I have maybe mentioned before, like 7 zillion times, that I suffer from migraines. (“She suffers, but she doesn't suffer in silence,” they say.)
I've been blessed since my miscarriage last Nov. to have only about 1-2 a month now, and it is a huge blessing. Most of them seem to only last a day or two, and sometimes they are relatively mild. Once in a while, however, I’ll have a severe doozie that lasts for 3-7 days.
That was my blessing this past week. I say blessing, and I’m not being snarky. First of all, I should have had the migraine the weekend of the move—we helped Paul’s mom and sister move to Boise, and I was able to visit my cousin in prison. Both events were very important to me, and I was able to do them mostly functionally, with some meowing insanity, but not a terrible migraine.
I thought maybe I’d dodged a bullet for this month, but was slammed a day later. I appreciated the deferment, and now I also, surprisingly, appreciate the terrible migraine that followed.
When I’m in the severe kind of pain I experienced last week, a few things happen. First of all, I feel panicked, even desperate for relief. It is an exercise in self-control to only use medicines the way they are supposed to be used, which I have ALWAYS done, but it is still... (When even Demerol doesn't cut it, I start to fantasize about something stronger. Meth, maybe? Kidding. Mostly. I compassionately understand how one could be led to cross the line.) One of my greatest fears is that because so much addiction and substance abuse runs through my family, I will succumb to it and lose everything. (Did I mention my cousin in prison?) Sometimes I get so panicked about this that I won’t take anything in an effort to “Tough it out,” and then I have a more difficult time getting on top of the pain when I decide to get smart. My wise doctor told me to cut it out, and helped me to see that I can use pain medication in an appropriate way. I still worry, though.
I also want to pull into myself, roll up in a cocoon and hide under a rock. I have to push myself to be kind to those around me, and to fulfill my obligations. This is a two-edged sword, as I really do have some things that I have to do, but there is also a point when I must stop and just take care of myself. “Pushing through” the pain often prolongs it. Being selfish about my accessibility sometimes causes problems for my family. It’s a delicate balance that I haven’t found yet.
After about 24 hours, I start to wonder if I will ever be functional again. I start to project the image of a life filled with pain—it’s easy to imagine. I start to bargain with God and with myself. Little things around me start to loom large and crash down around me.
Each time this happens, I gain a little more patience, faith and compassion. Hence, the blessing of migraines.
I HATE being in pain, I really do, but I’m grateful for the things I am learning that I don’t think I could have gained any other way. I experience my Heavenly Father’s love for me in a more poignant way. I gain greater trust. I learn more and more of the amazing life of Jesus Christ. My understanding of His atonement increases. I stretch and am able to reach outside of myself a little more each time. I am gaining tiny bits of self-mastery, and big chunks of compassion for those around me who suffer more than I.
When the migraine is over I have a greater appreciation for functionality, for this otherwise healthy body that I have been blessed with. I also see my compassionate husband and children, and marvel at their kindness and service.
|Not really, but seems like this.|
Things fall apart quickly when I’m out of commission, and it’s a little validating to see how important my work is.
Still, I’m grateful that God is in charge, as I really wouldn't willingly choose this test. If it were up to me this would be the very last migraine. EVER. Sigh.
But let the record state that I trust Him.