Saturday, August 25, 2018

Dreaming of Deliverance

prayer flags

Something is not right


For months and months now I have been feeling ugly.  In spite of chronic migraine, I have an active, fulfilling life with a supportive husband, kids I'm proud of, friends I love and activities I'm devoted to.  But as the months passed, starting last summer or fall, I began to have progressively more trouble showing up, doing my usual household chores, taking care of my grandchildren, writing, making art .  Last December we had to cancel our annual trip to Mexico, a huge disappointment.  I cooked and then couldn't eat Christmas dinner.  When we took a spring road trip to California to visit my son and daughter-in-law, unable to tolerate the return drive, I had to fly home.

Symptoms are hard to sort, but this was/is on beyond chronic migraine, which is saying something since I usually attribute nearly all my aches and pains to migraine.  I was in constant pain, my gut totally messed up, my energy and strength way down, my anxiety way up, I lost 25 lbs. and the migraines assaulted me daily without respite instead of 3 or 4 times weekly.  Repeated trips to my primary care doctor and lots of blood work revealed nothing except her lack of concern.  I made an appointment, with a two month wait, for an endoscopy/colonoscopy, which was thankfully negative.

In desperation I switched doctors, finally finding a guy who took an 18% weight loss and my other complaints seriously.  I endured all kinds of imaging, again showing nothing amiss.  Over several weeks, my doctor re-adjusted my thyroid medication.  I went to a nutritionist, who put me on a low fodmap diet.  My weight loss stabilized, and the gut pain faded away as long as I didn't cheat by eating forbidden foods.  The goal is to eventually wean myself slowly and methodically from food restrictions while pinpointing those that continue to cause symptoms.

Things are looking up, but it has been a huge challenge.  In June I took my first dose of Aimovig, which cut migraine frequency to nearly zero for three or four weeks.  Then, as the dosage of my thyroid medication decreased, the migraines increased to daily events once again.

Dreaming


Technicolor

I rarely remember my dreams, but a few weeks ago during the worst of my trials, I had a stunning breakthrough dream.

I am pushed out of an airliner, wearing a cowl or perhaps a shroud.  In alarm, free falling, looking for a way out, knowing there is none, I begin to enjoy the ride, marveling in weightless ease at magnificent stars in the black night sky.  I splash down in a wine-dark sea.  Floundering in my heavy garment, I slip out of it and swim gleefully free.  I am plucked from Mexican waters by a dark-haired, local woman in traditional dress.

It is a lovely dream, arriving when I need it most.  I spend satisfying days drawing and coloring my vision, finally tacking it up on the wall where I rely on it to help me keep the faith.  On a recent weekday morning, I make hotel and airline reservations for our annual December trip to Zihuatanejo, Mexico.