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Category Archives: migraine

This body

Last night I was not able to fall asleep, so I started working on my thankfulness list. I don’t do it every night anymore, but I still do it when I need the reminder. Or when I need the distraction. Last night was probably both.

One of the things I decided I was thankful for last night was my body.

This body. The one I’m in right now. The only one I have. The one I claim has rebelled against me for years. That has failed me. Yes, that body.

This body, that is too round, too fleshy, too fat. Too dimply. Too hairy.
This body that requires effort to haul around, with muscles that are too tight, joints that that are too painful.
This body that has acne and scars and rosacea.
This body that has allergies and vertigo, migraines and imbalance.
This body with feet that are too big, ankles that are too chunky, thighs that are too wide. Hips that are too wide. Shoulders that are too wide. Butt that is too big.
This body that has hair that is too coarse, too wavy to be straight, too straight to be curly.
This body that has fingernails with ridges, that split long-wise when you sneeze.
This body that has one patch of skin on one hand that itches unbearably but looks completely normal.
This body that has skin on both hands that are dry and crack and bleed all year ’round, that make people ask me what’s wrong with me.
This body that has one eye that doesn’t move right, so that I can’t see to my left without turning my head.
This body that has saggy arms and saggy jowls.
This body that has a stomach that is too big and sticks out to the front like I’m pregnant, but is narrower on my sides than my hips which means I can never find jeans that fit.
This body that has breasts that sag. That don’t fit into bras properly. That need to have extra padding (that I don’t freaking need) to hide my nipples.
This body that has rolls and creases.
This body that has sebaceous cysts. Sometimes in bad places. Sometimes in REALLY bad places.
This body that has trigger points and muscle spasms.
This body that has tinnitus and ears (and cheeks) that burn and turn red-purple from being flushed for no reason (and/or because of allergies).
This body that has stomach issues. Constipation. Diarrhea, bloating, gas. A bladder that keeps me awake at night after drinking less than 4 ounces of water. Or no water at all. (WTF)
This body that doesn’t allow me to sleep. Or get rest. Or feel refreshed. Or find relaxation.
This body that houses my anxiety and my depression.

This body that allows me to help take care of my parents. My husband. My brothers. My aunts and uncles. My dogs. My friends.
This body that makes soup for my mom that is the only thing she can eat the Monday, Tuesday, and sometimes Wednesday that follows her infusions. That makes ice cream which still tastes good to her even when the chemo messes with her taste buds.
This body that carries me through the day so I can crochet chemo hats for patients who need them.
This body that moves me from place to place. That gives me the ability to raise money for charities that are important to me…charities that bring help and healing to many people.
This body that permitted me to write books that touched other peoples lives.
This body that houses my brain. And my heart. And my soul.

I want to love this body, I really do. I want to ignore all the first list and concentrate on the second smaller list…I’m trying. Some days it’s not so bad. Last night when I was trying to remember to be thankful for this body of mine…in the dark of night when I’m trying to ignore how loud and fast my heart rate feels/sounds, saying how I am appreciative for this body of mine felt worthwhile and important. Today, when I’m standing in front of the mirror and I see my naked body, it’s only the first list that crowds my mind.

Without this body–MY BODY–I am nothing. I need to remember that. I need to love my body no matter its form. BECAUSE of its function.

 

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One giant step

Backward. Fuck.

Really, I don’t want to make this out to be a big deal, because I hope it isn’t. But right now, it is. And I want to cry.

*****WARNING: TRIGGER ALERT FOR THOSE WHO MAYBE BE DISTRESSED TO READ PANIC ATTACK DESCRIPTIONS********

I’ve been riding our recumbent bike three or four times a week. I was previously riding one at PT, but only for five minutes or so. I finally told them that I would ride at home, to free up that time to do things with them that I couldn’t do at home. Our bike at home (and the one at PT) has a digital read-out, that tells you all manner of things. I usually lock it on one screen that keeps me in tune with how fast I’m pedaling and how far I’ve gone. Sadly, it also tells me my heart rate, if I’m holding the handles. I specifically only check in on my heart rate 3-4 times during the ride, so I can see where I am, but not focus on the number.

Tonight I decided that I had a book to read–I rarely have new books to read anymore–so I would try reading on the bike rather than just biking to music. So I brought the book in with me and turned on the radio. And about four or five minutes in, despite the attempt to read, I realized I was making myself motion sick. I have that issue in cars and on boats–and sometimes on dry land while doing nothing because of my stupid vertigo/imbalance issues–but I didn’t even consider I would have that issue on the bike. Anyway, when I realized I was getting ill, I stopped reading and started watching the read-out instead. Because of the imbalance, I was also clutching the handles that had the heart rate measure thingy on them. Which meant I could see my heart rate as I was riding along…

And then I felt that familiar and unwanted wave of anxiety wash over my head like a wave. Down my face and neck, over my chest, down my arms. Of course the heart rate monitor went up…and up…and up. And I KNEW it was my anxiety, but each climb of the number made it worse. And I just couldn’t let go of those stupid handlebars. I slowed down my pedaling, started to try to slow my breathing. Talked to myself, reminded myself that I was okay, that exercise is SUPPOSED to increase my heart rate. That it was fine, I was fine. Over and over I told myself, and still the panic clutched at me. The anxiety pressed down on me. Wrapped me in a cocoon and suffocated me. I battled back, and continued biking. More slowly, until my time was up, even though I felt my heart beating so hard in my chest that I thought I could see it when I looked down. I felt shaky and unstable, but I stayed there, no longer pedaling, watching the heart rate as I tried to slow down. I looked up and away from the bike’s digital read-out, softened my eyes, looked at everything else in the room, tried to bring myself into the moment. Then I got up, turned off the radio and the light in the room, went and moved laundry from the washer to the dryer, and came into my bedroom. And I told Hub what happened. He asked if I needed anything, said he loved me, and let me be.

Even now, twenty minutes later, I have a terrible taste in my mouth, I have chills, and I feel wired. Still shaky. I feel sad, angry, and let down at myself.I don’t like it, and I want it to go away. The residual shakiness takes time to go away, I know, but it leaves me feeling on the edge.

I have had a headache all day and now it feels amplified. Lights hurt my eyes (last night, too). It’s potentially a migraine episode hanging around, even though I don’t generally get the classic painful migraine. Either way, it’s just adding to my lousy, along with an aching jaw from a TMJ flare…probably clenching because of the headache yesterday and today. *sigh*

So not happy.

 

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Chutes and Ladders

Do you remember the game Chutes and Ladders? Did you play it as a kid? I did. I was not a competitive child, and have remained that way as it pertains to games and board games. I like to play, but I don’t like to play cut-throat. I think it comes from being the only girl among my siblings…I hated being ganged up on, and I hated feeling left-out. I wanted everyone to enjoy the game, not lord their win over each other. There are games I refuse to play with Hub because he’s all about cut-throat wins (Monopoly for example…Hub is forever trying to make horrible trades whereby he would be taking all my money on the first go-round. What fun is that?), and that isn’t fun for me.

Okay, so anyway, Chutes and Ladders.

Chutes and Ladders board

You were supposed to make your way up the board, landing on squares that let you climb the ladder–and therefore jump ahead quickly–and avoid landing on the squares with the slides. Those damn slides that set you back soooo far in the game that it was nearly impossible to win. Unless you were playing with Mom, who cheated and fell down a slide immediately after you did so you were both in the same boat. (Love you, Mom!)

So you see that long slide in the middle of the game that originates up there at 87? And slides all the way down to 24? Ye-ah, that’s about how I feel with regards to my knees and my health in general right now. Okay, maybe just my knees (my health is probably 47 –> 29), as I feel I have slid a long way backwards, even though I am still in PT. I’m having trouble walking, both knees are attempting to give out occasionally, and I’m in pain most of the time. Even when I’m not standing, my knees are bothering me. I have to keep my legs elevated, as leaving them bent and hanging–like sitting in a chair or on the couch–leaves me in more pain. But laying in bed or sitting on the recliner with the foot support up…I have trouble finding a comfortable position. Both knees are unhappy being straight and unhappy being bent. They are unhappy going from straight to bent, and bent to straight. It sucks, as pretty much everything hurts. Walking on them is equally as difficult, as the pressure of weight makes everything feel exponentially more painful. Sleeping is uncomfortable, too, as I can’t lay on my back and straighten my knees–that hurts–and lying on my side puts weight on one knee or the other. Even with a pillow between, that weight is not comfortable. I’m not walking up and down the stairs–I haven’t for about two weeks–and I’m not going outside with the dogs (with the exception of Snow Day #2).

Top that with the back pain I’m having these days, and sleeping is very very difficult. That means I’m not sleeping, which is bad, bad, bad. Sleep is where your body gets refreshed, and with no refresh I just go further down the slide. I’ve been feeling crappy. I know that isn’t a technical term, but it’s the truth. With the bad knees, the back pain, and the not sleeping, I just feel crappy. I’m dealing with headaches, a stiff neck, and some fun positional vertigo. I’m also feeling the imbalance that waxes and wanes, but never really leaves me. It’s been more noticeable in recent days, which contributes to the crappy feeling.

Have I ever mentioned I have tinnitus, too? I am rarely ever in a dead-quiet room, because without some noise, my tinnitus gets really aggravating. I fall asleep to a radio, I read with the television on, I write with the television on, I have music on when I’m working. My tinnitus is bugging the crap out of me today. I mean, really, WTF.

And as of sometime this afternoon, I’m getting weird shooting pains up my thighs. I assume it’s a muscle thing, but who the hell knows. Tomorrow I go see T and I am guessing based on my post tonight, I’ll spend the majority of my appointment bitching about that crappy slide from square 87 to square 24.

 

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Massage Envy

The physical therapy group that I go to has recently added a Massage Therapist to their roster, rounding out the talent there that includes PT, accupuncture, and Bowen Technique. I’ve been to a massage therapist in the past–13 years ago–and I liked it very much. It is more specialized than a typical massage, and I feel a massage therapist has more training in therapeutic work than a masseuse. I was interested to see the new addition, but consider how much work I feel I needed to do in PT, I didn’t consider using the MT at this time. However, in order to boost the MT business, the group decided to give away gift certificates to clients, one free one a day for I don’t know how long. Lucky me, they decided I would get a gift certificate! So I checked my schedule against the MT’s–who is only there two days a week–and set my appointment.

I was both excited and nervous, because I hadn’t had a massage in a very long time! I had asked my Physical Therapist to speak to the Massage Therapist before my appointment, so she could be aware of the issues I’ve been working on and not make anything flare up…which she did do. So when I went in for my massage, the therapist was ready for me and we talked about what she should focus on and that she should work more lightly than normal, and we could adjust as we went along. I was very pleased with the Massage Therapist because she was kind, easy-going, and generally had a good spirit. And hot-damn did the massage feel good while she was doing it. I forgot how nice a good massage could feel, even on muscles that are tense and tender.

Immediately after the massage–which focused on my neck, shoulders, and back–I felt nice, relaxed somewhat, and glad I had the opportunity to get one. But by the time I got home after a twenty minute drive, I didn’t feel much of anything different than before the massage, except I had a headache. And by the time Hub got home an hour later, the headache was really annoying, and I felt some of my imbalance bugging me. Not bad, but like it was just hanging around the edges, waiting to get bad. By the time I went to bed I felt grumpy and off-balance even more. Brushing my teeth I felt the swimmy, floating feeling of imbalance, and once in bed I felt the on-the-boat rocking motion. As if that wasn’t all sucky enough, then I tossed and turned all night, unable to get any rest. I think I slept maybe total of an hour or two, the rest of the time I was awake, lying there, feeling exhausted and off, with a headache, tossing and turning all over.

I don’t know if this is typical for post-massage (the restlessness, I guess, because the rest of it is probably singular to me because I’m so messed up), but it makes me not want to have another massage. As much as I enjoyed the massage during, the after-affects were crappy. Even today, the day after, I feel grumpy and yucky, and a tiny headache still lingers. Bleh.

 

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