April may be the sweetest month. The weather is lovely, flowers are abloom, and baseball season has begun. I learned to love baseball the summer a diagnostic lumbar puncture (a.k.a. spinal tap) headache rendered me horizontal for three weeks, thus forever intertwining migraine and baseball in my life.
Baseball is a spring of eternal optimism, as anything can happen in a new season. Last year, the previous decade, or even a 100+ year curse fall by the wayside. Teams bring out new players, switch up lineups, and try new coaching strategies, all in the effort to bring about a winning season. In April, each win is a triumph, but a loss is minor. “The season is long,” fans say, “they have plenty of time to turn things around.”
Life with migraine is much the same. There are hundreds of medications, supplements and treatments possible. Even when it feels like you’re as cursed as the Cubs, you persevere because there’s always something new-to-you to try. Whether it is a prescription drug, supplement, acupuncture, transcranial magnetic stimulation, or one of the other numerous possibilities, each treatment represents a potential turnaround. Not every treatment will work. Strikeouts and losses are part of the game in both baseball and medicine.
Like most migraineurs, I hope each new medication or therapy will be a homerun. Out-of-the-park blasts are spectacular, but they also infrequent. Base hits, while not as flashy, are perhaps more important. The singles and stolen bases lead to runs, which add up to win games. This so-called “small ball” has been my saving grace. With a combination of a preventive medication cocktail, diet, exercise, and mindfulness I’m winning a lot of games.
I’ve experienced some abysmal years, both as a baseball fan and a chronic migraineur. There’s great comfort in knowing you don’t have to win every game in a season to have a winning record – you just have to win more than you lose.