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Acceptance, My Best Treatment

This flowed out of Don’t Give Up on Finding a Treatment. It’s the most effective of all the headache treatments I’ve tried — and the hardest to get.

You may be surprised to learn I feel I’ve had success in treating my headaches. I still have pain, mental fogginess, a super sniffer and many other largely unknown symptoms of migraine. Yet I’m full of hope.

To me, hope isn’t about finding a magic bullet. It’s knowing that I can have a full and joyous life despite my illness. Something that I wrote when I first started blogging explains this idea well:

The Anatomy of Hope, by Dr. Jerome Groopman, draws a line between hope and positive thinking. Groopman, an oncologist and hematologist, has treated patients with life-threatening illness for 30 years, many of whom have survived against the odds. The definition of hope that he offers is that “Hope is the elevating feeling we experience when we see – in the mind’s eye – a path to a better future. Hope acknowledges the significant obstacles and deep pitfalls along that path. True hope has no room for delusion.”

The better future he mentions does not require living without disease. Yes, people often overcome their diseases or are able to live without pain. But the better future Groopman describes can also be learning to live joyously even with debility.

Two years ago I didn’t understand the distinction. I am thankful for the time I spent in denial, but am even more grateful that my current version of being positive is rooted in reality. A reality that means I spend more days than I want in bed, but that I’m not emotionally miserable on those days.

I’m not saying that you just have to be positive and your headaches will go away. Nor do I think you can simply decide to accept your fate and go from there. Like all things in life, it’s a process. There’s no timeline to follow, but you will notice that you’ve began to have more acceptance than you once did.

If you want some help along the way, check out The Chronic Illness Workbook and Chronic Illness and the Twelve Steps. Therapists who specialize in chronic illness can also be tremendous help.

5 Responses to Acceptance, My Best Treatment

  1. Eleanor says:

    I LOVE this post. You put things into words beautifully. Thank you.

    ********
    You’re so kind. Thank you!

    Kerrie

  2. Marlies says:

    I have had migraines for several years, however, a year ago I started getting ocular migraines along with my other migraines. Now, as of May 20th, I have had a migraine every day. I am very depressed and looking online for anything I can find. I have a neurologist who has done MRIs, bloodwork and put me on topamax. Been on for 3 weeks now, but its not helping yet. Imitrex helps, but I have been told that its not good to take it every day. Now, for the past two days, I have gotten what I think is a rebound headache, although I dont know what it is rebounding from. All I know is its not a migraine and it lasts ALL night long through my sleep and into the morning. I am ready to jump off a bridge. Just venting right now. Hopefully I will find some helpful posts here. Thanks Marlies

    *********
    I’m sorry you’re suffering so much. Having migraines change — especially when they switch from episodic to constant — is so scary.

    The good news is that there are many possible treatments. Finding an effective medication sometimes takes trial and error.

    The Migrainepage forums are a great place for support and information. Even if you don’t want to post, you can learn a lot by reading what others have to say:
    http://www.migrainepage.com/cgi-bin/dcforum/dcboard.cgi?az=list&forum=discussion&conf=conf_migraine_discussion

    I wish you the best of luck. Let me know if I can help with anything.

    Kerrie

  3. Harmonika says:

    Hi,

    I have had ocular migraines since the age of 7, and I am now 54. Describing to doctors the symptoms has been difficult for me due to the fact that I never get the headache, but visually, I become incapacitated. I quit driving when I was 25 out of fear of getting an ocular migraine while driving.

    Taking a Maxalt tablet helps, but they are incredibly expensive and not covered by my insurance. I wear sunglasses just to get through the day.

  4. Dezreen says:

    Hi,I suffered with chronic daily headache for about four year now, and it’s effect my every day living, i live on strong painkiller everyday, so i no what your going through, anyway i have finally got an appointment to see an Neurologist so i hope i can get the help i need.

  5. helen says:

    i have been having ocular migraines everyday
    I am 54 year old and this is scaring me silly
    can someone please help ease this fear
    helen

    *********
    That must be terrifying! I’m so sorry. My best suggestion is to visit a neurologist to talk about migraine preventives. Even though you don’t have the headaches, the illness is the same and responds to the same medications.

    Take care,
    Kerrie

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