Friday, September 23, 2016

Facing Forward: Christina

Facing Forward is a series that shares the lives of people living with arthritis and other invisible chronic illnesses. The goal of the series is to see how we are similar and how we are different - and to remind us to keep moving forward because we aren't alone!

Name: Christina
Location: New Jersey
Diagnosis:thoracic outlet syndrome, occipital neuralgia, chronic migraine
Age at Diagnosis: 22 (chronic migraine); 27 (occipital neuralgia); 28 (thoracic outlet syndrome)

How are you currently treating your condition?
Currently, I’m taking daily Celebrex, Verapamil, Vitamin D, and Magnesium. I also take Imitrex injections as needed for my migraines.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced since your diagnosis?
The biggest challenge I’ve faced since diagnosis is being able to treat my frequent migraines while avoiding Medication Overuse Headache. I need to stay functional in order to take care of my son, and my migraines place a limit on that. I find myself having to ration medication for days when we have plans. I also found it challenging to manage breastfeeding while treating my chronic pain at the same time. In retrospect, I wish I had put less pressure on myself as a new mom.

What are your favorite tips and tricks for managing everyday tasks?
I have found that taking my Celebrex later in the day (around 11 AM) helps me function better throughout the day than when I take it first thing in the morning. That way, the effects of it aren’t wearing off as much by bedtime, which is when I take my second dose.

The other helpful modification I’ve made to my life is to use a stand-up, height adjustable desk. I can’t sit in one position for long, so being able to sit and stand as needed has helped prevent pain while I work.

How do you manage to keep facing forward every day?
My son and my husband are my inspiration to stay strong. I also write and manage a blog for mothers with chronic pain. Writing is a great healing tool, and being involved in creative pursuits helps keep my mind off my pain. I love being an advocate for other moms with chronic illness, too.

If you could go back to diagnosis day and tell your past self one thing, what would it be?
I would tell myself not to hesitate to start on treatment. At first, I didn’t want to treat my chronic migraines with drugs, and I tried every alternative treatment I could find. I wish I had allowed myself to start on medication sooner. I’m not saying that some people don’t find relief in alternative medicine, but it many cases, medication is warranted, and I shouldn’t have let myself suffer for as long as I did.

Do you have a blog you would like to share?
Yes, my blog is called Mothering With Chronic Pain. Follow Moms With Pain on Twitter or Facebook.

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