just to reassure you

Hi, thanks for the many messages I received after my last bloggage, and thank you for your kind and generous thoughts, I really appreciate them. I also feel a bit bad that you wrote them in response to what I wrote because I think the way I wrote it suggested that I am still encountering the pain of the migraine and cluster headaches. I’m not in pain. Sorry if that’s what I communicated. What I was trying to say is that while the migraine and cluster headaches are still firing away inside my head the ONS means that my brain ignores the signals from them and I don’t feel any pain. 🙂

If / when the ONS expires the pain would come back rapidly but please don’t feel sorry for me or unnecessarily impressed at the moment!

I have adjusted the text in the bloggage in a way that I hope avoids that confusion.

Be blessed, be a blessing (and thanks to all who were a blessing to me)

no pain, just confusion in here!


if the wind changes your face will stay like that

:-PWhat is the origin of that old wives’ tale? Presumably an old wife told the story of how someone pulled a silly face and the wind changed just at the moment that person suffered a facial muscle spasm and couldn’t change their face. I did some online research and have not found a conclusive answer, although one person suggested that we all pull silly faces when wind changes from internal to external (ahem).

Tomorrow morning I am heading into London early to have some injections that may give me some relief from the constant migraine that I experience. They are Botox injections.

[pause while you laugh and make derogatory comments about me needing to lose all the wrinkles on my face].

It seems that Botox injected into the correct areas of the scalp can provide some relief for people with chronic migraines. It’s not permanent but it’s worth trying in my opinion, having exhausted all of the current drug treatments and tried some others that also failed. I have been waiting for a new battery for an occipital nerve stimulator since February and have had the chronic migraine since then. (You can read about ONS here). The wonderful news is that the ONS worked brilliantly and I was headache-free while the battery lasted, and I will be getting a replacement in November. But until then… aaaaargh!

When we experience chronic pain we tend to get a bit desperate when normal pain relief does not work. I guess that’s why people in the past came up with all sorts of bizarre remedies for different ailments and why the victims were willing to subject themselves to indignities and invasive procedures in the (often vain) hope that they would be cured. Leeches anyone?

In circumstances like this evangelical Christians can struggle. When we are busy singing about Jesus having the victory and I have a screaming pain in my head I can feel less than victorious. When I hear people saying that all we need to do is trust Jesus and he will sort out our problems and I have had this headache since February I want to stand up and raise an objection. When I read of preachers who say that if we only believe then we will receive all that we want from God I find myself ranting at the article about how that is not my experience.

Does this invalidate my faith?

Does this mean I don’t have enough faith?

Does this mean God is punishing me?

No. No. No.

I find solace in the honesty of the psalms, where the writers can express joy in God (and I can too) and at the same time express their pain, frustration and sorrow and ask God to sort it. They often find some sense of peace in knowing that God is with them, even if they are frustrated that they can’t see any evidence of him in action.

God is bigger than my headache.

God’s love will not be erased by my pain.

God gives grace beyond the frustration.

An image that I find helpful is that of a hug. There are times when words are not enough, or when they are inappropriate. The only thing that communicates deeply and effectively is the embrace of a hug. It speaks volumes.

I am not a naturally huggy person but I do have a sense that God hugs us when life is at its worst: reassuring us that he is there, that we are held, that we are not alone, that we are loved, that we can hold onto him.

And God may choose to deliver a hug through you: perhaps not in the physical sense, but maybe through a phone call, a text message, an email, a visit, a cupcake, a prayer…

Be blessed, be a blessing.

And if you see me in the next couple of weeks and I don’t smile it will be because the Botox has made my face stay like this, or the wind changed!

euphemistically speaking

We have interesting euphemisms for innocuous occurrences.

“bun in the oven” – pregnant
“economical with the truth” – liar
“indisposed” – on the loo (we all do it)
“pre-loved” – second hand (yes, honestly, it’s a phrase that’s coming into usage)
“built for comfort, not speed” – overweight
“need to recharge my batteries” – tired

I’m not sure why we do it for innocuous events and circumstances because surely the idea of a euphemism in to say something indelicate in a delicate way. I am about to indulge in some navel gazing, so if you are not in the mood for that you could stop here and simply enjoy the euphemisms.

At the moment I need to recharge my batteries. But that is literal, not euphemistic. The implant that lived within my abdomen and sent electrical impulses into my brain to (successfully) stop the chronic migraines and cluster headaches has ceased to be. It has shuffled off this mortal coil. It has curled up its tootsies. It has bitten the dust. It has croaked. It is dead.

Sadly this means that the headaches are back and seem to be enjoying their unfettered freedom by running at maximum. So, by way of a warning to you if you see me and I look like a bear with a sore head, I might be feeling like one too (without the fur or claws). If I am grumpy it may be because sleep is at a premium at the moment. If I look like death warmed up, it may be that I am struggling to cope. Sorry (in advance) if I am not up to expectations.

It has been my experience in the past (and is now) that God gives me the grace to cope (just) and the perseverance to carry on despite the pain. That’s not because I am heroic, but because he is gracious.

It has given me a fresh appreciation of what it is like for many people who live with chronic pain, and I can honestly say that if you are in that category I sympathise and empathise with you.

Be blessed, be a blessing.

bloggage update about my health – if you are not interested I won’t mind at all if you don’t read it!

A less-documented cause of head pain

I am a migrainist. I have suffered from chronic migraines since 2002 (ie constant) until the installation of a wonderful device called an Occipital Nerve Stimulator. Since it was plumbed in in 2010 I have become more and more headache-free. BSOF*

However, it is battery-powered. And the battery has almost expired. No matter what you think, I don’t have a solar panel fitted to the top of my head, so the battery will need replacing.

Today I went to the National Neurology Hospital in London (where wonderful people do incredible things to brains) and found out that because of the funding hoops through which we have to jump in order to get a new ONS fitted, and because of the waiting list, it may be anything from 6 months to a year before it can be done.

In the interim the headaches are coming back. There aren’t any short term solutions available, so it’s back to grinning and bearing it. DGF

If you are a pray-er, I would appreciate prayers for grace to cope and a smooth journey through the NHS bureaucracy. If you are not a pray-er, perhaps you could just think nice thoughts for me and be tolerant if I am out of sorts.

Be blessed, be a blessing.

A man who had just undergone a very complicated operation kept complaining about a bump on his head and a terrible headache. Since his operation had been an intestinal one, there was no earthly reason why he should be complaining of a headache.

Finally his nurse, fearing that the man might be suffering from some post-operative shock, spoke to the doctor about it.

The doctor assured the nurse, “Don’t worry about a thing. He really does have a bump on his head. About halfway through the operation we ran out of anaesthetic.”


A little girl went up to her mother one day while holding her stomach saying, “Mum, my tummy hurts.” Her mother replied, “That’s because it’s empty, you have to put something into it!”

Later that day when the Minister and her husband were over for dinner. The Minister began to feel bad. Holding her head she said, “I have such a terrible headache!”

The little girl looked up at her giving her the sweetest smile that any little child could give. Then she said, “That’s because it’s empty, you have to put something into it!”


*Big Smile On Face

*Disappointed Grumpy Face