My Mantra: “Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be good.”
I had my first migraine attack at age 18 during my freshman year in college at Mercer University. Just over a decade later, this monster disease turned chronic. I have had migraine pain at some level every day since 2009. Since then, I have also had long periods of intractable migraine with severe, unrelenting pain for months at a time. These could usually be broken by a week’s hospital stay and IV meds. After years of this, I had to end my promising career as a trial attorney due to the disability of migraine — the barrage of nausea, sensitivity to light, sound and smell, brain fog, and fatigue, along with throbbing head pain.
I have been in my worst intractable cycle since October 2017, over 18 months now. For most of that time, I could function relatively normally. But since February 2019, the pain has been unbearable. Because multiple inpatient treatments of IV DHE & IV lidocaine (and so much else!) have not done the trick this time, I wear ice packs nearly 24-hours a day to get any comfort at all. It is hard to leave the house, and increased anxiety has come with the increased pain.
But I am slowly learning that life is not all good or all bad. It is a messy mix of both joy and pain mingled together. For years, chronic illness left me feeling insecure and vulnerable. I am learning that it is also a strength. Through it, I have gained skills and abilities I would not otherwise have. It has taught me perseverance and shown me how to ask for help. It has drawn me closer to God, taught me to depend on Him and given me a deeper understanding of myself. It has proven that life does not have to be perfect to be good. I have started to embrace my illness as a part of me and to accept all of me, both my weaknesses and my strengths. I am thankful for God’s love that sustains me each day. I am thankful for my dear husband of 9 years, who walks through this with me, cooks and keeps me laughing.
I recently started advocating with the US Pain Foundation and the Global Healthy Living Foundation. I share my story and educate to increase research funding for better treatments with the hope that we all will improve — and that I will be able to return to work as an attorney one day. I am also active with Bible Study Fellowship; I enjoy studying Scripture and connecting with other women. I could not make it without the friends and family who support me! I love reading when I can, listening to audiobooks and taking pictures, mostly of flowers. Flowers make me smile! Incorporating gentle exercise, yoga and mindfulness into my daily routine also helps me.
The pain can be overwhelming. But I am trying to receive both the joys and sorrows of life and to live in its fullness. I am writing to share the grains of hope I have found on this journey. I am excited to join the Migraine Mantras!