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Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

headacheblogcarnivallogoI am late (as usual) with this month’s Blog Carnival post. I have been pondering the original title, What Keeps You Going and came up with many answers: ice, dark room, good drugs, knowing someone else understands, but all of these seemed to fall short. And then it hit me; there is no “what” that keeps me going, but a “who” (not the Horton kind).

God keeps me going, even when I want to throw in the towel. He was there when I lost my job, when I wished I had cancer instead because that would kill me, and when I had given up hope of ever feeling good again. For years I prayed that the Migraines would go away forever, but because that has not happened, I thought He wasn’t listening. So I prayed LOUDER: ARE YOU THERE? DO YOU CARE? 

Years passed without a miracle and without even an effective preventative. I was resigned to a life of pain. Where was God? I don’t know. Absent? Distant? Then I heard these words from How Firm a Foundation

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

Then I realized that He was there and cared very much about my pain. So in the middle of the night with my ice pack on my head, I sing or think those words. I know He is there and will get me through the night.

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This post was supposed to be finished in time for the Blog Carnival, but God had other plans and sent me on an impromptu trip to Pittsburgh, PA. That is another discussion.

My faith in Jesus Christ as my savior is the only way I deal with migraine disease. He did what no one else could do. He died for my sins. He died in my place! I am eternally grateful for the cross (This is the first line of a song we sing in church).

There are five factors that carry me through migraine disease: faith, trust, acceptance, and prayer. The first two are so connected that I really can’t separate them.

Faith: I have the faith in the character of God. He is perfectly good. He is perfectly loving, He is just. He is eternally merciful. He is in control. God never changes. Not only does the Bible teach that God’s character is like this, but I have seen His hand in my life.
My faith was not always like this. There are times that I thought God was capricious. I thought that had abandoned me. I was angry. That didn’t last long, though. Somehow, sometime I was drawn back to the truth about God.

Trust: Trust follows faith. I trust God because He cannot do anything that is contrary to His nature. So then I can trust Him in all aspects of my life. He will not give me anything that has not first passed through His loving hands. Even when I have a bad migraine and I am in so much pain I can say that God is still good and loving.
Because my faith was frail and weak, in the beginning I couldn’t trust in God very well. But I knew He was there. He loved me when I couldn’t love Him.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

Acceptance: Acceptance follows faith and trust. Early in my disease I could not accept it; I wondered how long it was going last. I said, “When will this be over?” I wasted a lot of time and energy working to that end. However, just recently, I realized that chronic migraine is just chronic. I have a primarily headache disease. Migraine can be controlled, but not cured. Once I stopped fighting the disease, and I stopped hoping for an end, I could spend that time and energy learning about migraine disease. I can teach others what I have learned. I can have peace with my disease.

Hope: Acceptance leads to hope. This is not a hope based on circumstance, but a hope in God who doesn’t change. This is not a false hope of healing, although that may happen. I have the eternal hope that is in heaven. This present life is not all there is. I know that I will be in heaven with Jesus; there is no more pain or sorrow in heaven. I have a longing for my home in heaven that I didn’t have before.

“because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel” Colossians 1:5.

Prayer: Prayer is talking to God. It is not always asking for circumstances to change. In the beginning, my only prayers were demanding that God would end my pain. When He didn’t end my pain I was angry, hopeless, frustrated, and depressed.
I believe that sometimes God answers prayers for healing, but I think they are rare. Acceptance has changed how I pray and what I pray for. Instead of healing from migraine, I pray for strength to persevere through the migraine. I pray that I can know Him better. I pray for peace when I am anxious or fearful. I pray that He doesn’t leave my side. He never does.

Migraine has changed me and it has changed the way I see God, my struggle here on earth, and heaven. I am grateful for this.

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Headache & Migraine Disease Blog Carnival will be posting links to various blogs on Monday, April 14, 2008. The host is Somebody Heal Me. The topic this month is “Coping with Migraine and Chronic Pain”.

I have pondered this over the past several days. How do I cope with my chronic pain? (sometimes I don’t cope well) . What works for me?

The first thing that came to my mind is EDUCATION. This means educating myself about migraine and educating friends and family.

Educating myself is crucial. I can’t tell others if I don’t understand migraine disease. There several websites and blogs that contain so much information and support for migraine sufferers. You can find links to otherblogs and websites along the right-hand side of this blog. One website is My Migraine Connection. I can’t begin to say all of the information contained on this site. One important piece of information I have learned from this site is that migraine has a prodromal phase and a postdromal phase. If I pay close attention to my prodromal body signals, I can arm myself early and abort the migraine. Now I know that the “hung-over” feeling after the pain is gone is the postdromal phase of migraine and not necessarily drug related.

Educating Others: This can be a daunting task because there are untold numbers of people who believe that migraine is “just a bad headache”. I have been told, “I know what you mean. I had one once.” This requires that I take make requests based on my needs. I can’t just be silent when I need some accomodations. For example, my migraines are triggered by flashing lights. For some reason I cannot tolerate watching TV in the dark. This means I need to speak up and say, “No, please leave the lights on because my migraine disease prevents me from watching TV in the dark.” I need to educate my entire church family as to why they can’t turn the lights down when we are watching a DVD or video. Once I have made these requests, I can start educating my friends as to the nature of migraine disease and the consequences. Teri Robert has written an excellent letter designed to educate family and friends about migraine.

Be alert. This requires a bit of practice, but it is worth the effort. It may be extra-difficult for people like me who do things on autopilot. Every so often throughout the day I stop and take a deep breath. Then I am mindful of whatever I am doing. What do I hear? What am I seeing? How do I feel? What am I doing? I mindfully and deliberately pay attention to what I am doing NOW. I don’t think about what I need to do later. I live in the present. This exercise helps me recognize my prodromal phase.
Being alert may save me from awkward situations such as having a friend drive me home because I didn’t catch the migraine early enough.

Tips: 1. Have abortive medication handy.

2. Always have at least a swallow of water handy. I don’t have the dissolving Maxalt and I can’t swallow pills without water. So, I don’t drain my water bottle after my exercise class and when I leave the house I fill a bottle and take it wherever I go.

3. Get enough rest. I know this is hard. I hate to leave social events early. I usually was the last one to leave anything. But now, I leave by 9 pm so I am in bed by 10 pm. My friends know this and all I have to say, “It is getting past my bedtime.” Everyone laughs and I leave.

4. Eat regular meals. I have to admit I am really bad at this, especially when I am running errands and I miss lunch. However, I have found that being over-hungry is a trigger for migraine attack. I have an energy bar in my purse just in case I can’t grab lunch.

5. Know and manage my triggers. I am still learning to figure out what my triggers are at any given time because they change. However, being alert and conscious of them can save me in the long run. I know that changes in the weather can easily trigger an attack for me. So, now I keep track of the forecast and prepare myself accordingly.

6. Have at least one person who knows your pattern well. This person is my husband. He helps me manage some of my triggers. Sometimes he can tell when it is time for urgent care better than I can. He calls me a “high maintenance wife” and then smiles.

7. Have a support network. This can be physical or virtual. I have to say that I feel so much better after having found My Migraine Connection and the forums. It is so comforting to know that I am not alone. I also have a friend who will take me to the ER if my husband is not available.

8. Be positive. Yes, I have chronic migraine disease. Just saying that opens the door to changing the way I see my migraine attacks. I can choose my attitude toward this disease. I can make a conscious decision to have it run my life or not. Which is it going to be?: This disease will not run my life.

9. Consider prayer. I know that many people would not consider this option, but for me it is literally a life saver. Knowing Jesus as my Savior has changed my life. Prayer is my connection with Him and it brings me great comfort to know how much He loves and cares for me.

I hope these points will help you, my readers, to live and cope with migraine disease.

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