The Calm After the (Snow) Storm

Every week or two (or three if I am holding) I have an appointment an hour and a half drive north from my home to see the only Upper Cervical Spine Chiropractors within a 6 hour radius of us.  I started these treatments (with the guidance of my Biofeedback Specialist – or should I say my “body interpreter”) with the onset of the migraines in October and began seeing positive results immediately.  It turns out the chronic neck pain I’ve had since my early 20s may have been trying to tell me something?!  I am so great at ignoring things I don’t want to hear though, so I pushed on through and accepted the pain as my normal.  Until the migraines stopped me in my tracks – its hard to ignore a screaming temper tantrum in my brain! Especially when its happening every day or so.

Today I was scheduled for a 2 week follow-up.  I should say my Mom and I were scheduled; since I have migraines, driving myself anywhere beyond downtown and back runs the risk of having one and not being able to see well, let alone drive well.  So my Mom (or Dad) have been accompanying me to my appointments and I am so grateful to them for this.

After kissing my son good-bye at school in a freshly laden winter wonderland, listening to the swish-swish of his snow pant legs running away to play with his friends in the knee-deep powder, my Mom and I exited the parking lot.  The snow continued to fall in heavy flakes as we pulled onto Highway 97, going North.  It had been snowing most of the night.  Driving through town cautiously, radio turned down, wipers going and squinting in vain to see any lines on the road, we headed into higher elevation past the airport hill.

There is a definite tenseness the body takes on when sensing danger.  Not only were my hands tightly gripped to the steering wheel, my arms, neck, back and core were all responding in kind.  I was thinking how badly I probably needed an adjustment, having three migraines in the past eight days and my neck had been especially bothersome (actually quite painful, but only bothersome if I ignored it). And Christmas was coming and we were going to be away all week, so I MUST get to the Chiropractor to control the pain body from acting up, before everything was ruined…

When the ninth logging truck passed me in the opposite direction, creating total white out conditions, I resigned my position of must.  Remember the dog’s leash, Sarah?  Remember the house with the Christmas lights?  Are you making this moment a friend or your enemy?  You will be okay.  So I found a place to pull over safely – only defined by a stop sign – I couldn’t even make out where the road was.  I sent a few text messages to anxious family to let them know the change of plans and called to reschedule the chiro appointment for tomorrow.

The 10 minute drive back into town was really horrible.  My Mom was trying to talk and take my mind (or hers) off of the situation – but I can’t honestly tell you what on earth she was saying.  I needed to keep the car on the road and that’s all I allowed myself to pay attention to.  A sigh of relief left my mouth as I pulled onto lower ground and the snow eased off.  Being able to see, after you can’t, is such a gift.  My migraine’s aura is like a snow storm.

Once we were back in city limits, I made a stop at the pharmacy to fill a prescription for my migraines, which wouldn’t be ready for a half hour.  I invited my Mom to go to the local coffee shop and sit and wait.  Sitting face to face with my Mom across a tiny table in a crowded room, is not how we usually interact.  Lately its been mostly shoulder to shoulder in the car or walking – which isn’t conducive to eye contact.

We began our conversation talking about Holiday stuff and then I asked something I had been wanting to but had also been avoiding – because I already knew the answer.  “Have you read any of my blog posts?”  Her response was as expected, she hadn’t because she’s been too busy.  Now my normal response to something like this would be hurt, frustration and anger from feeling rejection or lack of acknowledgement (Yes, I have Mommy issues too.  Don’t you?!).  But not today.  I looked at her and said “I hope you can find some time to read them.  It would mean a lot to me.  The writing is really helping me work through my anxiety.  My last post apparently helped some other people too.  I have had an overwhelming response from people reading my blog and thanking me for sharing because others are finding it helpful.”  Its not that I wanted her to read my words for praise.  I wanted her to read my thoughts and feelings and gain insight from where I am right now.

As we looked each other in the eyes, she smiled at me.  I could feel her hearing me and understanding me.  She said “I will read them.”  While the ever-growing snowflakes tumbled from above- I finally felt like I was out of it – the storm – even though I had been inside for 45 minutes.  I sat with my Mom at the tiny wobbly table, feeling connected and at peace.  Sitting with what was, I also noticed the absence of something…my pain.  Whether it was the knowledge of not having to drive through a snow storm, avoiding a nagging question, the need to connect to my Mother, or a combination of all three, my pain subsided.  My neck felt at ease and everything in my body followed suit…no adjustments to my spine by a doctor…just my own adjustment to how I ask for help and being given a response.



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