Here's the thing, I'm struggling a little bit. Don't misunderstand - I have a fantastic life and I'm not depressed (like I was in the dark-night Prednisone-moment of last winter), but I would definitely say that this has been a year of suboptimal health.
I'm motivated to ensure that this blog doesn't become Kristin's Litany of Endless Complaints, not to mention that one's health is a delicate matter from the perspective of public discourse. But I'm all about telling it like it is, and it is somewhat tricky right now.
To dispel any erroneous speculation, I am largely in perfect health. The lingering symptoms of pertussis are all but gone - fatigue being the main hold-out. Of course, modern life is an adequate cause of mega-fatigue, I'm well aware. But this is above and beyond.
Never mind exhaustion (though it is germane and I'll return to it), I've been managing some pretty whack headaches for the last couple of years, as some of you know. I first got migraines in puberty. Yoga resolved them. My next bout was around the time I had my daughter. I assumed they were a symptom of tension at that time (though I do realize that migraines are not caused by tension). Eventually they went away. Then, at about the age of 41, they returned anew with gusto. And let me tell you, they've been a motherfucking bitch.
My "original" migraines present with prodrome - namely ocular hallucinations - and I am often able to stave off serious pain because I take Advil and go to sleep immediately. Note that this sort of migraine produces a variety of responses. For me, my brain gets scrambled and the only thing I can do is go to sleep immediately. It's a reboot response. Fortunately, these do not occur often but they do leave me with a high degree of light and noise sensitivity.
In addition to these headaches, I often get what I have assumed to be very bad, days-long tension headaches. What I've recently learned - having gone to see a specialist about this - is that those headaches are migraines too. I didn't realize that because I assumed that, as a migraineur who experiences prodrome, all of my migraines would follow that pattern of symptomology. Apparently, one can experience classic (with prodrome) and common (without prodrome) migraines. Lucky me.
Why did I go to see a specialist? Well, recently, I got a migraine that presented differently than the usual. It affected my speech centre and my doc wanted to rule out anything serious. (Of course, there's a point to be made that, when you're dealing with life-altering pain on a semi-regular basis, you should probably see a specialist.)
We all sense that my latest bout of misery is being steered by the hormonal changes of peri-menopause, something that I started to experience in a variety of ways at the age of 40. Yeah, I know it's really early. Whatevs.
Anyway, the specialist sent me for an MRI (results will be back in a while and then the doc's on vacation till the end of July), something I wouldn't recommend for fun, but a very useful and necessary experience which docs expect will yield a normal, happy brain.
Now, here's where it gets fun...
There is a class of drugs for migraines called triptans. They're little miracle pills, from what I understand, and - while I've never considered them as a treatment option in the past, times call for measures, you know. These drugs aren't silly. One must not abuse them.
For better or worse, I won't have a chance to even try to abuse them, however, because I have a long-standing heart arrhythmia that contraindicates my being able to take them. So... My neurologist sent me for a consult with my cardiologist to discuss the matter. He concurred that the triptans are not in my future - but also scheduled a new battery of tests as part of my regular maintenance regime.
I had this really weird moment (while at the Cardiology wing at TGH on my 43rd birthday) when it occurred to me that, at the age of 43, I should not have a freakin' cardiologist - much less a neurologist?!?!
Needless to say, I've been called to meditate on this matter. Both doctors are against my managing my pain with ibuprofen because it doesn't target the right receptors and it's very bad for one's stomach lining. They both suggest the same treatment cocktail, however, quite progressively, IMO, for allopathic doctors: 600 mg of magnesium and 400 mg of B2 over 4 times throughout the day. It's prophylactic. One must do this every day and will not know if it works for 3 months. It does tend to produce response from hormonally-induced migraines, apparently. NOTE: Do not try this at home. These dosages are high and must be monitored.
Of course, while my stomach has never had the slightest bit of trouble with lots of ibuprofen, it can't handle the high dose of magnesium, so I'm struggling with this remedy. I'm like my own Alanis Morissette motif.
So, if you're still following this maze of ideas, I've got really bad, semi-regular headaches (they tend to come right after ovulation, in case you're interested, and can last a week in a bad cycle) and no option of pain medication. What's a girl to do?
Well, my friends, I think this is my friendly call to attention. You may know that I am a fairly compulsive person. I rarely stop moving and planning and working. I NEVER stop thinking and, you know, my brain is so tired. So, so tired. In any given week I work full-time, deal with a teenager who is truly pressing every button I have (that's a whole other story I don't intend to indulge in this blog), manage a household, blog @5 times, knit and sew and plan complex projects for both of these plus I document the activities.
I have woefully little time, between all of this, to do the amount of serious and restorative yoga I sense I need to do to get a grip on a health concern that, while it won't kill me, is making my life intermittently miserable. If the headaches are being caused by hormones, I could be in for 7 more years of this. That's not gonna fly. As it is, pain makes me mean because it comes between me and everything else. It's a hazy filter that complicates everything.
I've decided to make some lifestyle changes, not ones that I look forward to, in an effort to restore some much needed equilibrium. The first of these is to take a break from blogging for a couple of weeks. I truly don't know how I'm going to do this. I love you all, no word of a lie, and communicating with you is my joy. But writing takes lots of thinking and, you may recall, I've got to rev down where I can.
I've also got to stop sewing and knitting like a nut. I know I can make 5 garments in 5 weeks, and a suit in 7 weeks. I know I can adhere to any schedule I set because that's who I am. Maybe you know this about me now too. I've got to stop competing with myself to construct and to meet the obligations of the next cool series I fabricate on a whim. Many blogs we read and love are written by people with more time and energy than currently I have. While I might say I wish I had more time, I also have a rich, full life and I do not want to overthrow work or family and friends. With only so much energy, I must prioritize.
So, I have decided, as of this time, a) not to make a suit in the fall b) only to knit on the train to and from Quebec - all other holiday time is reserved for other activities and c) to make the Cherry Bomb lingerie set, the Guernsey shawl and to complete the Boucle Jacket in whatever time it takes me
I don't know how all of this is going to work. I'm not exactly looking forward to these lifestyle adjustments but I'm at an impasse. So please, bear with me. I'll be back - hopefully with a considered plan of action - in mid-July.
Or, maybe the point is, this time the plan has to find me for a change.