Today I decided maybe I could use a dose of my own advice.
In March I started this blog for a reason, and it has helped me tremendously. So I decided it was time to look back to where it all started.
So I read. I read my posts from March. I read my posts from April. I read through May and stopped.
Looking back is something I wish I did a little more often. I think I’ve been forgetting to give myself the credit I deserve.
I mean, for some reason I still find myself arguing with random old white guys on Facebook about how screwed up our pharmaceutical industry is. I still find myself struggling when people say I need to stand up for myself more. And honestly, they’re right. There are plenty of times when I need to just tell people to shut up or to just end conversations.
But looking back is hard.
Oh my gosh there were so many red flags. So many signs that would soon show their ugly face.
Throughout the spring it was a regular occurrence to reach for another dose of medication. There wasn’t a single post regarding pain that didn’t somehow talk about picking the wrong medication. Waiting for the time to pass so I could take the next dose. Hoping “x” medication would work better than what I’d tried the day before.
Plenty of people read those posts, as plenty of people will read this one. I’m sure it’ll be plenty of the same people.
No one said a thing. No one knew to say a thing. And it isn’t any of your fault, and it really isn’t completely my fault.
But it is no shock that I was diagnosed with Medication Overuse Headache. I mean, look at today’s picture. The calendar from April. Every day that has a blue circle around it, is a day I took medicine. It is no wonder I had to fight with insurance about getting prescriptions refills. It was no wonder, my scripts would run out earlier than I’d anticipated. It is incredibly clear as to why there was no rhyme or reason to my migraines anymore.
I am so thankful for that headache specialist who took the time to inform me that no you can’t actually take pain meds more than 9 times in a month. He probably saved my life.
I mean, just look at the calendar on the right. I may have been struggling with pain everyday, but I didn’t even reach for medication until the 7th. Today is the 18th and I’ve only taken medication twice this month. TWICE.
Breaking that addiction may be the largest accomplishment, but it isn’t alone on the list.
The second thing that really hits home, is how I’ve completely altered my view on migraines. I’m no longer looking for what is causing them. No, I never believed that this was something I brought on myself, but I certainly found fault with everyone and anyone who suggested it.
There isn’t really a trigger for my migraines. It is a neurological disorder. I can treat the symptoms. I can adjust how I live to better accommodate the sensitivities, but avoiding cheese or coffee is just fucking dumb.
Yes, my migraines are influenced by weather, but hurricane or no hurricane, my head is probably going to hurt.
My focus has shifted. I’ve started Aimovig, the new migraine drug, and truly hope it will bring reasonable relief. But, yesterday I had blood work done. I’ve spent so long putting things off to being migraine related. My stomach shouldn’t bloat the way it does after I eat. So, I’m being tested for celiac. I shouldn’t struggle so much with regulating my body temperature. So I’m getting tested for circulation related problems.
Sure, there’s a chance my migraines are a symptom to something bigger. But, if I keep putting off symptoms to migraine, I’ll never know.
Lastly, it is so incredible clear to me now how much I need to just trust my gut.
How many times last semester did I mention the thoughts I was having involving if I’d even be able to attend school in the fall?
Hell. When I left my job during exam week, I couldn’t get the thoughts out of my head wondering if I should even pursue finding a new job.
I bought so many tickets to so many events that I simply sold or didn’t attend. And I knew without a doubt that it was a risk I was taking. So why the hell was I taking those risks?
I wrote a post about how angry I was with everyone around me. It was all because people at work didn’t think a 20 year old should be shopping around for white marble coffee tables… at the time the one I wanted was $200. I was so concerned with what everyone else was thinking.
Let me tell you how much I LOVE my $500 marble nesting tables. Best purchase ever. Hands down. Would do it again a thousand times over. Why? Because they make me happy, and at the time, I had a planned out budget of everything I needed and wanted, and that $500 indulgence didn’t even make a dent.
Who cares that a few weeks later I would leave my job and my migraines would take a turn for the worst. My feet are comfortably resting on my gorgeous coffee tables as I type.
My gut is my best friend. It tells me when its time to go. It tells me when its time to lay down. It tells me when it truly is a day to take my medication.
Sure. I’ve spent a lot of time these past couple weeks second guessing my every decision, but that’s a foolish thing to do.
I’ve contemplated what I’d be doing in class right now if I hadn’t withdrawn. I’ve longed for my beautiful apartment and the solitude it afforded me. On good days, I’ve wished I was off at some job because I really hate not buying iced coffee because I have no way to justify it. I’ve questioned a thousand times if I even want to go back to school. I’ve spent hours trying to think of jobs I could do. I’ve spent more time thinking about jobs I can’t do.
In looking back, it all makes perfect sense. Now I just have to learn to look forward differently. I can’t spend my days planning for the future. Right now that just doesn’t make sense. I have to look forward to each day individually. I have to take is slow. I have to make short term goals, because eventually the long term ones will work themselves out.
And in the end, I can’t be as scared as I used to be. I mean, I wrote a post about medicine not even existing for my condition and a week later Aimovig surfaced. Now I’m on that drug, so what’s to say it doesn’t help. What’s to say the new drugs they’re testing, won’t work even better.
And if for some reason a cure comes about, you can find me learning french sitting at a cute little bistro table in France.