I remember when they were toddlers, falling in love with their emerging personalities. Watching as they became something ... created by me and perhaps inspired me but something so completely different than me.
A few weeks ago I stood next to my cousin on a hot sunny beach and we watched as our daughters played in the sand. He said "you learn a lot about yourselves when you're raising your children"
He's not wrong. I've said the same thing many many times.
You watch your own traits, played out and personified in front of you. Sometimes more dramatic than you feel your own traits are, and sometimes less. Amusingly so having more than one child even deepens those assessments.
This morning was hard, watching them in their own selves.. growing and changing in leaps and bounds. I am usually clouded by my rushing around.. rushing toward the next stage, the next phase. The next class or event. Obsessing over the minutia and small detail of this or that. Today the big picture hit me, and I wasn't ready.
Life is like that for me. I'm never even vaguely prepared for anything coming at me.
Last night in class we were listening to an audio recording that has instructions built in.
"combo 4, a left hook and a right straight punch!" "defense! defense!" "combo 2!" It gave instructions super fast and even though I could HEAR the attack I was defending against I still stared blankly. Overwhelmed. The instructions of what I should be doing next were well within reach and still I was unprepared. Lagged behind.. dumb.
My mental clarity isn't what it used to be.
The headaches started in spring.
I tripped over a pinecone and felt my neck click. I thought nothing over it and the gash on my knee was worse than anything. After two weeks of daily intense headaches though I remembered the falling and saw a potential connection.
I figured it would improve, but it didn't.
I lost my ability to cope after three weeks of all day, every day, often migraine strength headaches. I had to remind myself daily that there were still things to try, things to do.. I regularly had to remind myself that I didn't need to kill myself to escape the pain.
I can't take most painkillers due to some super fun inflammatory GERD issues. Chronic upper GI inflammation. Tylenol is one of the only ones I'm allowed to take and it did nothing to touch the pain.
I finally went to the doctor on day 19 of chronic headache. They looked concerned. They prescribed big barbiturates. They said to schedule a followup with my regular doctor after giving a standard neuro exam and asking a few questions. Gave referral to Neurology dept. Instructions given on when to go to the ER.
Saw my normal provider just two days later. She's concerned. She says to keep the neuro appointment. But she looked at the muscles in my neck and told me she thought i should go to Physical Therapy. Great. this sounds like actually a solution not just symptom masking. She prescribes Anti Anxiety meds. She says if I have another bad migraine to just go to the ER.
I read the side effects of the anxiety meds and have a panic attack. I can't take them. They're too dangerous. Terrible withdrawals should i ever want to not be on them. Badness.
So many days spent assuming I'm dying. Worst migraine ever happens. I cried nearly 6 hours straight. Finally I told Joel to come home early to take me to the ER.
He does. We're there 6? hours. Catscan. IV meds. hours of a dim tiny room and so much fear and anxiety.
but there's nothing
no tumors. No bleeds.
PT happened next. A guy named Jimmy. Isn't that just what you want? a provider named Jimmy. My pal Georgina says the name reminds her of Dr. Nick from the Simpsons. I'm skeptical.
He scrapes my muscles with a plastic tool. It seems like the most ridiculous thing I've ever had done to me. I feel more skeptical about this than I did holding crystals to my forehead and begging the universe to take away my pain. It feels like nothing.
but the next day I didn't have a headache. The first non headache day in something like 26 days.
and the day after there's no headache either.
I'm floored. and hope returns .. a little.
Summer was spent running between PT appointments, karate classes for the girls, some Krav Maga classes for me when I was up to it. We bought kayaks and went several times. with twice a week PT i was usually functional. I developed a huge amount of different things that help reduce my headaches upon onset. essential oils, sports creams, a yoga routine.. so many different things
in July I saw the neuro. She didn't want to order additional scans. She wants me to take magnesium,. she prescribes muscle relaxants. She thinks I'm fine. Tension headaches triggering migraines.
Its September and school is back in session. I still have some degree of headache the majority of days. Sometimes just a neck ache... they feel that the tension headaches are due to muscle imbalance. I'm not .. better.. but I stopped saying goodbye to my children each morning (silently, in my head(, sure that my death was imminent.
I've been warned that coping with chronic pain can become part of your identity.
I've been urged to find the root cause of my anxiety and address it.
Everything in my life is urging me to do so.
but i'm so afraid.
I'm not sure this is fixable.
I'm not sure I'm worth fixing.