Don’t Grieve for Yesterday – It’s Still with You
Last updated: August 2015
I’ve learned since the beginning of my new life as a migraine sufferer that the life I had is no longer valid in certain aspects. Above all that my doctors have told me, rest, rest and more rest is vital – whether we are in the throes of an attack or having an exceptionally good day, rest is everything. I’ve had to learn that the hard way in some cases, my family and friends will tell you – I am a fighter and I’ve fought very long and very hard to try and hold onto the things that mean something to me, that makes me who I am and how I am. Whether it’s to my detriment or maybe a testimony as to how I really am, there’s been times since my new life began that I’ve come up bruised and bleeding from a particularly bad fight but I’ve dusted myself off, cleaned my wounds and kept going because I knew that I could do this, that I could still hang on.
What’s been the most difficult for me has been losing the excitement over thunderstorms and believe it or not, the heat. I used to wait for storms to come giddy with anticipation much like a child receiving a birthday present, I was that excited. I enjoyed feeling the raw power they possess and anxiously waited for them to do their job – scrub the landscape and air clean – to me there’s no other scent on earth than the smell of warm cedar and fresh, clean air – packed full of pure oxygen and since I live in the mountains of Southern Missouri – it’s unmolested from pollution so I am breathing in everything good that Mother Nature intended us to have.
I discovered this summer that I am now heat sensitive and I grieved deeply. I take that back, I still am grieving. The excessive heat always reminded me of a time growing up, one of the best summers of my life occurred during extreme heat, I was sixteen and played softball during the summer leagues. I had found the sweet spot at the plate and was consistently threatening to plough the ball over the fence, found my position at centerfield and I was an unstoppable force, I even had two coaches that summer fighting over me I had gotten that good. But what made that summer the best was the heat – we were forced to play our games sometimes as late as 11pm and our coach was getting us on the field as early as 6am the following day to practice – sometimes the heat index would tickle 120* so we had no choice. But I was so strong that summer, so strong and so happy that I was practically dizzy and completely annoying to my family, especially my little sister who took the brunt of it.
An extreme ACL tear and reconstructive surgery would take softball completely away from me a few years later but whenever the heat would come in on us, it always reminded me of that summer and I relished in it. While everyone else was struggling in the heat, I was literally on fire feeling that strength again, that happiness – that pure and simple joy. When everyone else had their air conditioners going on full blast, I’d just have a couple of strong fans and with the same determination as I did that summer I would run circles around everyone else.
I suffered my first headacheless migraine just a couple of weeks ago when we had a four day excessive heat wave – I would find my thermometer outside sitting happily at 103*- 105* and I would cry as I felt the extreme weakness and fatigue, cry as I had to put the sunglasses and earplugs in, shut the house down and my Butters anxious and upset. I cut off eight inches of my hair in a very desperate move to try and gain some relief somewhere even though there was no headache. I was supposed to be feeling strong and happy during this heat wave, should have been cleaning the house with the house stereo blaring out classic rock and roll, work on the garden outside – should have been doing something, ANYTHING but I was reduced to lying in bed in silence and in the dark. I waited for that headache to start, waited for the ice pick in the ears and eyes and the frustration would build even further when it wouldn’t show, even as I watched my eyebrow drop, hear my words begin to slur and come out of order.
This morning, however, I had a major breakthrough you could say. Whether or not this will be something I can do consistently or if this was just a major fluke, only time will tell but yesterday was one of the rarest of days for me. Yesterday I woke up strong, feeling so healthy that for a long time as I sat and had my morning coffee I forgot about my migraines and actually set out to clean. I average 3 to 5 migraines a week so I am very far behind cleaning my house and it has been the bane of my existence for some time. I cleaned my office from top to bottom, rearranged book shelves, and reorganized a couple of small wall cabinets, dusted, washed windows, swept – all the while with my classic rock and roll keeping me company. I took multiple breaks, even laid down for a quick nap when I was feeling a little tired but got up and immediately went back to work. Late last night I called the room cleaned, sprayed it down with air freshener and walked out of the room so happy that I was giddy. It wasn’t until this morning as I again had my coffee and feeling myself strong that the epiphany happened – while I was cleaning yesterday I was remembering that summer, remembering that strength, felt that pure and simple joy just as I always had. It made me realize that yesterday isn’t in the past as one would think, it’s always with you – always waiting patiently for you to dust that memory off and give it life and in my situation, let it breathe so it can be used. We’ve grown accustomed to giving up things that at one point in time gave us joy and peace, it’s a part of our new life – much like giving up that one special toy when we’ve outgrown it.
In my days and weeks of frustration since my new life began, I almost gave up two very powerful weapons in my arsenal. I can sit here and tell you truthfully, I am shocked when I say that but when we get into the mind frame and habit of looking at something from our old life and deciding whether or not it’s conducive for our new life, everything becomes a suspect. I may not be able to relish in the heat in my traditional way, but the power of that beautiful summer is something I haven’t lost and in my opinion, that’s a major victory. Sadly though, as much as I would love to expound on the strength and happiness that I am feeling today and relish in that epiphany, as I said as I began this story rest is everything and today I am going to do just that. Even though physically I won’t be doing much - in my mind, I’m back out on that field and I’m not threatening to send the ball over the fence, I’m knocking it out of the park.
Do you have a migraine toolbox for when an attack hits?
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