I'm going to have to live with this. There is no immediate fix, no sure cure, and no answer as to if this will ever go away except likely not. I didn't want to imagine the rest of my life dealing daily with pain. I didn't want to have to take another medication. I wanted to hear that with a snip, clip, or treatment, I'd be rid of this thing and I'd never have to feel pain so intense that I want to leave my body again. It isn't going to be so.
I spent yesterday wondering how in the world I was going to find the support I need to muster up the motivation to do the work I need to do to not just live with chronic migraine and nerve damage, but to live well. Seeing my grandparents in their transitioning to the next stage of existence, I've done a lot of thinking about quality of life. Quality of life matters a great deal to me.
The thing is, I've been fighting for something my whole life. I've been fighting to be acknowledged, respected, and for my basic human rights since I was a child. If I wasn't fighting for myself and protecting myself, then I was doing it for someone else who deserved fighting for. I'm tired of fighting. I'm tired. I'm ready to be carried some. Life is to be enjoyed as much as it is to struggle through.
Not too long ago, I talked with a life long Christian who had begun to wonder if there really would be something after death and if it would be kind. I told her that if she really believed what she professed to believe, then death is just a step into the future and not to be feared. Sure, there's anxiety anytime we are dealing with unknowns, but to really fear death can cause unnecessary pain. There is something for all of us to believe about death that can pacify fear whether or not we are faithful to a religion.
If I take my own advice, and I truly believe what I believe about life, purpose, and God, then I know this added chronic condition is an opportunity for growth, understanding, and personal freedom. I, the introvert, would like a team for this though. Me, who has always preferred to work alone wants a team. I've supported women in labor; speaking gently, massaging, seeing to their comfort as they came into their own as a mother. They transformed before my eyes and came into a realization that you cannot come to except for in the act of birth as I spoke to their strength. I would like a doula - a cheering squad - a friend.
To step back into my name and do this thing, I need to be able to have rest and reward. I'm already putting forth a lot of effort to make my body temple serve me well. The most important thing for me to do right now is reduce stress and find more effective ways of coping with the stress I will inevitably experience. As everything is an opportunity, dealing with stress has the potential to change my worldview and bring balance to my life. Stress doesn't have to be the bad guy that brings only pain. But, to experience stress in the positive, I am stepping outside of my comfort zone and asking for encouragement from others. I'm baring my heart, reaching out, and accepting that sometimes a kind word from another, a motivating quote, an ancient verse is the strength you need to breathe the next breath and be glad for it.
At this very moment, I'm fighting the urge to not erase this whole thing and think of it as whining. I'm fighting the guilt that is self imposed for not being the friend I might have needed to be for someone else. The ego is stepping in and attempting to make me feel unworthy of feeling the love of others. Maybe this whole thing is God's way of helping me learn to really accept that we are the embodiment of God's love and accept that this love doesn't always have to originate in my own heart. This may be when I finally am able to let down my guard while still being that warrior and defender I have always had to be. Who knows what this is? I only know that for the sake of my children and husband, I cannot let this get the better of me.
Kelli Hansel Haywood is the mother of three daughters living in the mountains of southeastern Kentucky. She is a writer, weightlifter, yoga and movement instructor, chakra reader, and Reiki practitioner.