What To Do When You Finally Figure Out Why It Feels Like Your Head Is Being Torn Apart: Cluster Headaches, vol. 1

YOU.

WHINE.

Because you know who has time for this???

NO ONE.

Especially not this lady, who has been dealing with headaches ever since the scent of puberty breezed past her in Jr. High and then landed firmly upon her like an albatross, and is well versed with sundry stupid, “not life threatening,” “intense pains” for no good reason.

I swear, if I could boost my immune system with this sucker, or if there was something positive about it, like “cluster headaches increase the ability to see infrared light,” or “cluster headaches allow the user to bend the fabric of time,” that’d be one thing.

But nnnnnnooooooooooooooooo….

Okay, here’s what’s going on.

Last week I was having this pain on the left side of my face/head. No big deal, I’ve had headaches on the left side of my face/head before. I’ve had headaches on the top of my head, the bottom of my head, the middle of my head….all in all, this isn’t my first walk in the park with headaches. NO BIGGIE. Take some Motrin, as I have been advised to do by every single doctor I have ever spoken with about all of my headaches.

Good to go. It goes away, at least to a “dull roar.”

And then it comes back.

And then it goes away.

And then it comes back.

And then it goes away.

And then….OH COME ON. 

There has been no pattern as far as I can see. The headache comes for a few minutes/hours, and then goes away for minutes/hours. I might think it is finished, and then all of a sudden it’s back and I am holding the left side of my head, like it’s about to fall off.

I am hydrated (always the first thing to check, fyi), fed, rested, stretched, light exercised, rested again, showered, I am not bored, I am intellectually stimulated (for us cerebral types, the lack of intellectual stimulation can lead to intense frustration, which can lead to headaches or anxiety). I am not depressed, I am being deliberate about being happy, I am taking my Motrin (because sometimes I am so deeply annoyed with being in pain, again, that I don’t want to give it the satisfaction of being treated. Us overly-stubborn types know what this is about).

I have considered maybe I am having these debilitating headaches because I have a vitamin D deficiency, even though I have never tested low….but who the heck knows, maybe I am now. So I’m taking Vitamin D. And iron. I have Fish Oil on the stand-by…

I am willing to take anything that solves this problem, because it feels like my head is being torn apart from behind my left eye, and the pain is searing to the point that I cannot stay conscious and I am drugging myself and sleeping the pain away, and this, frankly, is bullshit.

I have completely run out of ideas on what this stupid, coming and going headache could possibly be. It isn’t anything I’m eating. It isn’t anything I’m doing. It comes in waves, and lasts a while, and then goes away….and comes back again, and this has been going on sporadically for two weeks.

So, anyway, that’s a cluster headache.

diagnosis-of-headache

According to the Mayo Clinic:

“Cluster headaches, which occur in cyclical patterns or clusters, are one of the most painful types of headache. A cluster headache commonly awakens you in the middle of the night with intense pain in or around one eye on one side of your head.”

Oh. That’s fantastic.

“Bouts of frequent attacks, known as cluster periods, can last from weeks to months, usually followed by remission periods when the headaches stop.”

According to WebMD:

“We don’t know what causes them, but we do know that a nerve in your face is involved, creating intense pain around one of your eyes. It’s so bad that most people can’t sit still and will often pace during an attack. Cluster headaches can be more severe than a migraine, but they usually don’t last as long.”

“A cluster period generally lasts from six to 12 weeks. The starting date and the duration of each cluster period might be consistent from period to period. For example, cluster periods can occur seasonally, such as every spring or every fall.

The pain usually ends as suddenly as it began, with rapidly decreasing intensity. After attacks, most people are pain-free, but exhausted.”

Gotta admit.

I’m pretty exhausted.

 

 

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