Loss and Longing

Facebook is a catalog of food I can't eat, places I can't go, events I can't attend, and friends I can't spend time with.” That’s what I told my husband yesterday after I was unable to attend brunch with his mom and aunt. Tonight he has plans with friends. He asked if a meal we have in the freezer is vegetarian in case he and his friends want to eat dinner here. “Yes,” I said, “but you should go out to a restaurant since you can.” Then I burst into tears.

When everything is a trigger

Everything I eat or drink other than water is a migraine trigger for me. Following a ketogenic diet that’s 89% fat, there are nine different foods that only trigger mild migraine attacks. If I eat only those foods, I can be semi-functional at least several hours most days. My meal plan includes eating a stick of butter at every meal with poached chicken breast and one of six vegetables. I keep with this diet because eating anything else means being too sick to get out of bed. But after four-and-a-half years of heavily restricted diets, I’m so very tired. When I explained today’s tears to my husband, I said, “I just want to be able to eat.”

Reminders of what I've lost

What I have lost to migraine is looming right now. I try to avoid dwelling on the losses, but they’re in neon flashing lights. Every meal I eat reminds me of what I’ve lost. Facebook, my way of connecting with loved ones when I don’t feel well enough to leave the house, reminds me of how much I’m missing. And my heart aches for a city I love, but can’t live in because the weather is a migraine trigger.

I don’t like living like this. That sounds ridiculous—no one would like having such a restricted life due to chronic migraine. What I mean is that I don’t like living with so much longing. It’s possible to have chronic migraine and not long for what I’ve lost. I’ve learned how and I do it most days. Today isn’t one of them.

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