When you get cluster headaches for Christmas this is what Santa’s sleigh looks like: a medical truck showing up at your door delivering oxygen tanks so you can go into the darkness of night armed for battle. These beasts are back and surprised me this time by coming at a different time of year than normal. They started five days before Christmas. So here we go… They usually last a little over three months so I plan on about 100 days. 100 days of terrifying pain. Cluster headaches are also called suicide headaches. It’s not a migraine, google it for 5 minutes and read. I’m giving this PSA so that if you see me at the grocery, I’m not giving you the stink eye, I’m just trying to get food and get out as fast as I can and keep one eye closed. If we are supposed to get together, I probably won’t show up. If my kid is supposed to come to your kid’s birthday party, you might want to remind me about 37 times. If I see you at church and walk away, I’m just trying to get to the car before I bawl my eyes out. Please don’t take any of it personally, I’m just taking it all one day at a time sweet Jesus.
It feels different this time, because this time we have more of a plan. Last time it snuck up on me and it got real dark real quick. I’m trying to fight for that not to happen this time. I’m going to try to be more open about how hard it is. I’m going to try to accept help.
I’m coming off of about 10 months of a “normal migraine” almost every day. So I feel like I’m starting a marathon on a broken leg. I’m so tired and weary already and now I’ve got a mountain at my gates. As I literally strap on an oxygen mask, I feel like I’m going scuba diving and jumping into the deep ocean each night. But it’s not the blue-green coral reef kind of ocean. It’s the cold, dark, scary, unknown kind of ocean. I have no idea what is lurking beyond, but it’s probably a shipwreck with sharks and creepy eels. And I also feel like a soldier going into battle. I’ve got to be armed this time around. I’m going to fight this time with my arsenal of truth and music and prayers and heavy drugs and rest and a whole lotta Starbucks coconut milk decaf lattes. I realize that’s quite a bit of metaphorical talk for one paragraph so if you’re still following along, I’m a wounded soldier going into some kind of undersea battle.
"It's really easy to sit around and feel sorry for yourself whatever your pain..."
It’s really easy to sit around and feel sorry for yourself whatever your pain, and I don’t want to do that. It’s easy to believe that it is all a pointless waste. It’s easy to think that clearly God is against me, or at least has abandoned me after 18 years of pleading for mercy. But I know enough now to not listen to lies (most of the time). And I certainly know enough to not listen my feelings. It’s so crappy and the suck factor is off the charts, but it’s not in vain. There is something beautiful in this for me. It’s not my job to work to uncover it, but I need to have the eyes to see it revealed to me. I am believing that in my 100 days of pain, I will get 100 days of gain. And I do not say this in a trite, Christian-y, #blessed kind of way. I have had to fight for this. Hard. It hasn’t been easy to believe this to be true. But I do. He is pursuing me with his lovingkindness each day. He rides across the heavens to help me. He covers me with his feathers and shelters me with his wings. In the weakness of my pain, I am closest to his feet. And all of this he will use for my good and my gain, here and forever.
So I’m going to do some posts, probably won’t make it to 100, but why not try. I need something to focus me on good right now. On gifts great and small. Earthly and eternal. It’s the coldest, darkest time of winter in Minnesota so it kind of seems like a good practice for us all to take up this time of year. I’ll be sharing things that bring me joy, things that are fun, things that are kind and things that are lovely. So expect a large amount of Scandinavian scenery and design (kidding, kinda). Follow along on Instagram @taylorpeople for my 100days posts if you like, or unfollow me if that kind of thing just isn't your jam.
But this time, I’m going to let back in the light.
“...But every good gift come down from above, From the Lord of light like a labor of love
Upon the child who waits for him…
It's gonna be alright
Turn around and let back in the light
And joy will come
Like a birdie in the morning sun
And all will be made well
Morning Light by Josh Garrels