Blank slate.

Every night before I go to sleep I sit down on the carpet next to my bed and I pull out my box of medications.  It is not a small box.  I rifle through pain killers, NSAIDS, beta-blockers, calcium receptor blockers, vaso-dialators, vaso-constrictors, muscle relaxants, estrogen, you name it.  It has been years since I didn’t have a handful of pills to take at night.

Earlier this week I ended up at the ER due to drug interactions.  There were two samples I had been given that weren’t supposed to be taken within 24 hours of each other. They are highly similar medications, so I basically OD’d on migraine treatments.  I have spent the rest of the week feeling like I have the flu as my body processed out the toxins. That got me thinking. What strange chemical soup do I have going on in my body anyway? Should I be on medications non-stop for the rest of my life? Given half lives of medications and drug interactions and nasty side effects, should I be throwing a bunch of samples into the mix?

My lovely trip to the ER and the several hour freak out about overdose or allergic reaction has lit within me the urge to go off of everything, start an elimination diet, and just get myself back to a blank slate.  I have no idea if the migraines I have now are so much worse because they naturally would have been that way, or if it is because I am a mind-boggling concoction of chemical additives.
It’s funny though.  This decision feels gut-level right but already my evil self is coming up with reasons why I should delay it, or not do it at all.

It’s nearly the holiday season, Evil Me says, you don’t want to feel left out during Thanksgiving, or Christmas! Think about how awful it will be to pass up the goodies!!

You have to take the estrogen, failing to do so will cause your bones to turn to dust and your chin to erupt in rivers of hair.

You will have to give up chocolate at the same time you stop taking your HRT’s. No one is stupid enough to do that. (Not even you, stupid).

Evil Me likes the idea of candy and not having hot flashes and being able to eat somewhat “normally”.  However, Evil Me is an idiot.  She also thinks it’s a good idea to put off chores, buy shoes she doesn’t need, and have that second serving of ice cream.  She would probably also be tempted to run off to Vegas with no notice, leaving the children in the care of my long suffering parents.

The books I have been reading indicate I should, at least, get off of refined sugars.  A fabulous new book I have been gifted suggests getting off of all grains, refined foods and sugars.  As sugar, chocolate especially, has long been linked with migraines, perhaps now is the time to go through with the elimination and reintroduction process.  Perhaps I can solve my health problems with a clean slate and close attention to trigger foods instead of using medications that make me ill and cost the earth.

It can’t be any harder than what I am currently doing.

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The last baby.

It’s a distinction he bears with pride.  It started when he told me he wanted a younger brother, so he could have a boy to play with.  My heart constricted in my chest and tears welled up in my eyes.

“I can’t have anymore babies my love, you are my last baby.”

“Your last baby? Why am I your last baby?” He asked, eyes widening as he tried to wrap his six year old mind around a very adult concept.

“Remember when mommy had the last surgery?”

“Yes. You couldn’t pick me up forever, and you cried.”

“Yes” I managed to whisper over the lump in my throat. “When I had that surgery, they took out the parts that let me have another baby. So that is why you are my last.”

He was silent as he absorbed this.  Maybe it was something in my tone of voice or the look on my face but he sat with my statement for a long time, treating it with more seriousness than I thought he could.

“That’s really sad mommy, that you can’t have another baby.” He threw his arm around my neck and snuggled into me, giving me a chance to breathe in the unique smell of his sweat and shampoo. “But I am a little glad I got to be your last  baby.” He kissed me on the cheek and snuggled in close, pulling me towards him with both of his little boy arms.

“I am glad too sweetheart” I murmured as I rested my chin upon his head and closed my eyes.

“And Mommy? Don’t worry, I will always be your baby.”

Thankful.

Yesterday I was, to say the least, verklempt. Today, though the headache still rages like a violent storm, I am trying to focus on the positive.

My daughter woke me with a hug.  She starts every morning that way.  My son woke me with a snuggle.  He starts every morning that way.  Headache or otherwise, my kiddos love me and show me that each and every day.

My mother drove the kiddos to school, even though it meant interrupting her breakfast.  She did the same thing yesterday, and she drove to pick them up.  She backs me up always and just knowing I have someone who will is something to be thankful for.

A good friend reminded me that others have experienced similar difficulties, and though it took some time to find a solution, a solution was in fact found.  That idea gives me hope, makes me remember when the storm is raging that I just have to hold on until the sun breaks through the clouds.  (Figuratively, not literally, as the sun is kind of a bitch to deal with during a migraine)

I have people who love me, regardless of whether or not I can concur the world today.  I have people who take time out of their day to help me heal and succeed.  I have funny furry animals who snuggle me to keep me company, so I am not alone.

So today, despite yesterday’s unhappiness, despite the raging in my head, I am hopeful.  I will read “Heal your headache”. I will pet my cat.  I will try to get on with the day.

Thank you for the love.

Losing my voice.

I have been through a lot in the past two to three years.  However, if you were to ask me how I am, I would probably tell you I am fine, or perhaps shrug and tell you I have a headache, but “When don’t I?”. 

You see, as I have grown older I have begun to lose my voice.  I don’t talk about the really scary stuff, the really hard stuff.  I don’t share the stories behind my nightmares or the reasons I cry in the shower.  I showcase the positive and when it comes to the negative I hide in my cave and lick my wounds.  

I don’t talk about it because I am already tired of dealing with it.  I am tired of having the feelings surrounding it, much less sharing them.  Sometimes, the situations are just too big for me to handle my own reactions to them, much less another’s.  Further, when I have shared my feelings, it has seemed as though the person I am talking to needs more comfort regarding my affliction than I.  Rare is the person who simply says “That really sucks” and offers me a hug.  

I love that my friends and family all love me enough to offer help and to offer suggestions regarding alternative medicine or particular treatments.  I understand how hard it is to sit idly by while someone you love is going through something, anything, hard.  Because I understand, I used to diligently follow up on each and every referral and suggestion, trying everything my collective loved ones thought might help. 

Now I don’t. 

I don’t have the energy. 

I can’t live a normal life right now.  Some days it is still impossible to really leave the darkness of my room.  Hold music irritates my headaches, as does the sound of overly chipper receptionists.  The thought of explaining my medical history to yet another medical professional makes me want to cry.  The pages and pages of patient history I have to fill out is daunting in the extreme.  

Then there’s the fact that all these doctor’s are just guessing.  “Here, try these samples and see if something works” is the most common thing I have heard.  I know they are as flummoxed as I am.  There is no tumor, no allergy, no obvious thing causing my condition.  All they can do is try. All I can do is let them try.  

Last night I ended up in the ER because two of the samples I had been given were similar enough to cause an overdose.  I hadn’t been warned to avoid taking them within 24 hours of each other and I didn’t read the entire pamphlet until I started feeling unable to stay awake.  When I did read it I freaked.  Not only was I not supposed to take the second medication within 24 hours of the first, but I also had a much higher likelihood of having a heart attack on this medication because post menopausal women aren’t supposed to take it.  

Well shit, I am post menopausal, I thought. 

So I went to the ER.  I got to jump the line due to pressure in my throat and a possible allergic reaction to medication.  I got an EKG, I got an I.V., I got to play in the hospital room with my son while they watched me to insure I wasn’t going to die on them. 

Today I woke up with another horrible headache.  I couldn’t drive my kids to school or pick them up.  I couldn’t work well.  Tasks that should take a few minutes took forever. 

If you asked me how I am feeling today I would tell you.  

I feel hopeless.  I don’t know what to do. 

 

I feel 19 again.*

Yesterday I turned 38.  I had a great time preparing a wonderful cake and a yummy feast.  I got a gazillion messages on my facebook page from people loving on me.  My children started the day out with a snuggle, and gave me a gift certificate for free massages from their very own massage company.  I got flowers and a lovely card from my best friend and my parents got me a bright, sunny new quilt to snuggle under during the winter.  

It was a wonderful day. 

Today I spent cleaning for the upcoming social party.  I put a little electric fireplace in my attic room and reorganized to accommodate it.  Now I have a bright cozy room with a fireplace, lovely quilts, and a cat.  It’s hard not to love it here.  I feel truly at home for the first time in a long time.  I feel like I can settle in, get comfortable, and relax for the first time in years.  

Tonight I will see many friends and loved ones.  I will eat too many cupcakes and drink a little too much wine and love every minute of it.  The feelings of being unloved and unwanted have been driven out by love, snuggles, and laughter.  I am hoping with all the rearranging, it will be harder for them to find purchase when they try to return. 

* Thank you to Danno for the 19 again pun. 

Inner peas.

Meditation is supposed to cure all ills. (Okay, maybe not all the ills.) It is supposed to help with crazy anxiety attacks and all that stuff.

Unfortunately, this girl doesn’t meditate well.

I understand you are supposed to clear your mind and just be, but I don’t know what a clear “just being” mind looks like.  I lie there imagining a blank nothingness, but then the nothingness becomes a thing.  It becomes irritating in it’s blankness.  To remedy that I will make it purple or red, or some other color.  The color itself becomes the nothingness.  Then little things start to crawl across the red blank background.  A paper I need to grade, a note I need to hand in to the school, a telephone call I forgot to make.  So I let those thoughts go and try to focus on the red blankness.  That’s when all the funny or ridiculous things I only think about when meditating start pressing in on the sides of my blissful red blankness.  Flying pigs, royalty, what I would do with a million dollars, underground prairie dog colony viewing stations, pet chinchillas.  Before too long there are dozens of ridiculous unimportant things demanding I either pay attention or send them away.  Before too long there is no sending away, there is only chaos.

So I have to meditate using a guided meditation program.  It’s the only way.  I have to focus on something to be able to drive out the millions of bits of nothing clamoring for my attention.

With guided meditation I can at least drift along like I used to in some of the less entertaining classes I took in school.  I may still think of things but I can push them aside, because I get to focus on the voice telling me to relax.