As I get set up to type this column, the rain is steadily falling from the window behind my couch. The house is quiet and the coffee is still warm. It is Sunday morning, my favorite part of the week.
I love the slowness this weekly time brings, especially on a dreary day like today. It reminds me to slow down, to rest, and to enjoy the day and all its stillness. Everything is right in my little world.
Well, everything except for one minor detail: I have had a chronic migraine for 19 days and counting.
I didn’t realize chronic migraines exist, especially in the way it has been presenting itself in my noggin. To me, migraines meant sharp pain and sensitivity to light — a horrible, unwanted experience overall. However, my doctor’s appointment a few days ago taught me I am living proof that a wide range of vestibular migraines actually exists, yet there are very few ways to combat them.
In a nutshell, the best description of my experience is that it mimics concussion symptoms. However, these symptoms come as flare-ups for me. My dizziness is unpredictable and at times reaches a point that renders me barely able to sit up without the room spinning. Intense pressure fills my ears and travels to the base of my brain. Little black stars occasionally glisten in my eyesight when pain covers my face. Brain fog makes it rather difficult to function at a basic human being level.
I spent the first few days of my chronic migraine on the couch, resting and taking ibuprofen in hopes of relieving my symptoms and getting back to my routine, to no avail. So, I reached a point in which I decided to carry on despite how I felt. I needed to get back to writing, my part-time jobs, my favorite coffee shop, and being human again. Despite being uncomfortable, I realized that if these symptoms weren’t going away, I wasn’t going to waste my time sulking on the couch.
This isn’t to say I wasn’t taking care of myself. Of course, my physical well-being has always been my No. 1 priority. But just as important on that list is my emotional well-being. Lying on the couch all day and fixating on my problems won’t heal me — it would hinder me. It would pull me into a never-ending rabbit hole of self-deprecating thoughts as I wonder why I never catch a break with my health. I’ve had enough on my mind to deal with, quite literally, and the least I can do is try to find a balance between nursing my migraine and nursing my soul through the things I enjoy doing.
The past couple of weeks, I’ve been thinking: Chronic migraine or not, living with SMA means living with the extra weight of the baggage it brings. It means always keeping a spotlight on our health — good or bad — and rolling (pun intended) with whatever issue comes next. It means continuously searching for a balance between what our bodies and souls want, then learning to honor both.
Whether with migraines, some other ailment, or the everyday perils of living with a chronic illness, there comes a point in which we must ask ourselves: How can I make the most of this day while nurturing my body?
How can I do so in a way that my mind, body, and soul work in tandem?
Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.