Tag Archives: headaches

Brain Pain

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The pressure is mounting. My skull’s nerve endings are a direct gauge of what’s happening inside, but the psychological sludge is far meaner a foe. I never imagined I would have been so thoroughly thrust back into the guessing game after all these years, but apparently there is no such thing as healed.

Anger has taken occupancy where tears used to reside, and my naked defiance has been a strange bedfellow. As I’ve gotten older and further away from the hospital sheets and question marks, I’ve also become less tolerant of a body that refuses to play nice.

I live in a constant state of mild pain. Tennis, car crashes, too many years spent sliding around on skateboards…who knows? I’m fine accepting the fact that an aging body put through the rigors of extensive activity will show some signs of wear and tear. That’s normal and acceptable.

But after what I had to go through to be free of the daily shackles that kept me clutching CT scans and neurosurgeon phone numbers, this universal slap in the self-esteem seems unwarranted and cruel.

I feel like I’m karmically aligned. I try to treat other people well, give to those less fortunate, and walk a path of positivity and integrity. But there is a devil on this shoulder, and I can’t help but wonder if I’m making up for past transgressions.

I believe we have a series of lives and experiences built into the core of our foundation, and this particular lap may simply be penance for sins from an old story. I suspect I’m supposed to learn some universal lesson as I clutch a head of such unbearable compression that I’m waiting for it to explode in my palms, but it’s hard to make peace with a timeline of souls that I can’t even see.

Some wackadoo massage therapist once said that the tension and strain I carry around my neck and shoulders are from hangings I was subjected to in past lives. She told me all about the villagers who gathered to burn me in the square and detailed the number of times I suffered a fractured spine at the hands of these irate mobs.

I left that day thinking she was quite possibly the most insane person ever to work at a spa. Now I’m starting to believe she was onto something.

Adolescence Interrupted

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Dropping Shoes

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“Western man has tried for too many centuries to fool himself that he lives in a rational world. No. There’s a story about a man who, while walking along the street, was almost hit on the head and killed by an enormous falling beam. This was his moment of realization that he did not live in a rational world but a world in which men’s lives can be cut off by a random blow on the head, and the discovery shook him so deeply that he was impelled to leave his wife and children, who were the major part of his old, rational world. My own response to the wild unpredictability of the universe has been to write stories, to play the piano, to read, listen to music, look at paintings—not that the world may become explainable and reasonable but that I may rejoice in the freedom which unaccountability gives us.” ― Madeleine L’Engle

The headaches are back. They’re not the “bad” kind, so I guess they’re simply the “new” kind. Either way, a giant debilitating pause button has surfaced, and after far too much research and straw grasping, I’ve decided they are best classified as migraines.

Now I’ve always touted the fact that I never got migraines, and I even specifically mentioned it in my book. It seemed more than fair that after all the brain-based obstacles and excruciating pressure pain endured from the complications associated with hydrocephalus that I would be spared any additional suffering once those symptoms retreated. But that’s just not how life works.

We can plan and plot and cross our fingers that once we emerge from the flames, the fire can’t catch us. But whatever is burning behind is also burning ahead. Living is navigating, and no amount of precaution can halt the birth of unforeseeable variables. Duck and weave. Jump and slide.

There is no crystal ball, and no chance for a second take. The cards slid from the dealer are the result of universal randomness and haphazard order. We can play or fold, but the odds won’t transform with a fresh deck.

So instead of analyzing all the ways we might lose if the fates decide it’s not our day to soak in the sunshine, let’s just pull up a seat and roll the dice.

Adolescence Interrupted

Sharpened Perspective

Thank you for being a wonderful mother

It’s often too easy to get lost in the mundanity of daily life. The interval between turning a white noise sleep machine off and turning it on again can feel like a timeless loop of repetitive habits, vibrating on skipping needles, powered by hamster wheels.

My Groundhog Days are normally of little concern. I accept that baby steps lead to Olympian leaps, so I tackle my routine tasks and always sweat the small stuff. As a writer and proofreader, details are kind of a big deal. These are my cards, and I’m happy to play them.

But, sometimes—even when the marathon tennis sessions have beaten my body and emptied my energy reserves—I find myself squirming inside my skin for a change of pedestrian pace.

Normally, I ignore these impulses and continue punching computer keyboards in my never-ending attempt to accumulate tension headaches. But, two weeks ago, I was delivered a surprise fuel injector in the form of a fellow tennis aficionado from NY with the desert on her mind and a pro tournament in her sights.

Mom knows just when to rescue her overthinking, word wrestler of a son from his stationary bike, and exactly how to throw some excitement and a change of scenery into the mix.

It was just what the proverbial doctor ordered, and I was able to unplug and detach from the busy, serpentine track of LA life.

My chiropractor believes that the mountains in Palm Springs have a way of inexplicably extracting the stress from our bodies and, although I don’t normally subscribe to  teachings of the mystic variety, I’d have to agree with him.

So, now it’s back to work and back to that hamster wheel. But, like mainlining lemon-lime Gatorade, I feel refreshed and ready for the race ahead.

Thanks, Mom…for always knowing what I need, even when I don’t.