Saturday, July 25, 2009

How to talk with bosses changing your job to work with your Migraine disease

I was placed on disability last year for 3 months because my migraines which had been constant at that time for about 6 months had gotten to the point of so bad I couldn't work and had to be hospitalized. My work was very good with me during this time, but I worried about coming back to work and continuing my career path.

I learned from my stay at MHNI that I would not be able to go back to what I used to do. I'm a tax CPA working for a national firm. I worked 80+ hours a week during busy season and around 50 during other parts of the year. I was teaching national training, involved in 2 national tax expert communities and was moving my career along well, meanwhile my health was deteriorating and I was ignoring it. Working as hard as I could when I felt good enough because I knew there would be times I would be unable to work. I was doing the catch up marathon which only brought on more pain.

I hit a wall obviously and was unable to continue as I had - medically unable no matter what my career ambitions were.

I had been doing a lot of work with the national tax office and national teaching on top of taking care of my clients and becoming a specialist in a few areas. I was trying to do it all. My reason was that I wanted to be a technical expert - my ultimate goal for my career was to be working for the national tax office and doing expert technical consulting rather than managing clients and being the typical CPA - I love my clients and working with them - but I had a goal to work at a higher level away from my own clients and helping others with theirs in specific technical areas and being an advisor. As well, I wanted to teach more - I love not only the teaching, but the behind the scenes of it deciding what to teach at what level to our staff and managers and developing the programs.

Now, my health was flat out telling me I couldn't have it all anymore. So, what to do? I had options:
I could apply for a job at a client and work only with one client's issues which would be a lot less stressful as I wouldn't have to "know" everything and could know what was coming day to day. [I didn't want this because I love having something new everyday and continuous learning. I didn't want to do the same thing everyday or every year]
I could take on offer with a company offering to allow me to do international work or a client that wanted to prep me for a CFO position. [These are still options I think about if what I'm doing doesn't work, but the problem with these is they would require I "prove" myself at a new environment, educate on my condition or ignore my condition and overwork until I've proven myself which I don't think my health would have let me]
I could stay where I was and take on less challenging work, reduce the more challenging clients from my workload and reduce my hours and basically put a stop to my career advancement. [Again, not attractive as I enjoy the challenge and am not ready to stop moving up and didn't want to be average - I wanted to be an expert. And I would have to give up the teaching which I love so much so compromising on what I really want could leave me unhappy in the end and re-evaluating later or trying later to move back up by overdoing it again.]
I could go out on my own or with others and start a new business with much less low key work and less technical or challenging clients. [Bad option because I am not a sales person and the stress of that could put me in a world of hurt and I need the comfort of being able to have a health care plan that is at least somewhat affordable. Also, I'm the primary breadwinner so would cause a decrease in income for my family for a number of years or could fail and the stress could hurt my migraines more.]
I could stay on disability - or move to long term disability - it was an option my doctors gave me and told me if I didn't change something would be difinitive for me without my input. [I just hate the idea of it. If I can be capable in some way to be out there working I need to be for my own psyche. And again, I am the primary bread winner.]
I could go to work for a regional or local CPA firm where the issues and clients would be less challenging and therefore less stressful. [I've done this before when I was leaving an even larger firm than I'm at now because of the stress and migraines. I was bored with the work and didn't feel challenged and hated going to work everyday.]
Or I could try to get what I wanted from where I was. Stay on a career path, do more national tax office work and technical consulting and teaching and get rid of the client management and deadlines that always lead to let-down migraines. [How to go about this? How to get what I want?]

Well, being an analytical person - I am a CPA afterall - I went through all these options as I have here and weighed the pros and cons. Then I decided to try to get what I wanted out of my career. Here's where it gets sticky.

1. You can't go into your place of work and ask them to take you off of the client management - the money making place - and have you only do national level - nonbillable work. They won't go for that because it isn't in their best interest.
2. Remember that the company, no matter how much they care for you as a person, has to look to their bottom line and if you are contributing to it or not.
3. Although your boss may feel for you deeply, they can't, especially in this economy, let you do what you want because it makes you feel better. They have to look at what you contribute to the organization.
4. So, I knew I couldn't come at this from an emotional angle. I already knew they cared a lot for me - they raised almost $2,000 for me while I was on disability to help me pay my medical bills and buy food and get by on the lower disability pay. More tears and help me no matter how much they want to help, isn't the business of business.
5. People - who don't fully understand - get tired of the complaining. I've seen it before at work with non-health issues. The constant complainer may be listened to at first, but then is ignored and then is looked down on. So, I couldn't complain.
6. So, I came to the conclusion that I had to sell myself to them, much as I did in my first interview, as how I would add value to the company.
7. I had to be sure to include my limitations and accept them but frame them as benefits to the company - hard to do when you are in a lot of pain and can't see benefits.

So, what did I do. Well, I'll start out by saying that I now am doing everything I wanted in my career with a reduced workload and reduced hours and am seen as a resource to people in my office, national offices, and higher ups. I am shooting for a promotion this year - even though I was on disability last year - and I think I have a good shot at it and a good raise and bonus. So, I think I was successful. Here's what I did.

1. Took all of my short term disability that my doctors told me to take - I did not try to go back to work sooner to show them I was ready to rock & roll. I used the time to hone my skills at yoga, stress reduction, noticing and becoming familiar with triggers and very importantly, learning how to say no. (Very difficult for a woman, I must say). Take the time off. Don't jump back in too soon.
2. Realized I couldn't do it alone and got a great therapist to help me role play how I would frame then and continue to frame my abilities and limitations. Role playing talking to my superiors was monumentally helpful because the first few times I broke down and reverted to the pain and coming at the situation from the emotional side - pleading for help. It took a lot of practice to learn to use humor and other tools when talking to my superiors. A lot of role playing. Do it - often and continuously because you will continue to need it. Whether or not you do it with friends or a specialist, Role play it out.
3. I wrote a sort of resume - more a job description of the job I wanted. I used a lot of detail, broke it down to many items and included how each item benefited the company. Breaking it down to many items looks like a lot that you are able to do, even though you are reducing your overall workload and stress. Extremely important to write down the benefits the company gets from your performing said activities because it's written down and helps you stay on that focus rather than reverting back to the emotional.
4. I set an appointment with not only my direct superiors but also with the president of the company - who I was familiar with - I wouldn't recommend if you don't know or have a relationship with the person. But, I made it very formal and on my terms. So, I wasn't having conversations with different people at different times and talking about how I'm doing or adding personal conversations - which can lead back to an emotional rather than what I had to aim for - the business' advantage of my new responsibilities. I took charge of framing the conversation, where it was, everyone at the table, a set agenda, business like and formal. I knew they would want to ask how I was doing and I couldn't let that derail me from my mission - to sell them on my new job responsibilities. So, you frame the conversation and agenda and place of meeting.
5. I went point by point down my pre-set agenda and written job description (resume) and pointed out what I wanted in a statement and then elaborated more than what was written on how the company would benefit financially and what value I was going to add by changing what I was doing. (Note it may help to ask others in the office that are friendly to you how they think the company would benefit - get some help on this one. I did from former colleagues, other CPAs that are friends, friends in other industries even, and from my husband and family). And again, I practiced my presentation over and over to strip it of emotion.
6. If my condition was brought up I was honest about how it would effect my life and why the new job description would allow my condition to interfere a lot less. For example, working from home so I could take breaks and keep on task. How taking away the deadlines would allow me to accomplish things more easily in a timely manner because the pressure wouldn't be there. How I had learned to say no if too many things came on my plate at once and how to manage my schedule. That I had taken classes or such on how to better manage my schedule. That I was seeing a therapist to help me through my condition and how to work with it so things didn't get out of hand before I could manage them. That I would remain honest with them and keep them updated on my condition and how I was handling things and we could adjust as necessary my job duties.
7. I pointed out that I was going to be offering the firm a service that was needed. That many managers, including my former self, needed someone that didn't have their own clients so were available to help when situations came up. That many in the firm have expressed the need for someone that was a specialist consultant. That I would be able to work on billable projects that currently are sitting on other manager's desks because they can't get to them with all the other things they need to do. That the national tax office had many projects that they were willing to pay individual offices for the time of people to handle those projects. That the firm in its mission statement wants to be a business advisor and how when everyone is overwhelmed we miss that often and I could fill that role. How the firm's goal was to get all offices on a single platform but no one had time to work on templates, models, etc. so I would be working toward the firm's goals. How in our office, many expressed a need for someone to be a go to person for setting up and keeping updated templates, how to guides and help younger staff by teaching more lunch n learns on specific topics but no one currently had the time and so when they were done, they were always rushed, but I could fill that needed space. That the national tax office needed more instructors and people developing webinars and trainings but no one had time and that since trainings took place mostly in our city, the cost of having others travel would be reduced, while the national office would pay my local office for my time on those projects.

A lot of this is specific to my situation, but I hope you can take something from it and use in your situation. I would love to help you role play or review your "resume/new job duties" requests.

A short list of the above to remember is
1. Take the time off your doctors tell you to for disability. Don't jump back in too soon. Use the time to put yourself together and your plan and decide what you want.
2. Get help. And role play a lot.
3. Write it out - exactly what you will be doing in many items and the benefits to the company to help you stay focused and keep off the emotional plea.
4. Take charge of framing the conversation, the agenda and place of meeting. Try to keep it formal and have all parties at the same table. You set the stage don't let them. Be assertive.
5. Practice the conversation before hand a lot. Learn to stick to the agenda you wrote. Practice keeping distractions at bay and how to deal with them when they come up.
6. Be honest about your limitations. Do not try to oversell yourself. You are good enough as you are. Introduce how you are going to handle those limitations.
7. Point out specifically how you will meet a need of the company that currently is not being met in your current workload. Give them a business reason to say yes to your request.

I hope this helps and again, am here to help others if they need help writing up something, practicing, or venting.

All the best wishes - This Too Shall Pass

Saturday, July 18, 2009

My conversation with my neurologist about healthcare

I went to the neurologist on Thursday with a lot of questions about my health, the increased pain over the last three weeks and what we could do or adjust. Among other questions I'll get to in a minute and are more important.

I'm hypothyroid and it was controlled for many years. When my thyroid goes off, if doesn't go a little bit. My TSH levels (which are supposed to be 4-5 units and you are hypothyroid if it is 20 units) is either normal or 150 - 450 - 450 was at my worst when first diagnosed. It went off - TSH of 250 about the time that I went into a constant migraine mode - actually a few months after. We got it back regulated and was fine 6 months ago and then a few weeks ago it was back worse again with a TSH count of 154. Who knows how long it had been off but cooincides somewhat with my increased pain. Which could also be caused by the weather, my stress, or any number of other things - let down from stress is a big trigger for me.

So, my neurologist, correctly I think, decided with me that we shouldn't make any major changes in my migraine treatment until we can get my thyroid back to normal because the thyroid can be causing my meds to not work effectively and we would have a hard time telling if new meds were working or not.

But, I also talked with my neurologist about what's happening with the FDA and acetamenophen freak out. I have been so stressed and scared about all the talk because I've had trouble in the past with my insurance denying me migraine treatment meds prescribed by doctors which caused untreated migraines and I think led to the constant migraine. Maybe it would have come anyway, but even my docs think that having let migraines go untreated contributed to my current situation.

I now get the meds I need but am worried right now about the FDA and talks about over medication and cutting meds. As migraines causes are so varied and the treatment is so varied and one thing doesn't work for another patient and many meds are off-label use for migraines, I see others thinking of it as a target for saving health care costs and meds and thinking migraineurs over use meds.

I don't over use my meds - I go strictly by doctors orders and don't take any narcotics (mostly because they don't help anyway - except before surgeries I've had when they've given me phentinol (sp?) and it instantly took the migraine away (only relief I've had over the last 18 months) but we tried the patch and that didn't work) so I don't think I should be a target but worry that I am. I take Toradol shots twice a week - I would more often because they are one thing that always lowers my pain level instantly - but it is bad for my liver and I follow the rules. I don't want to be punished for people that over use or abuse medications - a lot of time not their fault even when they are just trying to get out of pain and end up hooked. I feel for them and worry about becoming like that myself which is why I am so strict about following labels and working with my doctors to find non-narcotic treatments for my migraines.

Anyway - I guess I'm never short with these even when I think I'm going to be - I talked this out with my neurologist - my fear that "they" will come after my meds next - especially my toradol since it can hurt your liver. She was wonderful in calming me down. I have to give her a shout out - Dr. Laura Reilly with Dr. Kaplan's office and Jenny Ravenscroft my PA, Thank you all!

She calmed me down telling me that their were many like her in the migraine business that would stand together and not let "them" take away our treatments. That the migraine doctors would stand up for us and fight for us. I've seen my doctors do that in fighting with my insurance company for me and sometimes winning and sometimes losing but I have seen them stand up. Even with my work, they wrote letters explaining my condition to them. I hope that she is right that the many doctors at MHNI - Dr. Saper and his team - that helped me and the others at clinics around the country that help people every day will stand up and not let the FDA take away our meds.

She explained to me what was going on. Rationally - she knows as a CPA that's the best argument to make with me - she stated what was going on and why she agreed to a degree about what was happening. According to her, it's about acetamenophen and the worry of overdoses. She said she always thought extra strength tylenol should have been a prescription because people take more than the label dose. If the bottle says take two - why not take three - that will work better, right. I admit when I was treating migraines over the counter, I did that so a logical, rational argument to me.

So, according to my doctor if you take away the extra strength tylenol people would have to take 15 tylenol a day to just go over the max dosage to the danger area and people are less likely to do that. With the extra-strength - it only takes 5 a day to reach the maximum dosage. Then, still according to my doctor, vicodin and the other narcotics that contain acetamenophen prescribed to patients could even quicker get over the max dosage if they took vicodin plus 4-5 extra strenth tylenols a day. So, she said, there needed to be more control there to help people not accidentally overdose. She said my meds were safe and not on the radar yet and she would be upfront and let me know if she thought anything could be targeted. And again that migraine specialist doctors would rally for their patients.

I know not everyone has a great team of doctors helping them with their migraines like I do and I feel for you all. I have a neurologist and PA that specialize and will never give up on me. They see me once a month and answer all my emails. I have a new sleep doctor who worked with Dr. Saper at MHNI for five years working with migraineurs and their issues. I have an accupuncturist who says it may take a while - 18 - 24 months - to get my body out of what it considers a normal state (pain) and retrain it but won't give up on me. I have a migraine massage therapist who works with my accupuncturist and works with me once a week giving me at least an hour of less pain. (I've had normal massages and deep tissue massages that make the migraine worse even though feels good at the time so I'm lucky to have someone who knows how to do a migraine massage). And I have my therapist who works with me on how to live with the pain and live my life and not just abide, who keeps me from overgeneralizing, and who helps me to remember to stand up for myself. All give me extra tips on essential oils, meditation, yoga, herbs and all the rest and study to keep up to date on my problem and the latest. I know I'm very lucky. I hope everyone in pain finds a team that won't give up on you and really listen to you. I'm still suffering but as long as I have this team behind me I won't give up either and will live my life to the fullest I can and will continue to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

So, I feel better about not losing my meds and will stand up with the doctors to make sure insurance companies, FDA and other government agencies know that we are here and we need relief and we are a valuable part of society if you help us find that relief.

This Too Shall Pass - my neuro even said that to me as her last statement - did I tell her before that this is my mantra passed to me from my grandma or a coincidence?

Take care all,


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Flow with the migraine pain

I've reached a pinnacle. The 10 of 10s in migraines once again.

The menstrual migraine. Even though I have constant pain, it does spike up and down on me over the day or week or month. I've written that the last three weeks have been horrible and I've been at a 10 other days this last three weeks but not for the entire day and I've been able to find relief. Today started with a thunderstorm and my menstruation and my head hates me for both. Storms over, but head is on fire. My ears are ringing so bad I can't hear much else. I've been deep breathing, yoga poses, meditation - as much as I can - and flowing with it. It's getting me through the day and I know I will survive to have another good day as well as another bad one.

I learned something very helpful at the Michigan Head Pain and Neurological Institute when I spent three weeks there last summer. I learned a lot but one of the best was a class on flowing with the migraine. Not fighting it but letting the pain be and flow and flow with it. Sounds impossible at first, I know. I had to use a recording to help me through it for a long time when I started, but I'm much better at it now and can turn to mode "Flow with it" on my own. I have to consciously remember to do it.

I start out like always thinking "I want this pain to stop!" and "I have to get it to go down!" and fighting the pain. Then I remember and consciously stop and say to myself "don't fight the pain, it exerts to much effort, let it flow" Amazingly after awhile I relax and I feel my muscles in my head relax. The pain is still at top notch, no change there, but the muscles in my head, neck and face let up.

Then I repeat a phrase that helps me - sometimes "This Too Shall Pass" sometimes "Pain is not all I am" sometimes other things I've heard. Sometimes I have to keep repeating "Flow with it, let it flow" over and over until I can turn on the auto mode of relaxation.

Then I can meditate. I can look around the room (not moving my eyeballs cause that hurts) and just look at things. I look not at the things themselves but the shapes, colors, angles and such. I breathe deeply and purposefully and let the pain flow - let it be.

I use my essential oil - MGrain - that has basil, peppermint and Lavendar in it that allows me to breathe deeper and opens up the passageways in my head. The pain is still just as bad, but I'm flowing with it.

Like an ocean I feel it ebb and flow. the tide coming in and out, the throbbing, pulsating, my ears ringing but I don't fight it - I let it be. Just be. I can feel above myself somewhat and the pain as not a part of me but something happening. Yes, it still hurts so much, but I am apart from it and it just flows.

Time passes and as I relax more I am able to stretch, to talk, to type a blog, to meet with a client. I'm not fighting, I'm flowing with it. It gives me a much needed breather from fighting and wishing it would go away. No worries about the pain, just letting it be, letting it flow.

I thank MHNI for teaching this to me and I hope it will help others. Consciously forcing myself to not fight, to not worry, to not push, to let it be and let it flow like the ocean. It helps me believe that I am not the pain.

So, to all those out there in a lot of pain, try this out as crazy as it may seem, Let go, let the migraine flow, stop fighting for a little while and let it flow, let it just be. Be serene amidst the pain. It takes more energy to keep fighting it when you are in such pain. Think of it like labor coaches tell you - refocus and make yourself apart from the pain, different, it's there and you're here.

I hope you can get some relief from this if you too are in great pain - not relief from pain, but relief from constantly fighting the pain. So, let's all take some time out to just let it be and let it flow.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Another week of pain and accomplishments

Almost a week since my last post? I've been busier than I thought. It's been another week of really bad increased pain. I'm hoping it has mostly to do with my thyroid and will get better soon as they straighten that out. Of course we can't rule out the weather or stress or fighting with my husband.
I got to do some things this week outside of work and migraine which is good. Sunday I went to the family picnic. This is me with my big hat and sunglasses to keep the world out from causing me pain.

Then, on Tuesday I went to dinner with my YaYa's - girls dinner out. My friend Mary lives out of town so I wasn't missing that dinner no matter how bad it hurt. My friend Vicki graciously agreed to drive me since I was in a lot of pain and I don't like to test the waters of driving in that much pain or on pain meds.

Then, Friday I got to go over lunch with my friend April to look at wedding dresses for her upcoming wedding. Again with hat and glasses cause it can be bright in those places. That was good to go to.

Thursday I unfortunately had a complete breakdown at work and even brought someone else into my tears. Tired of the pain and how it affects my family. My husband on Wednesday night had reached his limit again. He's not mad at me he's just mad at the pain I'm in but it sometimes comes out as toward me. I tried to talk him into going and talking to someone about how hard it is to take care of someone in pain so much of the time because I know it's hard and he holds it in until he blows. I totally failed at that - he says if he can't fix it himself than he has a bigger problem and he's not going to talk to anyone else about his relationship with me. Even though he knows it makes me feel better to have a therapist. He doesn't like that either though, he worries I'm telling her something bad about him. Which I don't because he's a great help and a great care giver. He is also dealing with his 94 year old grandma who is getting worse with her memory and acting up - not like herself at all and that's so hard.

I did get some good work done this week. Finished the training materials for the classes I'll be teaching the next two weeks. I will be wearing sunglasses or turning off the lights in the classroom - most students are ok with that I've noticed if you are up front about why and tell them you'll do a better job teaching them in those conditions than any other.

Clients the same, I've been up front and honest that during the meeting I need the lights off or I will be wearing sunglasses - I prefer the lights off because the lights over my head in meeting rooms produce some kind of heat that aggravates my migraine even with my sunglasses on. I tell them you can have me smart and helpful or I opt for the possibility that I'll be on the floor in horrible pain unable to help. When they comply with my requests and I'm able to function well they are happy with my productivity and what I can do to help them. I haven't had a single client be contrary and most are very gracious and appreciative of me.

It amazes me how people with this kind of pain or any, for me it's constant migraines but any sort of constant pain, can push it to the back and turn on for the client, teaching, family matters, whatever has to be done and then when it's over you're back to "how did I do that with this much pain?" Well, that seems to be me. I had one client tell me they were very impressed with me and when our firm holds external webinars they would only sign up for ones I was teaching - quite a compliment. I also won a new client consulting project that I had been trying to get in with to talk to for months. After talking to them for 15 minutes I had them sold even though I needed another hour to explain what I was suggesting for the consulting work. So another win.

I am happy that I was able to accomplish things and I have a to do list a mile long but I just breathe and say I'll get to it when I get to it - so unlike the person I used to be.

So, still chugging along and still in high pain, can't wait to blog that the pain is less again - I don't even think about no pain anymore. Oh, I also got 3 full yoga workouts in last week which is better than I had been able to do so maybe I am on the upswing.

Here's to living life and not living pain!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Increased pain, Work going well

Short post because I'm going to a family picnic in just a few, but wanted to say that the high level of pain I've been experiencing the last couple of weeks isn't over yet. I did really good on Thursday and got a full yoga workout in. Friday I got my migraine massage and did pretty well after that and was able again to do a full yoga workout. Then, late in the day Friday the pain came back full on.
Saturday I drove a couple hours picking up my 16 year old from his dad's - the drive always angers the migraine beast. Then nieces and nephews and all came over to watch the fireworks from our parking lot. The kids are young and we have a great view of the neighboring display from our lot so no need to deal with traffic and et al especially with young ones. It was great to see them and hold the babies - I think that baby smell and the calmness in them eases up the pain a bit.
I didn't go watch the fireworks because the pain had become unbearable before they began and probably wouldn't have anyhow since they can cause pain.
Today, picnic with my side of the family and I am in horrible pain. I'm going because I want to see everyone and I want to have time that isn't focused on this latest great pain. Don't let the beast win, right?
I got a lot of work done over my 4 day vacation last week that I can use toward my time for next week so I can take it easy and still get my hours in. I'm very proud of the work I did. I developed from scratch a training for FAS109 - Accounting for Income Taxes - including the presentation, templates and case studies - it's a four hour class I'm teaching later this month. I really enjoy this part of my job which I actually wouldn't be allowed to do as much of without the migraines.
I had to change my work arrangements due to my illness and it's actually helped me be able to do more of what I want to do at work and less of what I didn't like - the CPA deadlines, etc. Now I'm a consultant to the consultants and work mostly from home and work on National Tax Office items and National Level Teaching. I have given up almost all of my direct client management except for my international clients and consult on international and technical issues so I get to do research, teaching, develop webinars, and consult on technical issues. I guess I have the migraines to thank for that. Especially because I've become known as such a great resource since the change in my job description that I may get a promotion this year and the president of the company has told me to work from home almost exclusively because I was able to show them how much more productive I am at home than at work due to the migraines and they are making money off of me.

Also, people told me that I needed to stop working so much for years and years and without the migraines I don't know if I would have been able to do so.
So, thank you God for giving me the constant pain if only because you have helped me work less and work better at what I want to do. My therapist asked what I would do if the pain went away and I said - oh, I could get so much work done and work really hard. She said then I haven't gotten the message yet to slow down and until I do, the pain will stay. A message from God telling me to slow down and focus on what's important, me.

The other part of it - my brain just plain old misfiring - is just a fact of life that I have to deal with. I hate the pain so much I sometimes think of dying, but I will survive and I will not let it take over my life. However, right now it does have most of the control. I am in so much pain right now it's hard to do anything. But This Too Shall Pass, as Grandma always said and I will get back to a manageable amount of daily pain. I believe it will happen. I just have to keep believing and taking care of myself.

So, off to the picnic to see everyone with my big hat and big sunglasses. And knowing I can leave anytime it gets to be too much. Thankfully, my husband is driving. Didn't turn out so short did it. I'm a rambler, but it's also therapy.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Hypothyroidism, Increased migraine and thank you

Been awhile since my last post. It's been a really hard couple of weeks with the heat and storms and I hate trying to figure out what triggered the latest hard times. I also have been really stressed and fighting (or non-fighting and lack of communicating) with my oldest son. Also, my thyroid has gone off again. I had thought my thyroid completely didn't work but apparently it could get worse.
I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism when I was 22 when I was hospitalized for depression. It was a routine test in the hospital. No doctor before even thought about testing that because I didn't fit the description - I was underweight not overweight and I was depressed and my mom is bipolar and that seemed to fit easily better for psychologists - Think outside the box people - and bipolar was "popular" diagnosis back then.
Anyhow - I was off the charts and the worse case they'd seen in KU hospital. Your TSH level should be around 4 units and they diagnose you as hypothyroid when it's about 20 units. My test came back twice with 450 units. That's the test of your pituitary gland trying to tell your thyroid to produce more thyroid hormone which is why high is worse. Because I was at a teaching hospital I became the talk of the hospital and was visited constantly by students feeling my neck and talking to me. No one told me what the big deal was until I finally asked and they said I should be in a coma or worse with levels that high and they were just amazed I was still able to somewhat function. Apparently if you are bad enough you go past the overweight and to the other spectrum - underweight. But because of that I was misdiagnosed for about 6 years and put on medications that didn't help.
They got me regulated and all my depression and other symptoms disappeared - related to that - not the migraines or dizziness or fainting spells or anxiety attacks - those were other issues.
I keep thinking one overriding problems or diagnosis will be the answer to all my issues but I'm having to give up on that. Seems strange one person can have so many different problems, but here I am.
Anyhow, my thyroid was regulated and did fine until my mid thirties when it went off again with around TSH level of 250. We got it back regulated again and was fine even six months ago but then just last week for my six month test my TSH was back up - 150 or so this time. My doctor says my pituitary gland is a drama queen and screams anytime there is too little thyroid hormone so they don't worry if it's 20 or so and keep me at the same dosage, but 150 is too high. My T4 level was also off.
You have to take care of your thyroid because it affects everything else. I think more doctors should run the test which I think is much more common now, thankfully.
So, a tough week but I did get to see a friend of mine and her little girl who I think of as my neice. It hurt driving there and back but was worth it. I also was able to talk with my husband about our finances and get some relief there from us making the decision to wait a couple of years before we buy a house. As a CPA I'm obsessed with budgeting and that decision (we were going to try this fall) was putting a lot of pressure on my budget and us and my stress.

Finally, thank you to twitter which has opened my world to others who suffer like me and give me hope that I'm not alone, and there is a life out there outside of migraines. Thank you! You've been a great support the last couple of weeks when I was getting depressed from the pain and seeing no way out. I'm so glad to have my therapist who helps me deal with the pain and my state of life and to live and get angry the right way and for the right things. To not think in absolutes and to not mindread my friends and family but to open communications and feel okay about saying no. I wish no one was in the pain that I'm in constantly, but it helps to not feel alone so thank you one more time.