Update: Painful Few Months

I have to apologize for my recent hiatus but the past few months have taken quite the turn that I was not prepared for. Since switching neurologists and therefore adjusting my medications and treatments, I have been in a state of constant pain for almost three months. I have been seeing different specialists almost every day and am working towards getting answers but I have been waking up with migraines every. single. day. I knew the changes that I was making were going to affect me and as a chronic pain warrior who holds a full-time job I thought I had been through it all but I have to admit I have really been going through it. I don’t know if there was any way I could have prepared for the way I have been feeling these past few months.

I am not one that likes to admit weakness. I’m used to being able to smile through pain. I’ve had about 20 years of practice. I always answer, ‘How Are You?’ with ‘Good,’ and ‘Great.’ Lately, my answers have been more along the lines of, ‘Fine,’ ‘OK,’ and ‘Alright’. Still not honest, but a little less cheerful. I always thought the ability to hide my pain and live these two separate lives where no one really knew how much pain I was in was a talent, but now I’m convinced its a detriment. I struggle with not wanting to be a downer or a burden on anyone, but at the same time its a lonely place not being truly understood. It gets overwhelming having to deal with everything that comes with a chronic illness on your own.

After living for so long one way, and being so damn convincing, how do you all of a sudden learn to ask for help? Does anyone else ever feel this way or am I the only one?

New Year, Same Pain?

Girls jump to the New Year 2018

My second round of Botox injections are tomorrow, January 2nd, 2018. It’s a new year with a fresh slate… if you believe in that sort of thing. I have to admit that when the clock struck midnight on New Year’s last night and everyone was either kissing, sipping on bubbly or blowing on their noisemakers I was experiencing a migraine. Same old pain that has followed me from about age 13 was joining me into the new year. In that moment I wasn’t feeling the festive spirit that New Year’s is supposed to bring — a clean slate, new beginnings and a hope for the endless possibilities that await you in the year to come. Instead I was mad. I was angry, I was sad and most of all I was in pain.

However, today is a new day. And I’m trying with all of my might to fight my inner pessimistic migrainiac and to look at tomorrow as my own personal New Year’s. After my first round of Botox injections, I had two really great weeks where I felt clear-headed in a way that is hard to explain but it’s something that I know I haven’t felt in a really long time. Even though the feeling didn’t last, the fact that I was able to feel like that is a huge accomplishment in and of itself and makes me feel like maybe with each round of injections I could hold onto that feeling for a bit longer. I know that is the goal of this whole process and while I still am going to keep my expectations low, my hopes remain high.

And so with that being said, I am not accepting this feeling of post-migraine misery that I have been feeling all day. I will no longer allow myself to have a self-pity party even though I know that’s easier said than done.

In the Jewish religion, 18 is a spiritual number. The letters of chai, meaning life, add up to 18 and many Jewish people believe that 18 is the luckiest number and a good omen for life.  So I refuse to believe that 2018 is going to end the way that it began for me.

I’m hoping that by speaking all of this into existence it will come to be that starting tomorrow my slate will be cleaned with each injection as if is it a sip of Dom Pérignon and tomorrow evening I will be ready to conquer 2018 and all that is has in store for me.

Bummer.

When you’re having a bad day there are only so many things that can be said to really cheer you up. The things that make us happy seem to evolve ever so slightly as we grow older.

When I was a young tot all I needed to make everything better was simply a kiss on my boo-boo, a hug from my teddy bear, and maybe a suck on my thumb. Then as I grew older I turned to comfort food, which inevitably led to some of my chubbier years and I learned the true meaning of love handles. Then skip ahead to more sugar, chocolate, and a good dose of Friends DVDs. Add a nice snuggle with a puppy, a good solid hug, a tall drink of alcohol and voile! Life is good.

As we progress in life and our problems get more complex, the list of things that make us feel better tend to get shorter, the things people can say seem to get more abstract. “Everything happens for a reason,” and “Better luck next time, Slugger!” can only work so many times before it hurts more than it helps.

People need to believe that there must be a reason for all the terrible things that happen in this world. That is why the majority of us turn to religion and spirituality in the most uncertain times of our lives. Maybe there is a method to all the madness and perhaps what goes around does come back around but how do we know for sure? Sometimes you need more of an answer than “in due time my young grasshopper”.

I recently turned to my doctor in one of my times of need, hoping for a concrete answer and I got a response I most certainly was not expecting. I was having a bad episode of migraines last week and when I emailed my doctor about it, hoping to get some guidance as to how to treat it — because you know, that is what he went to like 20 years of school for and what he gets paid millions of dollars to do — his brilliant response was, “Bummer”.

Bummer? Are you for real? There were so many emotions running through me at that moment in time. I don’t know what the reason was for that response, but I have a feeling it’s not something I’m going to find out for quite some time. And maybe I never will.

There are lots of things in this world that are total bummers. I do think to a certain extent that things happen for a reason but I also think that we make our own happiness. A lot of what we put out into the universe is what we will get out of it.

I won’t leave you with a sappy song like when someone gets voted off American Idol and then they make you watch your whole journey flash before your eyes just to pour some salt into the wound before they toss you off the show and back into the world with your dreams shattered. Just know that everyone has bad days and hopefully, you end up with more good than bad.

But if you are having a bad day remember the sun will still come up tomorrow and you’ll have a chance to do it all over again. It’s okay to wallow in self-pity for a little but don’t stay there too long, because you’ll be missing out on the world around you. And when it feels like it’s never going to end, call over a friend and tell them to bring some ice cream and pop in the Friends DVDs. Because really they never get old and laughing with someone is so much better than laughing alone.