It wasn’t until the birth of Mackenzie that I experienced severe headaches. I started having debilitating migraines that thankfully resolved once the hormones leveled out. Luckily, even during the worst migraine, I could pop a couple of Excedrine and find relief.
You may have seen me mention my good friend “Larry”, the brain tumor I was diagnosed with earlier this year. Larry is metastatic Breast Cancer and he is happily sitting on a nerve that causes radiating pain from the back of my head, across the top and all the way to the front. I now deal with chronic headaches. These headaches have become almost the new norm. I am learning how to incorporate them into my day as I would brushing my teeth or eating lunch. I am no longer able to just pop an Excedrine, well I could but I would be at risk of further damaging my debilitated kidney (thank you chemo and Lupus).
When you don’t feel good the majority of the time you learn to adjust your priorities. Those priorities are based on moment to moment survival. I have a business to run, I am a mom. I have to be able to function! So, when Larry starts kicking and screaming, I have to quickly decide which course of action is going to allow me to stay upright with the lights on. I increase my water intake, I add some all natural electrolyte powder with B and C vitamins to my water, I slather my DIY essential oil headache remedy all over, and if need be, I take a Tylenol to hopefully take the edge off. On the days that works, I can live my life, run my business and be a functioning member of society. On the days it doesn’t, well, I shut myself in a dark room, close my eyes and wait for Larry to shut the hell up.
Does it surprise you to hear that some days, I just have to stop and rest? It surprises me too, but the reality is, I am still fighting this cancer and some days, my body just needs to stop. Since taking myself off of chemotherapy a little over 4 months ago and focusing on a completely holistic healing process, my hair has grown back, my skin has regained its natural glow and I can smell and eat food without needing to know the location of the nearest rest room. I frequently get comments like, “How long have you been cured?” to which Larry laughs, and I politely respond to with, “I am still fighting.”
Chronic illness is a balance between surrendering and fighting. Some days you have to surrender, momentarily, to the needs of your tired body. The remaining days, you fight like hell to not only persevere but to function as normally as possible. My disease is invisible, just like so many other silent suffers. Just because you may not see how hard we are fighting to keep smiling, keep breathing and keep functioning doesn’t minimize just how much hard work it is.
“Sometimes the strength within you is not a big fiery flame for all to see, it is just a tiny spark that whispers ever so softly ‘You got this. Keep going.’” – unknown