Sponsored: 5 Ways My Migraine Life Has Changed during COVID-19

my life migraine life has changed since Covid-19

My Migraine Life changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. I feel COVID-19 has changed our lives forever. On March 12, I woke up, taught my preschool class and by the end of the day, COVID-19 and our governor had shut down schools and the lifestyle we knew. I walked out of my classroom and never entered again with my class. No final goodbyes, no hugs, no closure, and they were gone. Everything is frozen, left behind, but not forgotten. Of all the many ways I manage my life, a pandemic is nothing I have experienced. Nothing any of my family or friends have experienced.

Balancing Parenting

That Monday, my children – a first and third grader – started virtual learning. They had arrived home the previous Friday with a bookbag of papers and schoolwork, ready to start at-home learning. I tried to get them excited about having “spring break” at home. We did beach-themed activities to distract them from the fact that we were supposed to be on a cruise with their cousins and grandparents. Also, It was my goal to make it fun.

I was now home with them, navigating how to use new computer programs, figuring out how to submit answers, and wading through life at home. Ironically, I never really liked online learning and technology in school. Schools push self-pacing, and I think it is good academically, but I know the value of teachers and the in-person connection with learning. As a teacher, I know they teach so much more than ABCs and 123s. Teachers are heroes, and they have enormous tasks ahead of them. The teachers were amazing, as I knew they would be. How they reached out, supported, and posted their information was inspiring. Maybe technology isn’t that bad.

But my kids missed their friends. We all did. They missed volleyball, spring football, recess, and more. While my children are young enough not to have social media or phones, they are old enough to need and want their friends. There are many things kids can learn from teachers and parents, but you can’t teach friendship.

Having my children home now put pressure on me to somehow manage my migraine while they were no longer in school or away with activities. Previously I was able to rest, ice, and treat my migraine while they were at school. It then turned into, “How do I take care of them while taking care of myself?” Here are some things I implemented for my family:

  • Virtual learning in the morning.

    •  Mornings are tough for me. Some days I woke up with a migraine attack. My children started their days on programs they could independently learn on without my help while I drank coffee and eased into my mornings.
    • Once I feel more awake, I teach them until lunchtime. This is the most responsive time for both my children and me. Afternoons were saved for flexible activities (art, music, gym, library) and self-care.
  • Water
    • Each morning I poured us each a big water bottle that we drank by lunchtime. This was a good visual for us to see how much we drank – and how much we had to go – when we can all get distracted.
  • Exercise
    • We enjoyed walks (when the weather cooperated – and sometimes even when it didn’t!) and yoga the most.
  • Consistent sleep
    • Even though we no longer had an official time to start school, we all still went to bed and woke up around the same time.
  • Silent reading/nap time
    • Each day we took time to do quiet activities alone (I would typically lay in my darkroom while they read).
  • Nutrition
    •  It is easy for me to control my diet and triggers when I am home. While it was difficult to get food without feeling at risk, my home was stocked with food.
  • Light
    • The good thing about being at home is that controlling the light is easy. All my windows have blackout shades and no more fluorescent lights, like at school!

Work

Many of us were financially hit whether we worked for a large corporation or a small business like mine. During this time, I was furloughed from my teaching job. I was faced with not receiving a paycheck for potentially 5 months. Besides that, I continued group chats with my students and supported them as much as possible from home. The sudden loss of income, the absence of support, and the missing people at my job were jarring.

At the same time, I was trying to write My Migraine Life blog and continue my advocacy work. Have you ever tried to write on your computer while your first grader talks constantly? There is not a silent moment in my house ever! Writing a coherent sentence while having a migraine and 7-year olds running commentary is maddening. Somehow, I felt busier than ever while not leaving my kitchen.

Health Care

My neurologist appointment was cancelled during the second week of quarantine. The office was still figuring out a system for telemedicine calls. The good news was that I had my monthly injection of Aimovig® (erenumab-aooe) delivered to my door. This allowed me to treat my migraine at home preventively.

APPROVED USE

Aimovig® (erenumab-aooe) is a prescription medicine used for the preventive treatment of migraine in adults.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

Do not use Aimovig® if allergic to erenumab-aooe or any ingredients in Aimovig®.

Please see additional Important Safety Information below.

As the weeks progressed, I had not left my house more than a few times and avoided outside exposure at all costs.
My entire life, my body, has always been sensitive, and I didn’t need COVID-19 to make me respect viruses. I feel most comfortable in my own home. Leaving for a migraine treatment terrified me, so having my medication mailed to me helped me feel more comfortable.

I had the stress of losing a job, new health care obstacles, homeschooling, and I couldn’t get to the store to buy milk. My husband worked from home full-time on conference calls, and I was tasked with keeping our children quiet while encouraging laughter and fun. Everything that goes along with losing school, friends, family, and the lifestyle as we knew it was incredibly stressful for me.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

Aimovig® may cause serious side effects, including:

  • Allergic reactions. Allergic relations, including rash or swelling, can happen after receiving Aimovig®. This can happen within hours to days after using Aimovig®. Call your HCP or get emergency medical help right away if you have any of the following symptoms of an allergic reaction: swelling of the face, mouth, tongue, or throat, or trouble breathing.
  • Constipation with serious complications. Severe constipation can happen after receiving Aimovig®. In some cases, people have been hospitalized or needed surgery. Contact your HCP if you have severe constipation.
  • High blood pressure. High blood pressure or worsening of high blood pressure can happen after receiving Aimovig®. Contact your healthcare provider if you have an increase in blood pressure.

Please see additional Important Safety Information below.

Lifestyle Changes

After living with migraine for many years, I know what it’s like to spend so much time at home. I’m used to canceling plans to go out; it takes me days to return phone calls, and I spend a lot of “free time” at home due to migraine, as going out can still be difficult and triggering for me. With COVID-19 floating around, I missed the small parts of socializing. I was now also missing weekly physical therapy, doctor appointments, yoga at my gym, coffee with my friends, grocery store, pharmacy, part-time job, and more. I crave food before and after migraine days, and stopping for a quick candy bar or bag of chips was no longer possible.

Virtual chats became our new friends. Class meetings were held online, and seeing friends was done through a computer. My children had class chats, and I did the same. I found that seeing others filled my heart and, at the same time, made me miss them more. As a teacher, seeing your students make breakthroughs in learning is so rewarding, and being away from them and my co-teacher was very difficult. I love my co-workers and miss them terribly. I know my children’s teachers felt the same way, and I could see how they desperately tried to bridge this gap.

Physical activity changed hugely. I lived in a cold location in March and April; it even snowed in May. My children were used to the gym, recess, and after-school sports. Both of my kids love sports, and I love watching them. Many weekends before COVID-19, I would lay in my darkroom until it was time and use all of my energy to cheer on my little athletes. Now they were home without teammates, and I struggled to find where to focus my energy. How can I be their teammate and their coach, all with migraine?

We started doing workouts at home, and I allowed them to go on the treadmill for the first time. I typically love classes because at-home workouts are hard for me. If I’m home, I’m resting. But now, the mentality needed to flip. As a person with migraine, if my body stops moving on its good days, the bad days are even harder to recover. So, I downloaded some apps, and after lunch, we all had “recess” and headed to our basement to move our bodies. I used meditation apps and kid’s yoga for my little ones.

Self-care looked different. I embraced baths as my time to escape, and my children did too. The swim team was canceled, and the bathtub became a place to bring toys, bubbles, and a substitute for a pool. My daughter made bath bombs for the “art class” for us to enjoy. We painted nails, I cut the boy’s hair, and we baked a lot! Colour therapy calmed us all, and music and dancing filled the house. It is super important that my children look back at this time with positive memories. I want them to think of a time they had more hikes in the woods, more home-cooked meals, and more game nights.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

The most common side effects of Aimovig® are pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site and constipation. Thus, Please see additional Important Safety Information below.

Conclusion

This is not normal! Nothing about COVID-19 is easy or ordinary. As someone who thrives with structure and lots of self-care, I’m struggling. The difference between my normal migraine struggle and the struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic is that the whole world is now affected. When I usually find peace at home, my home is no longer peaceful. My family and the entire world are making adjustments. We are figuring out how we will emerge back into the world and what that world looks like. But just like my most severe migraine days, I remind myself I will get through it. It is a marathon, not a sprint. As long as my family and friends are safe and well at home, I will continue to miss them, pray for them and know that the day I feel comfortable enough to hug them again, I may never let go!

*This post is part of a collaboration between myself and Amgen. I have been compensated for my time.

APPROVED USE

Aimovig® (erenumab-aooe) is a prescription medicine used for the preventive treatment of migraine in adults.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

Who should not use Aimovig® ?

Do not use Aimovig® if you are allergic to erenumab-aooe or any ingredients in Aimovig®.
Before starting Aimovig®, tell your healthcare provider (HCP) about all your medical conditions, including if you are allergic to rubber or latex, pregnant or plan to become pregnant, breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.

Tell your HCP about all the medicines you take, including any prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, or herbal supplements.

What are the possible side effects of Aimovig®?

Aimovig® may cause serious side effects, including:

  • Allergic reactions. Allergic reactions, including rash or swelling, can happen after receiving Aimovig®. This can happen within hours to days after using Aimovig®. Call your HCP or get emergency medical help immediately if you have the following symptoms of an allergic reaction: swelling of the face, mouth, tongue, or throat or trouble breathing.
  • Constipation with serious complications. Severe constipation can happen after receiving Aimovig®. Additionally, In some cases, people have been hospitalized or needed surgery. Contact your HCP if you have severe constipation.
  • High blood pressure. High blood pressure or worsening of high blood pressure can happen after receiving Aimovig®. Contact your healthcare provider if you have an increase in blood pressure.

The most common side effects of Aimovig® are pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site and constipation.

These are not all of the possible side effects of Aimovig®. Call your HCP for medical advice about side effects.

You are encouraged to report the negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit

http://www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Click here for full Prescribing Information and Patient Product Information.

Amgen Sponsored Posts

5 Strategies for Talking with Your Doctor About Migraine Treatment

Living with Migraine after COVID-19 Stay Home Orders Lift

Migraine in the Workplace

How Traveling was Different this Year

How a Preventive Treatment for Migraine has Worked for Me

Going back to school as a teacher living with migraine

How I Navigate Having a Social Life While Living with Migraine

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Sarah Rathsack

I tell stories of My Migraine Life. Living life through Migraine consists of advocacy, treatment, prevention, and searching for health and happiness in a positive honest way. My kids, husband, dog, family and friends motivate me to make a difference in the Migraine World.
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