8.857 Weeks

Song Dedication: Samurai Cop (Oh Joy Begin) by Dave Matthews Band

When a baby is born we measure their age in days and eventually weeks…with more passing hours we finally calculate by months until they turn 2…and then hopefully you’re not that parent (because you might be offended by my next generalization) who continues to identify their toddler in months (eyeroll, sorry) as in, “Oh yes Wyllox (the X is silent) is now 36 months and was just accepted to the Montessori Gifted Tot Program.”

I wrote about Day 19 of living without chronic migraine on August 12th of this year.  Today I am measuring in weeks because this ‘baby” is growing up quick and I need to capture the essence of this proud moment that I birthed for myself.

So, what does 8 weeks and 5 days being migraine-free (after 10 months of chronic migraine) feel like?  I am going to tell you, as I tell myself, because this write is for posterity.  The last blog post about a successful stretch of no-migraines was the first 19 days of this now regular occurrence.  At that time I was still trepidatious over this new clarity and freedom, knowing the other shoe might just drop at any time and balancing this knowledge with acceptance and gratitude for every day I (and my family) didn’t have to suffer.

And so I’ve carried on using my deeper reservoir of energy – usually bone dry from migraine attacks – to do other important work. Whether it was spending quality time with my family, cooking healthy meals from fresh and real ingredients to walking my dog every morning, writing,  independent spotty yoga practice while my yoga teacher is doing her own self-care work on sabbatical in Peru, drawing and photography, more writing, reading, attending my various health appointments, trying to make meaningful connections with friends, meditating, defining my life’s purpose and then writing some more on my phone in the car or on my mac while drinking water from a jar…in a box a011222454946b3fdbd5aa2315e2e4f2with a fox…with a mouse in a house…limiting my viewing to one tepidly depressing episode of Ozark a night and my poor attempts to sleep a solid 8 hours. Oh! And then the latest, my pop-up shop in the basement to sell my wears…man you can get some shitdone when you aren’t under the constant threat of brain invasion!

So here it is in all its carefully cultivated glory, an account of my 61-day-old (see what I did there? It was silly and unnecessary) stretch of not-one single fucking migraine:

It looks like clear eyes drinking in all the sunshine and light refraction my human eyes can process rather than sheepishly looking away for fear of triggering the aura. Eyes wide and seeing; making eye contact, acknowledging others presence, reading text with full comprehension fluently and efficiently.  Seeing difficult moments with my little boy and being able to look through a lens of compassion, instead of judgement and exasperation (that last one still happens,  but mostly momentarily and then subsides to a dull (if not non-existent) roar of my former disregulated self).

It feels like being released from a dark basement cold room; the one tucked in the farthest back reach of the basement in the house on the outermost property bordering the outskirts of a forgotten one stoplight town. Overcome by the wonder of all that was taken for granted before “they” started taking hours and days from my life.  It feels warm and inviting like the authentic connections my heart has been courageous enough to mend or make with the most important people I will ever have the privilege of knowing in this life.

It sounds like joking and laughter, like singing and playing, honest answers to difficult questions followed by hard conversations that make us better  stronger.  It sounds like my son crying and me reassuring him I am there whole-heartedly, not conditionally like before.  It sounds like my favourite song turned up on all three Sonos (when our internet decides to co-operate) fully immersed as I sing along at the top of my lungs.  It sounds like joy (to me anyway).

It smells like deep inhales and even slower exhales, done (nearly) regularly throughout my busy day.  It smells like fresh cilantro and lime, or oregano and squeezed lemons, like coffee melting coconut oil, like the roses I bought my husband last week to say thank-you for how hard he works (and so many other things he’s done to support me on this journey).

It tastes like victory and vindication (for me that tastes like an ice cold Pilsner after a long day of hard work) being that I was able to say “no”.  As in No More.  No more pushing myself to unsustainable limits, no to any more pharmaceuticals, no to the Doctor’s who pushed for me to quick fix with meds (and their array of accompanying side effects) and get back to work before I was ready. No more blindly handing over my autonomy and just conceding to the GPs diagnosis, “You will have to accept that you will probably always have migraines.” I mean, is that even in the DSM or whatever diagnostic manual they passed out in Doctor School?  It tastes sweet and delicious, but not over-indulgent.

In a way I am experiencing a rebirth (at the risk of sounding way new-agey for my age).  The darkness of my illness has brought me an enlightened, full on dolby digital surround state of the art home entertainment system for my senses, and like a newborn I get to re-experience things as if for the first time ever. Oh Baby, what a gift. Congratulations Me.

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