Today's blogging challenge for migraine awareness is: Describe your dream day, without a migraine to hold you back. Before we start, let me tell you that I hate this exercise. I don't want to think of how my life would be without migraines. All that's going to do is remind me how much my life is not how I want it. I can't be encouraging feelings of envy like that! I've got to deal with life how is is, not life how it isn't. And life how it is, is difficult enough!
I wanted to grow up, graduate from college, settle into a nice career, get married, have children and raise a family. A simple, accomplishable dream, right? Apparently that was too big of a dream for me. I was able to graduate from college, but I had to switch my major when in the middle of my sophomore year. My studies got interrupted by a ruptured cyst on my ovary. In my Junior year, I caught a series of sinus infections and flus that had me bedridden for months. The only thing that saved me from having to drop out was that I had switched to and English major that wasn't dependent on attending class every day. (My grade was determined by two papers---one at midterms and one at finals. That left a lot of time for me to baby myself and get through.)
I settled into a nice career: I was able to join my English major with a love of computers and become a technical writer. It made good money, and it included a lot of contract work, where I could take off time to raise a family, and not have my income hurt too badly when I decided to return to the workforce. Except that I started getting sicker and sicker. Getting to work from 9 to 5 was becoming impossible. I had companies who would allow me a flexible schedule, but I had to stop working when the migraine went to an every-day ordeal (despite all medical interventions).
I thought I had found a nice man to marry---my college sweetheart. Sure, things hadn't worked out when we were kids, but we were adults now with new perspectives. He'd become a responsible Navy man, like my father. I'd realized that I'd lost a good thing when I had it. We decided to get married, but that was also right when my illness made me unable to work. All our wedding plans got thrown into disarray. We ended up canceling the whole thing, because I just couldn't manage... anything. All of our money was going towards my medical bills, and we still weren't getting any answers. I didn't want to remember my marriage as the time I was sick, and we both thought I could get better. We figured it had to be soon. I'd already been through 9 months... surely a migraine couldn't go on longer than that! But we were wrong.
It soon became apparent that I wasn't getting better. The money was running out. I would need his insurance and income, so we ended up eloping. No white dress... no friends and family... we had to borrow our witnesses from the next camp over---strangers to us, who were going to attest that these two people should get married. Yeah... that should have been a sign. But I was too sick to really pay attention to any omens that didn't involve my own body. The marriage didn't last long, as he quickly discovered he didn't really mean the "in sickness" part of our vows.
I dealt with the divorce, and my lawyer mentions how it's a good thing I don't have kids. I knew he meant with my ex..., but I still had to fight back the tears because I was wrestling with the reality that I could never have kids. That was the one thing I had wanted since I was a little girl: I wanted to be a mom. But my disease was having none of it. We had tried for a year to get pregnant, and I never even got so much as a close call. Turns out that my body doesn't even know that's supposed to be a normal part of a girl's life. The tests later confirmed it.
So I have a really hard time trying to dream up a perfect day. I thought I was dreaming up a normal, pedestrian, average life. Nothing too grandiose... I didn't need trips to Paris and Rome. I just needed my little corner of the world and a family to love. Maybe that's where I went wrong. I didn't dream big enough! Maybe I should have wanted the most extravagant lifestyle with lots of money and power, and little responsibility. Perhaps then I would have been "saddled" with a simple life.
My dreams have to include my illness. When I think of a future me, I have to imagine that it includes my disease, and that I have somehow figured out how to manage it. I simply must include my limitations in my fantasies, otherwise I'm aiming for a part of the map I can never reach. (You can't get 'thar' from here!) If I want to be able to believe in my dreams, it has to take reality into account. Otherwise, I may as well dream I'm an elven princess in a Tolkien paradise, with a life span of thousands of years and nary an illness to worry my pretty heart.
If I want to be a "Day Dream Believer," I have to include the pain and suffering. But I can dream that I'm able to get through the pain and suffering, gracefully, nobly, and perhaps even joyfully---experiencing pain, but able to laugh with a free heart anyway, knowing that the pain will pass and life will soon be sweet again. Having friends and family around me who are fully supportive, helping me to rise above the pain and live life to the fullest despite it. That would be a perfect day, indeed.
"National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation. The Blogger's Challenge is initiated by www.FightingHeadacheDisorders.com."