You Are Beautifully Made
Last updated: October 2022
I’m a very optimistic person, rarely suffering from the “oh, woe is me,” attitude. Although, I could easily fall into that trap. While I’m usually positive, I curse my body on a daily basis. Living with chronic migraine makes daily tasks exhausting, which in turn makes me feel like a failure when I can’t get everything on my “to-do” list completed. Or when I have to skip an event because my body is screaming at me and telling me that I can’t handle that much stimulation nor do I have the energy to carry on an intelligent conversation.
My other health conditions in addition to migraine
Besides the migraine, I have many other reasons to curse my body. At the age of four, I had open-heart surgery (everything is fine now), at 17 I had my gall bladder removed, at 18 I had surgery for acid and bile reflux (it’s called a nissen fundiplication for the medical nerds out there). I have a hereditary blood clotting disorder. I have cysts in my ovaries (although not PCOS). I have horrible dry mouth from all the meds. I’m currently going through a bunch of tests to figure out the latest gastro issues I have (I’ll spare you the details). My med cocktail can make my weight fluctuate. I was just diagnosed with Periodic Limb Movement Disorder and Restless Leg Syndrome. I’m in serious pain from my neck and shoulders that are related to the migraine.
The challenge of treating migraine co-morbidities
These co-morbidities make it hard to treat all of my issues. I’m on 7 preventative medications, 3 OTC supplements and have 4 different abortive meds that I rotate through. This line-up makes it extremely hard to treat new issues. Interactions between meds can be dangerous if not prescribed correctly.
My body falling apart started at the early age of 4 when I needed heart surgery. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that my body was wonderfully made. I do have a lot of cool scars from multiple surgeries. I think they’re special and serve as a roadmap of part of my health journey. But it would be nice to not have to deal with any of my current issues. A normal life would be nice.
Receiving an encouraging note from a former colleague
Over the summer, a colleague at my last job emailed me with the subject line “You Are Beautifully Made.” I never thought about it. With so many issues, I often feel inferior to my friends who are always on the move and can accomplish 3 times more in an hour than I can. It makes me tired just thinking about my friends with kids and a full-time job. I have no idea how they do it.
But the sentiment that “I am Beautifully Made,” really resonated and spoke to me. This colleague and I had collaborated on many projects and worked together almost on a daily basis. He asked a mutual friend for my contact info so he could send me an encouraging note. I was very touched.
You get the body you are given
The human brain is complex. It could take thousands of years to completely understand it. I have multiple medical issues that don’t make me feel like I am beautifully made. I can put on make-up and a nice dress (which I love to do and don’t have many opportunities lately) and pretend to be ok for a few hours, but at the end of the night I know I’m going to pay for the fun I just had. No matter what or who you believe in, you get the body you are given.
Focusing on what I have controlled for my body
Looking back on my journey so far when my migraine became chronic 4 years ago, I can recognize that my body has changed considerably, for the positive. Some is due to the medications and treatments that I prescribe to while other changes have come from me taking better care of my body. I eat better, I exercise, I meditate, and yoga is my go-to when in pain. I feel stronger than if I had just let this disease consume me. Some days I don’t feel like I am beautifully made, but when I think about all that goes on with my body and how behavioral changes can put me in control, it’s simply amazing what the human body can do.
We are complex, but we are all beautifully made
I would love for a different body that was free from medical distress. I don’t dwell on it though. This is what I was given. That line of thinking is what got me to the acceptance phase years ago. After that, I was able to grow, despite my illness. Whether mentally or physically, we are all Beautifully Made. That’s what got us to this point in our lives. We’re complex, we’re interesting, we’re educated (sometimes more than our doctors), we are compassionate, we are warriors and survivors. You Are Beautifully Made.
Are the family and friends you will be seeing this holiday season understanding about migraine?