Sunday, January 16, 2011

Life Change

Photo from weheartit

As you all know, migraines change your life, both for good and bad. Mostly bad, but over the last few years I have learned to, for example, say "no", thanks to my migraines. Recently, I made a big life change which falls under the good category. 

I've worked in public relations the last four years. I have a bachelor's degree in PR and worked at a fun and energetic agency. During the last four years, however, my headaches and migraines have taken over my life to the point where I realized that my body (physical and emotional) was deteriorating, and I think a lot of it had to do with the high level of stress that goes with a PR job. I've been doing therapy for a year to help me manage this stress, but my body was not dealing with it. So, in December, I quit my job.

A change of scenery seems to be what I needed. I'm still active - in fact, I'm now a full-time graphic design student at the local community college (and I'm doing some occasional contract work for the agency). I should be able to get an associate's degree in about a year and a half. I've always been artsy, and I'm loving my classes! Two out of the five I'm taking are online, so I'm able to be at home a lot more where it's peaceful and relaxing.

Now don't get me wrong: I still have headaches and migraines. But the nearly every day of head pain has lately been every other day or so, and my anxiety and IBS have gotten better. This is a big improvement (so big, in fact, that I've been scared to blog about it because I don't want to jinx myself)! 

Also, I don't want to say definitively that quitting my job and becoming a student is the main reason for this relief because I don't know that for sure. I'm doing lots of other things that could be helping, including:
  • I still have my TMJ mouth guard, and I'm slowly cutting back the hours I have to wear it. Maybe the mouth guard and/or cutting back on the hours (down to wearing it 14 hours per day now) is helping.
  • I'm on my third cycle of taking Progesterone (bioidentical hormone) pills day 22 through the end of each cycle. I'm almost certain this is a big factor in my improvement.
  • My diet has been really good lately. Because I'm home more, I've been eating out less and cooking mostly from scratch, and mostly organic foods (especially meat and dairy because of the whole hormone thing).
  • I've been exercising more. 
  • My preacher is aware of my struggle and even used me (without naming me) as an example in a sermon after I told her I'd been questioning God about the pain and at the same time wanting to turn it into a positive to help others going through it. I firmly believe that her prayers and those of church members are helping. 
Whatever is helping, I'll take it! I'm still going to seek additional treatment; in fact, now that I have different insurance (through my wonderful husband who is supportive yet a little freaked out about me not working full time haha), I may have a better chance of getting approved for things such as Botox.

I'm so happy to be writing a positive update on here! There really is hope, as I've said all along! :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

War Veterans Health Resource Initiative

Happy New Year everybody! I received the below e-mail from an NHF rep. Since it's a resource for war veterans, I wanted to take this opportunity to THANK everyone reading this who has fought for our country and those who have family/friends/loved ones who are in the military. :)

Did you know that studies have shown veterans suffer from extreme headaches, commonly known as migraines, at more than double and as much as four times the prevalence of the general population? It’s unfortunate to see that at a rapidly increasing rate, military personnel are experiencing migraines, depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other illnesses linked to traumatic brain injury. I am contacting you today on behalf of the National Headache Foundation (NHF), a volunteer non-profit organization, in order to shed light on this serious condition and introduce you and your readers to the War Veterans Health Resource Initiative.

The War Veterans Health Resource Initiative provides military personnel with comprehensive information on dealing with migraines and their associated symptoms. Details can be found at, where other free resources are readily available as well.

Thousands of veterans return home suffering from invisible wounds that result from brain injury, emotional trauma, or both. In fact, 19 percent of soldiers returning from Iraq have migraine and migraine is suspected in another 17 percent! Few people realize that these wounds can disable even the most physically fit and mentally resilient men and women who serve in our armed forces. The NHF wants to do its part in helping them find the treatment and services they need.

The NHF is also encouraging our returning veterans and their healthcare providers to attend a 2011 regional conference to help fight the battle against migraine & headache and traumatic brain injury & posttraumatic stress disorder on Saturday, March 5, 2011 in Augusta, GA. To learn more visit the NHF website at or call 1-888-NHF-5552 (M-F, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT).