People know me as having migraines. Often when I worked at the office, people wouldn’t know if I was in or not, until they opened my door. Lights off was a perpetual way of life in my office and when you entered, you were usually met with a squinting me a the light from the hallway blinded me. I remembered everything, but my desk was organized things on the right needed done. Things on the far left were done. Things under my keyboard were waiting for something from someone else and things immediately to my left were being currently worked on. I was always bad at remembering numbers but amazing at names, situations, places, etc.
Back then I was still bad ass migraine girl, having once worked the entire day on handhelds while simultaneously being pregnant, having a migraine and puking in my garbage can. I always took care of my own messes. In fact that one day ended with my family physician putting me into the infusion area for a bag of saline as I was dehydrated. Yes, those were in fact, the good times. No one told me back then that the good times would only get worse.
Although, in the last 6 years my pain tolerance has sky rocketed, so has my tolerance to pain meds. Mostly, they barely touch the pain. I’ve had so many of the pills to manage them, but either they pain don’t work or I have every terrible side effect in the book from panic attacks to fainting. Overall, it’s been a very tough run. I’ve always tried to live life to its fullest, but what I’ve found in the last 2 years is that increasingly it is becoming more and more difficult.
What people don’t realize about migraines is that it makes it difficult to think, see, focus, and remember things. I have systems for where I leave my car keys, money, and what pile is what for my work papers so I don’t get things confused. I am the queen of post it notes and virtual reminders. Even our house grocery list is linked across phones to ensure success.
Each day I wake up with my ears ringing, my head pounding, my neck hurting and my stomach queasy. I never know if I stand up will I pass out or be fine. Will my head pound so badly I’ll begin to cry? Sometimes I don’t even realize that I am crying or in severe pain until someone comes in and turns the lights off and I feel some relief. Despite mostly working from home, there are some days when I cannot work because I can’t even stand the computer screen at its dimmest in a dark room. Sometimes I can’t read a sentence and make sense of it.
I’m sad about it and sometimes it upsets me enough that I cry. However, I will live each day to the best that I can. I will work as long as I can be in the light. I will be there for my children. Each day is difficult and sometimes I’m just exhausted from the pain.
In 2004 I was complaining of migraines 3 out of 7 days of the week. However in 2016 I have them 6 out of 7 days of the week. My short term memory has become spottier and I’m not sure why. It’s been a difficult thing to admit and it’s equally difficult to deal with. I’ve always remembered everything, to a fault, and now my memory fails me. Often I’ll be in the middle of a task and forget what that task was. I have systems in place to help me to keep me cued in to what I’m doing.
The worst thing I’ve ever had happen is my 12 year old son came in, looked at me and then began to turn out lights. I looked at him and said “How did you know?”
“Mom,” he said, “I can see it in your eyes.”
If you or any of your friends have migraines please feel free to comment.