I should have fucking known better. You know? Years and years, knowing that if I talk about my improving health situation, it seems to always backfire and not remain true. This is a cruel comparison, but one I feel it’s my right to use because it happened to me: I was pregnant, but only about 3 weeks so. I was so excited that I told family, extended family, everyone I knew and their sisters. I told customers at Grounds For Thought. I told strangers. Then, I miscarried. And had to tell all those people about it, and the ones I missed, I had to continue telling for weeks as they would run into me and say “How are you feeling? Morning sickness yet?” etc. Normally, wise women wait until the heartbeat is detected, or even until the first trimester is over. But no, not me. Believe me, I waited with the next two pregnancies.
Back to migraine, my mom and I developed certain code words we would use instead of “headache” when things were going better. Even a raised eyebrow and a nod would do it. A non-verbal “still okay?” and a silent “yes.” The fear being that the minute we mentioned my sudden healthy good fortune, the Headache Gods would hear and realize that they’d been neglectful in their duties. But no, this time, I had to blab, and brag, in the most public way possible. And everyone was so genuinely happy for me. Where is Han Solo when I need him? “Great kid!” with a “Don’t get cocky” under the breath is what I needed to hear. I deserve all his casual disdain.
Because I did get cocky. I could have written that blog without talking about not having taken anything for pain that day. All I wanted to do was make it to bed, so it could remain true. But right after posting the blog and linking it to Facebook, my head started to hurt. It increased from the extremely mild .5 to 1 (on 10 scale) I’d been experiencing throughout the day to an alarming, sudden 4, which isn’t just when I would take Excedrin or Advil but when I usually jump to Percocet or Imitrex. I even had aura. But still, I decided to take only Advil, 4 of them, granted, with a muscle relaxant. And head to bed. I read to Alexandra and the pain only increased. Still, I took everything but Imitrex before collapsing into sleep. The Hyland’s, another Xanax, another muscle relaxant, a Mucinex, my herbal medication, my nose spray, aspirin and Tylenol. Crashed into sleep at 10 pm. And woke up at two with that fucker headache at a whopping SEVEN. And I was angry.
Right now, the next day, I can’t remember whether I popped one precious Imitrex or two at that point, how many more muscle relaxants and Xanax. I know I took a Zofran for nausea. I know I had to have John’s help in waiting out the medicine, he did the wonderful “tap” technique he read about online, researching “how can partners help migraine sufferers.” Two fingers, finding the spot of pain on the forehead, and constant tap-tap-tap-tap on that pulsating black source of agony, quietly beating it into submission; but as soon as he stopped the blackness would once again become spiky and cruel, a half-dollar-sized piece of body-poisoning acid, dripping into my temple and cheek and neck and making my muscles rigid. Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap.
I woke up at 8 am or so with the girls, my headache at a much easier 2 but not gone, my anger barely assuaged. The usual popping of Excedrin and Sudafed in the morning; that which I was so happy about not having had to do yesterday. My nerves fried, pressure to get ready for this trip, the birthday celebration for my Dad and sister-in-law tonight, going to work. Possibly getting together with friends later. No fucking room for pain. Now, I am lying in bed, having missed half the celebration with my family, missing my friends once again. And I am furious. Why should one headache make me this angry, when on the whole I am doing better? Everything I said in the blog yesterday is still true. It’s because I crowed about it, made up a special dance and waved my pom poms like a fucking cheerleader. I allowed myself the luxury of hope… and I know better. The Headache knows better. Because in my life, still, the Headache always wins.
But… I am building up my reserves. I am taking my herbal / vitamin concoction every day, drinking more water, eating better, remembering to change my patch at the right times, trying to get regular sleep. While yes I am still at a headache every single day, I am down to approximately 4 severe ones per week from 6. I have been out of the ER longer than any time since before I got pregnant with Isobel. I’m still making progress. My goal is to live with the Headache peacefully, so that neither of us has to beat the other down. The Headache and I are one. If I stop fighting it and live with it, come to terms with it, no one has to win.