I’ve been totally reliant on sunglasses to make being outdoors more bearable. In late 2016, I was diagnosed with status migranosis (a perpetual migraine). That went on for a couple of years. It was rough. That has since settled down and I’m receiving a monthly injection, but I still get chronic headaches and the odd migraine pops through. It’s resulted in what I call a reverse panda face. My complexion is two-tone due to constant eye wear usage outdoors.
With the pandemic going on, I’ve been pulling my mask up any time I enter a business and in winter time, I’m wearing a hat, so it’s hard to just move my sunglasses on to my head and some days I’ve left them on my face, only to have my shades fog up. I don’t like not removing my glasses in most circumstances (I don’t wish to appear rude), but I’m usually carrying something also, so I’m trying to be efficient.
Today, I went into a business, put my shades on my hat and pulled my mask up and then decided, I’ll see how I go. It’s bright. The sun is shining. It’s only a few places today that I’ll have to keep shades off my eyes. Maybe I can manage for a few minutes without winding up in pain.
And then I noticed I was able to keep them off. And they stayed off.
They were parked on the top of my winter hat. And then I realized that I was no longer squinting. The furrow between my brows isn’t developing pain. My eyes aren’t starting to hurt. The light isn’t killing me like it normally does (I was dubbed a vampire because of my aversion to it).
A little background detail:
For nearly thirty years I’ve required sunglasses. Not as a fashion accessory, but because I have light (photo) sensitivity. I get migraines and developed epilepsy as a child (all kinds of seizures, not just one type). Basically, sunglasses are part of my medical regime. So, when it rains, it sucks to be me, as I can’t see through raindrops.
While the epilepsy is fully controlled with medication (Praise God!), the drug has a side effect of making lights appear brighter than they really are. Not a great combination for migraines, right? But the drugs have been consistent in keeping my brain from overloading. So I don’t mess with them, and insist nobody else (doctors or specialists) do either.
Back to the present:
So, I get to realizing something has happened. The past few weeks (since around the beginning of the year), I’ve been taking less headache pills because I’ve experienced less headaches. I’m not getting them every day.
As I became more aware of this “natural light” and that it wasn’t killing me for change, I messaged my Mum. “I’m not wearing glasses! I’m getting less headaches and not having to take as many headache pills. He’s doing something to my brain!” Please, note the part above where I said the epilepsy medication makes lights appear brighter than they actually are – so this is actually more significant than it seems. I took my medication this morning, like I do every morning. So nothing was different.
I texted my husband and ask him to have a look outside and when he gets a chance tell me if it’s bright or not. He says, “Yes, it’s bright. Why?” I told him, “I’m not wearing glasses”. “Do you want me to bring you some?” he asked (he knows I need them) “No. I have them. I don’t need them! This is a trip!” I guess he didn’t get it, but I’m marveling at this landscape without my darkened filters for the first time in forever.
All the while I’m working and I know I’m not as efficient as I was yesterday, because I’m too busy praising God and saying, “I don’t remember asking for this. Thank you. Thank you! This is awesome!” I made a lot of similar utterances throughout the day, but my mind had been blown away. For the first time in a long time I no longer had to filter the world.
The best analogy I can give someone who doesn’t need sunglasses virtually all the time: Imagine you had to walk with a crutch every day because you had a limp. Then thirty years later, suddenly you put your crutch down and you no longer had the limp and there was no pain when you walked. For me, it’s been an absolute nuisance having to always have glasses with me. Even at night, I’d take sunglasses, in case I ended up in a bright place (store), or car lights were bugging me. Imagine you needed reading glasses for everything you read and then one day you tried to read without them and you found you had no trouble doing it. My vision is still 20/20, so that bit doesn’t apply, but my brain is affected terribly by lights (and no it’s not a cataract or glaucoma).
Now granted, this is only the first day I recall not needing sunglasses since I came off my medication in the early 2000s to see if I still had epilepsy. I was able to stop using sunglasses back then, as my seizures and migraines are linked and the brightness of light was reduced to normal levels because I wasn’t taking the meds.
At one point today, I thought this non-filtered effect was waning. As I drove I noticed my eyes getting dry and droopy and I’m starting to squint more, but then I started yawning. So I think I’m just tired. Which is even more surprising because I am more inclined to get a headache if tired and be very intolerant of bright light.
And yes, I did notice glare, and that annoys anyone, but this was the first time in years I’ve been able to take in my surroundings for more than five minutes and not wind up paying for it later. The only lasting effect after all day without sunglasses (I did put them on when I drove home), was my eyes were a little tired. I’m pretty sure all day driving in daylight is going to have that effect on most people.
Will this be a continuing trend? Only God knows that, but I am grateful for whatever He did for me today. If this is some healing, then I gratefully receive it. If this is to simply show me something He is capable of doing, I appreciate that too. Praise God.
And if you read this whole thing, I hope it made sense and illustrates that God is still working miracles.
See, while I take medication for my epilepsy, it’s not typical meds and technically it’s not supposed to work as a stand-alone for my seizures since I was getting all major and minor types. I should have been on a cocktail, but I was very dubious a cocktail would even work, without providing terrible side effects (including lethargy, weight gain, depression, and continued seizures).
I’ll spare you the terminology for all the types of seizures that I was having, but most people don’t get full control of their chronic epilepsy. So that was another way, God has already worked in my life. He answered my mother’s prayers many many years ago to find a solution. And a solution was found. Not a cure in the traditional sense, but a solution to the problem. God is practical too, you know?