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Hi, my name is Tiffany, and I have a debilitating chronic illness.
You’d be surprised how long it’s taken me to be able to say that.
I’ve suffered from migraines since puberty, but they were manageable with medication, and very infrequent (ranging from once every couple of weeks, to a couple of periods of a year or more without an episode). But two years ago, things changed.
For two years now, I have had a debilitating headache every day.
Yeah, every single day.
Migraines frequently, but not daily. But on the other days very painful headaches, accompanied by vertigo, extreme fatigue, and other symptoms.
I am under the care of a neurologist who specializes in migraines. We’ve tried at least ten separate treatments so far, including Botox and a wide array of medications.
I have had an MRI, a sleep study, and a detailed eye exam. I know what foods and things are migraine triggers, and avoid them. I have tried chiropractic, massage, and other therapies.
We even moved out of our home and to a more sterile environment in a different neighborhood, in case toxins in the house were to blame.
For a long, long time, I expected it to get better. Every day I thought that even though things were slipping out of control with the housekeeping, the homeschooling, my marriage, my corporate worship, never mind my wishes to sew and garden… it would all get better, because surely tomorrow I’d feel better.
I no longer believe that.
I am still searching for a better treatment. I am still praying for relief.
But I am now able to see that, at this moment, this is simply my lot in life.
I may be able to whip up some butter from the milk we buy, but I cannot commit to a big and long-term project like soap making, or keeping the plants watered.
After trying an anti-depressant medication which was also supposed to be a good headache preventative, I realized how depressed I actually was. It didn’t help the headaches, but after much soul-searching, I am continuing to take it. Maybe this “boost” has helped me to take a more objective look at things, and explore ways to make things work.
I’ve hired a neighborhood teenager to come over and read to my kids for an hour twice a week. It’s an easy job, so she’s not charging much. This is enabling us to keep on track with our schooling. Since we prefer a literature-based approach to learning, and since neither of the Littles is a fluent reader, this was where we were floundering.
Another neighborhood youth has volunteered to come over one or more times a week and help out. He’s not only helping with things like keeping the yard in shape, and washing the car, but he is taking the Littles along and having them work with him – and learn how to do these necessary household tasks.
The small expenditure this entails has been easy enough to work into our budget.
All I had to do was admit that I needed help.