Chronic Migraine, Coping, Friends & Family

Balance is Overrated: Choosing Fun Despite Knowing Vengeful Migraine Imminent

teeter totter signI mentioned to a friend who has migraine how tempting it is to overindulge whenever I feel OK. I say I won’t but always do it anyway. Her perspective? Go ahead and push it during a good period. The migraine will return sometime whether you take it easy or not. There’s no reason to hold back.

She gave me that was brilliant advice while we were at Green Lake yesterday. We did the 2.8 mile walk after coffee and before a late lunch. Five hours flew by and we both enjoyed every minute of it. We parted knowing that each of us would spend the rest of yesterday and probably today on the couch. And neither of us cared.

I gave myself permission to enjoy feeling good, no matter what the “consequences” were. I feel horrible today, but yesterday was excellent. I’m not berating myself for choosing to enjoy my day. Knowing it was my choice somehow makes it better. Now I’m going back to the couch.

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photo credit: navonod


You Pay for What You Get

Saturday I drove the 2.5 hours to my sister’s house so I could spend the rest of the weekend with her family and my dad, who is visiting from Phoenix. It was a hard week and I didn’t know on Saturday morning if that day’s headache would get better, worse or stay the same. Thankfully it got better as I drove; we had a nice day and all tucked in to bed by 10 p.m.

Which is when I realized that I didn’t have my glasses with me. Or a change of contacts. I wear daily disposable contacts which don’t “keep” overnight, in my eyes or in solution. And my eyes are really, really bad, so I knew my sister’s optometrist wouldn’t have any in stock, nor would I be able to do anything other than stare off into space the next day.

My only option was to drive back home right then. Not too much of a problem because I was wide awake and don’t normally fall asleep until midnight. Except that when I hit the road I remembered that I’d already taken my meds, including the ones to help me sleep. I stopped at Safeway for supplies, then had to decide which was worse, going to a rest stop at midnight because I drank two Frappucinos or taking 200 mg of caffeine.

I made the wrong decision by starting with the Frappucinos, which were so sweet that I couldn’t get halfway through either one. So I took the caffeine pill.

The drive went fine. I wasn’t wired, nor was I falling asleep. It helps that I love road trips and I had six of my favorite band’s CDs in the car. But the whole time I wondered how much I would pay for messing with my body so late at night.

Sunday morning was promising. Hart and I went out for coffee and bagels, after which I had no energy and an ugly headache. I took it easy all day, hoping that I could ward off any more damage. Ha!

The pain was high when I went to sleep and I woke up on Monday with lie-in-bed-wanting-to-scream-but-not-daring-to-move pain. I hate to tempt fate and say that it was a 10 (Do I really know what the worst pain imaginable is? If I call this one a 10, will the next one go to 11?), so I’ll call it a 9.75. Needless to say, it was a terrible, no good, very bad day. Amazingly, this morning the hangover is pretty light and the pain is only a 3.

Of course I’d pay for the energy needed to drive home on Saturday night. That’s just the way it goes (see the spoon theory). I hoped sacrificing Sunday would be the only toll, but that was wishful thinking. I expected three or four days of 7 or 8 level pain, not one of 7 and 8 and the next of almost 10. I guess it all evens out, but I thought the give and take was more predictable.

As I type, I feel the shadow of a hangover growing. Maybe today won’t be as easy as I hoped. Especially because I’ll spend the entire day reminding myself that I’m paying for what I got.

Community, Coping

The Spoon Theory of Illness

Explaining to others how our illnesses change our lives is almost impossible, even to those who know us best. Christine of But You Don’t Look Sick has written about the “spoon theory,” which she developed to explain her illness to her best friend. Although the invisible disease Christine deals with is lupus, her approach is widely applicable.

via Orien at Live Journal’s migraine support group