I shared this map a few days ago – 28 countries, 367 days, 11,000 clicks, and 11 published pieces.
To me, it reminds me to look back, but also to look forward. This time last year I was lost, living in an apartment with just a sectional and a stocked fridge, missing exams and class and work left and right. I wasn’t ready to give any of it up. Sure there were hints that I may have to, but I wasn’t there yet.
Now, I’m officially disabled, out of treatment options that I’m aware of, a writer, and someone who spends a good portion of everyday talking to people who need a friend, an ear, someone to lean on or simply some encouragement. Some days I paint, some days I write, but every day I try and reach just one person and put a smile on their face. I really don’t have a “job” and I am in no place to commit to going back to school even part time.
Clearly a lot can change in a year. So, what happens this year…
This week, The Migraine World Summit begins. Thanks to a supportive group of individuals and my parents, I was able to purchase a VIP pass that will give me access to each seminar and speech as it happens but also any time down the road. I’ll get video access, transcripts, and audio of it. I’ll also receive an in depth treatment book that covers over 270 treatments – holistic and medical.
This Summit provides a wealth of information that touches on every corner of the migraine world and also digs into new treatments – like the CGRP class of medications – and will talk about concerns we have and long-term effects as well as new research being done.
This summit is 10 days long.
Yesterday, I was invited to participate in an 18 week long program that specifically works to find an individualized approach to healing and developing a new lifestyle.
Now, anyone who knows me knows I’m skeptical of literally everything. I’ve bought into multiple less than honest products and have tried treatments that proved to be harmful to me.
But, if there’s one question I know to ask that will get me an honest answer, it’s this: “realistically what the goal is at the end of the program, say even a few months out after continuing with it, in terms of migraine?”
And, I got the answer I needed to hear. Even thought the title of the program includes “elimination”, the answer never once said the goal was to cure me of my migraines. It was a simple answer that showed that this program existed to guide me through better understanding my migraines, connect the dots between symptoms, triggers, pain, and health, and create a better lifestyle.
And so, I signed up. Because, at the end of the day they may want to “eliminate” migraines but they didn’t tell me they have the cure, it didn’t cost any money and there simply isn’t an answer when I asked myself: Why not?
Officially, this program starts at the end of April and last until August.
As I started the initial readings and the introductory content, I recognized something extremely important:
I am most likely much more equipped and informed than a lot of migraine sufferers. I most likely have tried a lot of what this program entails. I most likely will be learning things I already have a base understanding in. BUT that doesn’t mean I should discredit or approach this program differently than someone who is new to migraines.
It’s that simple realization, that means a lot.
Yes, I am an “expert” but only so in the context of my personal experience. Sure I’ve read the medical journals and scientific studies, but I don’t have a degree. Yes, I’ve worked closely with therapists of all types, but my knowledge and understanding of how the human body works together pales in comparison.
And to pretend that I’ve done all that’s possible on my end is foolish.
I wouldn’t have signed up for the Migraine World Summit if I wasn’t trying to discover things that were new to me. So, why would I write off this program when it’s promising to help me in a way that holds me accountable to helping myself?
And even in the beginning stages of this program, I found myself nodding and saying “did that” or “checked with them” or “tried that”, but this isn’t about the medicines I’ve tried, or the doctors I’ve seen, or even the elimination diets or journaling or mindfulness I’ve incorporated into my life.
This is about all of it. This is about taking the time to completely step back. To look at everything all over again. To look at it from multiple perspectives. To truly ask myself what it would mean to be “migraine free”…
You know, I can’t actually answer the question of why do I want to be migraine free and what does that migraine free life look like… I’ve gotten so lost in the concept of managing my pain and accepting migraines as a part of me that those questions don’t have answers. This combination of the Summit and this program is the Holistic Treatment I’ve been desperately looking for. It puts the knowledge in my hands and truly will show that my treatment is in my hands.
Managing my pain and accepting that I have a neurological disorder are both incredibly important. But, choosing not to continue to explore paths that could greatly reduce the pain is counterproductive.
I’m not saying at the end of August I will be migraine free. That isn’t a realistic goal.
My goal is to have a much wider understanding of what migraine is, what factors influence my migraines, what treatments exist that are avenues worth exploring, and to be aware of how my perspective can always continue to grow. Most importantly, I want to have a solid answer as to what my migraine free life will look like.
This is about learning. This is about growth. And this is about reinforcing that I may be 21 and Disabled, but this will not be my life forever.
I’m thankful to have the resources to take advantage of these opportunities and to even be considered for such a program, and I have this blog and every person who’s ever read it, shared it, and encouraged it to thank.
Albert Einstein sums it up best: “Once you stop learning, you start dying.”