So many things are passed on to our children including some of our most significant struggles. What a joy it is to see the positive aspects of family traits reflected in our children and what a devastating reality it is to see them struggle with pain. My youngest daughter has migraines. She got them from me. My mom and my maternal grandmother both had migraines, and I suspect this genetic condition goes back many generations more than any of us know.
So many things are passed on to our children, including some of our most significant struggles. What a joy it is to see the positive aspects of family traits reflected in our children and what a devastating reality it is to see them struggle with pain. My youngest daughter has migraines. She got them from me. My mom and my maternal grandmother both had migraines, and I suspect this genetic condition goes back many generations more than any of us know.
Today, after missing another school day, my sweet daughter is in bed with her head on an ice pack and her room as dark as can be in the middle of the day. I know exactly how she feels, yet I am powerless to end her pain. It was just after she was born that my migraines became chronic and, ultimately, intractable. She knows what her future could hold, and it both scares her and makes her sad.
Another journey is at hand because we must find a way to control/prevent my daughter’s migraine attacks before they take over her life. I’m so sorry little one. It is part of who we are, but I won’t let it overtake you.
This picture symbolizes how I feel today and all of last week with a non-stop migraine. I’ve been out of order but still trying to function. Every task requires so much more effort. I make so many mistakes that take even more time to go back and correct. The pain has subsided – for now, but I am thoroughly exhausted.
My body feels heavy and weak. My brain feels like it is swimming in soggy oatmeal, and my thoughts are slow and shallow. When I talk, many words are forgotten, slurred, or mispronounced. I make no sense, and I recognize the look on my children’s faces. They are worried, scared, and try to help me, all the while warning me not to do too much. “We don’t want your migraines to get any worse,” they say.
Chronic migraine hurts, and it scares my children. The latest migraine attack is the first time in many months a migraine has lasted more than a day or two. I’m desperate for the end of this episode.
I say these things too often. “My head hurts,” is the most common saying for me, followed closely by “Can you close the blinds.” Other well-used sayings are, “What’s that smell?” and “Can’t someone else drive you?”
A series of flashcards with these sayings would come in handy on the days it hurts to speak. I could plaster them to the bedroom door and stay hidden in my silent, dark, and smell-free migraine cocoon.
Chronic migraine brought me to my knees, and I have no desire to return to that position. Some days I feel good and energetic, ready to take on the world, but my body has limits and forces me to adjust. Instead of pushing through it, I must slow down and rest, or the consequences will be severe and painful.
The slowing down is a dance, and I am still learning steps to a new way to face life because pushing through the pain, no matter what, was how I always confronted challenges in life. I’ve learned that there is no use in overexerting myself because it leaves me in bed with agonizing pain for days afterward. Conservation and the careful use of precious resources is a priority for this new phase of my life.
I was sick for so many years at work my co-workers never saw me healthy. I was heavily medicated just to function in a partial capacity because of chronic migraines. When the medications stopped working, and the side effects became overwhelming, my dear co-workers thought I was faking illness.
Understanding chronic pain is almost impossible for those without going through the experience. Many times the chronic pain does more than just hurt causing cognitive impairment and changes in brain function. Some people fake illness for personal gain but I gained nothing but more pain and a new struggle – complete financial devastation.
Take your negative emotions and resentment about me missing work out of the equation, and you will see I had no reason to fake my illness and pain. When I was at my most desperate, you abandoned me. Someday you may experience an invisible illness, and I hope those in your life support you. I don’t wish for anyone to suffer the same kind of betrayal I did from all of you.
During a migraine, I smell everything, and even good smells are painful. Somehow smells plunge into my brain like thousands of tiny daggers, piercing the most sensitive areas and overwhelming my already overstimulated neuronss. Perfume, air fresheners, and cleaning products are some of the worst smells. Please don’t be offended if I must leave the room. You don’t smell bad; just painfully.