Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Migraine Disease Is Not FUNny

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Suffering from Migraine Disease will never be fun. I guess I'm stating the obvious, for anyone who is suffering with this invisible disease. I've suffered with the disease since the early '80's and it has never been fun. With this said, I have always tried to find the funny in the world.

I spend too much time in the dark confines of my bedroom. Blackout shades, no lights, no odors, no noise, and really no human contact. What does your brain do in this kind of environment? You either focus on the negative, or turn to thinking about, imagining, or questioning the world that exists outside of your cave. I choose the latter. I last had the ability to work at a professional career in 2008. Since then, I have experienced an average of 16 migraine days per month. So, when I'm in my carefully constructed migraine environment friendly cave, with an eye mask, icepack, and pillow on my head; I dream of the good 'ol days, and I think of the interesting, odd or funny things in life.

I have to do something to keep my mind distracted between the pain and sleep. I choose to analyze the world and attempt to find the funny. As I'm able, and remember, I keep notes on my phone of the strange things my brain comes up with. It can be scary, for the uninitiated and myself, to see the weird and funny things that pop into my mind. I have been a clown my whole life and I have no problem with people laughing with or at me.

When I'm down for the count, I push myself to think about things and not pain. I don't think, Why me? I think about the why's of the world. I put square pegs in round holes, solve world hunger, and cure cancer. Don't I wish. The funny is there if you allow yourself to think about it. I like to make myself and others laugh. When I'm stuck in my own head, I seek the funny. I make up jokes. They're not all great, not all laughable, or even something I can share with others. But, I try to remember the good stuff and write it down at my next opportunity.

When the "Monster" isn't on my back, I make the most of every moment. Trying to stay active is
difficult at best. Between Aura, Prodrome, Migraine, and Postdrome, it can be very hard to be any kind of active. There are times when those around you up and moving and assume that your '100%. Having 16+ migraine days a month also means that you can have 3x that, while suffering the other three phases of migraine disease. Just believe me that the math works according to my limited knowledge of 'new math'. With the time that is available to me, I try to have fun.

Active days mean that my body and my brain are alert enough to participate in life, and when I do, MY PEOPLE know about it! You can hear my joy for miles! I have a bounce in my step, laugh at the stupid, joke around, and hang my head out of the car window and howl at the fresh air. Most times I'm even more gangster than that.

I've recently found stand-up comedy open mic nights. When my non-communicable disease (put smiley face here) allows me to get out of the house and there's a show, I go laugh. I laugh with others and I laugh at myself. I laugh at the absurd and the sublime. I make new friends and we laugh together, at least on the inside.

I urge my fellow migraine and invisible illness sufferers to take the opportunities they have to get out and live, when you can. Take chances. Don't be afraid or embarrassed. YOLO, You Only Live Once, so howl at the wind!

Pardon my rambling,

Friday, March 18, 2016

Migraine Catch-22

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Say you want to be a blogger, but you have severe migraines 12 or more days a month. Maybe you want to be a teacher, but you suffer from 3 or more migraine days a week. Or what if you want to get into a regular workout schedule, but your migraines prevent you from getting into any kind of rhythm at all. Welcome to Migraine Catch-22!
a dilemma or difficult circumstance from which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions.
"a catch-22 situation"
synonyms:dilemma, quandary, vicious circle;]

I've suffered from migraines due to a traumatic brain injury (TBI) for over 30 years. I've had good and bad years, good and bad months, good and bad weeks and days. But, through the years it has become increasingly difficult to escape the sink hole that is caused by my condition. I've held many jobs, some of which I was considered to be at the top of my profession. I've published poetry, have a design patent, and garnished many awards doing the things that I love best. But through it all I was unable to shake off the vicious circle caused by my migraines. 

Migraine is an especially debilitating disease, for several reasons, not the least of which is that it is mostly an invisible illness. On a good day, I can be seen cutting grass or working in the yard, shopping or running errands, and even hanging at the beach with friends. On a bad day, you won't see me at all! If you bother to look, you'll find me hiding in complete darkness from light, sound, and smell. I'll be the one under the blankets, pillow on my head which is wrapped in ice packs. I may be asleep, if I'm lucky. But, more often than not, I'm totally awake suffering pain and depression, while my brain whirls thinking about anything and everything but the pain. 

When I'm down, my brain cranks out the best of ideas for my blog, which I soon forget as my thoughts race in another direction trying to outrun the pain. And when I'm up, there are millions of things to do, places to go, and people to see. All of which seem better than sitting inside,at the computer, trying to remember that perfect article which was left in the dust a few days before. That's Catch-22!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Shooting the Gap

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We've all done it. Finally we can move and we are able to amble slowly ahead and in the right direction. Have been in the same space for what may have been minutes, hours or even days. You're not able to take off and just go because you know there's more blocking your way ahead. You're not able to move past on the right for fear of falling off the edge. There's absolutely now way you would want to go backwards and experience the same past all over again, and you can feel the space to the left disappearing fast. What do you do? Shoot the gap.

This is the migraine 'high'way of life. If you are a migraineur, then you probably more than understand what I'm trying to say. We live each day fighting the same old traffic, as the day before. And, if we are lucky, there's a small little gap between light and dark that we may be able to take advantage of, in order to move ahead in our lives, if only for a moment.

It's hard to shake the pain and make ready for an opening. You never know just when it's going to appear, but when it does, you MUST be ready to take advantage of it. You lay in wait, between the pain of the past and the pain of the future and PRAY. When it happens, you gun it, put the pedal to the metal, and shoot the gap.

If it lasts for a second, or it lasts for days, you have to live your life like there's no tomorrow. There may not be, because you may be stopped in your tracks unable to move and unable to know how much time has passed since you last enjoyed being up and running. The next you know, you look up and your moving again, slowly, carefully, and somewhat afraid. Are you still in the slow lane, with a migraine on your back bumper, or have the hours and the days passed and your about to plow into the next one just ahead?

Is that a gap just ahead? Are you close enough to your destination that you can you get out and crawl, walk or run forward? You MUST make the effort. You run, swim, bike, ski, hug your family and friends, PRAY, smile, or anything your body and mind will let you do.

This is shooting the gap.