Friday, December 30, 2011

I'm An Advocate

Through this journey of dealing with my migraines, I would say I am a much better advocate than I was before I became sick with chronic daily migraines. I used to go to my doctors appointments, hoping they would have answers, listening to what they had to say, wishing they would cure me. But that didn't happen! Along the way, I have changed into an advocate for my own health. 

I'm in charge. I'm the one with the pain, I know my body best, and I'm the one paying the bills, so I am in charge. I would say, for the most part, I have had excellent care by my healthcare professionals. However, if I don't see results, or you don't listen to me, or you don't treat me with the respect I deserve (hasn't happened yet), or I think you are way off base and I don't understand your treatment, then I fire you and move on.
I'm persistent. Being an advocate means you don't wait around. Sometimes I have to be patient and wait for the drugs to work (or see if they're going to work... I hated this!), but when I needed a response and wasn't getting them, I've learned the best way to get what you need was to show up in the waiting room so you cannot be ignored.
I'm educated. I know so much more about headaches and migraines than I did before, and I have so much more to learn. Knowledge is empowering and makes this disease not so scary.
I ask questions. You can't become educated if you don't ask questions. 
I educate others. I feel it's just as important to educate the general population about migraine and how it affects me. This will help them understand me better, help them interact with me better, and maybe help them someday in the future with a loved one who may have migraines. An important point that I try to add into conversation when someone asks me how I'm doing: migraines are a genetic neurological disease for which there is no cure.

I have no idea why God has chosen that I have been dealing with chronic migraines. And I may not ever know that answer this side of heaven. But one blessing out of this is I have become a better advocate for myself which can generalize to advocating for myself in other areas of my life. Also, I am much better equipped to advocate for family members' health care needs. 

In other news, how are my headaches doing? The past week has been better than I was before. Which means I'm still improving! I'm not waking up with bad headaches. And when my pain is spiking, it is because of noticeable triggers, as opposed to an unknown reason to me. I have medications I can take that will bring the pain down, but I have also laid down and slept twice to eliminate a migraine, which is amazing! This past week I only had to use 3 abortives and the week before I used 6. I felt so good on Christmas day, that Chad and I helped his cousin's wife do chores on her family farm. It was a fun experience for this city girl! We fed and watered the cows, steer, pigs, and chickens.

Wearing Chad's Uncle Jerry's size 15 boots!
Chad's make-shift farm clothes, including moose pajama pants
he received in the guy gift exchange.

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