Let me paint a picture for you. I’m walking through the grocery store and surfing the shelves for the perfect pasta sauce. I bend down to grab the just-right jar of marinara. The fluorescent lighting of the store suddenly feels too bright and I cringe when the overhead speaker blares the daily deli special. I manage to hobble through the rest of the aisles and drive home, but I’m instantly horizontal the moment I walk through the door. I’m now at the peak of what will end up being a 72-hour migraine attack. I have to call off work, cancel a doctor’s appointment and let my family fend for themselves at dinnertime. (I’ll spare you the details of that scary scene.)
The reality of a life with chronic migraine means dealing with unpredictability. I’m never sure how to plan and often feel like I’m sacrificing my routine for the sake of what might happen. It’s exhausting, especially since I’ve been living with chronic attacks for 17 years. But over the past decade, I’ve come to realize that I am given just one shot at life. It’s not the life I would’ve chosen for myself per se, but it’s the one I have and I’m growing more grateful to be here — alive and able. I’m doing the best I can and I would wager you are, too.
This reframing of my mindset didn’t happen overnight, and there are still a significant number of days where I can barely open my eyes to embrace the present. But I suppose that’s the true beauty of balance when you live with migraine — it’s not guaranteed but it’s possible to cultivate over a period of time. I still don’t have total control over my migraine, but I do have control over what my treatment plan looks like. I have to sometimes sacrifice productivity for rest, but the pendulum will eventually swing back in my favor.
My advice to you is this: trust the people on your medical team, advocate for yourself in moments of uncertainty and try to give yourself a break when your symptoms consumes you like the tide. Keep going, friend!