Urgent ~ about to lose my job due to Chronic Daily Migraines

Hello all, I hope someone can please help me.

I have suffered from chronic migraines for roughly 10-12 years I am 54. I have worked full time at the same job for 14 years. I have worked with several neurologists. I have tried acupuncture, PT, essential oils, massage, yoga, meditation, elimination diet, vitamins, had a hysterectomy and tried every medication offered by neurologist to prevent migraines without a positive outcome. I take Relpax as my abortive ( 9 pills per month so basically used up after 4-5 migraines) and medication for nausea currently.The primary neurologist I worked with for 7 years left the area in August and the first appointment I was offered was in December at a new Neurology Clinic.

My employers notified me 10/25/17 that I would no longer be eligible for medical benefits. Since this would include short term disability I panicked since the reason I could no longer could get coverage was due to frequently missing work. I pleaded with my boss to see if there was any way to keep the option of short term disability until I met with the new doctor. My employers agreed and the short term disability option was extended to 12/31/17. I have noticed from fellow migraineurs it is virtually impossible to get approval for disability if you do not get coverage from your employer. From reading other peoples accounts of loss of job due to migraines I thought someone might help be able to help me. I have tried to write “My Story” several times while trying to gather information over the last few weeks. My only mistake was to believe that there was hope I could work and find a medication to “fix” me.

So basically I am asking anyone who could not financially support themselves without working for help. My husband has been working as many hours extra to make up for my lost wages. We are barely making it. I have two children and if I am let go it would be impossible for me to get another job since so many of my triggers would be caused by work related conditions. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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Comments

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  • 44penny
    1 year ago

    One final thing: ask your new neurologist about possible trying low-dose naltrexone for your migraines. The neurologist Dr. Mauskop at the New York Headache Center talks about how effective (and under utilized) this medication can be for some migraine patients, and, even better, it’s not expensive. Dr. Mauskop also writes a migraine blog. Here’s a link: https://nyheadache.com/staff/alexander-mauskop/

  • 44penny
    1 year ago

    Suggestions to improve your chronic migraines. I found myself in a very similar situation to yours at about your age. I eventually improved a lot by doing all of the following. 1) Headache neurologist put me on two muscle relaxants (tizanidine and cyclobenzaprine) to help with neck tension. 2) HORMONE THERAPY: Female chronic migraine patients have been shown to have low estrogen and this can get much worse after menopause. At about 53 I was tested and my estrogen levels were almost zero. My migraines had became MUCH worse after going through menopause from the lack of estrogen. 3) To improve my estrogen levels, I went on a low dose bioidentical estrogen patch, plus progresterone every three months; these hormones were prescribed by a gynecologist who specialized in post-menopausal hormone therapy. 4) FOOD TRIGGERS: I got the book “Heal Your Headache” by headache neurologist David Buchholz. While this book is quite old now, his ELIMINATION DIET is the best! Did you know that bananas and the seemingly harmless yellow color additive annato, used in cheddar cheese, some ice creams and many chip products, for instance, can be major migraine triggers? I also learned that foods high in tyramine can be big migraine triggers. (Google the list of high-tyramine foods; you will be surprised at how many there are.) 5) I went 97% GLUTEN-FREE — this was very helpful. 6) I started Botox Injections at the headache neurologist every three months – this treatment has been HUGE for me in helping to control the SEVERITY of my migraines. I also have Botox injections in my neck, and in the two masseter muscles (jaw muscles) – I clench at night while sleeping and clenching is often a big migraine trigger. 7) Nightly Mouth Splint: I wear a mouth guard/splint at night, created by my dentist for me, to help reduce the effects of my nighttime clenching; 8) SLEEP HYGIENE: I try to go bed and get up at the same time every night; 9) WATER HYGIENE: I drink lots of water (about 6 glasses a day) to keep hydrated; 9) EXERCISE: – is very important for chronic migraine sufferers: i walk (about 4 miles) three to four times a week and do yoga class twice weekly, plus some yoga at home, daily. Swimming is also very good. 10) EATING OUT: I stopped eating out or buying any prepared foods, and now fix all my own meals using fresh ingredients and the herbs and seasonings I know I can tolerate. 11) PHYSICAL THERAPY: I go to a physical therapist with special training in treating TMJ and neck tension. He does a kind of physical therapy called Janet Travell myofacial release or trigger point therapy, in which he releases the muscle tension in my neck and jaw (he even reaches inside my mouth to release my jaw muscles which are tense from clenching!) He also addresses other areas of muscle tension created by sitting a desk or computer, sometimes with suggestions on HOW to sit a your desk, exercise to strengthen your core which help poor posture. If you want to find a PT in your area with this training, go this website http://www.bethesdaphysiocare.com/. This where my PT received his Janet Travell Trigger Point Training for head and neck. Jan Dommerholt is the head P.T. and trainer there. Call them to ask if they can recommend a physical therapist with this training in your area. DRY NEEDLING: is similar to Travell Trigger Point Therapy only even more effective. See if there is someone in your area with training in dry needling (NOTE: this is NOT acupuncture.) YOUR ULTIMATE GOAL: no more than two migraines a week (the severity of which will be greatly lessened by Botox injections.) When you DO get a migraine, most will be manageable and will respond well to your tryptan abortive medication. Also: later in 2018, some revolutionary new medications (by injection) will be coming onto the market for chronic migraine sufferers. Your neurologist can tell you more. Good luck!

  • GardensatNight
    1 year ago

    Hi TryingtobeHappy,

    So sorry you are going through this. Not sure what country you are in or how big your employer is. If you are in US and they have so many employees as others have mentioned, there is FMLA, and also COBRA, which can help you hang on to your health insurance. If you are in US, check about whether your employer would be required to make accommodations under ADA. Mine had to. Eventually, I got too sick to work even with them, but it helped for a while.

    You didn’t mention what your work triggers are. I assume the usual fluorescent lighting, loud sounds, coworker smells. Could you work from home? Is there anything you could do from home to supplement income? Your state (if you are in US) may have programs to help people with disabilities get back to work and may be able to find you something that works with your doctor’s restrictions (no fluorescent lighting, no loud sounds–whatever–maybe they can even find you something at home).

  • StefD
    1 year ago

    Tryingtobehappy — Does you company not off Family Medical Leave? Family leave refers to time employees can take off from work to care for themselves, care for their family members, or bond with a newborn child. Migraines atre an acceptable FML request. Employees who work for employers with 50 or more employees (a little more than half of all employers in the U.S.) are eligible for up to 12 weeks of family leave per year after they have worked 1,250 hours (or approximately one year). If you company has 50 employees and the HR Dept, or your Manager hasn’t offered this shame on them. FML does need a doctor’s certification, with your history that shouldn’t be an issue. I count myself blessed that I work for a County agency and have intermittent FML which means I cannot be disciplined for excessive absences due to my migraines. Good luck and let us know how this plays out.

  • Ronan
    1 year ago

    Hi Tryingtobehappy,

    This is a difficult situation to be in to say the least. I’m from Canada so things work a bit differently in this country.

    The only suggestion I would have is to see if you can work at home sometimes. Full time but between the office and home. You may also want to check with the ADA to see what accomodations can be made for you. You have a disability which requires reasonable accomodations. All under the American’s with Disabilities Act.

    Keep reaching out

    Ronan

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