Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Seven Years of Limits & Compromises

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I spent some time this weekend looking back on when I started adjusting my lifestyle because I was having more frequent migraine attacks. I realized it started sooner than I'd ever thought. Of course there were times dating back to my childhood when I missed events because an attack came on and I had to stay home. Those were things I had no choice about. But there came a time when I increasingly started making the choice to avoid certain events and behaviors because of my increased propensity to experience attacks.

Seven years ago at this time I was finishing up my law degree and doing the whole hooding and graduation routine. Of course I attended the hooding ceremony, which is truly the most important part of honoring a doctoral or professional degree. My family and best friends came and it was wonderful. But in deciding whether to attend the all-university graduation ceremony that afternoon I declined. Not because I didn't want to participate in the ceremony and tradition (I did), but because it was a hot day and I knew my body couldn't stand up to it.

At the University of Kansas the big tradition is to walk down the hill in your cap and gown and walk through the Campanile for the first time as you head for Memorial Stadium for the graduation ceremony. It was a great day for that, unlike Sunday's gray, rainy, chilly ceremony. But I didn't go because of these blasted migraines. I don't have huge regrets about my decision. My parents agreed it was probably the best choice and were thrilled to have seen my hooding that morning. Between that and my undergraduate graduation ceremony, it was more than enough for them. It's just chilling to realize I've been making decisions about how to celebrate huge milestones in my life for an entire seven years now because of these chronic migraines. I can't complain. I'm incredibly lucky that I was able to finish my law degree and pass the bar exam before I became completely disabled. I'm grateful. It's just been a long road and I'm still learning how to walk it.

What is a Hooding Ceremony?
Graduation Traditions Have Long History

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DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site constitutes medical or legal advice. I am a patient who is engaged and educated and enjoys sharing my experiences and news about migraines, pain and depression. Please consult your own health care providers for advice on your unique situation.