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The Truth About Pain and Migraines

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Sometimes I question why I have been dealt these “cards.” I don’t understand the pain that I endure so often. Pain that brings me down to my knees and all I can do is cry. Pain that is so much for me that I shut the world out. Pain that last for days. Pain that pushes people away. Pain so much that all you want to do is cry, but that just makes it worse, so you choose not to. Pain that has wedged a wall in between my life inside my bed and the life that I am grasping for outside of my apartment.

You see, I’m heading to medical school in a month, yet I still lay in bed day after day and wonder if I will be able to become the physician that I long for to cure me. The physician that is going to fight so hard for her patients that they go home with hope instead of empty promises. The physician that will listen and make sure her patients don’t feel alone in the process. The physician that truly understand how it feels to be a “professional patient.”

But the pain. It’s stands in my way. It overshadows my future. It’s all I can think about.

It’s not that I’m scared. I’m terrified.

When thinking about the pain I endure, it makes me want to cringe. Waking up day after day and wondering if my head will cooperate today, or if I am going to have to find a place that I can escape to and rest? My life is so unpredictable. Will I get hit with nausea or will I get hit with dizziness? Will I make it through the day with no pain medication, or will I max out on everything that I have in my purse before my shift is over? Will I make it through medical school, or will my parents waste their money on tuition? Will I be able to drive home, or will I have to get someone to come pick me up? These are all questions that go through my head daily along with many more, but when you see me you would never know. I put on a smile and show the world that I am an aspiring physician with everything going for her.

But the pain. It always comes back with a vengeance. Went to Disney with your family? OK, let’s try a week in bed. Pulled an all-nighter because of an exam? OK, let’s just email the professor and tell her that you can’t see to drive because you are so dizzy from the pain. Went to a loud event to spend time with your family? OK, nausea it is, so I hope you enjoyed the food you shared together. Ate chocolate ice cream because it was a bad day? OK, I’m about to make it worse because you know that’s a trigger food (even though it’s your favorite). The pain doesn’t care. It’s always gonna show up. Yet here I am.

I am fighting, even if that means showering instead of lying in bed another minute. I show up when I can. I choose to put others first even though I know I am not in a place to be able to do that. I am not my pain, but my pain is a part of me. Pain. Pain that terrifies me. Pain that I hate so much that I can scream. So next time you see me, I may be in pain, but you wouldn’t know. Would you? This is what it’s like to live with chronic pain.

Getty image via Ponomariova_Maria.

Originally published: March 24, 2020
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