“Chronic pain is no joke. It’s every day waking up not knowing how you’re going to feel”~ Lady Gaga
I suffer from migraine and fibromyalgia. Everyday when I wake up, the first thing I do is sensing whether any body part including my head is hurting. I cannot make plans about tomorrow, because I don’t know if I’m going to feel okay. Very few lucky days when I’m not hurting physically, I try to achieve everything possible. I cook, clean and tend to my chores. There’s one thing I do, no matter how I feel and that’s taking care of my son and my dog. Even that, some rare bad days that I’m sleeping through, my husband fills in for me, alongside his job. There are a lot of things I can complain about, but few things I’m absolutely thankful for are the few people in my life who have stood by me through thick and thin. My family and friends like family make life worthwhile and they are the reason I’m able to smile, no matter what.
Yesterday, I got Botox injections on 32 spots in and around my head for my migraine. Today I got 4 extremely painful trigger point injections on my back for my fibromyalgia. My stroke was due to an aneurysm, but till date no amount of tests and the best of doctors have been able to find the reason behind my migraines and fibromyalgia. Yesterday, after the Botox injections, I wanted to scream out loud and cry. But my family had come to pick me up from the hospital and I had to keep my brave face on. My son cries if I cry, so I can never tell him that I’m not okay. Especially after the stroke, he’s always concerned about me. So, as soon as I got into the car, I started my usual goofy jokes. This was at noon. And at night, when I tucked him to bed, he told me “Don’t worry Amma, you’ll be fine tomorrow.”
That moment broke me, I hugged him tight and thankfully since it was dark, he didn’t see my tears. I told him he’s the best thing to ever happen to me!
I don’t think my chronic pain is going to ever leave me. But, God has been kind enough to bless me with an amazing husband, a beautiful child and a loving faithful pup and tons of friends and family to help me deal with it.
My chronic pain, just like mental illnesses, is not visible to others. It gives me a brain fog and most of the time I can’t think clearly. To top it off, I was bestowed with a short term memory loss after the stroke. Case in point: After completing my (32) botox injections, I was waiting by the elevator and when it reached my floor and the doors opened, I froze. I couldn’t remember where I was going. An old grandpa in the elevator, seemingly irritated with the hold up, shouted, “You coming in kid?”.Now, I get scared with loud sounds and tones, so, without blinking, I just rushed into the elevator and pressed 1. Thankfully that’s exactly where I was headed! What I’m trying to say here is, you never know what the other person is going through. Practice kindness. Not every disability is visible. Be empathetic. Hold the door open for the person behind you. Be patient and wait for your turn in a queue. Offer to help a person who evidently looks like is struggling with something. If a person seemingly can’t decide fast, tell them, “It’s okay. Relax and take your time.”
You know one of the things that scares me the most these days? Standing in a queue to make a payment. As it is I fumble with my words and purse and God forbid the cashier tells me to tap or swipe the card myself! Even this simple thing is hell for me! Then they start with comments like, “It’s right in front of you ma’am!” and I give up. Almost ready to cry.
Why should I be made to feel ashamed of myself? Shouldn’t I feel proud that I showed the courage to come out and maneuver all by myself? My chronic pain or my stroke is not my fault. Please don’t make me or anybody feel that way.