Friday, June 22, 2012

National Migraine Awareness Month #22: The Game Changer

Day 22 of the National Migraine Awareness Month Blogging Challenge: "The Game Changer - Tell us about a time your plans changed due either to an unexpected Migraine or an unexpected Migraine-free experience."

White Water Rafting in Costa Rica
(That's me on the far right.)

For a person who was always very timid as a child, I became something of an adrenaline junkie as an adult.  I love roller coasters, zip lining and white water rafting.  For years, my goal was to spend a week white water rafting and camping along the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.   I read books about it and researched it. I planned everything I would do while on that trip - take a helicopter ride down to the launch point; scream with excitement as I rode the waves; sit by the camp fire at night while served gourmet meals; lie in my sleeping bag looking up at the stars; marvel at the magnificence of the Grand Canyon! 

As my fiftieth birthday drew near, my sweet father decided that he would treat me and a friend to a white water rafting trip in the Grand Canyon.  On my birthday, he gave me a Fodor's guide to the Grand Canyon so I could plan my trip.  I cannot think of a time when I was more excited about doing anything.  However, it was during this time that my Migraines were becoming more frequent and more severe.  

Instead, my birthday gift became a trip to Mayo Clinic, Dallas, TX and Philadelphia, PA to try to find an answer for my Migraines.  While I am so grateful to have had the financial support of my father to try to get treatment for my Migraines, my eyes still catch sight of that Fodor guide to the Grand Canyon on my book shelf, and I think of how different things could have been.  Instead of building memories about medications, side effects, hospitals and doctors, I could have built memories of laughter, adrenalin, fun with my friend and awe-inspiring beauty that would have been with me for a life time.

Yes, Migraines have caused many changes in my game plans over the last five years.  They have changed what I wanted to do with my career, what I wanted to do with my family, and what I wanted to do with my friends.  However, even more so, Migraines have been a life changer.  It's just not realistic for me to make plans any more.  It seems that I am always having to cancel anything that I plan because I never know where I will be on the spectrum of pain from day to day.  

While I regret missing the "grand" things such as white water rafting or taking my niece and nephew to swim with dolphins, I think it is the little day to day things that I miss the most.  There have been so many birthdays and special occasions, activities that my niece and nephew participated in and outings with friends or family that I have had to miss.  Unless you've been there, it's very difficult to describe what it's like to be at home with a Migraine when the people you love are busy engaging in activities of which you want to be a part.  Things that I've missed that I can't get back include my niece's plays or my nephew's soccer games, being there for my dad when he was sick, going to a concert with my friends, sitting outside by the pool and cooking out with my family.

Being able to participate in grand adventures is great, but it is truly the everyday adventures that I wish I could be a part of the most.  However, I'm keeping my eyes on that Fodor book because I'm just going to keep believing that my Migraines will one day be under control, and I can once again jump into the every day adventures and the grand adventures with all the gusto one can muster!

Grand Canyon, here I come - I don't know when, but I'm coming!

National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation. The Blogger’s Challenge is initiated by

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