Wednesday, 6 December 2017

A tale of two titans

Yesterday a couple of friends shared a link with me about a new injection for migraine (you can read more at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-42154668). Now, everyone who knows me is aware that I have suffered from debilitating migraines since I was 21. I was aware of migraines from my teens. My Dad suffered terribly from them, and I remember him being violently sick, collapsing with pain and even crying in agony. It was horrific to hear, and I couldn't imagine how bad it must have been to bring such a brave man to his knees.

After my finals at Oxford, I was having a super long lie-in (remember those?) until I was woken up with an all-encompassing, vicious and searing pain. I couldn't move from my bed and (rather melodramatically) believed that I had developed a huge brain tumour (strangely prophetic now I think of it) and that it was going to kill me. It was well before the days of mobile phones, so I was trapped in agony until it finally subsided.

These episodes continued for over twenty years, and I battled for a normal life, investing thousands of pounds in treatments whilst my migraines seemed to be 100% resistant to anything I tried.

So, when I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer in November 2013, I had another titan to contend with.

Far from receding politely into the background to let Cancer take over, Migraine decided to join forces and compound its endeavour to grind me down. After my first chemo, I had a hum-dinger of a migraine, triggered by one of the concoction of drugs administered via comically large syringes. Despite removing the offender from the next dose, my migraines raged on, and with a plethora of nasty side effects from the chemo, to say that I was struggling was understatement of the century. My Dad 'treated me' to a series of appointments with a private neurologist which basically included a couple of days of steroid infusions administered intravenously. I felt great, until I had a migraine in the car on the way home.

Cancer and Migraine continued to apply their combined might, and during the 'Whole Brain Radiotherapy' that was used to treat my first cancerous brain tumour (the second popped up only six weeks later), I was pretty much at the end of my tether.

Fast forward to today, and not only am I in remission from the Cancer, I have also not had a migraine for over a year. I can't identify the exact point that I noticed that I wasn't suffering from them any more, as you don't miss what you don't have, but what I do know, is that my two tormenters are noticeably absent from my life. God has been incredibly gracious to me and I am beyond grateful.

I hope that this new injection will help migraine sufferers to combat its devastating impact, and allow them to live a pain-free life. For those who have cancer and migraines, I pray that they may be healed of both.

Amanda

Dean and I athletically celebrating my pain-free life



Saturday, 2 December 2017

Pebbles on the beach

My Mum always used to love pebbles. She loved the smooth ones. The ones that you could clasp in the palm of your hand. Yesterday, after the celebration of life of a beautiful friend, I found one of my Mum's little pebbles with a dove painted on it. I held it in my hand and felt it warm to my touch. It was a real comfort as my tears fell for those who are no longer here with us. For those who enriched our lives and left behind an indelible imprint that even the most tempestuous ocean could not erase.

Then I imagined a beach full of pebbles all with God's gifts engraved into them - peace, love, hope, faith, joy and grace. Life ebbs and flows. Sometimes grief engulfs us like untameable waves. Other times the tide withdraws and there's a sense of calm. And in this calm, we know that we are loved.

Amanda