Ten days ago, I had botox injected into 31 spots in my temples, scalp, neck, and shoulders in the hopes that it would do something to help the chronic migraines I’ve been getting for the past few years. It’s kind of terrifying to be at the point where I’m voluntarily paralyzing some of my neck and shoulder muscles just to be able to live my life, but at this point I’m desperate. I’ve tried yoga and meditation and medication and massage and vitamins and basically everything else, and here we are.
Things are complicated because there are three factors at play here:
- My kidney condition, which makes me chronically low in magnesium. Your body needs calcium to contract muscles and magnesium to relax them. I never have enough magnesium, so many of my muscles (especially my beck and shoulders) are just always bunched and tight.
- Calgary weather. We have a lot of wild-swinging weather systems, and it’s not uncommon for temperatures to vary more than 20 degrees from one day to the next. This creates huge variances in barometric pressure, which causes migraines for many people.
- Stress, lack of sleep, workouts that target shoulders, menstrual cycles, phases of the moon, all the other common triggers.
It’s always been a bit of a nightmare trying to figure out which of the three is causing a particular migraine, and really I’m not sure it matters at this point. The effect is the same.
So! Getting needles jabbed into your body 31 times is not pleasant. Neither is the Daddy of All Migraines that I’ve been stuck with off and on since the treatment because apparently while this can be really helpful for some people, it also sometimes makes migraines worse before they get better. Rude!
But, being stuck in your bedroom with the blinds closed 10-15 days a month while your head explodes and your child eats frozen waffles and you pray that either the medication kicks in or the sweet release of death takes you is more unpleasant, so I took a gamble because I don’t feel like I’ve been left with a ton of options, to be honest. Working full-time and single parenting full-time really doesn’t leave a lot of room to malinger and lie around darkened bedrooms, as much as I enjoy the dramatics.
I know some of you guys deal with migraines, too, so if this does end up working I promise that I will let you know, but at the moment if I’m honest it’s just been a lot of intense pain – pain from them injecting shit into my muscles, pain from the rebound migraines, and pain from sheer frustration because I feel a lot like a spectator in my own life. Watching from the sidelines, ineffectual and unable to get anything done.
I have been embracing crone life HARD lately, eye masks, robotic neck massagers, hot magic bags, audibly moaning when I get up or sit down. I have aged sixty years in the last week and I do not like it!
But before that, before that things were good! I enjoyed a chaotic Christmas surrounded by my siblings in Invermere, a full eleven days in my house alone while Olive was with her dad’s family, late nights, a lovely birthday party, and some
I’ve never had anxiety around birthdays or getting older. I think living with a chronic illness makes me acutely aware that I’m perpetually just a few missing pills away from death (DEATH!) so I do truly feel quite grateful for the ageing process – for the decades of experience piling up in the corners of my head and my heart, the slowly creeping forest of grey hairs, the feeling of tripping through each age.
But 35. 35 is really something! It feels so significant. It kept slamming into me all day on the 27th – not a sense of worry about where I am in life or even where I should be, I feel good about all that, just…the sheer fact of it. It was the same feeling I get at each of Olive’s birthdays, when I stand back and look at her, the solid weight of her existence in this world, and wonder how it’s all happened.
How has this happened? How
(Also, my existential crisis around 35 probably wasn’t helped by the fact that my siblings were calling it “half-seventy” like the dicks they are.)
I hope you all had a gentle introduction into 2019, and are soaking up its first few weeks. It’s going to be a big one!