The day in the life of office migraineur

Well, first day at new office location.  Wasn't a bad pain day at all which was a good thing.  It was one of those late day start migraines, so the aura phase was what I was mostly dealing with.  A lot of brain fog and haziness but that was about it.  And a slow day anyway because I was getting all my office crap set up.  The commute there was all right since I didn't get much sleep.  That may sound like it would suck but oddly enough when I get a crappy nights sleep I wake up more alert because I haven't really slept.  It will suck more when I get some sleep and wake up groggy as hell trying to shake that off before the drive.  Now, the commute back did suck balls because the traffic was insane... people are really in a hurry and that was when my migraine decided to come on strong.  By the time I got home it was full blown acute.  And still going strong. 

I have to figure out how to get in a doctors appointment as well, now that my doctors office is half an hour away rather than five minutes.  Because I need to discuss upping my topamax.  And if he will even let me now.  He might be fine, but I'm not sure it is a good idea given the last increase was insane on the fatigue scale, sleepiness and mental, for a month before it settled down... and not too keen on driving like that.  But really want to get to that dosage to see if I'll see a better result.  Because... without the toptamax at This dosage I'd have had an acute migraine all day today rather than just at the end, so... I'd like to keep on going with it; see if I can get Hellish down to just Hell.  And ask him if there is an FMS support group I can meet with in the area.  I am just all over the place with mood and my mental space lately and would like to chat with other people to get some motivational support, you know?  Get that optimism back that my neuro killed the last time we spoke.  Bastard.  Way to ruin my hope, there bud.  But then, at least he is going to send me to that headache specialist clinic... somewhere in the future.

I applied for a blogging/article job online.  One of those ones you make very little money at, just revenue based on views and such... but I thought it would be fun since it is an FMS one, and this is essentially my migraine one.  And if I get enough of these small income streams eventually I will be able to buy an ice cream... which will make me happy. :)  Writing makes me happy really.  Always did, always does.  Just like writing my novels does... although ironically I make more writing articles than I do novels (I think i need to find a way to market my self-published novels, no idea how to do that, but that is completely off topic, except that would also make me money and maybe then I wouldn't have to effing work!)

Well, this is new.... Anxiety

I've never had a problem with anxiety  although I know people with FM and migraines do deal with it regularly.  Me, I let a lot slide.  Let a lot of worries go after I vent them out.  But I have some serious worries and they can't be decided and they can't be let go until they are.  And for the first time in my life... anxiety.  As in bursts of it, like anxiety attacks, but not yet there yet.  Rapid heart rate, palpitations  shortness of breath, a feeling that no matter which choice I make its going to kill me.  That sort of anxiety.  Again it is work related.  With my transfer to another branch I am worried about commuting, about being stuck out there for lunches, about being the only one for that job so worried about being unable to call in sick, worried about calling in sick period, worried about damn near everything... worried that that job is already killing me no matter what location it is but not knowing what to do about it, because there is the safety net there.  But there are opportunities with other companies, which also gives me anxiety because there is not safety net and I'm not sure my brain is up to the task anymore, at all.  Frankly, I guess I'm terrified to stay and terrified to go and neither option seems viable, both seem like they just won't work.  I hate being too sick to function and not sick enough for some doctor to say enough is enough lets help you out with this already.  I just want something to just work.  I don't know which way is the best to go really.  All I know is my body is reacting to the stress quickly by giving me these bouts of anxiety that are just nutty.  I felt like my heart was going to explode one night.  FMS is so damned responsive to that sort of thing.  I just don't feel like mentioning this fear because it seems silly.  Like when that shrink said I was developing a fear of leaving the house, but she was right, I was.  So would anyone in my shoes.

I will be going to the doctor soon to up my topamax meds soon.  So maybe I will mention it to him on a side note.  And also ask him if it is all right to commute on the topamax while going up on it given the side effects. 

Anyway the anxiety is a response to my terror.  My abject terror on an uncertain future.  Too many uncertainties and stresses.  And under than anxiety is a LOT of pain.  Too many migraines.  And under that some depression that just lingers and shows its ugly head sometimes and shouts out 'Why The Hell Are You Doing This?'  And that terrifies me more.  Working like this day in and day out with severe to acute pain and it becomes harder and harder to ignore that question, because I sure as hell don't have an answer.  Except that I have to, or insurance company told me to, or neuro said it is impossible to get on long term leave or it is just what people do no matter how much they suffer.  When you can't ignore that question then the depression becomes an issue.

central sensitization.

The leading theory as to the 'why' of Fibromyalgia is central sensitization.  We have a low threshold physically to pain (not mentally) because the brain has increased sensitivity to pain signals.

Researchers believe repeated nerve stimulation causes the brains of people with fibromyalgia to change. This change involves an abnormal increase in levels of certain chemicals in the brain that signal pain (neurotransmitters). In addition, the brain's pain receptors seem to develop a sort of memory of the pain and become more sensitive, meaning they can overreact to pain
And then I see a blog post about studies looking into why eposodic migraines become chronic.  And what do I see on the list: central sensitization.  I've been reading a few articles linking these two conditions actually, just the way they are structured making it a factor into why migraines can be hard to treat with FMS, due to the lack of sleep as well because of the central sensitization.  But I look forward to hearding more about this this.  Also... will be a good blog serious because isn't that the question we ask ourselves all the time?  Why the hell are these things chronic?  Why did they go from whatever a month to 15 or more?  For me it wasn't a huge leap.  I got about ten a month and then it went up, but it wasn't for the other reasons listed (except maybe caffiene, although I gave that up for a year once and it literally made no difference, so who knows?)

I owe, I owe its off to work I go... lol

Work, work, work.  Such a joyful topic for us chronic pain folk isn't it?  I got what I call 'laterally shifted' today... that is put into a position that is exactly the same money wise and job wise... but literally laterally shifted out the door and a town away.  The reasons for it are mostly revenue based, as in we have four sales staff members and our sales revenue stats show maybe we should only have three.  As to why I personally got moved...who knows.  I really don't want to take that sort of thing personally in a negative way and it was 'presented' in a positive way, as in the place I am going has no one in my position so I'll be the only one and they needed someone well rounded and yadda yadda.  It's not really that I'm insulted because it's corporate business and they do what they do.  I think it kinda sucks because I've been working at that location for 7 years and know my co-workers very well, but its not like I have a choice in the matter so I would rather be as positive as I can about it all.

Unfortunately there are two factors I just don't like and are two factors I specifically did like when I first chose this job.  Some people don't get when you have a disability it isn't really about money, or a 'career' and whatnot... it is about atmosphere and enviroment and Location.  This location is out of town and in a small little town, I'm not even sure how far away, but I think from my house to there will be about half an hour commute.  Which to most people doesn't seem like a big deal.  And it really isn't and it really wouldn't be in normal circumstances.  It is just that generally I avoid driving Period.  I only drive to and from work because I have to and I only live five minutes away.  I don't like to extend that at all, not when I'm driving with migraines regularly. 

It is just not a good idea and not one I'm confortable with.  Not one most of us are comfortable with.  Which actually most people don't get.  It is both dangerous to drive with a migraine and to drive under the influence of the medication used to treat a migraine... so it is sort of a lose lose situation, but the first isn't going to get you into any legal trouble while the second might, but the first might get you just as dead.  For me, it isn't even really a pain factor, although pain and consentration must be a factor.  It is more a visual snow aura thing... plus all the 'other' neurological aura symptoms that are spontaneous and erratic.  Unpredictable as well.  So I may not have any pain yet but since I have chronic migraines, and in my case that means I present with a permanent aura phase I can get neurological symptoms at any time.  I could give you examples of how that could potentially effect driving and how it has, but there is no need to even get into that.  The point is, there is no argument here amoungst us.  We know it isn't a good idea, even if other people don't see the potential concern.  Even if that is ignored, the pain from just driving, as in motion of the vehicle and light and consentrating that intently for a longer duration, increases migraine intensity.  Hell, just going home for lunch sometimes on a bright summer day would increase a migraine for me such that I'd think it was better to not have.  Unfortunately we are talking rural here and there is no alternative solution here.  Second problem related to the first is that usually I go home for luch which enables me to have some down time or 'dark time', nap time, chill time... and if need be time to take an abortive and let it settle properly.  And now I'll have to just suck it up all day without that break in the day, which will suck big time on a bad day... which lets face it, is half the month.  So... this situation will get worse in winter because I have no night vision to speak of which worries me.  I tend to avoid driving at night outside of town at all costs, certainly in poor weather conditions.

My spouse isn't too keen on the idea.  He, obviously, doesn't let me drive anywhere.  He just thinks the pain alone from commuting every day like that will be too high and doesn't think I should do it At All Period in the winter, due to the whole lack of night vision thing.  So there is really two solutions.  A) we move to that location which means selling our house in a crappy market after we just refinanced or B) finding alternative employment.  If it ends up being B at least I have the whole summer to do so, which I think I can last through.  My spouse thinks I should find some sort of work I can do from home, so maybe I should actively look into that.  I mean, I like financial stability.  I worries me to put too much financial burdan on my spouse.  So, even when things got really, really rough with my employer I stuck it out because there was consistency there.  Sure it made me suicidal but at least they couldn't fire me for being sick, or at least not without some consequences to it. lol  Not that they didn't try their damdest, right?  Nevertheless, as fun as they have been, good times and bad, a pay cheque is a pay cheque.  I don't like the idea of jumping into something else, expecially a work from home job where there is not the same sort of stability.  But if there is any time to look into it, it is now.  So I best get on it.  The summer only lasts so long.  If you hear of any good telecommute jobs out there let me know.  Or any good job sites.  I'm on the market.

Two things that do not go well with car accidents are migraines and FMS

I was in what I would call a minor car accident where no one was overly hurt, cars were fine and drive-able and everything was good.  But first of all I have been having wicked migraines all week so I've had a very sore and tender neck, and had a borderline migraine at that point... so slamming on the brakes and impacting with a truck and getting jostled around like that even in a minor collision caused immediate pain in my neck arching up into my head and a flare of a migraine.  Which rapidly became worse and worse and worse.  At first I ignored it because I had other concerns, such as the seat-belt pulling taunt causing shortness of breath and some chest pain.  I dealt with the accident and went back to work but the chest pain and shortness of breath persisted so I took my asthma inhaler.  I think the chest pain was actually from the seatbelt itself, while people don't usually feel soreness till the next day (or so they told me) my FMS makes that not the case at all, especially for trigger points and I had a very sharp pain below my collarbone and shoulder, which is a very sensitive spot.  The pain sort of flared out from there and lasted a good six hours and now is just an ache all around the shoulder itself and through the chest wall sternum area.  So that was pretty immediate, but also very minor really.  Very, very minor.  For me anyway.  Relatively speaking anyway.  I mean, it hurt (and it concerned me enough to mention it to a staff member, take a second shot of my puffer and wonder if it was something else.. its sometimes hard to tell chest wall pain from asthma lung pain and heart pain and I should know, I've had em all).  Chestwall pain does hurt, but acute migraine pain hurts a hell of a lot more.  Seriously.  A hell of a lot more.  I wasn't feeling so great though.  Unsteady, dizzy and shaken.  So I went home.  I intended to do a police report for insurance and go to the hospital to get checked out, just in case, like people at work suggested I do.  But, I barely made it home... the migraine pain just rocketed up.  It was insanely painful.  I couldn't even comprehend moving let alone driving myself to the hospital.  So I didn't.  And really I thought it was fine because a migraine is a migraine no matter the trigger and the accident really wasn't serious so no big deal.  I mean I don't think people normally go to the hospital after accidents of that nature so I didn't think it was a big deal.  It would have been different if it had been a serious asthma attack, or chest pains of serious nature, or neck pain from the accident itself but I know my body and it may of been shaken and startled into a reaction of shortness of breath and a migraine, but it was not serious serious. 

That night I began to notice my abdomen began to ache and again the first thing to occur to me was it was because of the damn seatbelt and because with FMS I felt the pain faster and stronger than I should given the situation.  So I wasn't alarmed really.  Maybe I little wierded out because you think well, how much of an impact do you need to unsettle your internal organs?  Maybe I pushed my kidney up into my ribcage?  What do I know?  But really I just thought the seatbelt had squeezed me a little too well.  Honestly, I just hoped the migraine would be under control for work because I knew, just knew, I was going to ache like a sonofabitch the next day.  Little did I know how much I was going to hurt the next day.  FMS can be such a bitch because honestly I can't image this amount of pain is normal for such a thing.  My boyfriend totally crunched his truck last year and felt nothing, and I feel like someone used me for a human punching bag.  I got up in the morning and literally doubled over.  I could not even stand straight.  I had cramping pain shooting through my abdomen and pain all the way across.  The pain across made sense... effing seatbelt! (honestly I think I'd be in less pain if I hadn't been wearing the seatbelt and just ping-ponged around the car) it was the cramping pain that had me damned concerned and the fact that I couldn't stand straight or walk without being crouched over.  So I called in sick and tried to get in to see my doctor, which I couldn't.  I still had a wicked migraine and was nausea   So I lay there and tried to figure out whether I should wait until someone could drive me to the ER or until the after hours clinic opened if I felt I could wait that long and it was not bad enough for the ER.  You know where you try and figure out whether something is bad enough to be concerned about or whether you should just ignore it?  With chronic conditions we all have practice ignoring so many things but in this instance if something is wrong, even a pulled muscle, you should get it documented.  Then I got a call from work, apparently someone else had called in sick and they wanted me to come in which I wasn't certain I could do, so I was like damn now I have to drive myself to the ER.  Which wasn't pleasant.  I was fine lying down in the fetal position but getting up and moving around wasn't fun and then sitting in the ER just aggravating my migraine to the extreme.  What the hell is it about hospitals that make them so migraine horrific?  The lighting?  The smells?  Something anyway.  If you don't have a migraine, you'll get one and if you have one, it'll get worse.  So it sucks if that's what you're there for, but then if that's what you're there for have luck getting good treatment anyway.  And wow I thought it hurt when I was just laying there but when that doc pressed down on my stomach I just about jumped off the table.

The ER of course took a very long time because they have to do x-rays and blood work and then wait for everything to come back.  And of course to then treat the migraine which by then was getting quite acute.  I really just wanted to get the hell out of there as soon as I could just so I could find the deepest and darkest hole to crawl into, but I had to wait it out.  Usually when I go in for migraine treatment, and it fails, which is usally the case, I can just get up and go home and suffer in the dark in peace.  This time I had to wait, and wait in the bright hospital smelly hell with a nasty acute migraine for whatever test results to come back so I could confirm that there was not some slim chance my stomach had not ruptured or if I had pulled such and such a muscle there was a record of it. The doctor said there was no concern over damage that it was just soft tissue bruising and so forth which should begin to get better within a week, but if it doesn't to follow up with my doc not because it would be anything seriously wrong but just because it could be muscle issues.  I couldn't go into work unfortunately even to help out for the few hours left in the evening because I was hopped up on migraine meds... which, by the way, didn't really work but that's because as usual they gave me toradol shots which just doesn't cut it for some reason.

So that was the opposite of fun.  Now I have to get my bloody car fixed, again.  And I'll have a migraine all weekend, or longer.  Plus however long this abdominal pain is going to last.  Joy.

And if I ever get in a serious accident the resulting migraine will be so horrifically painful that, relatively speaking, all other injuries will be barely even noticeable... like a broken leg.  That's assuming I'm wearing my seatbelt...

Spring storm bitch slapped me good

This snow storm began Wednesday night and went though till Thursday afternoon.  This pic was in the beginning part.  All Thursday I was completely out for the count with a wicked, brutal migraine.  I slept till 1pm trying to knock it down.  I took a triptan.  Nada.  I took tramacet, my pain killer.  Nothing.  It was completely untamable.  Light was unbearable.  Sound was unbearable... and my spouse decided to vacuum ( I almost killed him).  Movement at all was agonizing... those shooting pains from the base of the neck upwards or when I moved my head were there.  The migraine was full blown all freaking day.  Start to finish.

Ironically I had taken Thursday and Monday off as holiday days.  Had I not I would have had to call in sick on Thursday, that was just how bad that migraine was on a pain level.  But instead I could stay home, be in pain in peace, in the dark in peace, without all the effing guilt that comes with calling in sick.  I feel a bit better today, I still have a migraine but it is about a 8 now, instead of a 10.  It is hormonal migraine triggered right now, last couple of days actually, that storm just knocked the one off the effing chart in pain levels.  Stupid spring weather.

April 2012 Headache & Migraine Disease Blog Carnival.

"How do you build and maintain hope when your life is dominated by migraine disease or another headache disorder?"

I just missed the deallined on this one, but I'll write about it anyway because it is a good one.  That ellusive HOPE.  How do we build or maintain hope?  No, seriously, how do we?

Because I have no clue at all.  I struggle to find hope and hold onto it for just as long as I can.  I hoped I would be able to find effective treatment... not awesome treatment, but maybe 50% reduction of migraines, which would leave me with about 10 to 15 a month.  That is all I hoped for.  Then my neuro tells me flat out that he has run out of ideas.  He has no clue what else to try.  There goes my hope.  I'm stuck like this for good.  He will send me to another clinic and maybe, he says, they might try something else.  There is a long waiting list so... it'll be a year or two.  So now I hope I survive till then.

I hope to hold onto my job and that depended on getting medication that would help me get through it.  Without that... it is going to be hell.  My neuo told me I can't go on long term leave because insurance companies will fight you all the way for migraine conditions.  And again my hope dies because I know I cannot continue at this job going like I am and survive.  So now I hope I can find some other way to survive and screw them all.

I mean these guys tell us we are screwed for treatment, screwed for assistence from insurance but expect us to be able to function some how on our own.  Without killing ourselves... been there, done that and honestly when you look at the situation they put you in, when hope dies, that is the option that jumps out at you.  These people crush hope and offer nothing in its place.

My migraines control my existence.  When I can move, when I can think, when I can function.  I have no life.  No social life.  No existence outside of work.  Work is not going well at all.  No hope in my neuro.  No hope in insurance companies or relief in long term disability.  Equals no hope in survival.  Literally going on as I am trying to life like I am not disabled when I am, will kill me.

The only hope I have to survive is to acknoledge migraines do dominate my reality.  They do dictate my choices.  No one will help me (employers will not help me, insurance companies are designed to screw people over not help them, there are no services to help those with invisble disabilties).  It is up to me to make choices that are hard, compramises that are hard, that will make things better on my health.  Like when I chose not to go for my phd.... very hard choice, but it needed to be made.  And now, I need to find a job that fits the criteria that is migraine friendly and when I find that job I need to take it even though it won't be as fun a job and won't make as much money... but because it will be less stress, it will be less hours or telecommute or both, and it will be far better on my health.  And I HOPE I have the courage to make that choice if or when it comes along because I know I will fear the change, fear the loss of a another career.

I'm going to go get me some Special K

Kidding.  Or am I?  Ketamine for Migraine: Head and Migraine News

"Ketamine is a neurological drug, classed as a NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor antagonist.  It is believed to work in a number of different ways in the brain – relating to calcium channels, serotonin, and glutamate – terms that will be familiar with migraine researchers in particular.  In fact, ketamine has been especially useful in the treatment of headache or migraine that just won’t go away and isn’t responding to other kinds of treatment (refractory).  It’s given as an IV or intranasal treatment.  Of course, this means it’s way down on the list of treatments that will be given – it’s rare and even when it’s tried it’s often not successful."
I am way down on the list of treatments available so this sounds like something I can try, since I do get migraines that just don't go away.  I'm going to have to remember this one.

I would love to just redirect you to the new site...

But sadly the redirect function doesn't function. I will continue to persist hitting it and see if it will eventually do something. Or s...