It’s been 7 days since my last migraine, and I’m starting to make plans again.
I can go back to work! I can do 10x more projects and blog posts! I’m unstoppable!
I’ve been here before. In fact, this pattern plays out every time I get a break from migraines for more than a few days. What can I say, I’m an optimistic person.
The problem is, I have chronic migraines and fibromyalgia. I live well in spite of this, but they aren’t going away anytime soon, if ever. And accepting that fact is even harder than dealing with the pain.
I want to share this story with you, this side of my life. Because it feels like I’ve been deceiving you a little bit. I mean, I LOVE making things and blogging about them and joking around and being ridiculous. I have a lot of fun in my life and try to live every “well day” to the fullest.
But pain is an enormous part of my existence that affects me daily. To keep that off of this blog is to deny my story. Blogland can sometimes be all sunshine and rainbows, and that’s awesome, we don’t want to be confronted with hard truths every day. But we all have adversity and struggles in our lives, and I’m sure many of you have pain or know someone who does. Today, I’m honoring that.
Life with chronic pain is a constant whirlwind of emotions. There are days when I sob and shake my fists at the universe, and days when I am so filled with hope and elation that it feels my heart will burst.
My therapist tells me to have understanding and compassion for my body, but truthfully, I can’t help but think of it as a saboteur, sneaking up on my enthusiasm and ambition and knocking me into bed, sometimes for days at a time. (As a result of 12-15 migraines a month, I have seen almost everything on Netflix, including ALL available episodes of Law & Order and its many spinoffs).
When you have a chronic pain condition, your nerves become inflamed and overactive, so you end up being more sensitive to more stimuli and have more pain (that was a terrible explanation of a medical truth, but hopefully you get the point).
In the last few years, the most unpredictable things have started to affect me. Sunlight glinting off the ocean at the beach—migraine. Moved too briskly on one of my daily walks—fibromyalgia flare-up. Laughed so much my jaw started hurting—migraine.
It’s like the friggin’ chaos theory, a butterfly flaps its wings in Brazil and I end up bedridden!
My (bunny) heat pack and eye mask—little comforts to get through.
The worst is how unreliable all this makes me. Deadlines are almost impossible for me to stick to—I’ve even had to stop working because I just couldn’t keep a job anymore with my abysmal attendance. My good friends know what’s up by now, and I try to schedule “backup days” for events that I plan or host in case I end up sick. I know it can’t be helped. But I hate that I’m not somebody my friends can count on, not really.
Now you know why it took me sooooooo looooooong to finish painting!
I’m not writing this to complain, or for pity. I know many, if not most, of us don’t get to live the lives we dream of. But that SUCKS, you know?
I am vivacious and passionate and adventurous and have dreams the size of blue whales, but my health forces me to live a small life.
Ok, so maybe this is partially about complaining. Sometimes you just have to get all that garbage out.
Time for the good news! It sounds like an awful lot when you put it all together and dedicate a whole blog post to it. But I DO live well on the whole, really. I’m happy. I’m still vivacious and passionate and adventurous and have dreams the size of blue whales. I want to do more and bigger and better, but I’m proud of what I’ve managed to do. I am not defeated.
Yes, of course, I’d love to improve, and whenever it’s 11:11 I squeeze my eyes shut and wish to be well. But I’m incredibly lucky too. I am able to do what makes me happy. This creative outlet has been life-changing, it’s helped me feel like I have a life again. (You can read more about how I rediscovered my creativity after a long dormancy on my Pinterest post).
12-15 migraines per month is a lot for the average person, but it’s actually a huge improvement from where I was three years ago, and I relish in having so much of my life back. They are less severe now, too—Botox is a miracle drug, people.
I find ways to outsmart some of the limitations I face, most recently acquiring a cheap lap tray so that I can work on small projects in bed on days when I only have a “minigraine.”
Sometimes, I’m even able to feel understanding and compassion for my body and its tricksy ways.
Life isn’t perfect, but it’s good, you know?
And anyways, what would Champ do without me being in bed so frequently? 🙂
Migraine days are Champ’s favorite days.
Wow, if you made it this far, you are a real trooper. Thank you for allowing me to share this with you. I know it was a long post and not the easiest, but it was time.
Now I’d love to hear from you! I certainly hope all of you have easy perfect lives, but assuming that is not the case, what struggles do you need/want to share? What comforts you when times are hard? How have you worked through adversity? Let’s inspire and encourage each other, and honor each other’s challenges!