Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Pregnancy and New Daily Persistent Headache

Headaches and pregnancy is not a fun combination. There is a sense of helplessness with not being able to take any medications and just having to grin and bear it. There are like 4 forum posts about what happens when someone with NDPH gets pregnant. Which is nothing. There is tons and tons of info about migraines and pregnancy. Most people with migraines feeling better during pregnancy. Maybe just temporarily but 90% of them find relief. This is the statistic that people liked to tell me. "Just get pregnant. It'll cure your headaches. When 'so-and-so' got pregnant her headaches went away forever. So go ahead..." I did not really appreciate that. Matt & I thought really hard about whether we wanted to have children or not. I worried I'd be a absent mom and that my kids would resent the constraints my headaches would put on their lives. Matt worried that it would complete break my already slightly broken brain. But after a while we just knew that a life without children would be a lesser life for us and that God would give us whatever strength and patience we'd need.  It took us a while to get pregnant and now that's it's happened I've had to come to terms with the reality that now I'm in my second trimester my headaches are not getting better.

Everything is actually worse :)

Here is a scientific picture of how headaches work.
Headache works the pain pump and sprays pain all over the brain which it then sends to the rest of the body.

It does what it wants.
Yeah somehow it's been six years already. Which seems like a lie because that's too long.

Pregnancy was supposed to calm everything down. It was supposed to lull my headaches to a restful hibernation. It was supposed to be a beautiful friendship.

But instead the pregnancy is only egging the headache on. Headache seems to see this all as a challenge and is using this as an opportunity to really test what it's capable of.
It. Could. Go. All. The. Way!

There was a little despair when I realized that my headaches were not going to get better. And it has been extremely painful having to explain this is every well-wisher who makes me repeat myself.
Well-Wisher "So how are you feeling?"
Me "Bad? But you know it is what it is"
Well-Wisher "Your headaches are better, right?"
Me "Um no. Worse actually."
Well-Wisher "I thought your headaches were supposed to get better. That's what I heard. So-and-so got better during pregnancy."
Me "Yeah. Not so much."
Well-Wisher "Well maybe it'll get better."
Me "Probably not."
Well-Wisher when they see me one week later "So are the headaches better?"
Me "Um no. It's probably won't get better."
Well-Wisher "Oh..."

I have had this exact conversation at least five times. Le sigh.
It comforts me to remember this verse:
James 1:2-4
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds. Because when your faith is tested your perseverance has a change to grow. So let it grow so that you may be complete and not lacking in anything.
1. I am neither complete nor lacking nothing so obviously my perseverance is not done yet.
2. I like to think that I would have had headaches during pregnancy anyway and that my years of training have prepared me for this.
3. I also like to think that I'm going to need perseverance for whatever new terrible thing is coming next so I'll need to grow so I'm ready for it.

I was having above conversation with a loved one and they said "When I talk to you, you sound so good. You put on a good show of feeling fine."
I decided to take it as a compliment and I said "Thanks. That's my goal."
Because it is my goal. Complaining doesn't help. Moaning doesn't help (sometimes it does.)
Here is my philosophy.
I have to suffer the pain one times. But when I complain and focus on my suffering I'm feeling the pain a second time. Why would I do that? I will not let it make me unhappy. I have to be in pain but I do not have to surrender my joy. That is suffering twice and no thank you.

Moral of the story: I'm really fine. And I'm really happy. And focusing on it is not an option because it gives me panic attacks which is another new thing that is happening. So cheers.