If you’ve been paying close attention lately (I haven’t) you’ve probably noticed I’ve been M.I.A. for awhile. A long while. This year has been unintentionally awful for me physically speaking, (like one has an intentionally horrible medical year?) even though I’ve tried to make deliberate healthful decisions. I’ve said no to projects I really wanted, turned down travel, and have generally laid low in my day-to-day life. I started eating vegan, work out regularly, take naps, hired someone to clean my house twice a month, and outsourced my finances. 2012 was supposed to be the year of me getting healthy while living purposefully. Being in charge! Because I am the boss of me! And being the boss of me means being healthy and feeling awesome and achieving world domination!
Only not so much.
I don’t know what happened, but sometime around April things went all prickly pear shaped. They hadn’t really been circle-y since January, but after a bit of travel in April and May my body started saying:
‘No thank you. You don’t get to be in charge anymore. We’ll take it from here, and that means one migraine a week. Minimum.’
Every time I’ve traveled over the past few years, (flying twice a month minimum) I’ve ended up with a migraine. Without fail. I would be in some amazing place (Hawaii! San Francisco! New York City!) flat in bed with a sleep mask on, crying into my pillow, debating whether or not to go to the ER. Thankfully I didn’t end up in the hospital while traveling, but I did miss out on a lot of cool stuff because I was too sick to leave my hotel room.
The crux of the deal isn’t just that I missed out on night swimming in Hawaii because I was puking in the bathroom, (although come ON) but that’s it’s been really hard to be an effective blogger, freelancer, wife, mother, friend, sister, neighbor, human with all this health nonsense dragging on and on, and on, and on.
The day-to-day has been hard enough to try and maintain for awhile, but about a month ago I woke up in the middle of the night with a blinding migraine. Pain like I’ve never experienced before; this is coming from someone with Lupus, a painful chronic disease I’ve had literally half my life. I did all the usual stuff I do for migraines but the pain would. not. go. away. I went to my massage therapist, saw my chiropractor, exercised, took medicine, slept, had physical therapy, drank lots of water, and mainlined caffeine all to no avail. I couldn’t stand upright for more than a handful of minutes at a time, and opening my eyes was excruciating.
Three weeks passed. I ate a steady migraine diet of caffeine and yogurt, (I would’ve skipped on the yogurt except something needed to cushion the blow for all the Ibuprofen) and things got worse instead of better.
Somewhere around week 3 1/2 I lost my mind. A full-blown migraine with tunnel vision on top of my day-t0-day docket filled with pain is apparently more than even I can handle. After Viktor took the kids to swim practice one day, I tried to get up out of bed and change positions, something, anything to help with the pain. I ended up on my bedroom floor on all fours, rocking back and forth like a woman in transition and suddenly my spirit broke in half. I started crying. Great big, heaving, hiccup-sobs. I laid in the fetal position with my hands around my head, wailing like I never ever, ever have before, begging someone, anyone, to take the pain away because I couldn’t take it one. more. second.
I texted a few of my closest girlfriends, seeking advice about what to do next. I’d tried everything in my arsenal, to no avail and was completely out of options.
Except I hadn’t asked anyone for help. I like asking for help about as much as I like needing it; which is to say, not a lot. But I was literally backed up against a wall in a dark alley in a foreign city where I didn’t speak the language, flat out of cash. I had no option but to ask for help. I asked for help, followed the sage wisdom of some girlfriends, and went to the hospital. I asked a dear friend to take my kids overnight and Viktor took me to the Emergency Room for some migraine intervention.
While I was at the hospital getting a migraine cocktail IV (highly recommend, 5 stars) my children were safely tucked away with friends, having the time of their lives (Sleepover with best friends on a weeknight! Pizza for lunch!) The previous day a friend had driven 30 minutes one way to drop off treats, and another had left a drink and note on my doorstep. When I came home from the hospital another two friends had come into the house and done a set of dishes, vacuumed my house, and stocked my fridge and pantry with supplies. My favorite college roommate offered to make dinner once a week and bring it 45 minutes out of her way to my house.
And I said yes: yes I would love some help, I can’t do this on my own anymore.
Sometimes it’s okay to ask for help. In fact, sometimes it’s miraculous and beautiful to ask for help. Once in a while it’s cool to hand the reins to someone else for a minute, it’s healthy to let someone else run the show while you catch your breath. We’re not solitary creatures, we’re not meant to conquer every heartache on our own and more often than not there’s someone with arms stretched out, waiting to catch us when we fall.
My headache still isn’t gone, and I’m more than 5 weeks into the ordeal. All sorts of specialists are involved and I’m paying
a small fortune more than a handful of mortgage payments in medical bills, but for the first time in awhile I feel hopeful. Not so much that my pain will finally go away, or that all my doctors will miraculously find a cure for this nightmare, but hopeful for me.
Because I cried, I asked for help, and help came running. With arms wide open.