10 Things You Should Know About Working With a Chronic Condition.

  1. You’ll feel extremely guilty every single time you have to miss work or leave early because of your condition.
  2. You’ll push yourself so hard to be ‘normal’… It uses up a lot of energy.
  3. During a bad patch, if you’re at work, it means you have no life outside of work- it’s all just work and sleep.
  4. You’ll be the go to person at work for medication of any kind; your locker has it’s own first aid box!
  5. Sometimes, you’ll feel so ill you’ll spend your lunch break throwing up in the bathroom/asleep in the car, then go back to work to finish your shift.
  6. You’ll constantly worry about being fired for having too much sick leave. The worry itself will probably aggravate your condition.
  7. Some of your colleagues will understand and be very compassionate… others will think you’re making it all up!
  8. Your colleagues will compare their ailments to yours… “oh yeah I’ve had a headache for days too” (whilst you’ve been in bed for 72 hours and lost 9lbs due to vomiting!).
  9. Often, you’ll want to give up, perhaps not working will make you feel ok again?
  10. You’ll persevere because you love what you do (or maybe you just need to pay your bills?!) and you’re not going to let your illness define or destroy you!

The Lesser of Two Evils.

Triptans are a group of medicines used to treat migraines and cluster headaches. I was prescribed 50mg Sumatriptan when paracetamol, ibuprofen and other over the counter meds stopped being effective. I was told to take one when migraine symptoms first appeared and another two hours laters if I was still suffering.

This method worked for a while, until it didn’t. My dose was then doubled to 100mg, but this made my sickness worse so I was also prescribed metoclopramide.

Taking 100g Sumatriptan and metoclopramide has other side effects, it makes me really dizzy and sleepy; I can’t function, I can’t work, I can’t look after my children… for about an hour maybe two (on a ‘good’ day). Then I’m left feeling really sore, I don’t know if there is a word to describe what I feel. It’s like my whole body is bruised; it hurts to brush my hair, it hurts to swollow, it hurts if my husband rubs my back. BUT, I can function and that is all that matters, this is the lesser of two evils. 

I’ve moved onto a new triptan now, it’s called Zomatriptan and I’m currently on 2.5mg. It’s pretty much the same as Sumatriptan with the same side effects, except it works… most of the time. I’m sure I’ll have to move onto a different one when these stop working, but for now, I’m ok. 

I still get migraines where the triptans don’t work, probably about once a month. They’re manageable. I have the support of my husband, he’s great. 😘

Thunder Thighs, Mud and Of Course Migraines (because why should today be any different).

I love exercise. I used to work for a well know fitness chain as a Fitness Technician, but that was in a different life (or at least feels like it!).

Having had a break from exercise due to babies taking over, I noticed my clothes getting tighter and tighter… I had a slight breakdown one day when I had no decent clothes to wear. I donned my sweatpants, went to the local supermarket (yes, supermarket!) and spent a fair amount of money on some bigger clothes. 

On the same day, I joined the gym. That was about two months ago. Those bigger clothes I bought are now too big, but I still have a box of size 10s under my bed waiting for me to lose my thunder thighs. 

Anyway, since I’ve been getting fitter, I decided it’d be a good idea to join a gorgeous group of ladies raising money for The British Heart Foundation by taking part in a Stampede mud run today. 

We battled through some pretty difficult obstacles over the 10 kilometre course; including crawling under camo nets, through builder’s skips of mud and sawdust and plodging through a waist high, ice cold river. It was amazing. I crossed the finish line, hand in hand with my best friend, and felt as if I could achieve anything. 

Until I got home. 

Once the adrenaline had worn off, my head was pounding. I’m not sure if it was an exercise induced migraine or just part of the rough patch I’m going through, but either way I took my Triptans and went to bed. 
I’m still suffering, but it was totally worth it. I’m thinking about applying to do the Great North Run next year. First, I think I need to re-learn my limits.

Migraines, motherhood and making cookies.

I read an article today, in some magazine or other, about things we had learned from our mothers and things we wouldn’t do with our own children. It got me thinking.

What will our children want to do better when they become parents themselves? 

As a mother with a chronic condition, I feel guilty 99% of the time. Do I play enough? Is this pre-packaged meal good enough? (Even though it’s all I can manage to cook right now).

A few years ago, on my daughter’s first Christmas, I’d worried so much it wouldn’t be perfect, that I vomited during breakfast and spent the rest of the day in bed. We ended up celebrating on Boxing Day where, even though I was still suffering, I over compensated by playing all day and making as much noise as possible with the kids on their new music set. The other half was not too impressed. 

When my children think about their childhood, will they remember that mummy missed Christmas or will they remember the fun we had and the songs we made up on Boxing Day? 

My mother also suffers with Migraines. When I look back, I remember the time we pushed all the furniture to the edge of the room so we could dance and play wrestling. I remember the days we would spend building sand castles and going mad on the beach.
I also remember the time she crouched in the corner outside the fish and chip shop and couldn’t move because of the pain and I remember stroking her brow and feeling utterly useless. 

Most of all, I remember her being the biggest kid out of all of us (she still is!) and being the mother that I needed her to be. Parenting with, or without, a chronic condition is difficult. I just hope my kids see me in the same light as I saw my mother. 

Now, I’m feeling ok today, so I’m over compensating by making boat loads of cookies with the kids… catch ya later!

Migraine diary. 

I saw one of the most understanding GP’s yesterday, who turned out to actually be an advanced nurse practitioner (not that it matters!) After a stern telling off about non compliance with my meds, I left with a plan.

Over the next four weeks I have to complete a ‘migraine diary’ and take my Triptan medication as soon as an attack hits… instead of once it’s convenient to lay down! I thought I’d post it on here; it might help me complete it.

19/10/16. Day 1-Woke up with left sided pain and nausea. Took first Triptan at 6am. Took Propanolol at 7am. Pain cleared by 8am so I didn’t take my 2nd Triptan. Fuzzy head came back at 10am and didn’t clear till around 6pm. Took propanalol at 4:30pm.

20/10/2016. Day 2-Woke up feeling nauseous but no pain in my head (yey!) . Took Propanolol at 7am and 5pm. Had a slight fuzzy head from 7:45am till lunch. 

21/10/2016. Day 3- Felt fresh this morning! Took Propanolol at 7am and 5pm. So far so good.

22/10/2016. Day 4- woke up with right sided pain, took Propanolol at 8:30am and my first Triptan. Pain moves to left side by 10am, second Triptan 10:30am. Pain eased around 2pm. 

23/10/16. Day 5- woke up feeling ok actually, I have a strange pain in the back of my head but I think it’s the way I’ve slept. Took Propanolol at 8am. Pain in right side started 3:45pm took first Triptan at 4pm and slept till 5:30pm. Head fuzzy but manageable. 

24/10/2016. Day 6- I woke up nauseous and with a fuzzy head. Took Propanolol at 7am. Head cleared by 8am. Today was a good day.

25/10/2016-04/11/2016. Days 5-15- I’ve actually been pretty migraine free for a little while! My head has been fuzzy but not enough to make me take a triptan.

05/11/2016. Day 16- woke up with a fuzzy head and nauseous. Had to work so didn’t take a triptan.Head cleared by itself by 7pm.

06/11/2016. Day 17- woke up feeling ok, my head started hurting around lunchtime, took a triptan but the pain didn’t go away.

07/11/2016. Day 18- woke up feeling fuzzy but managed to shake it off. Pain came back about 9:30am, two triptan she couldn’t shift it so I suffered through it all day. 

08/11/16- 10/11/16. Day 19-21- I’ve had a fuzzy head that I just couldn’t shake off… We’ve had a mad couple of day though so it hasn’t helped. Also, I’m worrying about going on holiday!

11/11/16. Day 22- Today we flew to The Netherlands 🇳🇱 I’m not a great flyer so it was stressful but my head stayed clear (even with a glass of wine!)

12/11/16. Day 23- Today was a good day, I even risked another glass of wine! We are on holiday after all! 

13/11/16. Day 24- shouldn’t have had the wine… today I’m fuzzy. I have brought along my triptans but didn’t take any because I don’t have pain as such and I want to be able to function. 

14/11/16. Day 25 – today is my 30th birthday! My head has been a little fuzzy but nothing to complain verbally about.

15/11/16-18/11/16. Day 25-28- I’ve had a fuzzy head that just won’t go away! It’s made it really hard to concentrate on anything. Tonight (18th) I’m in pain, I’ve put the kids to bed and gone to bed with a triptan.

19/11/16. Day 29- woke up with my head pounding. I’m by myself with the kids so managed to drag myself downstairs. My eldest made breakfast (cereal) and I took my triptan and promptly fell asleep on the sofa. Pulled myself around by 10am but we’ve had a quiet day. 

Just another Monday, wait… what day is it?

I have spent the last two days laying in bed, balling my pillow up and trying to stuff it into my eye socket… my meds aren’t working and the pain in my head has been so excruciating it has knocked me sick, literally. 

When I have a migraine attack I lose all sense of time, one day blurs into the next and when it’s finally over I think it’s Monday. It’s always Monday.

So, I’m not prepared for my youngest sons school trip tomorrow because it’s only Monday and his trip is on Wednesday!

The open evening at my daughters school is tonight, I need to be there for 17:30… oh wait that WAS on Monday. Oh no.

I forever feel like I’m rushing around trying to catch up on what I’ve missed when I was ill… the stress makes me ill and it’s a never ending cycle.