Thursday, December 10, 2009


I am in pain.

I am in pain and I am typing, which is stupid, idiotic, ridiculous, and every other manner of adjective to describe the act of sitting at the computer when one has a migraine headache.

I am exhausted. My last go round lasted almost a full week, with my headache responding temporarily to my prescription and then coming back. I got to thinking as the relief from pain as miraculous, because there is a moment when the ecstasy hits and you want to throw yourself down, prostrate on the floor like a priest being ordained. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

And then the pain creeps back again, the pressure slowly building around the eye, and then the sharpness, and then the throbbing, and you feel you can no longer worship, so you pick yourself up from that humble position of thanks and retreat, to a dark corner of defeat.

Is this a cross?

I am not good at bearing it. I find the weight of chronic pain to be unbearable sometimes. I'm not sure of an appropriate metaphor. Perhaps this:

You spend a good three weeks feeling good. The doorbell rings. Some intimidatingly huge man is standing there, and he proceeds to beat the living crap out of you. When he's done, he tells you that he'll be back. It could be a week, it could be three weeks, it could be a few days, he tells you. It takes you five days to recover. And you feel good. So good. But you wonder when the doorbell will ring again, and that guy will be back to bring his particular brand of misery.

Speaking of trials and beatdowns, my mother has been having difficulty with a mysterious condition. She gets a peeling, itchy rash on her face that stays for a few weeks and goes away, only to return some short time later. Despite repeated visits to a dermatologist and allergist, and a plan of attack, the rashes continue. She had one brief respite from the rashes for two months, and hence thought the treatment plan was working, but then everything returned, leaving all of us baffled. If someone deserves a break from hardship, it's her, having had both breast and colon cancer.

Sometimes, when I feel like I'm suffering and I just can't freaking take any more pain or discomfort, it helps to try hard to focus outward. So I pray for my mom, or for my friend who has a son with a platelet disorder and a husband with polycystic kidney disease, or for another friend who has liver cancer. And I think this is a good thing.

But I still feel weird asking for mercy for myself. This morning, I did, and I immediately followed it up with an apology for those prayers. I think I need to get over this. I know that I'm lucky in my life, and that I have a tremendous amount to be grateful for, but all of that good stuff doesn't negate the bad. That pain is pain, and it's debilitating, so asking for break or a lessening or something to make it all a bit more manageable isn't a bad or selfish act.

The other day, I caught Mother Angelica saying the rosary on TV, and I watched it, and said it along with her. The focus was the sorrowful mysteries, and I couldn't stop crying. The agony in the garden, the scourging, the crown of thorns, carrying the cross, the crucifixion. It seemed fitting then, in my insular world of pain, to be reminded that not only am I not alone, but I am not forgotten.


mayberry said...

Wow. I so relate. I'm in the midst of a migraine that's lasted for weeks. It's not extreme, debilitating pain but it is pain nonetheless. I hope we both find some relief, and your mom finds some answers too.

de said...

Since you don't like to ask, I'll toss in a few prayers on your behalf.

Very accurate description of what it's like - how grateful you are to be out of pain but doubly afraid of it returning.

I hope today you are feeling better.

Kelly said...

Thank you, both Mayberry and De. For now, my head is at peace, even with both children flanking me as I type this. It's a lovely feeling to not have a headache.

Belinda Munoz said...

Hi Kelly,
To be alone and/or forgotten, I have felt like this once in a while, and like you, have been reminded that it's only a feeling and not the truth. How lucky are we to know this truth and to also know that others aren't so lucky.

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