I am a wimp when it comes to physical suffering. I am clueless how to tie my suffering to God's suffering, in offering it up, so to speak. Ok, technically and mentally, I get it. I understand it and in theory I know how to do it. In reality? Well, in the throes of a migraine attack, I am not thinking of offering it up. I cannot even think of the simplest of prayers, "Jesus!" I am thinking, "When will this pain end?!" Actually, that's inaccurate. In reality, I am NOT thinking. I am one wall of intense pain. So, how do I overcome this? I do not know. Perhaps you do, dear readers. Are you a victim of physical suffering? Have you any insight? I think that it may have more to do with my prayer life while coherent and pain-free than anything, and I have felt a nudge to wear something physical, something I can hold onto, to remember, very much how a picture or a statue turns my thoughts to prayer and heaven.
I am coming off a pretty nasty migraine. I am a migraine sufferer. My first hit when I was 19, and the memory still makes me shake. Thankfully I have had long pain-free moments. I have also had nonstop migraines. I have found a list of triggers and yet many times am completely baffled when one pops up. I struggle to keep my life in balance to reduce the number of attacks. Yet, nothing prepared me for this last round.
It was the oddest experience. I woke Sunday morning feeling utterly awful, and an excruciating pain in my left calf. Knowing how I felt, I quickly took myself to Mass, without the kids, so that I did not miss it by trying to go to a later one. While there, I started to feel a light sensation, a tingling/numbing along my left side, all the while my calf in pain. From that moment until the headache finally hit (Monday late night into Tuesday), I experienced this numbness and a huge sense of fatigue along my left side, especially in my shoulder/arm. I had a hard time standing for too long, walking straight, going up the stairs, holding onto things, and even a few moments of finding it hard to breathe (when the numbness hit my rib cage). Then the headache hit and I was out.
I finally went to the doctor today, and was told I had just experienced my first hemaplegic migraine. Hema what? Don't google it... too scary. Apparently it's a migraine whose aura mimics a stroke. Thankfully I did not experience full-on paralysis as some do, just the strange sensations along my entire left side. To make this particular migraine worse, I was also hit with an occipital migraine, which is just when some muscles in the neck/head get all tight and start to spasm, leading to a one-sided blinding headache. It was a double whammy.
Thankfully I feel better, and most of my left-sided strength is returning. But what a crazy experience. I really did not know what to make of it. The doctor says I have one pass with that type of migraine, but should it happen again, we have to talk some serious medication. For now, I have a muscle relaxer / caffeine / aspirin pill for the occipital and a triptan for the regular old classic migraine. I am not sure what to do should I experience a hemaplegic one again. I did not think to ask. That's the trouble seeing a doctor when you're half out of it, even on the tail end of a migraine.
And that's probably why this post seems all jumbly and disorganized so if you read through all that, whew, you are one nice reader. I really am interested in suggestions though because the pain really does sweep away all my good intentions. If I have to have this pain, then I sure wouldn't mind putting it to good use!