What a month! As April was coming to an end, I was informed that iMatch had an opening sooner than I was scheduled, so I went into the iMatch program at Cleveland Clinic on May 1st. I entered with apprehension. I didn’t know what to expect but I did know that I hadn’t made it through a day without resting in a very long time. This program’s schedule is booked from 8:00am to 5:00pm. I ready for acceptance because I did not want to accept that I would be living in this much pain for the rest of my life.
Day one was a whirlwind of information and schedules and meeting the staff. I hardly remember it. The first week was full of infusions (IVs) for most of the day. I had to bring my lunch with me to the infusion room and eat during this time or I would be without lunch (as I learned the first day of infusions). That week was awful. It was full of not feeling well and barely making it through the day. After infusions, at the end of each day we had cardio or strength and stretching. I don’t know how I made it through. I slept most of that first Saturday. Then Sunday I was ready to explore my new (temporary) world. I walked and walked. I ended up finding a hair salon that was open and decided to get my hair cut. So I walked some more and got lost. My phone had died, so no GPS. I went old school and asked people on the street to help me with directions. By the time I got back to my hotel I could barely walk, my feet hurt so bad! But my hair looked fabulous!
The second week was full of learning about migraines (which I do not have) and chronic pain. I learned that my head pain is not classified as a migraine, it is more of a disease caused by a virus that damaged neurons in my brain. So, I often heard “and that doesn’t apply to you” at various times during the sessions. Don’t get me wrong, there was a great deal that did apply to me due to the chronic pain. The second week flew by with a great deal of relaxation techniques, nutritional info, and wonderful support from great new friends! Don’t forget the cardio, strength and stretching. During week two we were kicking it out. Haha
Mother’s Day was rough without my family though they each called, face-timed, and tangoed me. I was able to go on a hike with new friends and we had a wonderful lunch together. Not a bad day after all.
The third week also flew by with more relaxation classes and dealing with pain; and of course the gym and PT. As “third weekers,” we helped the first and second weekers with the routine. We had some classes with the second weekers while the poor first weekers were getting infusion. We also had classes for discharge and getting back to life at home. I have to admit it was a scary thought, going home and applying my new-found knowledge without a daily agenda. Although I felt stronger, I wasn’t confidant.
Now I’m home and so thankful to be so! It is different. There will still be good days and bad days. The difference is that I will be more active (but not overdo it) on the good days and try not to let the bad days get me down. During the program, I came to the conclusion that I cannot control my head pain, but I don’t have to let it control me either. I realized that my life is not over, it just needs to be modified. As a former teacher, I know modification.
So, yes I have accepted that I have chronic head pain that will most likely never go away. It is with me every minute of every day without fail. It likes to keep me aware of it. However, I will live. I am lucky. I am not alone. One day at a time.
Thank you to all of my friends and family (BAMM) for your support during these tough times! I appreciate you all!!
Talk to you soon…