Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Coming out of the fog

I'm finally coming out of a long winter's fog;
 the sunrise slowly lighting the road ahead of me.
My cousin Jared White took this picture. He's a brilliant photographer. Check out more of his stuff on his blog, Photology: Project 365.

Fortunately & Unfortunately…March pretty much sucked.

Quit looking at me like that. Rolling your eyes in disappointed-mother fashion. I know you tune in here for your daily (well, maybe monthly) laugh and I’ve been absent. Well, if you don’t know by now that us humorists are really just normal, occasionally depressed people who may have trouble dealing with crap in their lives from time to time, wearing clown costumes and face paint to make you laugh, well then, you’ve never heard of Richard Lewis. Or Richard Jeni. Or Richard Pryor. Or any comedian that’s had a stint on SNL. Two things you clearly want to avoid: naming your child Richard or having them work on SNL. My name’s not Richard, but it starts with R. Close enough.

To recap my life since my last post in….February (has it really been that long?), I’m going to do it in child-story format. We’ll ease back into this blog writing/reading thing together in 10-15 minute increments.

 My Life Since February

Unfortunately, after a really long winter, a huge snowstorm, and a few issues with my husband, I woke up one morning at the beginning of March with a headache.

Fortunately, I was still breathing and I had plenty of Ibuprofen in the house.
Unfortunately, the Ibuprofen didn’t work.

Fortunately, I had made plans to go to Arizona (and escape the grey New England winter) to visit my grandparents and family. Unfortunately my original flight was cancelled because of snow, but fortunately I rescheduled my trip for the beginning of March.

Unfortunately, my grandfather died before I got to Arizona. Fortunately, I was able to attend his service during my rescheduled trip as well as visit with my two grandmothers.

Unfortunately, my headaches continued during my trip, despite good weather, supportive family, and lack of snow.
Fortunately, I returned back home safely.

Unfortunately, my headaches decided to hang out with me twenty-four hours a day. And ibuprofen wasn’t working.

Fortunately, I went to see my Primary Care doctor, who was concerned about my  specific head pain and told me to get an MRI.

Unfortunately, I have a problem feeling trapped, but fortunately my husband came with me. Using the black eye mask I made it through the hour and a half MRI without freaking out. Bonus.

Unfortunately, I was expecting the worse possible outcome. MS. Brain tumor. Acoustic Neuroma. (I looked that one up online. It’s amazing what you can find when you google “head pain.”)

Fortunately, my MRI was clear.  I had nothing wrong with my brain. No lesions. No tumor. I was normal, normal, normal. “Are you under any stress?” my PC asked me. “Yes,” I replied. “A tad.” Hmmmmm, she said, jotting down notes in her notepad.

Unfortunately, the headaches, ear ringing, pain, and general malaise continued. I didn’t clean. I didn’t do errands. I didn’t do anything but want to stay in my pajamas and sleep, sleep, sleep.

Fortunately, I made an appointment with an ENT to have a hearing test and figure out what the ringing in my ears was all about.

Unfortunately, I was worried that my hearing test would hurt my already hurting ears.

Fortunately, my hearing tests were normal. My ears were not infected. They looked beautiful. My inner ear was fine. I was pronounced, normal, normal, normal. “Are you under any stress?” the ENT asked me. “Well, yes,” I replied. “A bit.” His professional suggestion was to do nothing. Wait it out. But just in case, I should see a neurologist because of all my headaches.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t see the neurologist for two weeks. I made the appointment anyway.

Fortunately, I woke up one Saturday morning two weeks ago and my headache was gone. Gone, just like that. As quick as a sneeze or a fart, they were gone. Five weeks of wanting to sever my head vanished like an apparition.

Unfortunately, I still didn’t know what caused them. What triggered them. What cheapy-plastic part in my brain snapped to make them last so long.

Fortunately, I still had my appointment with the neurologist who I hoped would have some answers.

Unfortunately, my appointment with the neurologist lasted two hours, during school vacation, and my children were home alone. Thankfully the doctor’s office wasn’t far away.

Fortunately, he gave me a complete exam. I answered a million questions about the life of my headaches. When they started (in college). Do I feel nauseous? (yes). Do I have urinary track problems? (what?)

Unfortunately, after reading my file and visiting with me, the neurologist told me...wait for it….that I was normal, normal, normal. Yes, I had migraines. I also had tension headaches caused by….tension. Was I under any stress lately? Ummmm,.... Try acupuncture, he said. Take magnesium oxide (but don’t confuse it with magnesium hydroxide, which is used to treat constipation. These are not interchangeable). Use a heating pad on your neck for 35-40 minutes to try and release the knots that are your shoulder and neck muscles. And stretch.

Fortunately, I am normal, normal, normal.

Unfortunately, the five weeks of headaches were apparently triggered by stress. Stress, that abstract noun without form or personality—you can’t feel it, touch, taste it, or put it in a paper sack, and yet, it can make you feel like a tumor is growing in your head. It tightens your muscles and fills your feet with cement. Covers your eyes so you stumble.

Fortunately, I’m in a better place now. The sun has actually come out (literally) and I’ve been able to prune my fruit trees, plant my sugar snap and shelling peas, and rake up the lawn debris from the winter. I’m back to doing laundry and picking up the house and occasionally preparing a meal. (Or ordering pizza.)

Unfortunately, there is a part of me that worries I’m going to wake up with another five weeks of headaches; or that the tiny headaches I feel everyday will morph into something larger. And of course I worry that all those many specialists missed something. But my husband would tell me that’s my worse-case-scenario-personality talking. Our counselor would agree.

Fortunately, I’m back. And not only am I back, but I also just signed up to do the monthly blogathon again this year, starting in May. And spring is here. Mostly.

That’s been my life in a nutshell, at least as much as I’m willing to divulge on the internet. I hope I haven’t lost you and you join me back here on Musings. I have a lot of stories to tell you when you return. Like I’m getting chickens. And my three-year-old told me she likes to eat boogers. And my son brought home THREE C’s on his last report card. And my husband built and installed a bat house. You’ll have to tune back in to get the juicy scoop on everything.

Happy spring!


Anonymous said...

I have missed you and your writings. Welcome back!
Sara in Flagstaff

jennymc said...

I'm glad you are back!!! Oh, and I hope to god my husband doesn't find out about your bat house...I now have visions of one in my backyard. Ewwww!

Anonymous said...

From one "normal" mom to another, I'm so glad you're back... and headache free!!! I will pray for lots of sun,less stress, and more blogs!

Dianne :)

Tara said...

Good grief, Rachel, that's a lot to deal with! And you still have your sense of humor too. I'm glad you're feeling better. Can't wait to hear about the chickens and bat house!

Fairly Odd Mother said...

Ugh, I hate headaches, though I suppose I'd take "normal" over "brain tumor" just about any day of the week. Wait, scratch "just about"--I'd always take normal.

So jealous about the chickens. Someday, someday. And I think our mutual friend Kristi told me about this site and believe we may be neighbors so if you see a tall woman sneaking into your backyard to pat your chickens, do not be alarmed. I won't steal any eggs.

Beth said...

Welcome back Rachel! Please invite my girls over to see your chickens! Spring is a marvelous medicine!