In Through The Out Door

I don’t know what’s going on with me. I have noticed that the times I’m most depressed, I don’t have a migraine. Could the depression be part of the prodrome? Is it that the chemicals usually involved in my headache don’t have anything else to do? Bored serotonin, making me miserable.

Until recently I don’t remember depression hurting. Last night the area of my heart physically hurt, as did the area below my ribs. I couldn’t do anything but cocoon myself. I hate that I make the Sir worry so much, and end up spending even less time with the kids. Sir thinks I should tell the Doc on Thursday that Cymbalta isn’t working anymore. But I think it is; I’m still going to get depressed sometimes. Plus going off of it is pure agony, and so too would be trying a new psych med. They seem to either make my head worse, or the depression worse.

The deadline is getting closer for this amazing job at the University. John is going to finish the cover letter and tweak his resume today, then send it to someone (an insider) who can look over it, tell him what to fix, and maybe let him know if the job was just listed because of legality issues and someone’s already chosen. If all goes well he will go in person to turn everything in like tomorrow.

This job pays a lot. For us. This job would completely change our lives. It is too much to hope for, so while I am staying positive and optimistic, I am also not hoping. If that makes sense.

My headache situation is not good. Somehow (unless I misplaced a whole card of them) I’ve gone through 20 Imitrex in 10 days. I went to the ER once during that time. I was going to try to write more but I think my head’s a little too pricky for that right now. I’m trying to avoid taking one of my last Imitrex. Love. ❤

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Exit, #2

The post I wrote and then accidentally deleted was about being horrifyingly, painfully depressed. For some reason it looked like it was going to post twice, so I quickly deleted one and there the other went, too!  Perhaps it was for the best, because I didn’t want to frighten anyone. I don’t know where this bout came from – my friend dying (my best friend’s husband); or the fact that Sir does not yet, still, have a job?

i had started writing autobiographical fiction (The Migraine Diaries) but feel now like I just can’t do any more. I used words carelessly in a blog I wrote earlier today, and was deservedly called on it by another blogger, and that just made me feel so awful. I fixed the offending term which was, unfortunately, a racist one. It wasn’t me; it didn’t even make sense in the context. So maybe there is such a thing as too depressed to write, and maybe I’ve reached that point.Image

 

 

Sick, Poor, & Painfully Aware

Big plans. Writing. Taking a walk with X and Asia. Helping John with his resume – well, he’s sick too. One of my least favorite aspects of chronic illness (well, do I really have to quantify them?) is that it can take me a while to figure out if I’m experiencing a virus or prodrome; a bad sinus headache or a migraine (what difference does it make, really, when Imitrex works on both); run down because of all the medicine I had in my system yesterday, or if I’m getting the flu. But the fact that my mom and now the John are down with something makes me think I may very well be sick, or, I am getting a very depressing number of migraines, which is not where I want to be in my illness right now. Stubborn migraines, lurking right at that edge of doing and not doing.

Medicaid. My god. As wonderful as it is to know that I am now, because of all my efforts, fully engaged in a government system where I get care and medicines for free, you sure do have to keep working your broke and ill ass off to make sure it all goes right. I put off filling my Vivelle Dot patch, my little .05 HRT since my hysterectomy; as well as my Cymbalta, which I take for both depression and migraine and is killer (nearly literally) to stop taking or even miss a dose; because they are prohibitively expensive and I knew my Medicaid was coming. And it did. But Cymbalta, which just was released in a generic form, could not be filled by Medicaid in either the generic or the brand name. No one knew why except that maybe the generic is too new. My doctor’s office would be closed until Friday (yep, I was trying to do this on Dec 30). No way to get a Prior Authorization. So I had to shell out $350 more of my mom’s money because of course hormone replacement is not medically necessary and also needs a PA. And I signed up for my Managed Care Plan as required, Paramount Advantage, and have I heard anything from them? No. I did learn from the helpful pharmacists at Meijer that you can’t even get your PA in advance. The prescription has to be rejected first, THEN they fax the doctor, so you could be looking at an extra 3 – 5 days for your medications, which most likely, are needed right away.

I realize that I should be grateful for a supportive (especially financially) extended family; that my daughters are healthy and I’m not any sicker than I am. I feel foolish complaining about having trouble with my government benefits when at least they exist for people in my situation. From my former experience in the ignorant working world, I know this makes me one of the most despised subgroups in the country. And you wanna know what? Yes. I do have an iPhone. And yes, I do take terrible, terrible selfies with it.

“I’m a loser baby, so why don’t you kill me… (you know what I’m sayin’?)” – Beck

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Happy 2014 – I’m still here

Perhaps not too many of you noticed my absence, but I do want to apologize to those who did. Things were so difficult for me and my family that I just couldn’t write about them in this public forum. But thanks to a few good friends I did begin feeling motivated to write some autobiographical fiction, which I will move to the third page here. The desire to blog came following after, naturally.

I want to be completely honest about the way things are. Both John and I are unemployed. John has been doing odd jobs: tree work, snow shoveling, website developing for a little bit of cash flow. I worked extremely hard to get us on Medicaid, which is almost finalized. I also completed my Social Security Supplemental Income application and I know it is at the State level, but the quickest that could possibly be done would be April. John keeps an eye out for good jobs he can apply for in the area – there’s one right now at our local University. But in the meantime… my mom keeps us afloat. TOTALLY afloat. We’re talking mortgage, groceries, bills, gifts, horse lessons. There is nothing that feels good about that, at 40.

On a personal level, I feel a bit housebound and have become sort of agoraphobic, and more depressed. My headaches have been tolerable to severe: I went to the ER 5 times from Oct – Nov, none in Dec, and one already in January. Seeing friends feels difficult. I went over to Paul’s last night, and once right around Christmas, but that’s it. My current migraine regimen is 10 mg methylphenidate twice per day, then Tylenol, Percocet, or Imitrex. DHE if all else fails. I also take 400 mg of B2 and 800 mg of Magnesium.

John has good days and bad days. Sometimes things trigger him and he spends entire days stuck in 1992; when the abuse happened. That is, he FEELS exactly like what he felt then, which of course is a nightmare for all of us. He has once per week appointments with a very talented psychologist, and the two of us hope to get him healed, and are switching to a paleo-esque diet to assist in doing that (we have a PTSD friend who swears by it, and might as well try).

The girls are great. Due to Hercules, Ion, and The Polar Vortex, their winter vacation was extended an entire week. For the most part, they’ve gotten along great. Asia the smooth collie mix is still the joy of our lives.

I’ve realized that part of what I need to be happy (besides work outside the home, which is unattainable) is to re-explore my friendships. As Spring approaches, I hope to see more of those people who make my life worth living. For now I need to continue caring for my sad husband, loving my crazy children and dog and batten down those headache hatches. Love to you all, and thanks, as always, for reading.

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Reclaiming My Blog (again)

Twice, this blog, LadyMigraine, was used against me in the most heinous, unimaginable ways.  Once at work (see the entry “An Open Letter”). Once within my family-in-law, to punish my sweet, deeply damaged husband, heretofore known as SirMigraine. After his brief resulting stint in a psychiatric unit, things became more and more tenuous at home as I desperately tried to get us on Medicaid, and worked in earnest on my application for Social Security Disability Benefits, and managed to celebrate Christmas… and I could not write.  I could not express myself as LadyMigraine anymore, even though I am, more than ever, suffering and wanting to share.  I just couldn’t bring myself to possibly give anyone else ammunition to use against my family. For example, Sir interviewing for a great job. “Ah – we see here your wife has a blog – a, uh, ‘Lady Migraine?’ She sure sounds… like she, uh, takes up a lot of your time with that headache thing there.”  My blog has been tainted. It has caused pain. Even if I try to think about how in a way, the resulting changes were for good, it is hard to throw more entries out there, to give unseen enemies more ways to hurt us.

Then, the woman I’ve been friends with for longer than anyone else (of course we had our ins and outs and ups and downs, we were 13 when we met) suddenly lost her husband of 17 years. There was no warning. It happened in the middle of the night, early Christmas Eve morning. This friend is the kind of friend who knows me better than anyone other than my mother and my brother.  This is the kind of friend I would drop anything for, lickety split, the moment she needed me. And she needed me. And I went to her. I brought her books we’d loved, a stuffed animal we’d shared, stones I hoped were infused with some sort of healing magic. I went to the viewing and sobbed when I saw she’d had to have an open casket after all. I’d been in their wedding, fighting bitterly with my almost-ex boyfriend and wearing a beautiful gown of plum. I cried. I went to the funeral. I cried. Another bridesmaid had come up from Kentucky and we held each other up. Their one daughter. Not fair. Nothing is fair ever.  This in particular was not fair. 

I text her every day. I read Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking so that I could better understand what she’s going through, then I gave the book to her to keep. My friend, she’s always been the strongest woman I’ve ever known. My friend has the City in the palm of her hand. When she is back at work, it’s as close to peace as she’s going to find. Yesterday, she asked a favor of me. She asked me to write. She’s been reading my writing since we were 13, when I crafted ridiculous fantasies about our lives as a way to escape our lonely, awkward ones. She said in an eloquent text today, “I’d love to see you consider doing something with your writing. You have a gift… you want healing for me and I want it for you as well.”

Who could read that without taking it with the utmost seriousness? We had just been smacked with how temporary life is, after all. And other friends, people I trust, my husband, had recently been encouraging me too.  Don’t wait any longer.  Write what you know.  Use your headaches. Do it.

Here are the first attempts: you can find most of my autobiographical fiction within this blog:

The Migraine Diaries

I.
Tiny little head, big bed. Diffuse curtain light too bright. Is it supposed to feel this way? Drifting miniature fairies dance the length of the beam. “Dust,” mama whispers, pressing the cool cloth gently across my forehead. It hurts more on the other side, but I don’t tell her. I close my stinging eyes, then open them quickly in astonishment. It HURTS. Wait – why? Did I hit my head outside in the chicken coop where there are no chickens? Did the doggie knock me down? Focusing briefly again on the bright stripe and its dust angels – o no not there – quickly look away at a dark corner and notice to my astonishment they are still there, even out of the pain-light. Clear, dancing squiggles. Blink eyes. Still there. Mama still patiently pressing the middle of my forehead, but the cloth feels like ice cream Kleenex.

“Mama,” I murmur, trying not to let the pain and anxiety turn my voice to a whine, “The dust fairies are everywhere, even in the dark.” A deep sigh lifts her reassuring weight away for a moment. “Well honey I haven’t really had time-” Sudden silence. She sits up, removes the cloth, and looks at me for a long moment, her father’s torment newly fresh in her mind. “Look over there, sweetie.” She points at a blank wall.”Do you see them?” I nod, not knowing if this is the right answer. Mama sits still, her face flickering with thoughts and memories. “Do you see anything else, like – like blank spots or flashing lights?” I shake my head. Ouch. No. 

Mama unfolds the damp washcloth and puts her whole young, pretty face in it, her auburn hair now catching the late afternoon stripe of sun. I squint and watch embers dance along its strands. How I want hair like my beautiful Mama’s. She lifts her head quickly, her mouth a straight line. “What side does your head hurt on, Samantha?” All of a sudden she understands that part of it and I try to smile, though somehow that hurts as well, and Mama does not respond.

“This side,” I say with relief, gesturing to the area above my left eye. Mama sighs again and re-folds the washcloth to the perfect size, placing it now directly over the pulse of pain, the pain that came from nowhere. She leans over me again, and I, and my pain, are home. “I so did not want this for you…” she whispers, and I don’t understand.

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