I’ve got good news, my friends.  Better than it was last time I spoke on it anyway.  As some folks already know I’ve had migraines since my teen years and they became chronic and darned near uncontrollable 12 years ago.  Like most migraines I have multiple triggers.  Long ago I was able to successfully identified 6-8 obvious triggers and a few more that are questionable.

The worse set of triggers (meaning they are seemingly the ones I’m most sensitive to) all radiate from the building where I’ve worked for the past 12 years.  I can’t say it’s a “sick building” for everyone, but it is definitely toxic to my system.  And it is especially difficult for me every time they change the carpets throughout the building.

Try, Try, Then Try Again

While in treatment for years, I’ve been a somewhat typical ginny-pig type patient in the sense that the doctors have run a ton of tests and we’ve tried all sorts of meds for prevention and abortive measures as well – with varying degrees of success.  The most successful routine I started about 4 years back.  I started to get BOTOX injections every 3-months.  While at first it didn’t seem to work, after the second round of shots I began seeing significant improvements.  I went from 28 migraines a month down to an average of about 10.  That was soooooooo awesome and lasted for almost 3 years. 🙂

Then in Dec 2009 they did it again.  They changed the carpets.  That set off a new round of migraines that were just so unbearable at times.  After several months of dealing with the migraine count growing again and trying to combat the intensity of them I was finally ready to throw in the towel and quit my job.  Having to come to grip with that (defeat if you will) – I knew it was no longer worth all the painful days and nights anymore!

Greg encouraged me to try just one more thing before walking out the door.  He wanted me to see if the current administration would consider allowing me to work from home or at least move my office to a different building.  Well I had tried this before with a flat out denial of my request, but that was under a different executive staff.  I figured I didn’t have much to lose by asking the new staffers if they’d consider this, so I decided to put in the request.

Am I Disabled?

This time I approached it from an ADA prospective specifically asking for work-place accommodations for my “disability”.  There have been several cases in recent years where migrainers have won some disability cases and accommodations have been granted more and more often in work places to assist with the special needs of migraine sufferers.  My work place has even allowed me to make some lighting and other small changes to my office to help out too.  I’m not so sure folks would agree in the disability label here, but there are many migrainers (self included) who will stand firm on admitting that migraines do, in fact debilitate our lives and in many ways leaves us unable to accomplish daily activities – at work and elsewhere!

I was pleasantly surprised with our leadership when they accepted my proposal/request!  All the homework I did in preparing it was well worth the effort!  Now I work from home 3-days a week and in the office the other two work days.  My in-office days are shorter hours as well.  This has been a life changing event for me, as my migraines have diminished to an average of 12 a month now.  This is the least amount of pain management I’ve had to do in what seems like forever!  And I won’t be retiring from my government job 8-years ahead of schedule either.  🙂

Frova Not a Good Option for Me

Of course I still have those migraines that tend to get out of hand and spin me so out of control that my home-administered meds don’t do the trick and I require a needle stick or two from the clinic/hospital. I had one of those buggers Monday night which turned out to be a total mess after a bad reaction to the drug Frova.  A drug that is now on my don’t-go-there-again list.  Ugh! However those bad-boy migraines are much fewer and further apart now.  I feel like I have a new lease on life again.  🙂

And let me just add a bit of clarification here that while Frova ended up leaving me in worse condition that I was when I took it – doesn’t mean it’s not right for others.  Like any med choice, you need to work closely with your doctor to determine what works for you.  And if you have a bad reaction to something – be sure to let them know what’s going on.  So you can get immediate treatment if necessary!

Moving Upward and Onward

So…. getting away from my worst triggers even more often, continuing with a med regiment for prevention, and continuing to look for a better option than the Imitrex is where I am today.  Bottom line is that I’m doing much better than I did for several years.

And that’s the latest/greatest news on my migraines. Yippy!

Added Note: Looks like Relpax is a better abortive option for me than Imitrex or Frova.  Except…. it makes me sleepy as all get out.  LOL  Not a bad side affect as compared to some of the real icky things I’ve put up with in the past.  A good trade most any day!  And while TRICARE still doesn’t cover my BOTOX shots just yet – now that the FDA approved it for migraine use, maybe, just maybe TRICARE will eventually cover my cost.

Wishing you all Pain-Free Days!
~Cindy

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