2016 was a bit rough on me. I have been blaming my lack of writing on it. However, a new prospect has reared its head and it is terrifying.
I have chronic migraines and for most of the last two decades, I have kept a very detailed migraine log. It goes beyond “had migraine” and the date. I track what I ate, how much I exercised (if I exercised), what I drank, what I did, how much time I spent inside, how much time I spent outside, any other pain I had, any headaches that weren’t migraines, and the medicines I took that day. This has given me a much better understanding of my migraines.
For example, I know light is a huge trigger for me. This means I have to be careful about the light bulbs in my house and are there enough/too many. It also means that I know amber-tinted sunglasses are more effective light reflectors than dark-tinted sunglasses. I know I have to limit how much pork and alcohol I drink at any given time. Sodium nitrates are a trigger and both those food items contain a great deal of it. It’s worse if I’ve been snacking on beef jerky; which for those playing the home game, is in fact, my favorite snack. I also know that scents trigger them. Some scents are worse than others, but even a mild scent can be a trigger if it is overbearing.
I could name about forty more, but that’s not the point of this post. The illustration was just to let everyone know why I keep the migraine journal, even when I don’t feel like it.
The past few days, I have been incredibly productive in my writing. Even finding the ability to write during the day. I considered it sorta strange since I’ve had a mild migraine since yesterday when the writing began to flow. But it made me check my migraine log.
No, I did not discover I’m most productive when I have a migraine. I did discover that since I started Botox for my migraines in March, I haven’t written very much. And the few bursts of activity have all come in the couple of weeks before my next injections are due.
I due again in a week and suddenly, I’m writing up a storm. I put eleven chapters on three books in the last two days. I’ve even been scribbling in my new writer’s ideas journal.
Botox works by paralyzing nerves in my scalp, forehead, neck, and shoulders. I know because I have zero frown lines on my forehead and almost no feeling in it. I even managed an eyebrow pluck for my wedding, something I believe should have been in the pages of Dante’s Inferno. If someone told me I was going to Hell and that my punishment was eyebrow plucking for eternity, I’d make some life changes.
However, that neatly brings us to the point of this post; what if the treatment for my migraines is somehow inhibiting my creativity? Botox paralyzes nerves, which lessens the signals they send. It also causes blood vessels to become constricted, because they just don’t have enough room for full dilation. Is it possible that one of these is somehow responsible for my lack of migraines and my lack of creativity this past year?
The thought leaves me filled with dread. I like having fewer migraines… But I love writing. Choosing between them is a nightmare situation for me.
Of course, more investigation will have to be done into it. My log will continue to grow. I’m not going to have Botox done in a week, my insurance still hasn’t kicked in and it’s incredibly expensive. I also can’t get a providers list from the insurance company, meaning I’m not even sure my neurologist is available to me anymore.