Mar 29, 2016

Soul Cleansing ...

Hey there, everyone!

I have been having a hard year. I had migraines non stop between March and November of 2015. I lost my crafting mojo. I even lost a lot of faith in reality and God. I have found faith in reality again, but I don't know what I think about God anymore.

I don't think in the same way about a lot of things. I'm more clear eyed about my past and some people who misused my generosity of spirit. I have no control over the ways that the head works, but I do have control over how I respond going forwards. Anyway, that is not what I wanted to write about tonight.

But, it's what needs writing about, so I am going to rename this post, and write about the bullet journal journey later.

Now, I am writing about this as it is important.

I have medicine for a few things. Some are to prevent migraines by increasing the tolerance for the things that set the brain of into a spreading cortical depre, like those experienced by folks with seizures, only the electric storm only affects the brain and not the parts of the body that control gross and fine motor movement. Depression, the mood disorder, is also sometimes associated with the spreading cortical depression, which is just like a ripple across the surface of the brain that dims its electrical activities for a bit, and that leads to the seizure of folks with epilepsy, the attack phase of the migraines, and possibly the lowering of mood in depressive epi, along with a host of other side effects that this spreading cortical depression sets in motion that are designed to protect the brain and the body, but mostly the brain.

Some of you may remember that there are four stages of a migraine when it is in the wild by itself. They are prodome, aura, attack, and postdome. The prodome stage is marked by a sudden increase in desire for carbohydrates and simple sugars. This stage can last a few days. This is also when lots of people eat the chocolate that is blamed for their migraine, even though it is just a bit of time linking the two things along with the cravings for those carbohydrate and simple sugars. During the aura stage, which is not always present, the person experiences hallucinations of sound, smell, and sight along with flashes of light that crosses their field of vision. The attack stage is the pain of the migraines, also there is nausea, sensitivity to sounds and lights. Most people in this stage strive to get to the darkest and quietest place available. The attack stage will last anywhere from four hours to three days or so. Then comes the postdome. This is like the hangover for those who know what that feels like. For those who don't, you're groggy, sounds still smart, bright lights can hurt still, you want to sleep it off, and food is not a good idea. This stage can last for a few days too.

A single migraine from start to finish can go something like this...

Sunday, you wake up and eat pancakes with syrup, cereal, coffee with milk, and a muffin for breakfast. You spend the morning trying to catch up on paperwork. Lunch comes and all you want is a sandwich and a bowl of soup in a breadbowl from Panera bread stores. You get the apple to look healthy for the cute cashier. Then, it's shopping at the department store for shirts and jeans. Then it's mid afternoon and you notice that you are sneaking the snack cakes to your child's school lunches. You know that something needs to change, you had to buy bigger clothes than last time earlier today. Then, it's supper time. You decide to be healthy and that you will have a good sandwich with lots of vegetables and some fruit for fillers, hey, you still have the apple from earlier today.

Monday, you wake up a bit after the second snooze button press. You have cereal and milk, toast with butter, coffee and milk, and some oatmeal to stay focused throughout the morning. Lunch time and you have a whopper of a burger with your friends from work on the floor, and think about getting lemonade, but get a super sized cola instead.  Snack time and you raid the vending machine in the break room, you get licorice, tortilla chips, nuttier butters, and some flavored water. Supper is steak, mashed potatoes, corn, cranberry juice cocktail, and butter pecan ice cream for dessert.
Tuesday, you don't so much as wake up as you are suddenly aware of this crushing, burning, white hot poker of a stick holding your head up on top of a spike with the same excruciating pain, no, this is beyond pain, whatever it is, it surrounds and is cleaving your skull and brain in half along the corpus collosum, and the sensation, whatever the heck it is envelopes your spine. All you feel is white, hot, burning, pain. Eventually, you pass out unable to take the intensity anymore. When your eyes finally flutter open again, you find that you can't move just yet. Your body is still in an insanely tight fetal position. You stretch out on foot and then that leg slowly, ever so slowly, just in case the pain of the night returns.  Eventually, you have stretched out all of your limbs and there was no return of the pain. You sit up on your side, so that you can vomit in the trash can that now lives by your side of the bed. The room darkening shades are not dark enough, and you can see it is a beautiful day outside in the world of the rest of the world.  You gingerly flex your toes as you stand up , sort of, you are still leaning on your bed, heavily. You use the wall and bed, then the door frame as supports on your way to the bathroom. After making it to the toilet and sitting down, you do your business. The strain of solid waste management causes you to loose your breath with the effort, and to get a small bit of pain, nothing like the night before, to hurt your head and your vision pulsates with the blood being pushed through the vessels in your eyes. You know you are a wreck and weak. You want to be able to do what you normally do, but today is going to be a lucky if you make it to the living room day. You are happy to have the habit of charging your phone by your bed. You make it back to bed gradually. Then, you do the hard part. You call your boss and disappoint them again, then you call your spouse to come home and get the kids ready for school bc you are not able to do it. You failed again. As if the excruciating pain and torture for no purpose wasn't bad enough, you have the ability to make sure you feel like the worst possible person for experiencing this horrendous event that you didn't ask to be part of.

Wednesday, you wake up still hurting, and groggy. You are feeling better today than yesterday about going through this, but otherwise you are still in the attack stage.

Thursday, you only hurt a bit in the morning, by evening you are ready to start being part of the family again.

Friday, you are still not fully functional in the cognitive areas and driving is not a good idea this time, so you stay home today too. You can handle the kids, getting them ready for school, and your spouse can go back to work.

Saturday, you are back to being able to drive again, and you take the day easy. By supper time, though, you are wanting something crunchy and sweet, maybe a lb and jelly sandwich with some potato chips would be a good idea.

And, so goes the story of another week in the life of a person who lives with migraines.

I have experienced the searing pain that I described above, and the other more insidious pain caused by finding fault with myself for having had the migraines. I'm still working on being gentle with me. But, there is no way to know when a night will wake me up from deep sleep with some pain or the cruciate curse pain, for the other Harry Potter fans out there. That's the hard part. For all of the advantages and advancement in technology and medical research we have access to now, I am at the mercy of my own brain waves and electronic system.

Micromechanics may have to be a new adventure for me, or someone, to find out the how and how to fix of the brain.  I could be content with not knowing the why of mig, if only the how was much better understood.

Right now, they are lucky to have a model of migraine stages.

Then, there are oddballs like me who don't fit the normal mold for migraine disease. I have as many as I do bc I have scar tissue in the brain section where migraines happen, so the reduced space for normal functions leads to more migraines than before getting sick and than others with migraines would have without the scar tissue.