how a swollen brain can lighten the load

I’ve had a migraine since the day after my birthday. My birthday was the twelfth of this month. The first day I woke without migraine symptoms was Saturday. Saturday was the twenty-third. So for a solid ten days I suffered a migraine.
I’ve experienced migraines since I was too young to say anything other than ‘my tongue is funny’ and then burst into tears holding my head. (One of my auras is that my tongue and lips go numb.) So I’m pretty adept at dealing with the nausea, light and sound sensitivity, and brain crushing pain. I’ve been on pretty much any over the counter med you can think of and prescription meds from imitrex to percocet.

In addition to this migraine, I had swelling in my brain. (Yes, I know this is a migraine symptom, but for some reason the neurologist assured me it was not related.) Stroke runs in my family. My grandmother dropped dead of an aneurysm in her mid fifties. So I have been…a bit concerned about my brain.
I’m taking toradol for the swelling now. (God, it makes me so nauseous!) I’m trying topamax for the first time. (Arrivederci, my beloved Nectar of the Gods. Diet DP tastes like…well I can’t describe it…but it’s absolutely foul.)

I refused to go down the road paved with “what if”…but I do see the road there…and it makes me anxious. This is the only brain I’m ever going to have. I need it! I need to keep it happy and healthy and definitively unswollen(!), thank you very much!
I’m being mindful about taking good care of my brain. Paying attention to stress and keeping my body healthy so my brain can be healthier.
I’m reminded of Dennis from The Python’s Holy Grail, I’m thirty seven! I’m not old!
I keep thinking, I’m forty four! I’m not old!
I’m about to marry the man I waited my whole life to find. I need to be as healthy as humanly possible! My brain has to get it together and remain the proper size so I can have a wonderful rest-of-my-(REALLY-FREAKING-LONG)-life!

I suggested to YBW I leave my job at the end of summer when “summer camp” is over and this group of children move on to their “PreK” class when “school” starts in the Fall. I suggested this rather randomly, out of the blue when we were otherwise engaged in tedious home improvement tasks in our kitchen with our backs to each other listening to the Nats game on the TV in the next room. Turns out that was exactly what we needed to have that pretty serious conversation. He felt pretty strongly that if the last two weeks were an indication of the way the job impacts my health it was time to move along.
I’ve really not been sick since we’ve been together. I think it scared him a little. I know it scared me, and I’ve lived through ever single one of my sicknesses.

I wrote my resignation letter yesterday and when I signed my name the weight that lifted from my chest surprised me. It was bigger than I had ever realized. I’ve needed to lighten this load for so long.
I’ve told my co-teacher. She cried. I’ve told some other teachers, a couple of parents. I told the assistant director. My director is on her honeymoon. She and I will have a conversation when she returns.

I believe I made the best choice for me. For my good health. For my family. And even for the families of the children I teach. I can be with them until they would leave me anyway. (As long as my brain holds out.)
I feel peaceful in my decision.
I feel my body figuring out how to heal itself.
My brain and I have spent every single moment of the last forty four years together we need to keep up the good work.

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7 thoughts on “how a swollen brain can lighten the load

  1. Good for you. Prioritizing the essentials can be such an uphill battle. I am proud of you for making such a brave decision for your health! I hope you continue to feel better. 🙂

    • I thank you so much. This decision has been hard to make and rather a long time coming. The last two weeks made it for me.
      I look forward to whatever the new adventure brings!

  2. I admire you a great deal. I admire your writing so very much. An ordinary Englishman such as I can learn a hell of a lot from an extraordinary woman such as you.

    • Wow! I’m so incredibly flattered because I admire your writing too. Thank you, Jack!

    • I’m not used to the iPad and had a little comment mishap.
      It amazes me to read the word extraordinary. I never feel that way, I just feel like a regular girl…actually, like a rather boring girl. It’s nice to have a different perspective. I thank you for that.

  3. You made a well thought out decision and it was a joint decision with your fiance. Moving forward and together sounds great to me!

    • Thank you, Robin. It’s been heavy on my heart. But the parents are so supportive and I’m looking forward to time to “be quiet” and heal before deciding what my next move will be.

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