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Monday, December 12, 2011

Not Knowing

For me, one of the most difficult aspects of living with chronic pain is simply not knowing. Not knowing when my headache will get worse. Not knowing whether my medications will help this time. Not knowing if I'll be able to attend an event. Not knowing how the pain will affect my life from day to day.

Unfortunately, I don't think that dealing with the uncertainty is going to improve or even get easier with time. Even in "good" times, when my migraines aren't completely out of control, it can be difficult to enjoy myself because there's always that little voice in my mind wondering when things will be bad again... when the next migraine will knock me down.

Right now, I'm trying to face this uncertainty in my life. I've been pacing myself, in order to make it through and actually enjoy the holidays. Besides the weekly migraine due to weather changes, I felt like I was actually doing alright (now that I think about it, though, I'd deal with a couple days of migraine pain, and then have to deal with the migraine "hangover"... just in time to start the prodrome of the next big one). Anyway, I was doing relatively well, but then I had a huge crash late in the day on Thanksgiving.

When this migraine hit, it hit HARD... perhaps some of the worst pain I can remember. But, the pain just kept going... and going... and going. I called my doctor, and he had me take a course of a corticosteroid, but I don't think it really did a whole lot. I took my normal migraine med (a narcotic painkiller) late last week (around day 10 of the migraine), and I was able to get out of the house a very little bit (you know, groceries and visit a little with family). These outings exhausted me, but I was going crazy being stuck inside the apartment.

The pain has eased up some, so it's not constant unbearable pain... but, I've been on a roller coaster ride (just at or below migraine-level... to well-above migraine-level) this past week. The pain would start to get a little better, giving me this (false) sense of hope that the migraine was finally breaking. But, even later that same day, the migraine pain returns full-force, and I wonder if / how long it's going to stay around this time. It's scary.

Each night, I say my prayers and (finally) get to sleep... hoping that the pain will be at a bearable level the following day. And, at least lately, I find myself disappointed, when I wake up to bad pain. It's frustrating and discouraging.

A bit of a tangent... The mind is so fascinating to me. Somehow, it "forgets" some of the most painful things we've encountered in our past. Our memories of bad times sometimes seem muddled, perhaps in an attempt by the mind to protect itself... by graying over the memories of how bad the pain was, how long it lasted, how much it affected us. And, yet, there's enough memory for our minds to worry about when the pain will return, when the pain will dissipate, how it will affect us.

Thanksgiving was over 2 weeks ago, and Christmas is in 2 weeks. I want so badly to be able to enjoy the holidays and spend time with my family. I'm trying to take things easy now, so that hopefully I can better manage my migraine pain through the holidays.

"Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security." - John Allen Paulos

"Uncertainty is the refufe of hope." - Henri Frederic Amiel
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:5-6)

4 comments:

  1. I so relate to this...the not knowing is terrible. Great post. But I'm so sorry to hear that it has been so bad lately. I hope you will have some relief soon so you can enjoy some holiday festivities.

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  2. You are spot on with your description of what you said about the brain not remembering but remembering enough. I also find that fascinating. What a great description! I'm so sorry it has been so severe for you lately. :( As the years have passed, for me the uncertainty has become the certainty. I hope that it will encourage you to know that I have have found a peace with the uncertainty being what I should expect--that it is possible-with God (of course).

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  3. I so resonate with this post. I long ago gave up trying to figure out the core cause of my pain (three docs - one family doc, two pain specialists) have designated a name for it (intractable migraine and Myofascial pain syndrome).....but it doesn't really matter anymore.

    All I know now is that I never know when the worst pain- storms are going to hit.

    Not knowing means that while I can do my ministry now, some days it is by the grace of God and nothing else. Honestly, I've had Sunday worship where I've sat down for the entire thing and kept my office trash can handy, just in case....

    So I have no idea how long I can keep this up. No clue at all. I'm trying so hard to listen to the whisper of the Spirit.....but when my pain is shouting above it, it's tough.

    Anyway, thanks for this, and I do hope you find some relief very soon.

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  4. Sorry I'm just now getting to comment on this. We've had some computer difficulties...

    Migrainista: Hopefully we can both learn how to deal with (and perhaps ebrace) the uncertainty.

    Kelly: I'm glad that you've found some peace in the midst of the uncertainty... that does help give me hope.

    Sue: I know the uncertainty can be difficult. I'm glad that you're able to carry out your ministry, and that you're constantly listening to God for guidance. You've been such a blessing to me. Thank you.

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