My Ache

b4fcc347e0105e51f74f8f3c1a9eff7eSo lately I’ve been dealing with head aches. My primary doctor gave me a list of migraine triggers to watch for–dietary stuff, circumstantial things like sunlight and noise to expose myself to in moderation, that sort of information.

As I write this, I’ve just come out of a wonderfully undisturbed nap. One daughter is entertaining herself reading books in the living room, the other has put herself down for a nap in her own bed, my husband is also sleeping as he gear up for another night shift. The house is relatively clean from earlier efforts on my part aided by the girls, oh…the boys are out and my mom and dads which is a treat that they’ve been craving for awhile.

The headaches started in November after I severely (enough to call 911) burned my kitchen and suffered oil burns to my body…hah…as well as torched my hair. The pain in my head was regular, but not enough to mention. Only one month ago I was hit like a bullet from a gun with an comprehensibly hard headache. It started in my temples, arched across the top of my head, went into my eyes blurring my vision, then just felt like crushing pressure all over. It continued to feel like my mind was full of a heavy storm cloud with constant lightning bolts shooting off erratically. I had planned a busy day but all those expectations fell flat in a pool of helplessness. I crawled to my bed, turned off the lights and cried into my pillow. I’m not a headache person. The number one fear was that this is what it must feel like to have a seizure coming.

I remembered my sister saying she felt a heavy headache the last time she had a seizure of enough magnitude to need an ambulance and medical observation. Could that be my soon to come destiny? I prayed and prayed trying to look strong for my very worried kids.

We also feared a potential brain tumor. I had such continual pain, unexplainable and just totally out of the ordinary. I’ve been so well. Aside from overheating the oil for those oysters I’ve been passing as a pretty normal human being!!

Anyway, I got my neurologist to order an MRI. It came back clean. OK. What next. My mom suggested I see my primary, as he’d been the one to first notice my epilepsy disorder. I grabbed hold of that idea and called him immediately. I got an appointment on July 27th. When I’d initially called my neurologist about the headaches he put me on a new medication without seeing me, giving me a leveling up plan to follow and set a visit for August 12 to talk about the MRI and our future plans. Instead of spending the gorgeous summer days outside enjoying my garden and taking my children to the park, watching them play in the sprinkler and all those other things I was confined to darkness flat on my back with my eyes closed.

July 27th came. My doctor was 20 minutes late into the 15 minute slot of time he’d scheduled for my time to talk to him. I sat hunched over experiencing a mild light sensitive headache that was only pounding, not impairing my vision. I was armed with a list of what I’d been feeling, a timeline of what my day looks like (when I am most likely to reach the peak of intensity on my pain level) as well as of course when the head aches had begun. He’d treated my burns one week after they’d been tended to in our local ER so he’d seen what rough shape I could mind over.

He looked in a hurry, and I imagined the room next to me had someone watching their phone fixed on the time, thinking of where they had to be next as well. This doctor’s good, in fact, I fairly trust him with my life as he did save it giving me the label I needed 15 years back. When he shakes my hand he laughs remembered the teen who first came in his office, now half a lifetime ago on my part.

Do I have a history of migraines? I said that my dad gets them, but attributes his condition to getting major sun stroke years back. The doctor smiled and said, “Well, let me get you a list.” He left the room and soon returned with three pages packed with terrific information on dietary triggers and environment triggers. “Don’t take all of this out of your lifestyle, just notice how you feel after eating and drinking any of these things, or engaging in particular physical exertions. I got a pat on the back and was sent on my way.

I’m here to tell you that I can get a headache on pure water. I love the list though and keep in my kitchen, which is the main operation station in my world. Every day I nap at 2pm and pace my housework, racing against my own body.

Through the darkest times, you know, before the MRI when I wasn’t sure if I was dying, I spent my time thinking about what I love and what I want for after I die. One of my chief desires I decided is to connect with friends I haven’t reached out to in years. Interestingly, when I got to my computer after praying for that in a hazy daze I found messages from at least half a dozen people from days slipped by. I smiled and felt so blessed. These special people don’t know what I’m going through, but for some reason they were thinking of me.

Life’s not about me. I live for my husband and kids, daily my joy is over the small (and large) achievements, laughs and tears that make us who we are. Who are you today that you want to be remembered for tomorrow? I tell ya, I coated in such a blanket of haze both in my mind and actions during the bad bits of my head aches, but I was also so fixated on what I want my kids to be and kind of what the spiritual depth is of this? Nothing is accidental. This is GOD grabbing my attention and saying HEY, LOOK THIS WAY!! Since most of the time I could hardly see straight I kept my eyes closed and prayed for guidance. Sound like I’m making too much of this? It feels that way as I’m typing in the feelings that were inside. I told my husband that I wanted him to marry again and asked if I could pick who it’d be. I don’t think he like that, and am also pretty sure he’s happy I’m not dying quite yet according to that MRI.

Yesterday was my visit with my neurologist.
He’s new to me, this is the fourth visit I’ve had with him. When I first came into his care I was the woman who knows exactly what she wants and pretty much just needs a signature for that next 90 days supply for the med that she knows. Now I’m hunched over holding my head like I’ve been on street drugs. He doesn’t think it’s migraines and gave me instructions on managing a gabapentin increase and potentially weaning off the zonegran. I scheduled a 3 month follow up and got out of there, new prescription in hand, big dreams ahead of feeling 100% again. The high hopes brought back memories of 15 years ago when I decided having the label of epilepsy was the most amazing thing ever. Now I’m not as naïve. Those years back I’d suffered from what I called jerks, or butterfly eyes, and limb twitches, and ultimately significant learning challenges. The first time I was given a prescription and told that I had an actual medically documented condition I thought I now had a free pass to a normal life. Far from fact.

Every step of my journey has been a blessing, bumps and victories, and the good news is these headaches are just another bump. I have my family, my comfortable home and unconditional love given and received. I pray every day hoping for relief, and asking if there’s a lesson beyond what I realize here.

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