Sick With A Side Of Sick: Migraine and Other Illnesses
It's the end of the week, finally. I’ve just returned home from picking up a prescription for a viral infection, just days after having started a medication for a bacterial infection, just a few weeks after dealing with a respiratory infection, which was not long after my last asthma attack, and just a few weeks before that I had two back-to-back anaphylaxis episodes a day apart, all the while I have been having near daily migraine attacks and terrible nausea. I am consequently very stressed out, trying to balance my commitments and obligations while ill almost all of the time. I am running out of excuses to give for cancellations other than the truth: I am unwell.
More than anything: I am exhausted.
Every day is a sick day lately
Over the course of the past few months, I have constantly been sick. Between persistent migraine attacks, allergy and asthma attacks, respiratory infections, joint and muscle pain, depressive and anxiety episodes, a number of viral and bacterial infections, and some pain I just haven’t had the time to get checked out yet, I have not had many days where I have felt well. Recovering from one episode or sickness has led right into another draining and exhausting experience, and I feel as though my body barely gets through each sickness before another takes the foreground.
Being this sick has caused an enormous amount of stress, from having to miss work to scheduling appointments for care, and it is overwhelming a lot of the time. People seem to be getting tired of hearing that I’m sick again, and I am getting tired of telling them. I have had to miss shifts at work, cancel plans with family and friends, spend time and money going to the doctor, and miss a lot of good old fashioned rest. Every day lately has felt like a sick or recovery day.
Migraine and other illnesses
Many patients who suffer from migraine also may be at higher risk for other illnesses, or suffer from comorbidities: these are instances of illness in which patients have higher chances of having certain other illnesses. That does not mean that having one illness such as migraine causes another, such as asthma. Rather, some people have a higher chance of having one if they have the other. Some common coexisting illnesses for migraine patients are anxiety, depression, asthma, allergies, and hypertension. I personally live with anxiety, depression, asthma, allergies, hypertension, and chronic migraine among other illnesses. Whew.
I sometimes feel as though I am somewhat guaranteed to feel ill, if not with migraine symptoms, with symptoms of other pain. Sometimes I don't know if it is the migraine, or any on the list of other pain-causing illnesses. That can make treatment really tough.
Trying to remain optimistic
It can be really, very difficult to remain optimistic when you feel as though you can’t catch a break from being unwell, and I am often flustered trying to get care for one thing just to have something else pop up. I try to navigate my world with patience and understanding, and look for silver linings in feeling unwell so frequently. Sometimes that’s very small things like treating myself to a good cup of tea, or taking a few moments when I feel up to it to dive into a new book. Sometimes it can feel as though illness steals my joy, but little gifts to myself often help get through the day or week. I try to remind myself that I am more than my illnesses, more than my migraines, and more than my pain.
Do you live with multiple chronic illnesses or feel as though you are getting sick often? How do you remain optimistic?
Have you taken our Migraine In America Survey yet?