Who Am I without Migraine Disease?

PatientsMoment200The topic for this month's Patients for a Moment blog carnival is Who are you without your disease?

I've been thinking about this topic for a couple of weeks now, but find that I don't really know how to answer it since I've had Migraines since I was so young. The first Migraine I remember occurred when I was about six-years-old, so to me, I've always had Migraines.

Given that, I pondered how Migraine disease has influenced who I've become as an adult...

Attitudes and feelings:

  • Determination - This disease will NOT beat me.
  • I hate that so many people are in pain and suffering other Migraine symptoms. Having lived with this myself makes me very aware and sympathetic toward others with this disease  as well as other health issues.
  • On the other hand, I've also learned that we Migraineurs must work to identify and manage our triggers and work with our doctors toward effective disease management. So this is something I try to share with others, especially since studies have shown that educated and proactive patients have better outcomes.
  • I do respect doctors and other health care professionals, but I expect them to return that respect and make decisions WITH me, not FOR me.

Family:

  • This is where I've been fortunate. We traced Migraine back in my mother's family three generations. My father had terrible headaches that he thought were sinus headaches. Now we know that most of what people think are sinus headaches are actually Migraines. In any case, given the family history, there was no problem with my being diagnosed, despite my young age; nor was there any problem with my family doubting me.
  • My husband and sons haven't always known what to do for me, but have always been extremely patient and understanding. Our sons ended up marrying women with Migraines, so that understanding now comes in handy, especially given that both of them now have children with Migraine.

Work / Career:

This is where Migraine disease has had the most impact on who I am and what I do. In college, I studied to teach high school English. After I realized that I wouldn't function well in today's classrooms, I completed a two-year degree in office technology and worked in office management. When my Migraines were their worst and most frequent, my blood pressure was also running high, and I simply couldn't work.

  • In searching online for Migraine information in 2000, I discovered that About.com was looking for someone to write and "guide" a new Migraine site. I applied for that job, got it, and worked for them until 2007.
  • In 2007, In left About.com and went to work for the HealthCentral Network, which is now part of Remedy Health Media, writing about Migraine and working with their Migraine community at www.healthcentral.com/migraine
  • Near the end of 2010, I also started writing part-time for a new site, Migraine.com.
  • Since 2000, by working with Migraine specialists, we were able to get my Migraines from chronic back to episodic. Last year, because of some other health issues, I had to cut back one of my preventive medications, and they became chronic again. My Migraine specialist and I have been working on a new preventive regimen, and they're finally getting back to episodic again.
  • Other health issues combined with Migraine disease make it difficult for me to be dependable enough for a "regular" job on somebody else's schedule, but this type of work allows me to work from a home office on my own schedule. When I need to travel for work, I build in an extra day at the beginning and end of trips since traveling so often triggers a nasty Migraine.
  • Although I hate that my health limits what I can do, there's a good trade-off. At the end of the day, I always know that I've been able to help someone else with Migraines that are messing up their life.

All in all, Migraine disease has made me stronger, more empathetic, more sympathetic, and more determined. I will NOT let it beat me, but I will USE it to make me stronger.

Live well,

PurpleRibbonTiny
 

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© Teri Robert, 2012
Last updated April 14, 2012.