I’ve had a couple of pleasant surprises along the way of my migraine journey.
I guess the realization that a migraine life could spawn anything positive is an unexpected silver lining in and of itself, but that’s not the surprising moment that stands out the most for me.
Sometime in the late ‘80s, I went to my family doctor armed with a possible name for my longtime headache situation. In agreement with my friend and co-worker’s diagnosis of my illness, (See my previous article) my doctor told me to come in for an injection the next time an episode occurred.
When the day arose for my migraine illness to grab hold of my life once again, off to the doctor’s office I went. I really had no expectation of what was going to happen.
As I sat in anticipation and pain on the exam table, the nurse told me the medicine would burn going into my arm and she was right. I was told to lie down in the exam room for observation of my body’s reaction to the shot. The nurse also told me the pain might spike a bit right before it subsides. Yep, right again.
Then it happened. At the 12-minute mark, it was all over. In the snap of a finger, I went from pain and nausea to blissful serenity. I had experienced what felt like an actual miracle. Feeling the bad and the good within seconds of each other brought a sincere expression of surprise to my face and the immediate understanding of the power of knowledge to my mind.
I donned my first layer of migraine warrior armor that day. A sense of hope I didn’t even know I had lost came to life inside of me at one of my doctor’s patient exam rooms on a random day in the late ‘80s.
Much has changed in the decades following that surprising day of discovery. Clothing, hairstyles, music, have evolved, along with me, my hopes, and my dreams. More layers of migraine knowledge have been added to my suit of armor as the unending fight continues with the incurable enemy inside my head.
On a random day sometime in early 2020, I was surprised to realize how much the battle with my migraine illness has shaped the person I see in the mirror. I see the reflection of good and bad moments, and challenges won and lost over the years.
I wasn’t born deliberate and disciplined, but I was born with the migraine illness passed on by the genetics of my grandmother. Managing my migraines required discipline and routine even in my early years before my illness bore its official name.
My migraine illness played a part in bringing my true nature to the surface. To be a straight A student, the captain of a pompom squad, and an officer in numerous organizations requires the strength of deliberate intention. To be successful in managing an accounting department and responsible with being a caregiver for loved ones requires discipline.
In the middle of living life in a pandemic, reflections on the pain of my life’s struggles are turned into a blissful peacefulness in the snap of a finger. The realization I might not be who I am today if it hadn’t been for my migraine illness, is the biggest surprise of all. The survivor I see in the mirror is exactly who I should be whether I got here in spite of my migraines or because of them.
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