This photo was taken at a reading earlier this fall, the release party for an anthology I’m excited to be part of. It was a good night. I had fun. I felt good.
But also I didn’t feel good–nights are hard for me, and that was a higher-than-usual pain night. I spent half of it hiding in dark corners trying to out-wrestle a migraine. I left early. I crashed the next day.
When I look at this photo, what comes to mind is the 10 of Wands. In tarot, this is the card of the over-burdened worker: bent, weary, barely able to take another step. This dude is not well.
This is the truth that I have come to: I am not well.
Fanny needs to take a damned load off.
For ten years, as of this December, I have lived with chronic daily migraine. Some days are better than others–but, to be clear, I have had a migraine every single day. Every day. For a decade.
That takes a lot out of a person.
To anyone inclined to message me with well-intended suggestions, please don’t. I’m not a fan of unsolicited advice in general, but particularly about such a subjective experience as disability. Whatever it is–copper earrings, CBD oil, botox injections, your boo the chiropractor–rest assured, I’ve heard about it.
What you may not realize is this: over the last ten years I have been through multiple medical marathons trying to find either a cause or a cure. I have a backlog of really awful stories about doctors and panaceas. I’ve got a file cabinet full of those stories, actually. And even if I haven’t yet tried your thing, please believe that I’ve been there, done that. If it’s that supercalifragilistic, I’ll find out in my own time.
Right now? I’m tired. Also I’m still very sick. Worse than when I started.
For 8-9 years out of 10 my migraines were fairly well managed, thanks to prescription pain medicine–not ideal, no, but sufficient to get me through the long crisis of having an atypical child with the world stacked against him. And then a surprise child who has her own net of tricky needs. I got by for a very long time–hell, thrived even. But that strategy has run its course.
Now, in addition to the daily migraines that are at least mostly kind-of managed, I’ve developed a new type of daily (yup daily) Super Migraine that quite literally stole a year of my life. These migraines are so bad it can be hard to even get out of the chair, and they don’t give a squirrel’s ass about my pain meds. They laugh at my pain meds, Ha Ha, and then they just go on drinking my life’s blood from my skull like fucking Pain Pirates.
Also. As I’ve mentioned here and there, I am in the early stages of the same kidney disease that my uncle died from and that my mother is dying from. So far all of my blood panels come back good enough, but my kidneys are very large and cystic and painful. They slow down digestion, pick fights with my girlie-time problems, and feel generally like a sack of rocks strapped to my torso.
Also, also: I have injured discs in my neck and my lower back. They flare up fairly regularly. I have neuropathy and widespread pain that is likely related to the spinal stuff. Spice of life.
None of this is brand-new. The thing is, I’ve been focused on other things (my kids and my career) for a long time, without enough spoons left to give gentle, sustained care to these things in me that are hurting.
I think this may be the root of the writer’s block I’ve been suffering since last summer: my body is in trouble. Real trouble. And if I spend all my time in my mind, just putting band-aides on the problems, things are never going to get better.
BUT. The good news is, I think a change is finally before me. Having both kids in school full-time is a huge thing. Having my oldest finally stable for the first time since toddler-hood–that’s also a huge thing.
Huge as in… I have space now. I have time. I can breathe.
Godz willing, maybe I can even heal.
So that’s what I’m going to be working on for the foreseeable future: cultivating a better relationship with my mortal coil. I suspect I will be posting a lot about it. Fair warning.
I’m starting with honesty. I’m sick. I hurt–a lot. There’s a lot I can’t do right now. I need to slow down, take on less. I need to ask for help, or say no. I need to listen to my physical self and speak for it. I need to be honest.
And honestly, I feel lighter just admitting this–to myself, to my family, and to the You.
So thanks for that.