Saturday, June 5, 2010

It's gotta be a brain tumor!

You wake up in the middle of the night with a pain that is throbbing through your whole head, down your neck and you feel the panic attack setting in, taking you to a place you don't want to be. When you live with migraines you know exactly what I'm talking about.
A migraine is not a headache. And everyone who has them is effected in a different way. I just happen to be blessed with every kind of migraine there is. Some last a few hours, others last days, and then there are those clusters that last for weeks.

I remember when the first ones began to come. I didn't know what was happening to me. Not sure if the panic attacks came first or the migraines. I know when one of the firsts came I thought I was having a stroke. Everything on my right side was going numb. My head was spinning, burning, and in such pain. I couldn't see very well, and once to the hospital my blood pressure was over the threshold of safety. They took me right in, and after all the tests, they knew a migraine had taken control of my body. I was just wishing I was home, laughing again with my kids, and sitting next to my husband. But that is how they come. Out of no where.

You can never prepare yourself, and prepare for a day out? Ha! You can be on your day, having the greatest of fun, then WHAM! Out of no where here it is again. They seem to come when you are making plans, out the door, and when you least expect them. I think that is one way the panic attacks come in. You might be at the store, driving down the country road and your hand goes to the side of your head, and you know within a few minutes your gonna be down for the count.

Those first few years for me were the toughest. As I wasn't sure what was going on, the only thing I was sure of is that I was dying. I knew they overlooked something and a brain tumor was causing this great pain. I couldn't sleep at night. I would stay awake for days, knowing just as soon as I closed my eyes I was going to die, and I didn't want my kids to find their momma like that. Think it sounds crazy? I do, and it was part of my life. A part few people know of.

I cried as I knew my life was changing in ways I hated. At first my migraines were daily, and the nights were the worse. In the deepest of my pain, in the loneliness of the night I felt as though I was losing my mind.

When you try to share your pain with others, sometimes no one can understand unless they too have been there. Migraines are those visitors that can knock on your door when you are not ready. They are the visitors you want to hide from, letting them think your not at home. But many times, they come, they have their bags packed, and they plan on staying a while even as an unwanted guest. And they don't just effect you, but your family. Your whole life is changed and life is a moment by moment struggle at times.

I used to lay in bed, while my husband was at work, miles away and think I just want it to end. The pain is so real, so alive, and it takes over your body, your emotions and your thoughts. A migraine that lasts a few hours can be draining, one that lasts weeks is over bearing. It takes every last ounce of energy you have. It takes your smiles away, your laughter, and leaves you with nothing but fear. In those first few years I lived in fear and even today as I wake with a migraine that hit last night, the fear is still there in my mind somewhere.

Weather change, food, stress, dyes, chemicals, smells,light, heat,allergies, the list goes on and on of my triggers. Something that effects another in the slightest can bring me to my knees in a few moments. Something that another thinks smells beautifully, can set me on a course to pain.

And all of my migraines are not just painful, they effect me in many ways.They can be on the right side, left side, in the front, and all over. My eye sight that use to be 10/10 is no longer better than perfect. All those sandwiches I loved to eat are no longer available to me. The sun I love to lay in to ease the pain of the fibromyalgia, well, it too brings them on. Just being too hot will bring them, and sometimes not right away, but hours later. Hours later as they build and build to tear this girl apart.

Whether your migraines are severe or they are on a lesser level they are still controlling of your life. They try to take away everything, even your sanity. After you have lived with the pain, you just know something is wrong. It is one of the tricks your mind plays on you. And it is a trap Satan loves to set.

In the New Testament where it is speaking of the thorn in Paul's side (2 corinthians 12:1-10) is very real to me. Although it doesn't say what that thorn was, we know it was painful and tried to over take his life. We know that as he prayed to God, God chose to allow that thorn to stay there. You ask, "Why wouldn't God just heal him?" Sometimes God doesn't bring healing in the way we want, but he does bring a healing, and many times He can use us greatly through those thorns that tear us apart. Paul had a great ministry of fellow believers around him. They saw his reactions, and the way he lived. Even though he carried this thorn with him, he continued to live for Christ with a deep passion. In verse 8-10 it says, "Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time He said, My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That's why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, the hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong." I can't tell you how many times these verses brought me comfort. I knew I wasn't alone, and I knew God was doing a work not just through me, but in me.

Today my migraines are still here. I still have those days where I think there is a brain tumor in there, but I am at peace with my thorn. There are nights I sleep well, and those where sleep just doesn't come. But I can share, there is no longer a fear there, a deep fear as in the beginning. These migraines have become part of my life. As they have gotten to know me, I too know them much better. I was blessed to find a neurologist, a specialist in migraines, and he was able to help me a great deal. He too had migraines, and knew the pain. If you are fighting migraines, if you are living with a thorn in your side, seek the right doctor that will listen to you, that will hear your pain and fears. One who will walk with you and answer your calls deep in the night. You don't have to suffer alone. I am blessed to have my family surround me, and those close friends who have driven me to the hospital.

Living with migraines is a process. There are days that I soar, and those that I struggle. Sometimes my struggles are silent and no one knows except my husband and son. As I live with this pain, they are there to sooth the fear, to bring comfort and surround me with love. But without Jesus I would not be here today. He was there in my darkest night, the night when I said, "No more." He was there to carry me through, to lift me up, and give me the strength I needed to not just get through, but learn to live again. In my pain I have learned to be more merciful to others. I have learned to reach out more, and not allow my circumstances to take a moment of life away. Even in those dark days I find Jesus there waiting for me. I hear His voice, I feel His touch, and I know with Him I will not only make it through, but He will be healing. Healing may not mean they are gone from my life, but healing in the way that I can find a new life outside of them.
I have learned that whatever life is throwing at me, Christ is there with me. No matter what comes, His strength and love is with me. I know in my weakest moments is when He is doing the most. In my weakest times He is there. His loving hand has never left me. It is His hand that guides this girl through the worse of times and the best. I have learned to just trust Him, not just with the easy things, but with those I do not understand. If you are hurting today, turn to Him. Lean on Him, give Him all you have and He will lead you through, bringing new life where you thought was none.
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