Aaaand back to reality. As predicted, today the migraine has mostly gone, and so has my imaginary tumour. Two days of a migrainous gunge-filled head has left me emotionally as well as physically reeling. The lingering sickness and fogginess, and the impulse to move my head the absolute minimum is so familiar to me. It's been a while, but my body remembers it well. The emotional repercussions are something else.
It has been one year, 13 weeks and a day since I had this kind of migraine. I can date it so well as that was the day they found my tumour. That day marked a big pin in my lifeline, a clean split creating a before and an after. And it turns out I had thought I could count migraines in the 'before' part.
Although I have had migraines since surgery, they have been totally manageable. I took two paracetamol and went to bed for a couple of hours. Felt rubbish for the rest of the day but was able to function as normal within 24 hours. I always knew this could have been pregnancy hormones, but there was just a tiny chance that surgery had improved them, for good.
I hadn't put much conscious thought into it but after yesterday I realise that, subconsciously, I believed I'd been cured. I haven't had a migraine for nearly ten months. Unheard of. And that was well easy to deal with. It has been a real blow coming to the realisation that I haven't been cured.
Before all this kicked off I lived in permanent fear of migraines. Not least because I can't work through them, and I feel like such a fraud taking time off work with no visible symptoms. Does anyone believe me? Does anyone know what this is like? It's isolating in the way that I can't even describe how wrong it feels. I used to get them regularly, about every two months. They would last three days and there was nothing I could do about it. No way of working and no way of escaping the horror.
I was walking paranoia. I avoided caffeine like the plague, ran away from camera flashes, didn't drive at night because of car headlights, and if out at night at all, would stare at my own toes just in case. Waiting for trains was a nightmare, they always have their lights on and catch one by accident entering a station? Blind panic for half an hour. I lived in fear. Don't even say the word in case it brings one on. Don't even!
But now they're back.
I'd been enjoying my migraine-free life, I've been drinking tea, not getting enough sleep or drinking enough water. I've been downright frivolous with camera flashes. It has been great fun, not living under the paranoia of a looming migraine. Now that I know I'm not cured, I don't see how I can avoid that paranoia again. It's been a depressing realisation to come to.
Work was one thing, I would have to call in sick no matter how much I didn't want to. There was no way I could work. The terrifying thing is, you can't call in sick to a five month old baby.
Thursday, January 02, 2014
Wednesday, January 01, 2014
And so it begins. I have become incredibly skilled at compartmentalising worry. I used to be a right worrier, always planning and worrying. Worrying and planning. What if I'm late? What if I've got the wrong present? What if it rains? What if my brain tumour grows back?
I have learnt to let go of the worry by either working through the logic (take an umbrella, nobody will die) or by accepting there is nothing I can do about it (I might die, how will worrying help?).
But sometimes I just worry. Before I've remembered that I don't worry anymore.
Yesterday I got a migraine. Not like the ones I had during pregnancy, when a few paracetamols and a bit of sleep would sort it out. One like I used to get, back when I had a brain tumour.
In the depths of a migraine it's difficult to act normally. The all encompassing pain, disorientating loss of vision, the full body sickness and something else indescribable makes me not quite function properly. I can't make decisions, I forget which drugs to take, I fumble and mumble and worry. This canNOT be normal.
And so it begins.
With the darkness surrounding the episode I am hardly at my most rational. I'll be fine tomorrow but I wanted to capture it. It's back, I can tell. I'm going to walk over the road and ask nicely for an MRI. Then I'll know. I'll be able to see a big white blob. A reason, an answer, everything fitting neatly into boxes with answers and solutions. (Although let's not think too much about solutions.)
I know it's ridiculous. But The Feeling is back, the gnawing, dawning, whining worry I must ignore to carry on.
Roll on tomorrow, and normality.
Ah yes, and HNY everyone, may 2014 treat you kindly xx