Chronic pain is HARD, REALLY HARD. Probably the hardest journey I’ve ever had to walk through outside of my infertility issues, which is a different kind of hard. For the longest time, I felt as if I was walking through quicksand, slowly trudging through step by step, praying I could make it through one more hour, minute, second. Prior to all my cervical spine surgeries, I was a “regular” migraineur. With an occasional headache here and there, but BOOM, in one instant, my life changed. You NEVER think its going to be YOU.
I was BITTER, very bitter, for a LONG time. I tried to cover up my pain with smiles and shrug it off. Spend my weekends drinking wine and numbing the pain that was constantly throbbing inside me. Yeah wine made my headache worse, but NOTHING was making it better, so why the heck not enjoy myself.
This went on for years…in between all this I had 3 spinal surgeries and numerous other procedures to try to alleviate the pain. This pain was unlike anything I had before, it slowly ate away at my soul and turned me into a glossy eyed, brain fogged idiot. But the real me wasn’t like that at all, prior to all this, I had a successful career, had finished a masters degree and was completing my Ph.D. But once the chronic pain settled in and made my body it’s home EVERYTHING changed…my physical demeanor, my personality, my will and drive to be successful. All gone in a single poof,like a magician. It was AWFUL and depressing.
During this time we desperately were trying to get pregnant..we were the 1in 8- unexplained infertility..no rhyme or reason why we hadn’t gotten pregnant. As a final Hail Mary pass we tried IVF. We had decided if this didn’t work, then we would close the baby chapter and live happily ever after with no kids.
God had other plans, we got pregnant on the first round of IVF, a miracle! I still struggled with migraines and neck/back pain during pregnancy BUT I would endure it all, for God had answered our plan..after 8 LONG years of praying. My son’s pregnancy and birth were textbook..he was even born ON his due date (punctual just like his momma)!
Soon after he was born I realized the migraines were worse, which I attributed to sleep deprivation (no sleep is a trigger of mine), so my hubby and I slogged thru the first six months like zombies. Around 7 months old, right around the time I was getting a semi regular bouts of sleep I noticed my migraines were INTENSE..nothing like I’d experienced before. It was incredibly hard having a baby you PRAYED for 8 years for, and now unable to get out of bed to even care for him,or comfort him. My mom moved in with us in September. Her job keep the baby alive..my job sleep in a dark room. It was a lonely and depressing existence. I had struggled with depression years ago,but NOTHING like this.
I knew I was at rock bottom when I began praying to God to just take me..let me go to sleep and never wake up. Yes , I would leave my husband and son behind,but I would be FREE of this pain that was slowly turning me into something I didnt even realize. The pain was so intense there are huge chunks of my son’s first year that I do not remember…it was bad!
Finally after months of trying all the magic my doc in Raleigh could do he said you have to go to the inpatient program in Ann Arbor,MI. Soo off I went for 10 days of Inpatient tests, regular medication infusions and therapy. I checked out on January 5. I felt better than I had in YEARS ! The team of doctors there discovered I had a spinal fluid leak.. which they were able to fix..the second that procedure was over..I felt better not fixed but better. Over the following days we worked on lifestyle and medication changes. When I left the clinic I was armed with many new tools for my belt..and my headache pain was at 0-1…it hadn’t been that way in YEARS!
Reflecting back over my last year, I realize how lucky I am..I was inches from suicide..the only thing that kept me going was my son. The thought of him being without me have me the drive I needed everyday to keep going. I do believe that is why God placed him in our life at the exact perfect time. To motivate me to not take my life.
Today, I’m doing 100% better than before, I still have bad days,and pain days…85% of the time it’s manageable without meds. But I’m having to learn how to live and be happy in a VERY different box than I’ve ever been in before. I am a chronic migraineur. Somedays I’m ok, others not so much. But taking all this one tiny step at a time has made me realize how close I came to death. I am forever thankful for my family, doctors and husband who saw the signs and pulled me up by my bootstraps. For without them, I really do not know where I’d be today.
My goals right now are simple, don’t look back, keep moving forward at a pace I’m comfortable with, spend time with my family and regain enough of myself so that one day soon I’ll be able to go back to work. Who knows how long I will be in this box, could be weeks, months or years..whatever it is..I’m keeping my eyes on the waves and staying ever present with my God.