Monday, August 27, 2012

What's a little headache?

I hear the questions many times every day now from my compassionate friends. How are you, Shelley? Are you better now? Is your headache gone yet? Is there anything we can do for you? Do you need anything? Is Loren taking care of you? Have the doctors given you any idea of what's going on? How long is this supposed to last? What are they doing to help you get better? What's going on with you? I heard you were in the hospital? What happened? The list goes on...

I'll try to answer as many of them as I can right here. On Aug 1st, I started having some strange wobbly changes in my vision. I decided to go rest in our bedroom, and Loren and the kids began watching a movie in the living room. Over the next couple of hours, I had the worst headache I've ever had. It was so bad that I could not move at all or even speak. I thought I should go to the hospital, but I couldn't do anything about it. It subsided a bit, and I was able to get up and take a hot shower and go to bed. I slept okay, but in the morning, I still had this wobbly vision and terrible headache. I also started seeing things that were not there. Mostly shadows and textures and movement. I didn't tell Loren any of this until after we went to church where we were visiting some people. But when we came out of the building, Rachael was walking beside me. I noticed that she stepped down, but when I looked, I could not see a step. All of this together alarmed me, and when we got home I called the nurse hotline for our insurance company. The nurse told me to hang up and call an I asked my parents to drive me to the ER.

Over the next few days, lots of tests were run (CT scan, MRI, lumbar puncture, blood and urine analyses), but everything pointed to migraine. It turns out there's this type of migraine called an intractable migraine. It just means that nothing they throw at it works. I spent all week in the neurologist's office getting infusions and changes in medications and dosages, but still the splitting headache. Now I'll pause here to say: I've had horrible migraines all my life. I had even been on preventatives before. This headache was like nothing I have ever experienced. I really thought at first that I must be experiencing a brain aneurysm and about to die. I could not imagine living through that amount of pain. Thankfully, that part came and went. I only experienced it a few times through all this. The other symptoms also come and go like rolling waves: nausea; blurred vision (a very simplified way of explaining what I see); hallucinations; changes in smell, taste, and hearing; balance issues; dizziness.

The neurologist put me in the hospital so they could watch me more closely and try to manage the pain better while they tried to find the right combination of medications to get the symptoms to a more tolerable level, which is all they have ever given me any hope of doing so far. I was very eager to get out of the hospital and back home to my family and friends. It is much easier to cope in this environment. I was there for a week. I've been home a little more than a week.

If you ask Loren how I am doing, he is going to say that I am healing. That is what we both believe. It doesn't mean that my symptoms have disappeared. It means that we serve a God who is Healer, and we believe He is performing His healing work, in His way, in His time, in my life. It also means that Loren dislikes sharing details. :-) If you ask me how I am doing, I may feel up to sharing details. If not, I'll tell you that I'm healing. :-) The one question I think I hear the most is if I still have a headache. I'll try answering that one. My head hurts. A lot. It has stopped for hours and hours at a time, but there is always the blurred vision or nausea or whatever. And any sudden sounds or movement across my field of vision or any kind of stress at all will immediately cause my head to pound and everything in my vision to start bouncing wildly out of control. I also feel confused and lost. The more there is going on around me, the more confused and lost I feel.

Ultimate embarrassing mama moment: I had to take Zechariah to the doctor. Or, my mom had to drive me to take Zechariah to the doctor. When I got up to the receptionist's window, she asked for his date of birth. There were two different TVs in the lobby playing two different stations, and the room was full of people talking. I stammered and stuttered and thought and looked at the lady hopelessly. Not surprisingly, she rolled her eyes at me. What kind of mother doesn't remember her child's birth date? "I need to see his insurance card." she said next. I squinted and shuffled through my stack of cards, trying to make sense of the letters dancing around on them, located what I hoped was the right one, and handed it to her. "Did you remember it yet?" I did, finally. Ugh.

I do catch myself wondering how much longer this will be the definition of my life. My friends, if you would lift me up...still...I would be so grateful. I know there are greater challenges, greater pains, being faced by people every day, all around the world. I have faced greater challenges and pains myself, but perspective is a cruel comfort. And yet, our God changes not, and His compassions fail not. He is faithful to provide all I need. That He has proven to me time and again. I trust Him in this.

No comments: