I don’t expect people to understand how it feels. Understanding requires experience.

And I wouldn’t wish my ailment on my worst enemy.

Imagine a ten-inch drill bit spinning at a thousand revolutions per minute. The drill bit is burrowing into the inner corner of the eye. It pierces deep within the skull, causing sharp, intense pain surrounded by an incessant thudding. Lying down or sitting intensifies the pain. The anguish lasts between four and twelve hours. Soon after the pain dissipates, it returns anew.

This vivid description portrays my long-time illness.

Cluster headaches. So called “cluster” because of its propensity to return again and again over several days.

Sounds fun, right?

 

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The pain doesn’t define me.

It is a part of me and there is no denying its existence. However, the sickness makes the moments in between that much sweeter. It reminds me how precious my time is and to maximize my blissful hours.

The medications and supplements only carve the edge off the pain. When the headaches blossom, there is no escape. No relief.

My wife says my eyes sink inside my sockets, with nearly closed eyelids.

That’s the tell-tale sign I am suffering. Well, that and the fingertips I have jammed into my eyeballs to try to hold down the throbbing.

While my cluster headaches pale in comparison to the ailments of others, my pain is very real. Excruciating.

But I don’t let my malady deter me from living. I do what I can between bouts to make the most of my life. I write stories. I spend time with family and friends. I work hard at the office.

The pain doesn’t define me. It is a part of me and there is no denying its existence. However, the sickness makes the moments in between that much sweeter. It reminds me how precious my time is and to maximize my blissful hours.

I laugh in the face of the torment. I beckon the gates of hell to open wide. Its best efforts can only slow me down. Never defeating me.

I live stronger each day because of my pain.

What ails you? And what are you going to do to vanquish the dark times?

Don’t give up. You are the LIGHT and the POWER.