First curry? And now red wine? Come On

I really thought about titling this: The Day I Hated Mickey Mouse. However, it was not his fault any of the following happened. He just had millions of people in his parks on Saturday.

On Friday, Mikey and I flew to Orlando, Florida to meet our friends (Robert, Scott, and Tommy) from Pensacola. This is our second year to take this trip. The mission of the trip is to go to Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights.

We arrived in town around 6:00 and at the condo around 7:30. We headed out to dinner. It was at dinner that I made my mistake. I had a (I will stress ONE) glass of red wine. We had a great dinner and headed back to the condo. We hung out for a while and by midnight I was in the bed. Around 3:00 in the morning I woke up. And I had a migraine.

My first migraine, I can remember, I was a sophomore in high school. My parents were concerned so they took me to a neurologist. It was at this appointment I had my first diagnosis of a migraine. And further more, I would more than likely have them the rest of my life. Most of my symptoms have remained consistent: first, it is hard for me to focus and register what I am seeing (it is as if I am not even present in my own life), then I get severe tunnel vision, third the feelings in my fingers go numb. Finally, the pain. The actual migraine can last for 24 hours or longer. I have had some migraines last for weeks. They turn me into another person; someone I really do not like. If I could walk away from this persona I would. Not sure why my friends do not just walk away.

Mostly my migraines have been a result of stress or bad sleeping habits. A few years ago, I discovered I had a food allergy to curry. Once I eat a dish with curry, within twenty minutes (there will be no symptoms) I will have a severe migraine. The migraine itself will last for about 4-5 days. It feels as if the intensity of the migraine stays with me until the curry has fully left my body.

There are times I would love to have curry. Mikey reminds me to stay away. So he eats his curry chicken and I enjoy the smell.

Over the last three weeks I have awakened with the feeling that all the blood in my head is pooling on the right side of my brain. This pooling affect creates pressure on my brain and thus a migraine is triggered. The cause has been unknown. It is hard to know when the migraine hits at night. There is no warning. I wake up and I have it.

I thought one night was caused by a specific wine which had red chili in it. (Side note: I have a new love for red and green chili, thank you New Mexico). Simple solution, no more wine with red chili. However, after Friday nights glass of wine and the sequential events, I believe I must add red wine to my list of things not to ingest. What, no more red wine? I am not sure if it is just limited to red but I am not a fan of white so it may be a while until I know for sure.

I hate when a migraine hits. As I stated earlier, I become a different person. Because of this, I know I am not the only one who suffers. I am very hard (harder than usual) to be around. I become a wicked, mean person. No matter how much I try to stay with life, I just can not do it. When I have a migraine, my head hurts so bad. It feels like pressure is being applied to one or multiple parts of my brain. As time passes it feels as if every nerve in my body is on the surface of my skin. To be touched is intensified. It creates a unique pain for me. As further time goes by, I become very nervous. With any abrupt sounds or movement comes the sensation that more blood is rushing to my brain. Thus more pressure. And there is no stopping this train once it leave the station. All I can do is behave and feed the monster.

By feeding the monster I mean this. It is best if I can seclude myself from the rest of the world. I must enter my cave. I need to shut myself from noise, actions, and change in light. I need to lay down. The best thing, really the only thing I can do, is sleep. Picture this if you will, me alone in a dark room, curled up in bed, my eyes shut and my brain closed off from society. During the time of a migraine, this is heaven to me. To simply sleep until the migraine breaks and the residual/hangover stage begins.

I sincerely apologize to my friends for yesterday. If I could have changed it I would have. I wanted to have such a good time with friends and spend time in Disney World. Instead, you all got a person who was not fun to be around.

Until next time…

You Can’t Pick Your Family, Or Can You?

They say you can not pick your family; that you are simply born into the one that you have. But what really is family? Is family only determined by blood? If that is a case, most married couples are not really family they are bound by law as a unite. Only the children born of that union are family. Is family determined by those who are close to you and are there in the good and the bad times? Is family those who know you most, the sides of you that you wish others to see AND the sides you wish to keep hidden? Is family those who support you when you feel you can go no further and those who push you when you have not reached your greatest potential?

I believe family is more of the latter part of that. I think blood is simply that. It is blood. Nothing is certain. And for many people, we learn that those who share our DNA are not the ones who are there for us the most. They are not the ones we share holidays or call first with great news. For some of us, our families come in the form of friends. At least that is the way it all starts. A simple meeting and hello. Over time a deeper relationship builds and memories occur. Then you learn these people are the ones you call when something goes wrong or incredibly right in your life. They are the ones who come at 3:00 am when your cars are on fire (that is a whole other story). They are the ones you travel with and share the holidays.

That is my definition of family. And in that essence Mikey and I have an amazing family. Over the time we have lived in Pensacola, we have been given a family that would challenge any others and still be standing at the end of the day. We are fortunate to have the friends in our lives who we consider to be family. Over this week I plan to introduce you to some of our family so you get to know them and what they mean to me (I can not speak for Mikey, he can leave comments to fill you in.)

This Sunday, we attended Sanders birthday party. He turned four years old. We are fortunate to have Sander; his mother, Natalie; father, Kevin; and younger brother, Aidan in our lives. And this Sunday it really hit me just how special they are. Kevin and Natalie have ALWAYS been comfortable having us around their sons and we have come to love both of the boys immensely. All four are an important aspect of our lives.

I hate when a large amount of time passes and we do not see them. However, when we do gather, it is as if we just spent talked the day before. We laugh and we play. Mikey and I are treated by Kevin and Natalie as if we are people. This is just how it is or is it?

So over time, I have become very comfortable and never think twice. In their eyes I am who I am and Mikey is who he is. They NEVER make us feel we are outcast or different. So I forget that not all see us the same way. I had an experience at the birthday party. A migraine headache hit me on the way to the party. But there was no question, I was not going to miss it. The party was at a location where they have large inflatables for children and adults to play in. Over time I began to not feel so great. I went over and sat down and watched the children, Mikey and Kevin run around from inflatable to inflatable.

After a bit of time a little girl (dressed in pink) walked over and began to talk to me. She climbed up in a chair near me and started to talk. In about a minute, her mother came over and sat between us. The little girl got out of her chair and walked over. She was jumping up and down and talking. She was very cute. But I got the feeling her mother was not real happy. Her body language said a great deal. In a short period of time her mother got up and redirected the little girl to another area of the room. As she stood watching her daughter, she continued to glance back my way in a glaring way. It took me a moment to understand. I believe (yes it is me taking in the stimulus and interpreting it) she was not comfortable having me near her daughter.

You see, I am never treated that way by Kevin and Natalie. They allow us to be part of their children’s lives. It is an everyday occurance. We spend holidays together and times throughout the year. We go to the birthday parties; we hold the boys and play games with them. The Kerns are part of our lives and they never treat us like we are outcast. We are treated as equals. So much so, that I forget not all feel the same way. So when I encounter “the mother” it throws me off and brings me to an aspect of the real world my family helps me to forget.

One thing the Kerns will never know, they give me a gift that can not be expressed in words. And for that I am very grateful to them.

Can you pick your family? I say you can. They come in the form of friends and sometimes they act more like family than those who share our DNA.