Hope for broken dreams
Day #11 Blog prompt: “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.” Langston Hughes
Have you ever lost hope and had a dream die? You invest so much of your time and resources in a goal, only to have your hope crushed like eggs smashed against a rock. Maybe it’s a slow death that you fight with everything you’ve got. However the dream dies, you must mourn its passing. How did you recover? How did you learn to have hope and dream again?
Maybe you gave up hope, resigned yourself to live without dreams, ambition, or vision? Now you just limp through life like a bird with a broken wing. You’re still alive — just an empty shell of what you could be, devoid of the light that gives hope.
A few years ago, I invested myself in the dream of eliminating migraines forever. I convinced myself that Trigger Site Release surgery was the answer to all my migraine problems. After all, I met criteria for trial, having failed medications in every class that is usually tried for prevention. I also met criteria for a diagnosis of Chronic Migraine.
In order to be eligible for the surgery, I had to first undergo a series of Botox injections to the potential surgery sites. It wasn’t the full migraine protocol for Botox — just a few well-placed injections. I wanted relief so badly that I placed all my hope on this one treatment.
On the day I was due to receive my third set of injections I woke up with a combination migraine and cluster attack. By the time I arrived for my appointment, the cluster attack was beating on my right eye relentlessly. I was eagerly anticipating the relief of Botox injected into that nerve bundle.
When the doctor gave me the news that I hadn’t improved enough to justify continuing the trial, I lost all composure and began crying hysterically. He was sympathetic, truly wanting to help ease my pain. Finally he offered a nerve block to see if that would stop the cluster attack.
The initial results were almost miraculous. I went from excruciating level 9 pain down to absolutely nothing in minutes. I left the office elated that a simple lidocaine injection could bring such relief. I was filled with hope…for about 30 minutes.
That was exactly the amount of time it took to drive home and for another cluster attack to hit my eye. The worst had yet to come. The lidocaine numbed the outer layers of skin & nerves, yet the cluster pounded away, locked inside my head so deep that no amount of ice, heat, or rubbing would touch it. Out of desperation, I took a Vicodin left over from an earlier dental procedure and slept off the attacks until morning.
In the coming weeks I sank into a deep depression. Daily, I contemplated the options for ending my life. I rarely left my bed. It got so bad, my husband feared leaving me alone. He would leave for work each morning prepared to return home to find me dead. All hope had vanished from our lives.
The next several weeks were a blur. Then suddenly one day I realized I wanted to live again. I wanted to fight for my life. It wasn’t easy, but I reached out to my online support community. Day after day I got stronger and more determined to find new answers.
There were new doctors and tests, several failed medication trials, and lots of tears. I fought for more than a year before finally seeing small improvements. Surprisingly enough, the answers came in returning to a previously tried medication. The new delivery method and dosing schedule made all the difference.
I still get migraine and cluster attacks. But now I have hope. I can dream again. I can make plans for the future with only a moderate risk that attacks will interfere. I now trust that my treatment options will work most of the time.
Maybe you’re in that dark place where it seems there is no hope. Please look up and see the light we are all shining for you. It is dim and far away. You reach out, yet the light is still a bit too far to reach. Keep reaching for the light! We won’t let our lights go out until every migraineur has hope again.
The 2014 Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, is dedicated to Dreaming of a World without Migraine and Headache Disorders. The 2014 Migraine and Headache Awareness Month Blog Challenge is a project of American Headache & Migraine Association.