Friday, January 24, 2014


I can feel it coming for me.

I feel it as soon as I wake up.  There's the wonderful drowsy feeling of slumber, then my alarm, then the pain behind my right eye.  And I know that it's going to be a migraine day.

It's this winter.  This horrible, horrible winter, with different storm fronts moving in nearly every day and electrical surges of cold so strong that I can feel them pulsing in my head every time I go outside, even just passing from my house to my car.  Extreme weather is one of my triggers, and every day for the last three weeks has qualified.

It has lain in wait for me for the last five days.  A constant pain behind my right eye--always there, never leaving, surging every time I step into the cold, picking up in intensity any time I get hungry or don't drink enough water.  Definitely a headache--more than just a naggy daily headache (because I have plenty of experience in knowing the difference), but not quite a full-fledged migraine either. 
Twice I tried taking a migraine pill to get rid of it, mindful of my neurologist's advice to nip it in the bud before it became full-blown.  And it disappeared then, for what I suppose was the duration of the time that the pill remained in my system.  And then it was back, that pressure, that pain, right behind my eye, not exploding into full-blown migraine, just enough to remind me that it was there and refused to go away, constant pain, refusing to be ignored.

And then, this morning, the explosion.

I know that migraine is, by definition, a neurological disease.  And yet it affects the entire body.  I knew that this was going to be the real thing because as the pain started to bloom behind my eye, the nausea blossomed in my stomach.  I need to eat, I thought, at the same time as the other half of my brain shouted, I need to throw up!  The first argument against myself.

Quick, get the kids off to the sitter.  They shouldn't have to see this.

The pain moves into my jaw.  Down my neck.  All on the right side.  Muscles tensing.  Knowing my body is in for a battle.

My right eye is a cavern of pain.  My left eye is fine.  I'm split against myself.

I argue, This is a chronic condition.  I need to learn to live with it.  I can't let it beat me. 

But my body screams for relief.

I think of the kitchen floor, covered in crushed cereal, spilled by the baby, stepped on by the bigger kids, needing desperately to be swept.  I think of the mountains of laundry I scheduled for today.  I think of the hours of work I need to put in to my work-from-home job--I had to quit my real job after the migraines got to be too much.  I think of the emails I need to respond to, the phonecalls I need to return, the commitments I have made.  I ache when I think of all the people I will disappoint, my family first among them, by just giving in.

But my body craves the dark room and the ice pack.  It will not be denied.  There are two of us inhabiting this body, having this argument, and the voice that is me is losing to the voice of the migraine.

The migraine steers me up the stairs.  Can I just start one load of laundry first? I plead.  No, it answers, but it does allow me stop and grab an ice pack, because it knows that it likes how that feels.  But I'm not even tired, I argue.  Just lay down, it says, and at least it won't hurt for a while.  And then the dark room, the pill, the ice pack, the silence, nothing but the arguments inside my head, fighting back and forth between me and migraine, until migraine wins and I pass into unconsciousness.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Looking Ahead to 2014

What a year 2013 was!  It has featured a new house, new jobs, new schools, and new skills. 

What’s next?
As we look ahead to 2014, we hope for continued improvement with my migraines.  This month, I am launching businesses as a personal consultant for both Thirty-One and Premier Designs Jewelry, with the hope that these from-home businesses will offer the flexibility of scheduling that her migraines require while also generating the income to handle some of those medical bills!  Ben looks forward to another year of record-breaking attendance at Camp Tecumseh.  We’re sure we can look forward to more new hobbies and new skills for each of the kids.  We’ll be another adding new cousin to the family when Kristin and Brian Padgett have their first child at the end of March. Most of all, we feel incredibly blessed to have come out of such a crazy year in such good shape!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

2013 in Review: December

What a year 2013 was!  It has featured a new house, new jobs, new schools, and new skills.  Here’s the story, month by month:

I'm now down to 1-2 migraines a week, which is a huge improvement over what I was experiencing before.  However, my neurologist says it’s still not good enough to return to full-time work, so it was with great regret that I recently had to resign from my teaching job.  However, I have recently started a part-time job as a Youth Services Librarian at the Monticello Library.  I'm really enjoying this new career!  Bryn, Shay, and Liam all did beautifully in Christmas programs for their schools.  Aiden continues to be the best-natured baby in the world, rolling with all the punches while wearing a constant smile.  Bryn, Shay, and I all finished up quilting projects and gifted family members with them at Christmas.  The entire family traveled first to Michigan to celebrate Christmas with the Meyaards, then to Illinois to celebrate with the Pfanschmidts.  Ben found the final few days of 2013 to be quite busy, with year-end donations coming in to camp.  We ended the year with some excitement when, on December 28, Brian and Lakshmi added baby Siva Reddy (our first nephew!) to the family. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

2013 in Review: November

What a year 2013 was!  It has featured a new house, new jobs, new schools, and new skills.  Here’s the story, month by month:

All 3 girls (me, Bryn, and Shay) celebrated birthdays this month!  At 8 years old, Bryn is a total bookworm.  Shaylee (6) is still a ball of energy, always singing and talking, constantly on the move.  Both girls love school and constantly rave about what they’re learning.  My neurologist eliminated most of the really scary possible causes for my migraines and found a combo of meds that began to reduce my migraines.  We hosted Thanksgiving for the first time ever and enjoyed getting to spend that time with both sides of our family.

Friday, January 10, 2014

2013 in Review: October

What a year 2013 was!  It has featured a new house, new jobs, new schools, and new skills.  Here’s the story, month by month:

My chronic migraines had been worsening for the entire year but reached a crisis point this month.  A trip to the ER made it clear that something needed to be done.  In spite of taking a daily preventative medication, I was suffering 5-6 migraines per week.  My neurologist put me on medical leave from teaching and began running various tests and experimenting with different medications.  The entire family enjoyed a trip to Indianapolis for Butler’s Homecoming, and of course Halloween held plenty of cuteness.


Thursday, January 09, 2014

2013 in Review: September

What a year 2013 was!  It has featured a new house, new jobs, new schools, and new skills.  Here’s the story, month by month:

I entered my second year of leading Bryn and Shay’s Girl Scout Daisy troop.  Bryn and Shay also caught the quilting bug and began their own projects.  Liam loudly expressed himself to be quite jealous of all these things—it’s hard to keep up with big sisters!  We visited Indianapolis and Peoria.  Ben enjoyed participating in some disc golf tournaments.  Aiden continued to grow by leaps and bounds, learning new skills and new words and abounding in cuteness.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

2013 in Review: August

What a year 2013 was!  It has featured a new house, new jobs, new schools, and new skills.  Here’s the story, month by month:


We were all sad to see summer camp end, but the beginning of the school year is always exciting.  I returned to teaching at Logansport High School.  Bryn started second grade at Delphi Elementary.  As part of the High Ability program, she is in a split 2/3 classroom and does advanced work—and loves every minute of it!  She is truly a child who loves learning.  Shaylee started full-day kindergarten at Camden Early Childhood Center and absolutely loves it.  Liam began preschool for the first time, attending Ready Set Go.  Aiden took his first steps the day before school started!  Meanwhile, Ben’s disc golf club created a new course and he played in his first sanctioned tournament, the Wabash Wash-Out, which lived up to its name when a typhoon-level storm rained out the second half of the tournament!  And most importantly, August held huge relief for us when we FINALLY sold our Brownsburg house after two and a half years on the market!

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

2013 in Review: July

What a year 2013 was!  It has featured a new house, new jobs, new schools, and new skills.  Here’s the story, month by month:

We kicked off the month with a fantastic trip to Michigan to celebrate Ben’s uncle Dan Meyaard’s wedding to a wonderful woman named Ann Marie.  It was three days of non-stop party, including an impressive fireworks display on the Fourth.  Great time with family!  Bryn, Shay, and Liam each got to have an extended solo stay with Nana and Papa Meyaard at the lake house this month, going on special outings, playing with cousin Elizabeth, and generally getting spoiled.  Bryn attended a second week of Day Camp with her very best friend Hannah when the Elstros came up from Indy and stayed with us for a week—great times for all!  Bryn and Shay appeared as adorable Alley Cats in the local production of “Curiosity Cats.”  Amy took Bryn, Shay, and Liam to St. Louis for a weekend to visit lifelong friends the Raguet-Schofields and the Chins.  The kids had a great time making second-generation friends, exploring the Science Center, and visiting the Zoo.  Amy also took up quilting, coached by some of the wonderful women who attend Quilt Camp at Tecumseh.  And, of course, we also hung out with the counselors and played at summer camp!


Monday, January 06, 2014

2013 in Review: June

What a year 2013 was!  It has featured a new house, new jobs, new schools, and new skills.  Here’s the story, month by month:

Summer camp was in full swing!  Through Ben’s work as Director of Camper Support, more than 500 kids were able attend Camp Tecumseh on scholarship this summer.  Our kids loved being “camp kids,” playing with the counselors, eating in the dining hall, and attending campfires.  Ben and I hosted home-cooked dinners for the counselors every Monday night of the summer, which led to some fantastic nights of fun at the big white house.  Both girls got to attend a week of Day Camp, where they had the time of their lives.  The kids and I made trips to Peoria to visit family and Indianapolis to visit friends.  The kids also enjoyed participating in various Delphi library programs.  Our baby Aiden turned 1 on June 18—where did the time go??


Sunday, January 05, 2014

2013 in Review: May

What a year 2013 was!  It has featured a new house, new jobs, new schools, and new skills.  Here’s the story, month by month:

Ben traveled to Michigan to celebrate his cousin Cara’s wedding, but I stayed behind to coach my students through the ECA exam.  To celebrate improved scores, I then took my students on a fieldtrip to camp.  Shay graduated from Ready Set Go preschool with plenty of pomp and circumstance.  The family enjoyed a weekend visit from grandparents Dave and Diane.  The summer camp counselors arrived for training, and the kids immediately made friends with all of them!


Saturday, January 04, 2014

2013 in Review: April

What a year 2013 was!  It has featured a new house, new jobs, new schools, and new skills.  Here’s the story, month by month:

Another month of travel!  We started off with a trip to Michigan to see Brian and Lakshmi’s daughter Hattie's traditional Hindu haircut ceremony.  It was so neat to get to see this, and of course wonderful to see all the cousins together!  I also made a solo trip to Chicago this month for my lifelong friend Jolyne's wedding.  I had a fantastic time getting caught up with some of my high school friends during this weekend! Back at home, Shay’s preschool put on their annual production of “The Wizard of Oz,” and Shay gave a stellar performance as Auntie Em.  Aiden continued to amuse everyone with his patented “Quasimodo” crawling method, in which he dragged on leg behind him like a wounded soldier—but it certainly didn’t slow him down any!


Friday, January 03, 2014

2013 in Review: March

What a year 2013 was!  It has featured a new house, new jobs, new schools, and new skills.  Here’s the story, month by month:

Liam turned 3 on March 1.  He’s quite the adorable little man, full of cuddles and love, very polite and talkative.  We kept plenty busy this month!  The girls and I spent a “girls’ weekend” in Indianapolis with Grammy Tina and Aunt Kristin.  Then the whole family returned to Indy a week later for some spring break fun—which lasted longer than expected when we got snowed in at the Elstros’ house!  We enjoyed the bonus time with friends, but definitely increased the craziness of our next project—moving to our new house!  We were lucky enough to be assisted by my mom, Ben’s parents, and the Elstros.  With their assistance, we were mostly into the new house before spring break ended.  Our new house is in the main field of River Village at Camp Tecumseh and overlooks all the fun that happens daily!  It’s also big enough that each kid can have their own bedroom, which definitely cuts down on the fighting. :)