It was a win because the team won and because I made it through the entire game. It was a defeat because doing so pushed my body well beyond its limits. - #boundaries #health #chronicillness #hemiplegicmigraine #football
chronic illness,  Hemiplegic Migraine

When a Win Feels Like a Defeat

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Last Friday night, my step-grandson was playing in the first varsity football 🏈 game of the season. I really wanted to go because I had missed the entire season last year. I wanted to see him help his team get the win!

Right from the start, I knew this was going to be an up hill battle because of the heat and humidity. My husband and I talked through every possible scenario and planned for each of them. We planned for the worst possibility which would be having a full blown Hemiplegic Migraine at the game. Planning this was made more difficult because we didn’t know how far the parking was from the field since it was an away game.

The Plan

We opted not to take the wheelchair (mistake #1). This was my decision and it was made because I still don’t feel comfortable using my equipment in front of people. Stupid excuse but it is the honestly the sole reason.

My husband let me out at the gate because parking was already to the highway. It was hot and out stands were facing the sun. Once we were seated, I drank water and used my cooling towels to try and stay as cool as possible. Unfortunately, in 95 degree heat and a heat index well over 100, staying cool was an impossibility. But just after the National Anthem was finished, clouds appeared and covered the sun!

A Win or Defeat?

The game was awesome and infuriating at the same time. I can’t stand it when referees act like they can determine the outcome of a game. Some of the worst calls that I have ever seen were made during that game. I had fun cheering and yelling with all of the other fans! It had been so long since I was able to have fun like that. As much as the refs tried to stop us, we came out with the win in spite of the bad calls!

Once the game was over, I realized how exhausted I was but I had to push myself a little bit more (mistake #2). We walked into the field to see our favorite player (#Go77)! Then it was time to get to the car.

The Challenge

As we were walking across the field, I knew a Hemiplegic Migraine was coming. I tried hard to hide it (mistake #3) but my husband knew and tried to get me to stay while he went to get the car. I refused to let him leave me there (mistake #4). Everyone that knew about my condition was not there. My worst fear is to have one in public…alone. I was absolutely not going to let him leave my side!

As I pushed and kept pushing, I got about 10 steps away from the car when a seriously bad episode hit me. I couldn’t see, my equilibrium was off kilter, My right arm had no feeling and a sledgehammer had just slammed into my head. I was nauseous, dizzy, uncomfortable and frustrated. My night that had been a huge win suddenly felt like a defeat.

A week has passed and I am still recuperating from that night. To some that may seem absurd but that is the way my body reacts. Migraine episodes begat more episodes and my poor body can’t seem to catch back up.  I have had 5 episodes since that night and I can’t help but wonder if I shouldn’t have gone. But when all is said and done, I am glad that I went.


After every instance like this, my husband and I discuss what could be handled better. We develop the contingency plan so we are on the same page.

Here are a few of the things we are going to implement:

  • The wheelchair will be in the car just in case we need it.
  • I am going to get a better bag that has room for more water
  • I am going to communicate how I am feeling rather than push myself.
  • If the car is parked far away, we will ask someone to sit with me so I am not alone.

I still don’t know how to judge the night. It was a win because the team won and because I made it through the entire game. It was a defeat because doing so pushed my body well beyond its limits and has caused me to be down all week.

It was a win because the team won and because I made it through the entire game. It was a defeat because doing so pushed my body well beyond its limits. - #boundaries #health #chronicillness #hemiplegicmigraine #football

There is one thing that I do know. The temperatures are supposed to be even worse today. So, win or loose, there will be no Friday Night Lights for me tonight!

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  • Ruth

    A really interesting read. I really like your style writing. Your blog post made me see the pros and cons you were facing. I have to say I admire your bravery to go and see your step grandson play. I suffer with a disability and chronic illness, and sometimes I push on thinking I know best. Like you have done in this article I guess we can only learn from our mistakes. You keep battling on! Great read.

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