Today marks an anniversary of sorts, though not really one I want to celebrate.
It was one year ago today, on the evening of Sunday 16th March 2014 to be precise, that the first full migraine struck after coming off the flunarizine (preventative medication) due to serious side effects.
I can remember it well, feeling the all too familiar sensations of headache, nausea, vertigo, sensory disturbances etc starting up, taking a barrage of abortive medications and getting an early night, trusting it would have cleared by the morning.
But it didn’t clear, and one year on (not to mention several medication trials and a whole host of unwelcome side effects later) I’m still waiting for it to leave.
The year of the migraine. Marvellous. Thanks brain. Not.
I managed to keep going with work for 5 months, at a much-reduced productivity and at great cost to all other areas of life and my emotional/mental wellbeing, but I’ve been off work now since summer 2014.
I never thought this would be the way my life would turn out, unable to do the job I love, let alone any of the other things I used to enjoy that gave my life joy and meaning.
I said this wasn’t an anniversary I wanted to celebrate, but as I write I realise there are some things worth celebrating from this Year of Migraines.
The love and support of my excellent and amazing husband comes top of the list without a doubt.
Followed closely by the family and friends who’ve been there through the last year in so many different ways I couldn’t even start to list them here.
I’ve learnt a lot about myself and about life, even if they’re things I wish I’d never had to learn at all.
I’ve met people, and discovered new things about people I knew already, that have truly inspired me.
I’ve come to value what I do have so much more highly, partly because of what I’ve lost and partly because I’ve realised how fragile everything is.
I’m certainly a very different person to the one I was a year ago.
This past year has really put me to the test, emotionally, physically and mentally. It’s taken me to my limits and beyond more times than I can count.
But I’m still standing. Well, sitting. Crawling maybe. Sprawled in a heap in a darkened room is more like the truth.
But I’m still here. I’m still fighting.
I’m still learning and growing and changing and adapting.
In some ways I’m living my life more fully, even though I’m able to do so much less, because I’m really present in it.
Every moment of life is precious and worth savouring, because you never know what might happen next.
All I have is now, and I want to make the very best of it that I can.
So if I’m having a rant about the migraines, it’s a PROPER RANT, not a polite little grumble.
If I’m enjoying time with friends the migraines are given a back seat for a short while, no matter how bad they are.
And if I’ve got a cheesy 80’s song in my head now because of a line I wrote earlier then I might just turn it into a living room karaoke session (here’s the link just in case you want to join in… Elton John – I’m Still Standing – Go on, you know you want to…)
So maybe it is a celebration of sorts after all.
One year on… The year of the migraine… But I’m still standing…