Thursday, April 1, 2010

Meet My Brain

As I make my way to the land of a once-burning Great Lake and a guy named Al Palowski, I can’t help but utilize the outlet and wi-fi this bus provides. Couldn’t tell you our driver’s name, though. I never seem to ask and always feel bad about it.

My older sister is one for over-exaggeration. One of those things that won’t leave the family lore is when she once proclaimed that no one would be in more pain than her, ever (upon getting wisdom teeth removed, if memory serves) and wholeheartedly meant it.

Part of me wants to leave my headaches out of the public conversation I’m having with myself but I think it’s an important part of this story I’m beginning to write.  Besides, I’ve carved out a foolish niche for myself:
No one will ever know how much pain I’m in, ever.

In a way, it’s not fair that I’m completely functional (to an extent; that whole operating heavy machinery thing is probably right on the border of abilities, but I can’t say I’ve had the opportunity to take the wheel of a tractor) while I feel like a spike is being methodically tapped into one of seven points around my cranium. My mother suffers from chronic migraines, and when she’s got one, she’s done. Can’t claim that, I just close my eyes and wait for the worst of it to end so I can get on with my day. So maybe it’s not a matter of fairness but of being fortunate that a headache doesn’t leave me completely crippled all day, just really uncomfortable.

Some bouts are more elongated than the normal few minute, let’s call it episode, and some are much more intense than others, and only two have ever really terrified me to the point of anxiety. Afterwards, I’m left with your run of the mill advil curing headache that lingers. And repeat. Sometimes a few times a day, some days more than 10.

It’s not pleasant, and I know I come off as icy to most all day but it’s hard to maintain a normal sense of attentiveness when it’s just inevitable that I’ll have another episode eventually. I wish they came on a schedule, like a train…

Honestly, if it was just a couple of times a day and that was all, regardless of the intensity, I’d be fine and this wouldn’t be a factor. I probably would have, in a stubborn male species sort of way, never even seen a doctor. But its those damn headaches that surface while I run that makes me bring this up. It’s the overall headache I wake up to in the morning that can prevail in a battle of will power, leaving me laying in bed with a headache instead of getting up and functioning…with a headache. Poor me.

So part of this whole return to running with purpose  nonsense is stemmed from a means to overcome what I can’t ignore. I know it’s there, can’t do much about it, so I need to stop succumbing to this crutch/excuse my headaches have provided. I’ve seen a few doctors, I’ve seen a specialist (who had me get an MRI and created some really funky pictures of my brain, as seen above. Look at that jaw, it could be no one but me…) and because they aren’t migraines (that’s where that whole functionality thing comes into play; nothing is ever a trigger like light or sound is for migraines), they are classified as just a headache.

Its taken me awhile, but I feel like I can overcome “just a headache.” Let’s find out.

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