Monday, August 25, 2008

rain, pain, no brain

Just briefly: my Botox is starting to wear off and I only just started Lyrica (preventive #7) last week, so that means very limited computer time for the next two weeks. I go in for my next Botox treatment on September 8, so I hope to be posting more regularly after that.

In the meantime, please check out the wonderful blogs in my blogroll. I'll try to pop in here as my Migraine brain allows.

Be well,

Saturday, August 23, 2008

guest post

If you haven't seen it already, I was featured as one of the guest bloggers on the Invisible Illness Week Blog: should I claim the label to my illness as part of my identity?

Be sure to check out the other guest bloggers featured there.

Be well,

Sunday, August 17, 2008

a bullet-point update

I'm a bit behind on posting, so let's see if I can summarize in a concise way.

  • On a related note, How To Cope With Pain is accepting entries for the August Pain Blog Carnival. No theme, just your favorite post. The deadline is August 22, so submit your entry here.
  • The August Headache and Migraine Blog Carnival at Diana Lee's Somebody Heal Me. This month's theme is "when people don't 'get' Migraine disease". Some great reads here as well (I'm still working through it). Once again, yours truly missed the submission deadline, so you'll have to wait for next month to see me included.
  • Diana Lee is now accepting entries for September's Headache and Migraine Blog Carnival. September's theme is "your best tips on improving communication between patients and their doctors". Entries are due by September 5, and you can submit them here.
  • Marijke Durning over at Help My Hurt has a new feature, the Topic of the Month. This month's is "how can you find help for your pain?" Check it out and comment with your ideas here.
  • Another plug for Help My Hurt. Marijke posted about the closing of the midwifery program at Miami Dade College in Florida. Read her full post here, including what you can do to help protect a woman's right to choose her method of delivery.
  • If you're a blogger on chronic illness, be sure to check out Invisible Illness Blog's call for submissions. National Invisible Illness week is coming up next month, and it's up to us to publicize it! Any CI sufferer, or their loved ones, will find great information at their website, here.
Okay, I think that's it for now. I hope to update again soon on a more personal level.

Be well,

Sunday, August 3, 2008

overcommitted and overwhelmed

I've been having a tough time lately. I feel like I say that a lot, but it's the truth. Dealing with my Migraine is difficult enough; add in the normal life stuff and it gets to be too much.

It is all I can do right now to go to work for 40 hours a week, and keep up basic maintenance of my health: sleep, diet, drugs. Add to that, the supplementary health stuff: doctor's appointments, phone calls to my doctors, managing my mental health, support group (MMC forums). Then all the "normal" stuff: relationships with DBF and my family, errands, bills, money, social obligations, email, reading blogs.

It's enough to make anyone tear their hair out, especially when it seems like tearing my hair out may temporarily distract from the pain of my Migraine.

I haven't even added into that list the things I want to do: vacations, trips, dinners out with friends, volunteering. Anything that will get me off the couch and out of the apartment.

Over and over, my body tells me: NO. You cannot do this or you will pay.

Back in February, the president-elect of our local chapter of AIA (American Institute of Architects) called me up and offered me the nomination as Associate Director of the Board. This is a very prestigious position, rarely offered to someone as young as me. My responsibilities include helping to steer the direction of our local AIA for my one-year term, participating in monthly meetings as well as meetings on hot-button issues, attending frequent AIA events, representing the young contingent of the AIA, and coming up with a project to work on during my one-year term. I accepted this position without hesitation, as it offers me an opportunity I've been dreaming of. Uncontested, I was officially recognized as one of the new Directors in June, and my term starts in September.

But how on earth will I be able to do this?

I had hoped, prayed, expected, assumed that by September my health will be better. But it won't be. It isn't. I can barely squeeze out a 40-hour week most weeks. How can I work as much as I'm supposed to and put in all this volunteer time? I don't think that I can.

When I was in college, pursuing my degree in architecture, I pushed myself beyond all reasonable limits to finish studio projects, finish research papers, finish courses. I graduated on time (5 years) with a double-minor, a year abroad, and enough credits for 7 years' worth of schooling. I look at that, I look at all I achieved, and I look at now. I should be able to just push through this, I think to myself. Look at all those all-nighters in school. Look at the impossible things I accomplished. Why can't I just do that now?

Because I'm sick. Even though my health first spiraled out of control in college (third year), the Topamax my first neuro prescribed worked within 2 weeks. And it worked for me the whole time I took it in college.

The obvious answer here is that when I'm healthy, I can just push through and accomplish anything I need to. When I'm sick, I can't. I need to lower my expectations and stop holding myself to such impossibly high standards. But it feels like I'm giving up.

I'm really torn about this AIA thing. I desperately want the chance to make a difference in the architectural community in my city. I would love the experience of working one-on-one with some of the (local) tops in the field. I already know what project I want to work on. But is it fair to myself, to AIA, if I don't have energy to dedicate to what I need to do? Will giving up on this feel too much like giving up? So many questions, and not enough answers.

I've already streamlined a lot of my life, gotten rid of many extraneous stresses. I've gradually withdrawn other committments, postponed my licensing exam schedule so I have more time to find a good treatment plan. I've given up so much and still my body says, not enough.

The one thing I want more than anything else, is a return to some bit of normalcy in my life. Everything feels chaotic, subject to the whims of my head. Will today be a good day or bad day? Will the Migraine control everything, or can I ignore it for a while. And the underlying question: when will I break this Migraine? When will the pain stop? Will I have to live with this screwdriver in my eye socket for the rest of my life?

If I don't do this now, when will it ever happen? What if I never get better?

(Much more to write, but my head is telling me it's time to get off the computer. The story of my life.)

Be well,