives.

    Let me find out about the avatar issue for you. I’ll let you know as soon as I can,

    Nancy

  • #43999
    Avatar Image
    Nancy Bonk
    Moderator

    Merrie,

    I was just looking at how to change an avatar and wondered if this is what you tried to do:

    In the upper right hand corner of the page, you should see “Welcome merrie”, then Profile, then Inbox, then Log Out, then a ’roundish’ symbol. If you click on that symbol it will take you to the page where you can change your password and avatar. Did you try that and didn’t have any luck?

    I’m off to bed, but I will check in tomorrow afternoon.
    Nancy

  • #44002
    Avatar Image
    Chris Hicks
    Participant

    Nancy, thanks for the encouragement. One of the things I have not done well over the years is to “let it out”. This, of course, feeds back into the cycle of migraines. Keeping thngs in ultimately serves to allow more migraines to be triggered.

    In the spirit of letting it out… Yesterday was horrible. My migraine kept getting worse and worse and worse. I ended up over-medicating and now, today, I still have the migraine, plus the after effects of too much medication.

    I am at work (don’t have any paid time off, PTO, left and cannot afford to miss hours) but feeling really, really bad.

    Another day where I am not sure how I will get through it.

    Postive I cannot be positive today

  • #44003
    Avatar Image
    merrie
    Participant

    I have now had a migraine for four days. Got a hold of my old Dr even though I felt at a dead end with him. He is sending in a script for a steroid taken over two days and hydrocodone? Doubt the last will do anything positive but I am at a dead end. Called out of work again today, my boss was not happy. I am desperate for relief. I have migraines every day anyway, but usually there is some break, not this tIme. And I am vomiting and having diarrhea too joy.

  • #44006
    Avatar Image
    Chris Hicks
    Participant

    Merrie,

    Sorry to hear you are in such a bad spot right now. It sounds like your usual “break” is not happening. I know first hand how rough it can be when you have day, after day, after day… of non-stop pain. I am in a bit of bad stretch too, but not as bad as you right now.

    I hope you find relief with the steroids. Because there is not complete understanding of migraine and chronic migraine one never knows what may be of benefit. Let’s hope this breaks the pain cycle for you!

    As for work, I am sorry your current boss is not understanding. One more stressor is the last thing you need right now!

    Take what comfort you can in knowing that you are not alone and that there is a community here that supports each other through these tough times!

    Take Care,
    Chris

  • #44014
    Avatar Image
    Nancy Bonk
    Moderator

    Hi merrie,

    A few weeks ago I took a three day course of steroids for a migraine cycle I couldn’t break. and you know what, the steroids worked! I was very surprised because I had tried this route before. So may the steroids will work for you!

    Here is some positive thinking coming your way :)

  • #44016
    Avatar Image
    Nancy Bonk
    Moderator

    Hi Chris,

    Sorry it was another rough day….do you feel you have enough support?

    I do want to mention a bit about overmedicating so you’ll be careful. If we take certain pain relievers and/or migraine abortive medication like triptans or egotamines more than two to three days a week, we run the risk of getting medication overuse headache or moh and no one wants that! Moh can make our migraines more difficult to treat and leave us in an unending cycle of pain.

    When you get a minute take a look at this article; http://migraine.com/blog/help-how-can-i-not-overuse-migraine-medications/.

    Nancy

  • #44021

    This weekend I think I’m going to have to make a difficult choice: move back in with my parents. They are currently moving back to Tampa, FL and I wonder if that weather area would be better for me. The midwest certainly doesn’t help when it comes to weather triggers. Here’s the bad part: starting over with a new job, not being able to use FMLA or vacation until a year in, and not knowing if my symptoms will be better or worse. Not to mention the embarrassment of relying on my parents to support me while I get back on my feet. I think this might be the best choice for me though.

    What has everyone else experienced with new beginnings and migraine? Did it help to relocate to escape certain triggers and be closer to family? I’m wondering if just being closer to family will help me more than anything.

    Stef

  • #44029
    Avatar Image
    merrie
    Participant

    Hi themigrainechef. Sorry you are in this position. I don’t really have any words of wisdom. Just wanted to say hey and I know how it feels to be in an untenable position bc of migraines. I am currently in the process of trying to tell my boss…after just having received a promotion :( I don’t know how he will take it and am not looking forward to it. Hope I don’t end up losing my job bc of these things. I take meds, yes even at work, so I don’t have to call out as much but when I do, I do. Justly ended up going to er last night. Finally couldn’t take it. Six hours later I walked out with spasming legs and a slight migraine which was a full blown one again by the time I went to bed.and to top it off have to deal with the intake nurse thinking I am drug seeking despite the fact that I always ask for torodol bc I would rather not deal with the rebound migraine. But now I don’t know bc after they gave me torodol and phenergan, which is my regular anti nauseous med, through iv, I had the restless spasming legs and arms. Not sure which med caused it but it was no fun. They were at the point of giving me narcotics anyway but I said I’d rather just go home to my dungeon ( my bedroom). So that was pretty much a wasted trip although I did get about an hour of less migraine. Anyway hope you are able to come to terms with accepting help from your parents I know it can be hard but you have to do what you have to do to survive.

    Chris, ty for the words of encouragement. I am really having a hard time right now and anything helps. Hope you have seen some improvement from your migraine. The whole idea of botox, the fact that it’s permanent, ie you have to take every three months ad nauseum makes me reluctant to do it. Especially since it is so expensive, and I have had bad reactions to injections like this in the past where the med is a long acting I mean. I am so med sensitive is not even funny. Ok well going to try to sleep or at least rest.

    And Nancy ty too. I have not had good results so far from the steroids (it’s a two day course) but we shall see.

    Merrie

    Ps good thing I read my post after I submit it or auto correct would reek havoc on them. Haha

  • #44036
    Avatar Image
    Nancy Bonk
    Moderator

    Hi Stef,

    Some people have moved to try and avoid weather related triggers. BUT here’s the thing, most of us are triggered by more than just the weather like sleep issues, certain foods, dehydration, skipping meals, certain smells and lights, hormones and many other things. If your move is solely based on trigger avoidance, I’m not sure that is what I would do.

    However, getting support from family is a different story. There is no shame in today’s economy in moving back home, many adult “children” are doing it. In fact my daughter who graduated from college this past December just moved out after living with me for a year. She was less than thrilled to be back home, but knew it was what she had to do. We get along fine, but felt funny telling people she lived at home with “mommy.” And she doesn’t have a chronic illness.

    As long as your family does not add to your stress, it may be a very good idea for you to move back home.

    Nancy

  • #44276
    Avatar Image
    Chris Hicks
    Participant

    Hello to the group!

    I sit here at work this Monday morning suffering with a terrible migraine. This thing is killing me. I am reluctant to take something stronger than my “mid abortives”. Things like Migranal or Imitrex tend to have pretty significant side effects for me. If I were to take one of those, the side effects, plus the migraine would put me in a state where I had to leave work.

    So for now I suffer through, moving at a slow but steady pace, on projects and items that require minimal enthusiasm.

    This is draining me at a rapid rate.

    Take Care,
    Chris

  • #44288
    Avatar Image
    merrie
    Participant

    I can’t stand these things anymore. Just want to cut my head off right now. Obviously won’t, but wish I could.

  • #44295
    Avatar Image
    Chris Hicks
    Participant

    Hello to the group,

    I write this from my home. I am not at work today and I think you all can guess why. The “funny” thing is that the worst day for the migraine pain was yesterday, which I spent at work. I am not sure how i made it through the day. The evening was spent at home zoning out and chilling out. The pain continued.

    This morning I awoke and the migraine was still with me. The intensity of the pain had dropped some, perhaps by a third. But, on top of the pain, I was filled with a sense of exhaustion, being physically mentally and spiritually beaten, a general sense of being defeated. So I called in that I would be late.

    I slipped back into sleep for a couple of hours.

    Now that I am awake I still feel the migraine but it is half of what it was yesterday. I continue to feel extremely exhausted. I am struggling with whether or not I should go into work late. As always, there are tons of things I need to do, that I am responsible for doing, projects that need to move forward. In fact, the natural sense were I go in, would be to work harder and stay later to catch up. I am not sure that would help my migraine. In fact, I am pretty sure it would get worse if I push like that.

    The flip side of this is the inevitable sense of guilt at missing work. It may be unreasonable and unjustified, but I nevertheless find myself feeling it whenever I miss work due to migraine. I am working on letting go of this because it makes no sense and serves no product purpose.

    For me, this is the struggle today, at this moment.

    On a brighter note, as a friend pointed out in a text, I have not missed work due to migraine in a while. I attribute this to two things. First, I can work through all but the most devastating migraines. Two, the Botox really has been having a positive impact, with fewer migraines and less intensity. Unfortunately, I am entering into the worst time, just before the next round of injections. This is when the migraines tend to flare up as the last Botox is at is least effective.

    I look forward to my next round of injections on August 20.

    To the group, take care and have a great day.

    -Chris

  • #44301
    Avatar Image
    merrie
    Participant

    Hi Chris,
    I have been having a rough time too the last couple of day (as you can see from my last post lol). If I were you I would probably go in and regret it the minute I got in the car as I always get worse when I have to drive. Sooo…I would say don’t be like me, stay home if you need to, and hopefully you will be more recovered for tomorrow. I am sorry you are struggling right now. Migraines are awful and its hard not to feel guilty even when we know we shouldn’t. Sending good thoughts your way,
    Merrie

  • #44303
    Avatar Image
    Chris Hicks
    Participant

    Thanks Merrie for the thoughts and energy.

    I too have gone the route of going into work and regretting it. I have followed that path many times. Today, however, is not one of those times. By the time I got myself out of bed and downstairs I could feel the migraine throbbing more intensely, with more painful power. I jumped into my email to let me boss know I would not be coming in and got caught up in an issue. Fifteen minutes later the time spent on work brought the migraine back even more. Problem solved, decision made… no going into work for me today.

    Having made that choice the normal next step for me would be to start feeling guilty. I am making a strong effort to stop that thinking process today. I realize that feeling guilty doesn’t make any sense, yet I almost always to it. Why? That’s probably a question for another day.

    For now I know that everything at work will be waiting for me tomorrow. And, I hope that by taking time I need to heal today I will be able to be more productive and effective tomorrow when I do make it into the office.

    Thanks Merrie, for your supportive thoughts, comments and insights! I cannot say how helpful it is to be part of this online community. We are not alone!!!

    Take Care,
    Chris

  • #44309
    Avatar Image
    Nancy Bonk
    Moderator

    Hi Chris,

    Do you and your doctor have any plan for when your attacks last longer than 72 hours? Each person with migraine needs to have a conversation with their doctor about what their plan should be when an attack lasts longer than 72 hours. Status migrainous is when a severe migraine lasts longer than 72 hours without a four hour pain free break while awake. To read more information on this here is a link on it; http://migraine.com/blog/what-is-status-migrainosus/.

    Nancy

  • #44312
    Avatar Image
    Nancy Bonk
    Moderator

    Hi merrie,

    I’m sorry you’re still having a rough go of it. :(

  • #44334
    Avatar Image
    Chris Hicks
    Participant

    Nancy,

    Right now the plan is Migranal. The drill is that I do scheduled sprays in each nostril over a three day span. I can tell you that, having just done this, it does not seem to be working. It did stop the migraine, but another took its place within a day and is hanging on just like the other.

    I see my neuro on the 20th and plan to discuss this with her. Thanks to technology I also sent her a message via the secure patient portal she has with her Electronic Medical Record system. I do not know if she will be willing to prescribe something without a visit. The worst is that I wait until the 20th (although that is a long way off when struggling with these darned migraines).

    As always, I appreciate your insight and support.

    Take Care,
    Chris

  • #44339
    Avatar Image
    Chris Hicks
    Participant

    Migraines and work… Another day to prove that the two can coexist. Yesterday I lost the balance and called off of work. Today I am back at it even though the migraine has not completely let go of me. The severity is down, but I have to say being at work certainly is not helping. Feeling pretty frustrated today.

  • #44345
    Avatar Image
    merrie
    Participant

    I am sorry you are suffering at work. Hope you are able to talk with you Dr soon.
    Merrie

  • #44420
    Avatar Image
    Chris Hicks
    Participant

    TGIF!

    I am back at work today after missing Tuesday, all day, and more than half of Thursday due to migraine. Today the migraine has backed down to a 2 or 3 on the pain scale (1 – 10). Although not ideal, this sure beats living at the top of the chart for days and days lately.

    What do I have to thank for this break of the pain cycle? Nothing! I was reluctant to put myself into the drug-induced coma-like state that would have been the side effect of my neurologit’s prescription for Thorazine hourly (up to a maximum daily). As I tried to work with her, remotely via the patient portal (she is booked up through my appointment for Botox on the 20th of August) to go another route, like a steroid pack, the migraine broke on its own.

    So here I sit, at work, feeling better, which is a great thing! The underlying frustration is that there is no explanation for the end of this cycle, just as there is no clear reason for its beginning. I am really tired of having so many questions but precious few answers.

    My current question is whether or not the migraine will “decide” to flare up again this morning, this afternoon, today, tomorrow… I am working to get into the mindset of living in the moment. I need not pay attention to some possible future event (the migraine flaring up again). I need only enjoy time with minimal, tolerable pain.

    I hope those of us who are feeling better can enjoy the moments we have and I offer positive thoughts, energy and prayers to those suffering the intense pain of migraine today, at this moment.

    Take Care,
    Chris

  • #44441
    Avatar Image
    merrie
    Participant

    Hi Chris,
    Just wanted to say I hope your migraine stayed away and you’re having a good weekend.
    Merrie

  • #44445
    Avatar Image
    Chris Hicks
    Participant

    Merrie,

    Thanks for the encouragement. Migraine has been with me so far this weekend except for about three hours last night, Saturday. I noticed the migraine had completely left me around10:00. I only wish it had left sooner.

    So far this morning the migraine is with me. I woke up feeling the familiar pain. The intensity is moderate so that means things are not too bad.

    Of course work is right around the corner and I am hoping for a much better week this coming week.

    Here’s hoping your weekend is going well too!

    Take Care,
    Chris

  • #44449
    Avatar Image
    Nancy Bonk
    Moderator

    That’s the age old question Chris. When will our attacks flare up? I’ve had a heck of a time with tension-type headache this week and not sure why. Same things going on in my life that always go on. I’ve been using my TENS unit everyday, sometimes two and three times a day and I finally woke up this morning in less pain. It’s not gone, but much less compared to the rest of the week.

    For this, I am happy!

    Hang in there, and if I were you I’d try to stay away from those medication induced coma’s! :(

    Nancy

  • #44465
    Avatar Image
    merrie
    Participant

    Hi Chris,
    Well…no, my weekend hasn’t been great had a migraine yesterday and today. Not so bad I can’t work, but not good either. Sorry yours is back too. :( I started a new preventative this week, but as it is a blood pressure med, and I have low bp anyway, I have to monitor my bp regularly. I checked it today and it was at 105/67. If the top number goes below 100, I am supposed to discontinue. Today was the first increase of three potential increases. Sooo…not sure what will happen, but I probably won’t be on it long. I was on it before and had to check my pulse daily to make sure it stayed above 60, which it did not as I needed the highest dose for it to work. This time I am to go in to the pharmacy at least twice a week and use the blood pressure machine. Personally, I would rather be dizzy or have fainting spells than a constant migraine, but I guess that could be pretty bad if I was driving and fainted, so can’t really do that. Not even sure what the other risks of low bp are. Anyhow, hope your day improves.
    Merrie

  • #44471
    Avatar Image
    Chris Hicks
    Participant

    Merrie,

    I hope the new preventative makes a difference in the migraines! I know what you mean about monitoring B/P and pulse. I spent some time on similar medications. I recall going up and up on dose and watching my pulse and B/P go down and down. Like you said, if the migraines back off the side effects may be worth it!

    I hope your Monday is going better.

    Take Care,
    Chris

  • #44474
    Avatar Image
    Chris Hicks
    Participant

    A broken record… At work with migraine. This is a record I don’t like and would love to stop playing!

  • #44480
    Avatar Image
    Rebeccapa
    Participant

    Chris: When the Botox wears off it is horrible – I know. It is like one minute the Botox is in your system and the next it is totally gone. I have started scheduling 2 rounds at once because if I am a day late with it I am in horrible pain.

    As for work and migraines, I know how everybody feels. I have people here at my new office that have migraines and they are so bad. But these people have never had to get a shot for a migraine, go to the ER, etc. I told one girl she should feel blessed that a Fiorcet takes care of hers.

  • #44506
    Avatar Image
    Chris Hicks
    Participant

    When the Botox wears off…

    Yes, I would say that it is not only horrible, but very nearly unbearable. This is where I live now. My next round of injections, third round, is August 20 at 1:30pm EST, not that I am counting the days, hours and minutes!

    It is great that I am this close to the next round. It is horrible that I am this close to the next round. Because I am so close it means, apparently, that the effects from my last round are completely gone. I am in the midst of the worst cycle I have had in a long time. It seems that no matter what I do (or don’t do) the migraines have taken over. In fact, as I write this, I have a horrible migraine.

    Let’s back up just a bit. Yesterday started off with a moderate migraine. I went to work. As I made it into the afternoon things started getting worse. The migraine became more and more intense. Although reluctantly, I opted to begin my neurologist’s prescribed treatment to break the cycle, Thorazine (10mg every hour, up to 50mg per day). What this did was simply dull the pain and make me tired. It did not stop the migraine or make it go away.

    I made it through the day. At home I finished off the “up to 50mg” part and went to bed very early. I awoke at 3am with the migraine even worse than before!!! I have been up since then trying to meditate my way out. This is not working.

    It is 4:40am EST time as I write this. I cannot miss another day of work. Today I have three meetings and lots of project deadlines. But, how can I go to work when I feel this bad? When one’s head is “melting” and the pain is so intense (whole head now, including “brain stem”) how can one even think about going to work?

    The balance of, the war between, migraine and work is draining. It takes everything I have not to throw in the towel. Today I feel like raising a white flag and letting the troops of the Migraine take me to whatever POW camp they have waiting… wait I am already there because I feel their torture on/in my head.

    Migraine, you are a powerful foe!

  • #44561
    Avatar Image
    Ellen
    Participant

    Chris, I very much wish there were something else I could say to magically take away your pain besides “Hang in there.” Hanging in there really is important though. Sometimes we hang in there for a day, an hour, or a minute. Those we work with may not understand what we’re going through. I guess it’s just important that they understand that… we do.

    Your POW camp analogy was really good btw. May have to borrow that sometime ;)

    ~Ellen

  • #44765
    Avatar Image
    Daisy
    Participant

    What do you do for work? I have lost 2 jobs since November due to migraines. I am wondering if anyone has found more flexible, perhaps unconventional ways of earning a living?

  • #44768
    Avatar Image
    goldie25
    Member

    Chris, I am hoping you got your injections and will be headed, no pun intended, to feeling better soon! Oh I know how you feel! I am a teacher, and sometimes I have no idea how I will make it through. Let’s see…I have passed out /fallen totally asleep when my students were out to activity and managed to get lost going home when I only had to make 2 turns! But, like Ellen says, we have to keep hanging. Here’s to hoping your “hanging” is just a bit easier today!

  • #44770
    Avatar Image
    Chris Hicks
    Participant

    So, it has been five days since the Botox injections (third round). I cannot say that the migraines have yet been impacted. And, I don’t expect that to be the case for another week or so. What I have noticed is the “other” effects the Botox brings. When I raise my eye brows they do not respond quite like I expect them to. My forehead feels a bit “dead”. Where before I could feel movement with some facial expressions, now I feel nothing moving in my forehead. I see this as a positive sign, as it means the Botox has begun doing its thing. Soon the migraines will decrease in intensity and frequency!!! I just need to hang on a bit longer.

    Hanging on, unfortunately, is quite difficult right now. I am in the midst of one of the worst stretches with these migraines that I have had in long time. When it gets bad like this I feel as though I have nothing left of “me”. I feel like all my energy is gone, drained away by the migraine. I feel as though my soul has been crushed and broken. I feel, well you get the idea.

    On top of that I have some added stress in the form of some “stuff” with my marriage (normally a source of strength and my foundation). Not sure where it is all leading at this point, but I can most definitely say that the end of this past week was bad on top of bad. Friday was most definitely not a good day! Currently this particular pot is no longer boiling over, but it is still possibly an issue. I have been forced to let it go for now as the migraine threatens to destroy what little is left of me.

    I may have mentioned, in another post here, that I am also waiting to hear about being admitted to Dr. Joel Saper’s inpatient program at Chelsea Community Hospital (Michigan). My neurologist, at the Botox appointment last week, suggested this as a next step as, even with the Botox, my migraines are still out of control. The relief I do get from the Botox is significant, but extremely short lived. Having gone through literally every medication that the neuro can think to use for treatment I am left with few options. This inpatient program seems like a good thing to try. I have not heard anything from Dr. Saper’s team or from my neuro yet. If I do not hear from someone by Tuesday I was instructed to call my neuro’s office.

    I really hope that I am “accepted” into the inpatient program. Honestly, if I am not I just don’t know what to do next. I suppose I will work with my neruo to find another program, ideally another inpatient program… something.

    So, until the Botox fully kicks in, until I hear about the inpatient program… I just keep hanging in there. As I “hang” I find that everything little thing (and big thing) seems all the more difficult to deal with. Being at work, meeting expectations and deadlines becomes harder and harder. Being at home and dealing with the little things (and big things) is getting harder and harder as well.

    I continue to hang in there. My motto is “Something has got to give and it sure ain’t going to be me!!!”. I might crack a bit. I might start cracking up. Just as long as I don’t crack so much that I fall apart!!!

    To everyone who has shared supportive words and thoughts here, I wish to say, “Thank you!”. Your support means a lot to me!!!

  • #44773
    Avatar Image
    merrie
    Participant

    Hi Chris,
    Sorry things are rough right now :( I hope everything works out in the marriage department. Have you tried the preventative I am going to try? Sibelium is the name. Just wondering what your experience was if you did. I guess it’s not legal in the US, my new Dr says for economic reasons rather than medical. I have to order from Canada. My new Dr also isn’t impressed with botox. He said while it’s the “sexy”treatment right now, studies done since it was FDA approved for migraine prevention for chronic migraines have shown it to be less effective than it was thought to be. Actually, his short reply was “it doesn’t work”, then I asked for more details as to why he felt it did not work, as I had expected him to say the opposite
    Anyway, I hope you hear something soon about the inpatient program. I can’t imagine why the would not accept you.
    Merrie

  • #44779
    Avatar Image
    Ellen
    Participant

    Hi Daisy,

    When I became disabled by my Migraines and other health issues, I was stuck at home. Home for me is out in the country, so I was virtually a hermit. For a social person like me that was tough.

    Thankfully, since that time there are many companies who are open to the idea of “remote” positions. These are positions that are held by remoting in with your computer. Some companies haven’t yet found the wonders of working remotely, so they can be difficult to find, but I encourage people who are interested to apply for positions and mention that you would be very interested in helping them create a remote program. In the end this is usually very cost effective for the company and can save them a great deal of money on equipment and offices.

    Good luck in your search. Please let us know how it goes…

    ~Ellen

  • #44781
    Avatar Image
    Ellen
    Participant

    Chris,

    A post I did a while back may be helpful for you as you figure out how to deal with marriage challenges. http://migraine.com/blog/what-on-earth-were-you-thinking/

    ~Ellen

  • #44785
    Avatar Image
    Chris Hicks
    Participant

    Ellen,

    Thanks for the link. I will definitely take the time to read the post. Any help is greatly appreciated!

    Take Care,
    Chris

  • #44788
    Avatar Image
    Ellen
    Participant

    Chria, here is another that might hit the spot some too: http://migraine.com/migraine-and-mental-health/eight-emotional-stage-of-living-with-migraine/

    Take care, and remember that you are supported here by many who understand. Feel free to private message too. ((Hugs))

    ~Ellen

  • #44832
    Avatar Image
    Lrodriguez84
    Participant

    About six months ago my headaches had been getting worse very quickly. Not responding to medication nothing would help. I got nervous and finally went to my primary care dr when I experienced severe vertigo. After 3 months of many visits crying in pain i was finally referred to my Neurologist who diagnosed me with Chronic Migraines.
    I finally had answers to my many symptoms and was put on Topomax. Throughout all of this i was missing a lot of work unable to get to work or having to lie down in the break room because my vertigo got so bad. I was terrified of loosing my job so my primary care had me fill out FMLA papers. I was approved for intermittent FMLA and I was excited to not worry about my absences.
    Boy was I wrong my migraines continued to get worse. I work in a sales goal environment and have gone from a top performer who loved my job. To falling so for behind I have no hope to catch up. FMLA protects my absences not my performance. I used to love my job but I feel sick just thinking about work and I know I’m going to loose my job if I don’t change something. I have spoken to my manager about options but got nowhere. I have been taken off of Topomax because it did not help at all. I stopped all over the counter meds they are no help. Imitrex is no longer any help when the migraine starts. All I think about is quitting my job because I can’t take the stress and pressure or stepping down to part time. But I don’t want to loose half of my household income. My husband has been supportive, but I know he doesn’t truly understand how bad I feel.
    I just want my migraines to be under control, I have a lumbar puncture scheduled soon. I’m getting pressure at work about my absences and have been told I will be having a “conversation” about it on my next scheduled day.
    Daily chronic migraines are unbearable.

  • #44856
    Avatar Image
    Ellen
    Participant

    Lrodriguez84 – Oh dear, I am so sorry to see this.

    Are you seeing a Migraine specialist for your workup? Topiramate has been helpful to a lot of patients, but not everyone. I was one who flunked it myself :) There are so many preventive medicines that could possibly be helpful to you, so I implore you not to feel like giving up. Here is an article that explains just the most common choices: http://migraine.com/blog/new-migraine-prevention-recommendations-from-the-american-academy-of-neurology/

    ~Ellen

  • #45090
    Avatar Image
    merrie
    Participant

    Hi,
    I quit my job today. It’s my birthday. I have worked there for 12 years. I just could not do it anymore. Between constant migraines and cramps and the crazy stress of my job, I am exhausted and was ready to have a breakdown. So, I quit. I need to take care of me.
    Meredith

  • #45123
    Avatar Image
    Chris Hicks
    Participant

    Merrie,

    I am sorry to hear that you had to make this choice. Obviously it would be better to have the migraines under control and be able to continue working. I do, however, completely understand the idea of simply not continuing to balance the migraine and work. I struggle with this a lot, most acutely during the last several weeks.
    I hope that this choice allows you to move into a state of better managed migraines that are of less intensity and frequency!

    I am sure there are challenges around such a decision and I hope you are able to overcome those challenges.

    Take care.

  • #45129
    Avatar Image
    Nancy Bonk
    Moderator

    Happy Belated Birthday, Merrie!!

    I’m sorry to hear about your job. It may, however be the best thing for you at this point. And it may not be forever, hopefully chronic migraine will go back to episodic!

    Nancy

  • #45132
    Avatar Image
    Nancy Bonk
    Moderator

    Hi Chris,

    After reading your post I couldn’t help but comment. I was married for almost 25 years before my husband said the dreaded, “I love you, but I’m not in love with you anymore.” A cop out, selfish and disruptive, to say the least. Having been down the path of marital turmoil, I can’t stress the importance of keeping the lines of communication open – even if that takes counseling.

    My heart goes out to you, I wouldn’t want anyone to have to go through what I did.

  • #45177
    Avatar Image
    merrie
    Participant

    Thank you Chris and Nancy for your kind words. I am feeling less like I am about to have a breakdown after a week off. Sadly, the chronic migraines were not cured by quoting my job lol. I knew they would not be, but boy do I wish it could be the case. I have mostly rested and visited family this week. Did apply for some jobs on Friday, mostly part time office work. Will look more next week. I am not planning to stay unemployed. Just could not do such a demanding job anymore. I am going to take my time and hopefully find something that is more suitable for my health issues. Too bad there aren’t a lot of options for working from home as that would be ideal. I hope this weekend finds everyone migraine free. I am going to go lay down, as I have a nasty one coming on. I always know they are going to be bad when I break out in a cold sweat from the pain. Yay.
    Merrie

  • #45186
    Avatar Image
    Chris Hicks
    Participant

    Merrie,

    I am glad to hear that you have backed away from edge so to speak. I know what it is like to feel like you are on the verge of falling apart of having a kind of breakdown. That is not a good place to be.

    As for the migraines, I hope you find some relief soon, or at least get a bit of a break. Perhaps stepping away from your job will help in some way. It seems like it would help a least to not have the pressure of being at work and performing, or feeling the stress of missing work and having to catch up when you feel well enough to get back at it.

    I truly hope you find some relief and peace.

    Take Care,
    Chris

  • #45196
    Avatar Image
    Nancy Bonk
    Moderator

    Hi Merrie,

    I hope your weekend migraine wasn’t too horrible. I’m sure it will take a bit of adjustment being away from your former job.

    Good luck with the job hunt, good to hear you will be looking for work to fit into YOUR needs!

    Nancy

  • #45304
    Avatar Image
    FashnDiva
    Participant

    Hi, new to the Board. First, it is such a relief to find this website! You all really understand what I’m going thru – you just get it. Trying to explain to my boyfriend or mother (who also has migraines, just not as frequent or severe) or to my daughter, who has had 2 in her short 16-year life. I’m sure it was a drag to her growing up hearing “Mommy just needs to lay down for an hour (time for the Imitrex to kick in).

    I noticed in the last year that my migraines are coming more frequently and they are definitely more severe. I have missed 2 days of work in each of the last 2 months which I don’t like to do, but had no choice, as the bulk of my work is on the computer. Luckily, my boss is super-understanding. Due to a Stage 1 melanoma diagnosis in 2009, I have PET scans every year, and in 2011 and 2012 a cyst showed up on my right ovary (TMI, I know! I’m sorry!) On both of those scans, it had not increased in size. Now that they are coming on fast and furious, I’m wondering if it has grown in size. I go back to my doctor on Nov. 4th, so we’ll see.

    I am a life-long migraine sufferer – my mom says they started when I was 4 years old. I’ve rarely known a day w/o some type of headache. But it is so great to be amongst those who truly understand how debilitating this is!

    Allyson

  • #45326
    Avatar Image
    Nancy Bonk
    Moderator

    Hi Allyson,

    Welcome to the Migraine.com discussion board! It is very comforting to find others who understand what we go through.

    I’m sorry to hear about your melanoma, that must be difficult. I’m glad ot hear you are watching it. I wish you the very best luck in that department.

    May I what kind of doctor treats your migraines? Seeing as you’ve been a long time migraine sufferer, it may be time to see a migraine specialist. These doctors are board certified in headache medicine and treat migraine and headache patients all day, every day. Neurologists may be fine doctors but have a difficult time being experts in one area because they treat so many different conditions such as MS, epilepsy, stroke and Parkinson’s. We have information on what makes these experts so special in; http://migraine.com/blog/how-are-migraine-specialists-different/ and when you would like to find one, that information is in this link; https://migraine.com/blog/looking-for-a-migraine-specialist/.

    I hope this helps and that we hear more from you,
    Nancy

  • #45332
    Avatar Image
    Ellen
    Participant

    Welcome Allyson! I hope you find this a comfortable place to discuss even some of those TMI moments, lol. Don’t worry. I can nearly guarantee there is someone else here dealing with the same or similar circumstance, who will likely take great strength from knowing they are not alone.

    ~Ellen

  • #46756
    Avatar Image
    mymaybelife
    Participant

    Yes…!

  • #47159
    Avatar Image
    Jane Waring
    Participant

    Hi everybody. I am new to the blog. I was “Terminated” from my job, which is in health care, last Aug 2013. They claimed I was taking to much sick time for migraines and could not count on me being at work on any given day. I was very upset because I have worked there for over 15 years without complaints. I am fighting the dismissal through Arbitration with my Nursing Union. They feel it is a wrongful dismissal. I live in Canada and it is against the Human Rights laws to fire someone related to a disability. Migraines are considered a disability. They have forced me to see a Migraine Specialist for a formal diagnosis even though my Family Dr has diagnosed me with them. I get migraines about 2 times a month. Absent ~ 1 time a month. Last year I had an acute episode of Clinical Depression for which I had to take a short term leave. I am thinking this has something to do with this. I was very upset and felt blind sighted when I lost my job. I have seen the
    Specialist would said it was ridiculous what my Employers are putting me through even though I have taken thee days off without incidents since being hired there. Hoping I can get my job back but it will be difficult to work there after all of this. I do need the job though. Wish me luck.

    Jane

  • #47191
    Avatar Image
    Ellen
    Participant

    Jane Waring,

    I’m so sorry to hear about this. Any time someone loses their job due to Migraine it makes me cringe. And one day per month lost really isn’t that much.

    Please let us know how this works out. It’s probably a really good thing to see a Migraine specialist though. For the vast majority of people, it can be truly life changing for them.

    ~Ellen

  • #47244
    Avatar Image
    Jane Waring
    Participant

    Thanks Ellen.

    My next meeting re my job is not until April 7th. The Employer is going to “cross examine” the Specialist re his report about his assessment of me. I could not believe that they will question him on the results of his assessment of me. Very upset re the long wait but it will give my time to write my migraine diary and see if the meds that were recommended will work for me.

    Will let you know.
    Thanks

    Jane

  • #47258
    Avatar Image
    Ellen
    Participant

    Jane Waring

    I’m so sorry. Maybe I don’t understand exactly what’s going to happen, but the idea of someone who is not your physician *cross examining* you or your doctor is insulting. In the US I’m not sure it would even be legal. I’m sorry if it is in Canada. :(

    I wish we could do more to help you. Please know that we are here for you and want to support you in whatever way that we can.

    Stick to your guns and hang in there. You are quite possibly paving the way for other Migraineurs who will come after you. They might not know it was you that made their life better, but I guarantee they will appreciate it!

    ~Ellen

  • #47307
    Avatar Image
    Chris Hicks
    Participant

    Hello to the group. I am taking a moment here at work today to share just a bit around the topic of work and migraine. I am diagnosed with chronic migraine. My particular pattern includes a migraine of some intensity literally every day for the last several months. Back in September I went through an outpatient IV program here in Michigan that did help to alleviate the intensity for a while, if not the frequency. I have posted about that experience in other forums here. Look for Michigan Head Pain and Neurological Institute.
    As for migraine and work… I am lucky enough to have an employer who is supportive and understanding. I have been very open about my condition and I make sure to keep my immediate director updated as my condition cycles up and down. Of course, the supoprt and understanding are “within” reason. A lot of the support I receive, I think, is tied to my ability to maximize my “good times” so that I am “super productive”. I hold a position with a lot of deliverables and projects. As long as I am, for the most, able to meet the time lines I have flexibility to shift time and schedule somewhat.
    I know that this is not the case for everyone. Nor is it the case that all employers are understanding and supportive. I have had a few of those in the past. I know others diagnosed with migraine and chronic migraine have encountered employers that simply do not understand and have no interest in being supportive.
    For now, I am thankful that I have support and understanding at my work. For those who do not, I am very sorry. I encourage you to be as well informed around the laws related to work / emplyement and medical conditions such as chronic migraine. As with many aspects of this condition, being well-informed and educated are powerful tools. I wish there was more I could offer. When confronted with someone who does not understand or support it can be a challenge, even more so when that person is your employer.

    Take Care,
    Chris

  • #47367
    Avatar Image
    Ellen
    Participant

    Thank you so much Chris for updating us on your situation. Sometimes it isn’t a matter of an employer having issues with Migraines, but the fact that the Migraineur loses productivity that they can no longer do their job. This was my situation. Let’s just say that it’s not especially good when an emergency dispatcher loses the ability to speak, out of the blue.

    I miss my job, but know it was the right thing to do. I can still be involved in emergency management, but because I am a volunteer now, I can do it on my own pace. When I feel good, I am there. When I’m in a bad way, I stay home. It’s always hard to stay home, and frankly pretty depressing. It’s the right thing to do though, and there is much to be said for the feelings I get about knowing I’m doing it right :)

    ~Ellen

  • #49587
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    daniellechiquita
    Participant

    I’m new to the forum and am so glad that I found it. It felt like I was all alone, getting those “understanding” nods from people when they heard I had ANOTHER “headache” as they all seem to call them even though I’ve told them time and time again that I’m diagnosed with chronic migraine. Or, “I read somewhere that if you do this or take that…” as if I haven’t tried everything imaginable in the 8 years I’ve been having migraines. I currently take 1000mg of magnesium, Aleve on a daily basis almost, Relpax as an abortive medication, and I get Botox injections every 3 months. I have ice packs everywhere, work and home. I have a “Chillow” I use nightly to keep my head cool for migraine prevention. I have FMLA for work and a little bit of leave time on top of that. The last 4 months or so, I’m missing at least a day a week of work, most often I’m gone 2 days anymore because I simply cannot function. I’m an accountant so having my wits about me is of utmost importance. I also have physical limitations so that I don’t trigger a migraine, I can’t bend over, I can’t move my head too much, sometimes coughing or sneezing will trigger an attach. My triggers include weather changes (I live in WNY state so they’re very drastic), food (I stay away from processed, aged, and acidic foods), hormone, certain sounds, and certain smells among other things. I’m a worker, I grew up on a farm, I’ve had a job since I was 16 and for at least 6 years I had 2 jobs. I can’t just not work. But, considering recent developments with my migraines, I’m considering disability. This kills me but it’s not fair to the people I work with and the clients I serve to be gone so much. But, I feel like I would be “giving up”, that people would think I’m lazy. I’ve thought about going part time with partial disability if I could but I can’t get past the people thinking I’m lazy thing. My issue isn’t easily seen so they don’t understand. I’m currently seeing a neurologist who is on the headache specialist list and we’ve tried everything imaginable. Any thoughts? Thanks for listening and I’m so glad I found this again :)

  • #49699

    Daniellechiquita,
    I can sympathize with you on your struggle over whether to go out on disability. I made the same decision a year ago. For two years I tried to work through my chronic migraines. Some weeks I could manage 20 hours, some weeks I couldn’t go at all. My company was amazingly supportive since I had been with them for 10 years. But it got to the point where I was always apologizing at work- to my clients, to my co-workers, etc. I couldn’t perform like I used to and my work suffered. I decided to go on disability for 2 months and due to several complications it has turned out to be a year.

    In retrospect it was the best thing for me and for the business. I feel guilty and want to return because I feel like I owe it to them. But my Migraines haven’t changed in the past year, so at some point I just become a charity case for my employer.

    Thanks for letting me vent, as I’m trying to figure out my next steps. But bottom line, you know when you need a change. Your health is important. Trying to work part-time may be harder for you to focus and take care of yourself. Take the time you need. And let me know how it goes!
    -Katie

  • #49792
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    Kerrie Smyres
    Moderator

    Danielle,

    Keep Working Girlfriend is a book about women working with chronic illness. It is definitely oriented toward continuing to work, but it might help you make decisions about your situation. I’m not sure how well the book addresses cognitive symptoms that impair the ability to do a good job at work, but it could be a helpful resource.

    Working with chronic illness is a difficult, highly personal decision, which is even harder when your work is important to you, as it sounds like yours is to you. Best wishes in making your decision.

    Kerrie

  • #49828
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    daniellechiquita
    Participant

    Thank you very much Katie and Kerrie. At a time when I’m feeling so alone in the world, it’s nice to know there’s others in the exact same position :)

  • #50032

    HammerHead,
    Not being able to work can definitely be a difficult situation. Not everyone understands or is understanding. Some employers are great while others can make it nearly impossible. I felt so guilty when I made the decision with my doctor to stop working. Eventually I realized it was the best thing for me. It was time for me to focus on my health.

    I wish you well in your journey.

    -Katie

  • #52956
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    Cherrypiejay
    Participant

    Does anyone else here only or mostly experience their migraines in the work place? I have just recently been diagnosed with migraine which seems to be triggered by the bright fluorescent lights above/behind my desk and glare off my office monitors. I get neck ache and an aura my vision goes blurry or difficult to focus, it causes nausea and sometimes fatigue or lightheaded ness. I’m taking a low dose of triptan at night which I’ve only started a few days ago + anti nausea + anti inflammatory for it! and generally the best cure is to leave work and take a nap at home. I take regular breaks from the computer, but the whole office has bright lighting unfortunately so I go outside for walks or to sit in the fresh air which helps a bit. But the neck ache is quite bad and lying down is the best solution for that. Closing eyes is the best solution for the migraine. But I rarely get this at home or outside of the office, I’ve recently moved desks, in the last 4 weeks and my old location was much less bright and less noisy. I just wondered if anyone else had a location based trigger too?

  • #53020
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    Rebeccapa
    Participant

    Because of ADA they have to accommodate you – my work has taken out the bulbs above and around my desk.

    • #53035
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      Cherrypiejay
      Participant

      Thanks Rebeccapa – I’m in New Zealand and we don’t have an ADA here, but I understand that as part of our ‘Worksafe” initiative which is the Government’s new Health & Safety in the work place legislation, they actually have to remove the bulbs or lower the lighting to be comfortable for me, though they are not just above my desk but around it. However they are not willing or just don’t know their obligations. Frustrating.

  • #49876
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    Anonymous

    I too suffered in my last job from migranes and had to leave the job, i wasnt alone totally in my situation because three other staff members left before me due to illness too, one had a head problem with balance and the other a heart problem, the other person felt weak and treated unfairly, all were on the same type work as me, we all went there hoping to get a job and ended up losing more than our jobs but thats the way it went.

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