Day 8 Blog Prompt – “It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” — JK Rowling, (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone)
In this story Dumbledore finds Harry staring at the Mirror of Erised, lost in a vision of his parents. Harry longed for his parents and the mirror projected his deepest desire. The trouble was that this vision disappeared the moment he stopped looking at the mirror. His dream, impossible to achieve, was too enticing to walk away from. When Dumbledore found him lost in an impossible illusion, he helped Harry break free by reminding him there was so much to live for.
How many times do we get lost in our own version of this mirror? We say, “If only these migraines would just go away, I would really live.” This is more tempting for those who remember what it was like to live without migraine. Yet even those of us with lifetime migraines can get carried away by wishing to live free of migraine. We even spend our time comparing ourselves to others who’ve had better treatment results.
A few years ago, my husband and I had a frank discussion about migraine. I had come to a place where I could finally live with migraine. I surrendered the dream of a cure and embraced the reality that migraine attacks were going to happen. Based on that realization, we created contingency plans for almost every activity. That’s when our migraine toolkit was born. We welcomed migraine into the family as a full participant in our lives. That ended the war with migraine.
I still take medicine, see my doctors and try to avoid triggers. If a better treatment or proven cure presented itself, I would definitely be interested in trying it. However, I can’t put my life on hold waiting for that day. I am determined to live the best quality life possible, while recognizing that it’s going to get interrupted by migraine from time to time.
Some of you are probably thinking, “That’s easy for you to say, but I never get a break. I’ve had the same migraine for years.” Granted, this mindset is much easier for those who actually get migraine-free days. I can’t say that I know exactly what you are going through. I might have an idea though because I also deal with Fibromyalgia. That widespread pain never goes away. It feels like a low-grade migraine all over my body.
In the beginning, I gave in to the impulse to rest and stopped moving around. Most days I couldn’t get out of bed or change clothes without excruciating pain. Everything hurt. I refused pain-killers out of concern for MOH and wrapped myself in heating pads and ice packs to dull the pain. It took 3 years to get a diagnosis. Once I had that, getting the right treatment began to make a difference. My doctors explained the need to keep moving even though it hurt. I didn’t want to do it at first. Making myself get out of bed took determination and raw courage. I would take a deep breath and steel myself for the stabbing pain. Over time, the stiffness loosened and the pain would ease for a few moments.
I still have horrible days when I am forced to the sidelines due to migraine, cluster headaches, fibromyalgia, or all three. I can’t stop it from happening. In between, I push through the pain and take a lot of breaks. I believe it’s true — hope for the best (a cure) and plan for the worst (daily pain).
A dramatic change occurred when I received word that I was going to be a grandmother. My daughter was about to be a single mother and she needed my support. It took me 2 months to get my house clean and decorated for her baby shower. Each day I would tackle one project. My muscles screamed and forced me to take breaks quiet often. My love for my daughter and granddaughter drove me to push myself harder than I had in years. I spent more time resting than I did working, but that baby shower was beautiful. I had done it!
My daughter then asked me to participate in her labor and delivery. I worried that pain would keep me from helping out. As she gathered her support team of women, I began to see that she had chosen wisely. I didn’t have to worry about doing it all — just my part. I was prepared for all possibilities. The morning before she went in to labor, I started another cluster headache cycle. Thankfully I was prepared with Oxygen, Zomig nasal spray, and a backup of Toradol injections.
Despite chronic, daily pain that can range from mild to excruciating I was privileged to witness the birth of my first grandchild. No amount of pain was going to stop me from being there.
I will live!
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.