Friday, July 26, 2013

Migraine roller coaster on the roll

Santa Cruz boardwalk

Rolling South

Last week we packed up the van and headed south on our annual road trip from northwest Washington to Santa Cruz, Calif.  This seasonal Washington to California migration has been a part of my entire adult life.  I left my native California to move to Oregon and later Washington at age 24.  One or two times a year I would return to visit my parents.  Eventually, my husband, then my children became part of these journeys.  My father and then my mother died, and for a couple of years, I had seemingly left my home state behind for good.  Then my youngest son settled into Santa Cruz with a job and a girlfriend, and I found myself, like a seasonal laborer, once again committed to heading south on a regular basis.  This feels right that I get to come 'home' again once or twice a year.  

MBARI open house

Herky jerky pain

But year by year my trips have been punctuated by worsening pain.  The trajectory is scary, and when we hit the freeway to head south this year, I was filled with trepidation.  In spite of a recent cervical radio frequency ablation, my headaches continue to be daily or every other day.  I awake with a migraine, which responds (thankfully) to DHE injections, and the pain slowly subsides over the course of hours.  For the remainder of my day, I am limp, exhausted physically and mentally.  The following day I awake more or less ok and slowly surface to a day without major pain, but I'm often batting zero in the energy league.  Sometimes I do okay and have a day or two of relative normality before I am jerked back to survival mode by the pain.  The feelings of illness, pain, and icky recovery are relentless.  Right now it's hard to believe this is anything but a slippery slope.  Camping and being on the road have been hard, hard, hard this year.

Santa Cruz beach fires

Emotional roller coaster

There are days, weeks, months when I tolerate all this fairly well, but right now I have just had it.  I am done in, out of patience, angry and depressed.  All this while attempting to travel.  As always, I have resources and an idea or even several ideas about what I must do when I get home in a couple of days.  But this time around, this trip - I feel beaten up by the angel of migraine.  

Dinner at Vasilis

High points in spite of it all

Yup, even though I am currently in shitty shape, there have been good days and sterling moments.  And this is what I'll try to remember:  getting a disc golf lesson from my hysterically funny son, going to the annual open house at MBARI or the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute where he works, going out to dinner at Vasilis Greek Restaurant in Santa Cruz with my family, camping in the redwoods, swimming in the Merced River in Yosemite National Park, swimming in the ocean in Santa Cruz, photographing the Santa Cruz boardwalk and amusement park at sunset with my husband and son, and just being together one more time.


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