Stronger | MHAM Blogging ChallengeLast Updated:
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
That phrase is on my Top 10 List of Worst Things to Say to Someone in Chronic Pain. Every sentiment on that list got there because it’s not true, and it’s insulting to patients in pain. I know, I know. Every time I challenge one of these supposedly “uplifting” sentiments, a backlash occurs from those who find the statements helpful. Hey, if it works for you, great. I still don’t like it.
Strength does not always come from merely surviving. It doesn’t come from breaking or being broken. Strength can come from mending and being mended. Yet some broken things are tossed out. Some are repaired, yet remain weak. Some are stronger once repaired. Sometimes broken pieces are remade into things of beauty. There is no one path to strength.
Do you want to know what really made me stronger?
I got stronger each time my experience with headache disorders was validated. Each time I stood up for my disability needs or made treatment choices that were in my own best interests. Here are some examples.
- At my first ER visit, the nurse put me in a dark quiet room, offered me an ice pack, and whispered that she would get a doctor to help me as soon as possible.
- When he learned I had Migraine, a professor gave me copies of the published studies on a new migraine treatment called Imitrex.
- That first Imitrex injection stopped a migraine attack in 15 minutes.
- The first time I was alone and needed to use Imitrex, I found the courage to push that button.
- My doctor offered samples of three different migraine abortives and trusted me to make the choice.
- My husband got angry at the ER doctor who was treating me like a drug-seeker.
- I refused to accept the doctor’s treatment and advocated for what had been proven to work.
- I did my own research on Cluster Headache, presented it to my doctor, and he agreed with me.
- My doctor agreed with me again by ordering high-flow oxygen delivered to my home.
- My doctor had the wisdom to send me to a headache specialist.
- I used oxygen to abort a Cluster attack in the open bay cubicles at work.
- I asked for ADA workplace accommodations.
- I finally agreed to try Topamax.
- I told a good friend his cooking ingredients triggered a migraine attack.
- I finally admitted Topamax wasn’t working.
- I pulled myself back from the brink of suicide.
- I reached out for support.
- I made an appointment with a new neurologist.
- The sleep technician was relaxed and comforting before that first sleep study.
- The doctor confirmed I have sleep apnea.
- I made the commitment to use a CPAP every night.
- I told my doctor about side effects “that were probably nothing.”
- I fired that doctor and the next one, too.
- My husband and doctor collaborated to get me admitted to the hospital after four days on non-stop Cluster attacks.
- The nurses didn’t try to stop me from connecting my O2ptimask to the O2 on the wall and cranking it up as high as it would go.
- I saw the smiling face of my long-lost headache doctor as he walked into that hospital room around midnight.
- He remembered me, too.
- He agreed to continue treating me in his outpatient clinic.
- I quit the job I loved.
- I decided to apply for disability benefits.
- I learned that prescriptions were less expensive with a discount card than with my insurance benefits.
- I insisted my pharmacy use it whenever the price was too high.
- A friend gave my name to the admin staff at Migraine.com.
- I received my first really bad review.
- I asked about Botox for the 4th time.
Tomorrow morning I get on a plane for the first time in 14 years to spend the weekend with people I’ve never met in a city I’ve never visited. It’s all because of what made me stronger.
The Migraine and Headache Awareness Month Blog Challenge
is organized by the American Headache and Migraine Association.
#MHAM, #MHAMBC, #migraine, #clusterheadache, #chronicmigraine