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Will Reserving Energy Now Mean I Risk Losing it Later?

As I write this, I’m sitting in a tiny house AirBNB in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Many years ago (gulp: 24), back when I was a competitive swimmer, I met a girl at the US Air Force Academy’s summer sports camp. We were randomly assigned to be roommates and, though I’m not much of a believer in fate, it feels as if we were destined to become lifelong friends.

B. has always lived in Albuquerque, a place that is very far from every home I’ve ever had along the East Coast. We’ve kept up through letters and calls, and when she texted me in June 2017 to say that she was going to get married in September, I immediately reserved the date in my calendar. I couldn’t wait to see her.

Prepping for my friend’s wedding

If I couldn’t wait to see her, this person who has been a dear friend to me for two and a half decades, then why am I sitting by myself in an AirBNB when I could be with her, her family, and her friends helping decorate the wedding venue before this evening’s ceremony?

You here on this website won’t be surprised to know the reason: migraine.

The thing is, this one is tricky, because it’s not like I’m bedridden or anything. I’m sitting up (though still in PJs), looking at this computer screen without any screen-light-related pain in my eyes, able to function pretty well. What I’m doing is hedging my bets, hoping that by treating myself delicately this morning I will be closer to 100% this evening at the ceremony and party.

“But if you were there now, helping decorate and hang out with everyone, you would actually have more quality time with B.,” the sassy little devil on my left shoulder says.

“No, that’s not the answer,” the contrary devil on the right shoulder says. “Remember how before you got married you thought that wedding ceremonies weren’t such a big deal, but then you actually had one yourself and looked out at the crowd and were filled with such love and fulfillment seeing all those loved ones from throughout your life? You don’t want B. to look out over the crowd and not see you. Save your energy now so that you can go to the wedding later.”

So what do I do?

This is the sort of conundrum that my fellow migraineurs—especially ones with frequent or chronic migraine episodes—can really identify with, but people without chronic illness struggle to understand well. This is the type of issue I feel vaguely uncomfortable describing to a friend who doesn’t have chronic pain; thankfully, I can describe it here on and know that I’ll find understanding friends.

So who out there can see where I’m coming from? When you’re faced with situations like this, how do you decide what the next move is? Have you ever made what later turned out to be the “wrong” choice, and what happened because of it? 

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • RobinfromCA
    2 years ago

    I’m a strong proponent of preventative measures. If I feel the slightest bit of pressure in my head (my most common indicator) and I have something big later that day or the next I’ll do everything in my power to stop the monster before it starts. I probably would have done exactly what you did if I had any predrome symptoms at all – even if I felt perfectly normal for the most part.

    Did you make it to the wedding? I hope so!

  • Janet
    2 years ago

    There’s never the right choice or wrong choice….migraine is a serious monster and does what it wants so differently every to try to undermine migraine will inevitably fail…you did what you thought best…hindsight makes us feel,so,guilty…the “if only’s” come out…..I don’t do,that to myself anymore…maybe because I have 4 decades of migraine under my belt and a few new and different AWFUL ones to cope with…so I try, if possible, to snag a bit of something everyday…mostly that doesn’t work…but I can’t give in to migraine..I won’t, when humanly possible. I hate migraine everyday for stealing my happy, my dignity, my self esteem and mostly my freedom.
    Be well,

  • scaldrone
    2 years ago

    I missed my best friend’s wedding because of a migraine. I went to the rehearsal the night before, even though I felt like I probably should have stayed home, and ended up with a terrible migraine the next day that made me miss the whole wedding. If I could go back and do it again, I’d do what you did – rest up just in case so you know you could at least make it to the ceremony. Although, resting preemptively is really hard because it plays into the other devil on your shoulder who says, “Are you sure you’re not being over-dramatic with this whole chronic migraine thing? Maybe you’re just weak.”

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