Friday, February 21, 2020

Rosey Magical Migraines

I was six years old. I loved riding my bike on the sidewalk in front of our house. It was a giant rectangle with grass in the middle and houses with gardens along the outside. Big Air Force jets and helicopters flew over all the time.

One day a training wheel on my bike broke so my parents took the other one off. They said it was time for me to learn how to ride on two wheels anyway. I felt scared.

“How do I keep my balance with my feet on the petals?” I asked. “I can’t feel the ground.”

They told me they’d be there, running beside me, helping me with the balance until I figured it out.

I put my feet on the petals. I felt the push and heard the feet running. I pushed on the petals and they started moving. I moved my hips like I was running, and the handlebars wobbled back and forth. Everything went by so fast that I couldn’t see where I was going. My hair flew in my face. The tires were so skinny and wobbly. The front wheel turned as my hands shook.

We slowed down and stopped, unsure how it happened.

We started again. I worked on riding a two-wheeler every day that week. In the morning I practiced with my Mom. At night, with my Dad. We’d go out back where the cars park. The street was wide and made a big circle. I wobbled until I found my balance. I rode fast and far back there. It was better than the sidewalk in front of the house.

Saturday my Grandparents came.  I couldn’t wait to show them! I grabbed my Grandma and Grandpa’s hands, dragging them out front.

I sat on the bike.

Put my feet on the petals.

I nodded, grinning.

Dad began to run. I started to petal.

They all cheered. I was flying. My hair blew in the wind. The sidewalk felt different than the black driveway. I started going faster. It was a little scary.

‘Why is the road so close to the sidewalk?’ I wondered. ‘I’m going to crash into the road. A car will hit me and I will go


‘I will never ride my bike again.’ I whispered. ‘What do I do?’

I heard yelling:



“Use the break!”

Nearing the canyon of road, I felt the handlebars wobble. The wheel looked for a direction.

‘Grass or rosebushes?’

The bike stopped at the edge,

I flew over the handlebars, landing upside down in a rosebush.

Everyone was running and yelling. They picked me up as a cloud of questions barraged me. They carried me home picking out rose thorns before bathing me in Bactine and bandaging the bleeding wounds.

That’s what happened with writing and me.

For the first time in five years, words flowed. I had posts scheduled beyond the immediate day. Canvases and sewing projects were planned and completed on a predictable schedule.We got along great.

I felt quite on top of things.

Then the Central Valley February blooms began.

I forgot to calculate allergy season and the joys it stirs up for Migraines and Asthma. This visit from the Magical Migraines stayed for three weeks. Some were a full Migraine, but I’ve learned from previous visits that they also like to form a Cluster. Never enough for me to really know what’s going on, but enough to not really be able to fully function. No pain, but confusion, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, trouble talking, extreme fatigue, balance issues, pins and needles in my muscles, lack of appetite, Eeyore type depression, Sensory Overload type anxiety and occasionally shaking hands.

Kind of like mice throwing a house party.

I don’t consider myself a Migraine Sufferer. I have to look at it as a Migraine Lifestyle. I am grateful for this physical inconvenience because one of the lessons is self-care, pacing, and balance.

I have the appropriate medication that I take. I have a long list of foods I avoid; I rest and exercise. I have yoga poses I use when I am able. In openly talking about it, I’ve discovered a whole Migraine Community. This ability to connect with other Migraine Lifestylers and check what their symptoms are is life-giving. I discovered that Migraine anxiety and Migraine depression are their own thing. Losing time isn’t just my imagination. Often when I can’t talk, I can play charades in public with another Migraine person. Not only do I get what I need, but we have fun doing it.  It helps to see the difference in managing Chronic Illness.

I love the Magical Migraine ridiculous experiences. The silly things I say. The self-deprecating things I do and can laugh at.  It is frustrating to lose time, but I’m grateful for the people I have around me who understand.

Just like finding myself upside down in a rosebush after an epic bike ride.

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