Always on the Edge
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Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be one step away from your entire life falling apart? Ever had to wonder if missing just one more day of work due to a migraine, would be the thing that ended your career? Have you ever wondered if missing those few hours here and there from work would mean the difference in paying your bills or losing something, possibly everything? Imagine all those thoughts at once, replaying themselves over in your mind every day. That is a very real part of living with chronic migraine.

Medical costs

I often worry that my medical expenses or my medical condition will be “the straw that broke the camel’s back.” Unfortunately, it’s not just the medical expenses themselves but all of the other things factor into them as well. These additional factors include the cost of the fuel used driving back and forth to appointments, the time lost sitting in a waiting room, the cost of the co-pay followed with the cost of prescriptions and finally the time lost at work, or the time lost at home when you could be resting or managing the household. I have felt at times like my medical debt would be something that caused resentment from my husband. But he has reminded me time and time again, that the vast majority of our debt has nothing to do with my medical condition.

The other expenses

Although he means well, my husband is a spender. It seems there is always something that lies just out of his reach financially. No sooner than the time it takes him to make a purchase that he has been focused on, something else always comes up. There is always something else that he is looking to acquire. In fact, the majority of our debt has been his doing. While he makes every effort to pay as much extra as possible on our credit based debt, what typically is the result is that he pays too much on credit cards; not leaving himself enough money to get through until the next payday. This creates a never ending cycle of having to use those same credit cards he intended to pay down, to make it through until his next payday. Ultimately, his once well-meaning wants have turned into several credit cards he/we would have been better off without. Unfortunately, now he can see it for himself. He sees that our debt is ever growing and difficult to manage. It affects his moods and his emotional state far more than he’d willingly admit.

The effects

I believe the word most people would use to associate the worries or stressors we face to describe the myriad of emotions a person is feeling here is, hopelessness. Whether we say it to each other out loud or not, I worry that we both carry this feeling around with us each day. We both worry that between my medical expenses and his never ending need to buy things, we may never be able to rid ourselves of this debt. The simple idea of this can be a trigger for a migraine. I have witnessed its effects on both of us in ways such as irritability, anger, depression, exhaustion physically and mentally, and general fatigue overall.

A typical weekend at home is usually very simple. There are usually dishes to clean and put away, a stack of laundry that needs to be folded and put away, and floors to clean. Beyond that, we spend our time at home cuddling together watching shows from the DVR. Once in a while, we will go out to lunch together, primarily as a reason to get out of the house. The problem is that even the minor expense of going out for lunch adds to the financial stress. As a result, my husband shows immediate signs of fatigue. Just this past weekend we had lunch at a restaurant not 12 miles from our home and the bill was relatively small. But the fatigue manifested itself in my husband almost immediately once we began driving home. A man who not five minutes before was bright eyed and bushy tailed, was swerving in traffic absolutely fighting a losing battle against falling asleep at the wheel right in the middle of the day. When we got home, all he talked about was how bad he wanted a nap.

Overwhelmed

We fight the good fight each day but we both feel the effects of our financial position. From my husband’s end of things, he is overwhelmed with the debt he has created. On my end, I feel overwhelmed with the never ending slew of doctor appointments that seem to ultimately lead me nowhere. Each time, I go to the appointment with a positive attitude and a hope that the next doctor is finally going to make some type of breakthrough that leads to an end to my chronic migraine or at least lead to some type of relief from it.

This is what it feels like to live with chronic migraine. This is what it feels like to live my life, always on the edge… Are you faced with anything similar?
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