Pain makes me Unique

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I wake up each morning with a headache!  In fact, I know I’m alive because I’m in Pain!  How weird is that?  I’ve been getting migraines since I was eighteen years old.  I remember my first one back in college.  It was a Saturday night, and my then boyfriend (who turned out to my first husband) was sitting with me in my door room.  We chose not to go out that night because of my headache, but soon into that decision I had him to take me to U of M medical center.  After hours in the emergency, I left heavily drugged with an even worse headache and a diagnosis of migraines.  Over the years, I have been to many doctors and although initially it was thought my that treatment for Hypothyroidism would reverse the situation, that only increased my pain levels.


When I got, pregnant, I was also told this could play a reversal in my migraines but again, not during nor after did I see a change and Rich, my husband of almost thirty-three years can always tell when the headaches are atrocious (even silent) one of my eyes will droop!


Although I wake up with a pounding headache and my shoulders feel too weak to hold up my head, I still get out of bed and start my day, although sometimes slower than others.  I’ve been known to work through a massive pain attack because I am stubborn and refuse to allow life to pass me by.  In fact, on July 15th, 1984, the day Rich and I had our official family wedding celebration, I was in “Migraine Hell.”  (Now who cancels a wedding for a migraine, not me!)


For those of you who may never have experienced a headache or rarely experience one, this may be difficult to understand.  In fact, I often wonder myself how I can live like this, and yet, I wonder if I would feel normal if I didn’t have a headache?  On the rare occasion that I have woken up without a headache, and it has attacked me shortly after I’ve been awake, I’ve almost put myself into a panic wondering if I am OK.


My mother rarely, if ever, experienced a headache, except for those her children may have bestowed upon her as we were growing up.  One of our many conversations we had she would repeatedly ask why I got headaches when she didn’t.  Of course, I never had an answer for her.  However, my father was known to be a headache sufferer, so maybe I inherited this from him, or maybe this is just my make-up.

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Sometimes we use a term headache loosely, and we refer to it as any problem in our life, I am not referring to it as such.  I also don’t use a headache as an excuse like, “Not tonight dear, I have a headache…,” because if it’s that bad, it’s not this evening, this morning or anytime even if the endorphin’s get flowing.

So, why I am writing about my headaches (migraines) today?


I chose this subject to help illustrate that we are all unique individuals.  We may share a DNA as well as a heritage, but that does not mean we are clones of each other and will experience the same pains or thoughts.  We also may not require the same things in life and for some “STUFF” will be crucial or for others, it will not.  But despite differences, we can still be family and friends.


My mother used to cook white fish for dinner.  I am not sure if boneless fish was more expensive back in the day or not, but she only cooked fish with bones (ugh!)  I grew up not liking fish unless it was gefilte fish or Nova Scotia lox.  However, my mother insisted I must like white fish because she enjoyed it, and yet I refused to eat it, and I would eat around it.  My mom also loved beet borscht, I, on the other hand, don’t like borscht, but I do like red beets in my salad.


One of my mother’s caregivers became one of my closest friends, in fact, I adopted Robbin as my sister.   We are from opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to political and religious views, but she is my bookend in so many other aspects of life; I am so glad to have her in my life.  One thing I know of this relationship is it can be collaborative because we care about each other and it is what the world needs more of.


My brothers Joel and Gary, one lives on the West coast the other on the East coast and growing up we hardly knew each other but accepted our roles as siblings.  I use to tease them I would have been the oldest, but I pushed them out first, what strange words from their baby sister!  The three of us were raised by the same parents, but differently and yet I don’t think our parents even recognized they were changing parenting styles.  However, with four years’ difference between Gary and Joel and eight years, difference between Gary and me, the times were changing.  Add to all that Gary grew up on Northlawn in one section of Detroit, Joel was raised in a more traditional Jewish neighborhood on Ohio, and I spent my formative teen years in Minneapolis, this may account for some uniqueness.  Today we remain close through email, text, and Facetime™, and those occasional trips we took home to visit our mom.  Sadly, with mom gone we now need to create a new place to reunite!

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Being unique it is often difficult for people to understand our actions when they don’t meet their expectations.  We are witnessing in our current global society that leaders want to control our thoughts and thinking and yet the words, “democracy,” “free-thinking,” “individual,” “self-awareness,” are floating around.  There seems to be a double standard like what some of us experienced in a domineering household, do whatever you want to do, as long as mom or dad approve.  If mom or dad did not agree, did that mean you had to be miserable for the rest of your life or make them miserable for the rest of their life?


Until we can feel what other’s feel we cannot judge and we must start listening and hearing what they have to say.  We must put our words out calmly and clearly, and WE ALL HAVE TO BE PREPARED TO WORK TOGETHER – to cross the aisle even with a pounding migraine.

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