Monday, February 20, 2012

Letting Go

Living in chronic pain has made me incredibly grateful when I have moments that I can do things. And it has made me even more grateful when I can do these things in the rare moments of no/low pain. I do not take for granted:

  • Going grocery shopping
  • Doing the dishes
  • Talking on the phone
  • Curling my hair
  • Driving myself
  • Typing on the computer
  • Singing in church
  • Exercising at the gym
When I have a migraine, which is much of my life, all of these activities are very hard. Sometimes I cannot do them. So when the pain allows me to experience them, I am so grateful.

Last week in church, I realized during worship that I wasn't distracted. For the first time in weeks or months (I can't remember), I didn't have pain on a Sunday morning and I was able to focus on worshipping God instead of how much pain I was in. I treasured that moment. It was such a gem.

It's so frustrating though when all I want to do is sing and worship God and let go of everything. Let go of the pain. But I can't. I can let go of life's stresses, but not the pain. Does that mean I'm not really letting everything go? You're not supposed to be distracted during worship. Right? I don't have any biblical references to back this, but this is what I think. For some reason that I may not know this side of heaven, this pain is what God has given me. For now. There have been lessons and blessings through the pain. God knows if all I had to do was 'let go' and be pain free, I would be. If I'm in so much pain that I can't forget about it while worshipping God, is that okay? Yes. Because I still see God through my pain.

I don't think it's a coincidence that on the morning that I was able to sing pain-free, we sang this song....

You are here, You are here,
In Your presence I'm made whole.
You are God, You are God,
Of all else I'm letting go.


  1. The fact that you have not allowed your pain to harden your heart in anger against God is beautiful, Caylyn. Thank you for sharing that song. It is just what I needed to hear right now.

  2. Hello Caylyn,
    I just found your blog through Kelly's blog (Fly With Hope). I have been reading through your comments since you started your blog! I am also a sufferer of chronic headaches. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions about inpatient headache places since you stayed at one. Headaches are so unique to each suffering individual and certainly everyone responds to medication differently! Do you find being hospitalized and the medication regimen given has significantly improved your daily pain level? Do migraines run in your family? Is it hard to get into inpatient headache units?

    My headaches are episodic chronic headaches! My 1st spell started at the age of 28 with no illness, just stress! My 2nd spell took place 4 years later with a 5 month cycle! I am now 38 and on my 3rd cycle which has been 5 months and still going! It is so hard to be told this is genetic! Both my parents did not suffer with headaches and I rarely got headaches as a child, teenager and in my early 20's! I purchased and read so many backs about headaches meanwhile trying all other alternative things people try to break the cycle!
    I had no idea the human body could have chronic headaches with no underlying medical condition! Certainly educating myself throughout the years has made me aware of headache and migraine disease and how many people are affected with this!
    I try to stay informed and updated on treatments meanwhile while doing my best to cope! Indeed it has been a tough road! I have been married almost 17 years and have 2 adopted children! My headaches have impacted my life and I turn to God when I lose hope!
    Just wanted to introduce myself and tell you thank you for sharing your journey with others! Sometimes we feel isolated and defined by pain and it is a great thing for us to stick together and educate and give hope to each other!
    Wishing you many pain free days!
    Peace, love and hugs to you!

  3. Wow Mamie, thanks for the comment. You're right, it is important and encouraging to stick together. To answer your questions, yes being hospitalized helped me. I wasn't responding to outpatient treatment, and I needed the aggressive treatment inpatient can provide to break the cycle. However, I still have migraine most days (5-6 days a week I'd say). The severe pain doesn't last as long though, so there is slow improvement and I have hope it will continue. It took me 10 months to become diagnosed with migraine. I had mono two years ago and the severe headache with it never went away, but I didn't know it was actually a migraine. Now that I'm more educated about the disease, I realize that I've had migraines since high school, at least. (I should write a post about this). One of the reasons I didn't think it was migraine was because I didn't THINK migraine ran in the family.... my brother, sister, mom, and dad never reported migraine. However now that I have been properly diagnosed, here's what we have found: many of my mom's cousins have them, my sister has had 2 ocular migraine (where she loses her central vision, like in an aura phase, but it has never gone past that), my dad remembers his mom needing to frequently lay down for an hour, my mom remembers her mom frequently taking aspirin, and my father reports very frequent 'sinus headaches' (which I think are actually migraine). My experience getting into inpatient was very seamless. God had his hand in it all. My outpatient local doctor in Kansas City referred me to Michigan Head Pain and Neurological Institute. He called and made the referral, they called me that day to explain the program, and could get me within the next week, but I made an appointment for a month later. You are seen at their outpatient clinic first and the doctor has the final say of if you're appropriate (but they give you an idea before you come). And then I got in the hospital the next day. There is someone who works for MHNI that all her job is to work with insurance, so I never had to coordinate anything with insurance. I was very blessed with the process of this all (also that they were in-network with my insurance). Mamie, are you on facebook? There is a wonderful group that i found out through Terry Robert's newsletter at She linked it in her newsletter and then you request to join. It's called Migraine Info & Support for the Proactive and Positive Migraineur. Everyone there is so helpful, knowledgable, and supportive. Hang in there!