Sunday, July 19, 2009

Family Reunion Fun

I am still learning things about me and my Migraines all of the time. We had a family reunion this weekend. Without exaggerating, there were 93 people there! It was held at my parents 3 bedroom lake house which has a huge screened in porch, gigantic yard surrounded by woods, and a big deck by the large dock with many toys around for 'kids' of all ages.

This year's reunion actually started off much better than last year. If I can reminisce a moment, last year wasn't the same in a different way. I was more to myself about my Migraines last year. Only my mom was talking about me and them. You see, I always tried to handle things myself and keep to myself especially about me. Sometimes that's ok, but with Migraines, I'm finding it's probably better to share as not only can you teach other people more about Migraines, but you can always learn more yourself. I don't think there's ever knowing everything about Migraines or knowing everything about your own Migraines as they are ever changing.

At last year's reunion, the most profound question I got was from my godmother. She asked me the very simple question of: "when was the last time you had a migraine"? Reluctantly, I had said, that day. She picked up on it quickly and asked back if I typically don't tell anyone when I had one. It really made me think as I answered back that I didn't. I'd also been called out earlier that day by someone else if I keep working after I took a triptan or if I laid down for a bit. My pathetic answer then was that I may put my head in my hands, but mostly I will keep going.

I guess I've made some progress since last year. I talk more freely about my Migraines now. I had a lot more open conversations this reunion as I was asked many questions and even talked to a different cousin about someone she knows who is having an awful time with the lights at work and is about to lose her job over it. This is something I can definitely empathize over. You see, I started learning about and researching Migraines after a bad light exposure and reaction experience while at work. Before this, I never realized that Migraines were more than just headaches, why I was sometimes so moody, were the route of other symptoms I experienced, that Migraines can be triggered and so much more. I emailed my cousin this morning with a lot of information, helpful links to documentation as well as on-line support and all of my contact information for her friend. I hope it helps. I don't like to see anyone going through this alone.

I also had a nice conversation with a sister-in-law which led to chumming up with my niece who is going into the third grade. We talked a little from a Migraineur to Migraineur perspective. You see, a lot of people try to force her to do things, but they just don't understand her including her mom (her mom's own words). I'm hoping to get my niece to see that I realize what she is going through and want to help her find herself and guide her through whatever she may go through or feel. I know it's not easy for her and I need to spend more time with her.

I was glad a lot of the conversations happened early. I started noticing as it was getting later and as others were asking me how I was doing with my 'headaches', I started answering a little less sugar coated and a little more short, but not nasty. I was losing my patience, but not necessarily with them. I know they were just trying to be nice and make talk. I couldn't understand why I was like this until I realized where I was, what I had going on all day and building up.

I mentioned earlier there were 93 people. There were a lot of kids, which I love kids, but they make a lot of noise. There was a lot of other noise from the 'toys' that were around too; both in the water and out (ATVs and dirt bikes). It had just finished raining and when it wasn't raining the sun was shining bright. The only quiet time I had by this time was when my sister and I managed to confiscate the paddleboat and take it for a brief spin. We planned on doing a little talking, but the ride was all too short lived because that is when it started to pour.

Anyway, after we ate I realized I needed to find a quiet area and searched all over including the basement. They have some hidden rooms down there when I discovered the basement was covered with CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lights)! At that point, I tried to mention to my sister that I needed to get away, but for someone who doesn't drink, she was having a very good time and couldn't comprehend a word I was saying. Coincidentally at that time, my father ended up needing to show off his newest toy to me, a camper vehicle which was exactly what I needed to calm down my over stimulated nerves. We had at least a half hour of peace time together. Thank you dad!

The day ended up with a personal fireworks display off of the dock and over the lake. This is always fun because other people around the lake like to compete with their own display of fireworks. The only problem for some Migraineurs? What else but the loud noises and flashing lights!

The family reunion was a lot of fun with a lot of trials, tribulations and triggers. Here was my list of triggers for the day:
    > noise - kids, boats, jet skis, ATVs, dirt bikes
    > sun - sun and glare
    > rain - enough said
    > lights - CFLs
    > fireworks - flickering and noise
    > family - definitely unavoidable - they will find you!

I guess I'll see what I can do and change for all of the fun to repeat for next year. Since this is my family, not going is not really an option. It's really the only time I will see many of these people for a long time too. Not everyone can attend every year either and it's really great to see them in a happy atmosphere.

Do you have any suggestions to try for next year?

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