It’s My Life – Chapter 10

What goes down often bounces back even higher.

The Bounce Back Book – Karen Salmansohn

My summers in between college were spent working as much as possible. We didn’t go on week-long or even weekend summer vacations. Money was tight. And to be honest, having me, my mother, and my grandmother stuck together for any length of time would have just been asking for an argument. My grandmother’s health was deteriorating which was making her even more difficult to live with. I was an angry teenager that just wanted to leave home. My mother was at her wit’s end trying to play referee between her mother and her daughter. She never knew what she was going to come home to.

I counted down the days until I could head back to college. I was fortunate that both my job as a cashier in college and my summer job as a bank teller were flexible to work with my schedule. I could seamlessly move between the two jobs and not miss out on a paycheck.

Money management was impressed upon me at a young age as I saw how close we had to budget for so many things. If repairs or anything extra came up outside of the budget, it would have to go on a credit card. I did not want to end up consumed by debt, but I also knew having established credit was going to help me after I graduated.

I had my car loan which was helping me build my credit, along with other repetitive payments like insurance and a cell phone bill. I was always sure to have my bills paid on time and extra money in my checking account for car repairs and maintenance. I opened my first credit card while at college to continue to help my credit. I was adamant that I paid my credit card off and never paid interest. I wasn’t sure what my future was going to hold, but I knew I needed to work hard and keep an eye on my money.

My migraines were a major player in my quality of life. With each year that passed, they became worse. Sleeping them off was my only source of relief. The general cycle was to have an aura, start the headache, vomit, and head to my bed to pray for the pain to subside.

Migraine does not care if you have to go to work or class. It will start partying in your body whenever it darn well pleases. Night classes at college were the worst. Sitting under those fluorescent lights for hours would be torture. Sometimes we would have dorm or team meetings after a night class. I can remember laying on the floor with my eyes shut trying to listen in those meetings, unable to stand the intensity of the lights, and trying not to be sick.

Due to my class schedule, I couldn’t work mornings during the week, but I would have the opening shift at 7 am on weekends. I have a feeling this was migraine-related, but I was nauseous every time I had to get up early. I’m sure there were times my co-workers thought I had been out partying the night before as I would spend the first two hours of most shifts vomiting in the bathroom until it passed. I can tell you this, there was no way I wanted to self-induce this feeling. I just wanted it to go away!

There are so many articles describing how migraine affects the body. The video below actually shows some of the visual disturbances that are part of the experience. Early on in my migraine battle, I experienced partial visual loss after my aura. Part of my field of vision would turn black. My auras would come on suddenly like a flash with lots of dots floating around. Now, my aura starts as a little spec and continues to grow over approximately 30 minutes into a larger and larger ring until it is gone from my vision. This video demonstrates what some migraine sufferers see as they experience a migraine.

I experienced a migraine a few weeks ago that hit as I was driving home from a lesson with the trailer. The aura started and the ring started as a small spec. The further I drove, the larger the ring became. No matter where I moved my eyes, the ring followed my line of vision. I have had enough experience with migraine to realize that it will pass and to use my “soft eyes” to take in what is in front of me. However, it isn’t any less terrifying to know that there is potential for temporary vision loss if it decides to play out that way.

If you or someone you know suffers from migraine, please know you are not alone! Migraine awareness is huge now. There is treatment available so do not continue suffering. You are your best advocate. Keep fighting for a plan that works for you! I did and now I am living a life that migraine does not control! It was not easy but I never gave up. Stay tuned for more on how I did it!

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