Life After the Semicolon; Living with Chronic Migraine, Greta continues her story

In late March, after I crawled back to my bed from the bathroom, I finally felt well enough to attempt to crawl down the stairs. My mother-in-law was visiting that day. She visited once a week and would sit in the dark with me. I will love her forever for the kindness she showed me during my bleakest hours. My husband and mother-in-law celebrated with tears as they saw me creeping down the stairs, one step at a time, feet first, then bum.

I will never forget my first walk outside. My husband bundled me up in all my winter gear, ice grips over my boots and all. I remember having tunnel vision. I thought I heard a dog close by, I bent over to pet it but could only make out that it was a little black Poodle when he came right up to my face and licked me. The joy that I felt was unparalleled to anything I had experienced before. This moment brought so much hope into my life that I broke my suicide pact and became determined to live.       

Now, almost two years later, I am trying to muster up the courage to write my story, my experiences, my heart break, my despair, my life with chronic migraine and post-concussion syndrome, and my life after the semicolon. I understand that I can only tell you one thread of my life, it is simply impossible to write down every single aspect of the last two years of my life. I am sitting in front of my laptop trying to decide which thread of my nightmare I should pull out, dust off and show you.

Out of trying to make meaning from my tragedy, I think it is important to try to share with you my way of surviving with the hope of reaching someone else out there who may be going through a similar dark and desperate time.

I don’t have a list of top 5 tips, or any life hacks. I don’t have a quick list of treatments that helped. After seeing my neurologist every three months for the last 2 years, she has determined that I have chronic intractable treatment resistant migraine.  I don’t know why this happened, neither do any of my doctors, but I do have a theory. In my life before chronic migraine, I was a very athletic person who could be found at our martial arts gym six days a week. I think it was just one too many concussions. Between a childhood full of gymnastics, an early adulthood full of snowboarding, and a late comer to martial arts, I have racked up well over 10 concussions. I believe that migraines become chronic when your nervous system is over loaded and you’ve been running on empty for far too long.

I may not have any answers for you, but I can share with you the hope and inspiration that fueled my spirit and helped me build back my life from the ground up.

Love your loved ones – with every ounce of your being, love them

Don’t waste precious time wishing others harm – spend your energy looking for the beauty in all people and all situations

Create your life with love and compassion – even that part of you that you hate and want to change, love that part of you the most.

Don’t do anything today that will give you a reason to hate yourself tomorrow

Slow down, enjoy your life – enjoy what you’ve built, enjoy those that choose to spend their time with you

If you are full of fear, so full that you feel paralyzed, remember that fear lies

When you think all hope is lost, just keep hanging on for one more breath, for as long as we have a breath to take, then hope is still alive

I don’t know why it took a tragedy for me to understand how precious life is. I don’t know why I had to lose everything to appreciate all that I had. But I do know that changing my outlook to focusing on what I do have instead of what I don’t have has helped. Breathing life into the little things and the little moments makes those little things everything that you need to become content and at peace. And, peace of mind is worth far more than all of the big things that money can buy.

So now, I’m not even close to OK, but I know in my heart that I am going to be OK. 

Greta A Tramwood

*Disclaimer – This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding migraine and headache disease and all medical conditions.

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