Weathering the storm

ship_stormy_nightUpon returning from my summer travels (a first in many years), priorities started shifting as rapidly as rolling waves in a stormy sea. My plans for a leisurely summer of writing were quickly being submerged by white squalls of converging storms. Normally this would trigger the fighter in me to resist sacrificing my plans. Uncharacteristically, common sense ruled the day. I accepted the change with grace (mostly).

As much as I love all of you and want to bring you fresh, frequent content, life in the “real” world must come first. Recently, it required so much of time that I had none left for you. Now that the storms have subsided, I have time for reflection. This process has sparked new insights to share with you.

Self-care is sacred

No matter what life throws at you, there is nothing more important than self-care. For a migraineur, that means maintaining a consistent routine. My routine was thrown off-balance like a ship tossing in a storm. Sometimes all you can do is hang on, hoping you don’t get tossed overboard. Before I could move forward, I needed to wait out the storm, assess for damage, make repairs, and right the ship. That’s what I’ve been doing for the past six weeks.

Waiting out the storm

Some situations were out of my control. I could mitigate the damage, but not stop the storm. When my husband returned from his Boy Scout trip in early August, he brought back a stowaway in the form of a powerful and highly contagious respiratory virus. Caring for him during his recovery was all it took for me to spend three weeks coughing my lungs out. Nursing myself back to health became my full-time job.

Assessing for damage

During my travels, my trusty laptop started having serious problems. Every attempt to repair it created new problems. Finally I gave up trying to fix the problems with the existing operating system. I reformatted the hard drive, installed Windows 10 and a newer version of Microsoft Office. By the first week of August, it was finally behaving well enough to use. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before I was in no shape to use it (see above).

Making repairs

During my hiatus, I consulted with my new sleep specialist (who also happens to be my Botox doctor). He noticed that I had not been using my CPAP for several weeks and wanted to help me get back on track. I had been struggling to sleep with the mask for quite a while. His solution was to recommend a new APAP that would record any apneas, mask leaks, or other problems. It took a few weeks for my insurance to approve the machine. Once it arrived, I was only able to use it for a week before I got sick and was unable to use it because of all the nighttime coughing.

Now that I am healthy again, it is a relief to wear it and get a good night’s sleep. I appreciate its many features, especially the ability to log in to my own account online to view my progress from day-to-day. If there is a problem, both my doctor and I will know the next morning. Seeing empirical evidence of its effectiveness is a real motivator and gives me peace of mind. Getting my sleep quality straightened out makes a huge difference in my energy level and ability to concentrate.

Right the ship

With my health restored, my laptop working, and my sleep back to normal, it was time to start picking up the mess left behind. I resumed regular healthy meals and taking my medication on schedule. As each day passed, I felt stronger and my head felt clearer. I could start planning ahead with reasonable confidence.

Moving forward

Unbelievably, in the middle of the storm, my husband and I found time to start our search for a new house. Thanks to his military service, we were able to quickly pre-qualify for a VA loan. Armed with our pre-approval letter from the bank, we hired an agent and started viewing houses.

Now that we are empty-nesters, our priorities have changed. This is the first time in many years that we have been able to house shop without considering school districts or the needs of our children. Those extra bedrooms get to become offices and hobby rooms as we spread out to embrace our own special interests.

This will be our first move since I became disabled. Our priorities have changed a great deal now that we must accommodate my special needs. Many of the homes in our area are split-level. The older ones often have utility rooms in the basement. These features are not friendly to someone with mobility issues. We needed to find a house with kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and laundry room all on the same level. That would allow me to have the greatest quality of life even on my worst days. It’s been a frustrating challenge.

What we discovered was that our best option is to have one built for us. We’ve picked out a ranch-style floor plan and have narrowed down our choices of lots. Once the lot is chosen, we’ll sign the contract and get the process rolling. We’re going to be able to customize the house, turning it into our very own migraine-friendly sanctuary.  It is exciting to have something new to look forward to. I can’t wait to share our journey with you.

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