My Head Hurts

Headache  by Sinornis
Headache by Sinornis

I haven’t talked much about my headaches in a long time.  I wrote a post about 10 weeks ago about my last Botox treatment for my migraines.  I was thrilled at how well this treatment had been working.  I SPOKE TOO SOON.

After the treatment I started having migraines that did not stop.  I had a month-long migraine.  After calling my doctor I was prescribed a short course of high dose steroids, this helped the migraines, but ended in a horrendous Vertigo attack, that caused me to be put on a month-long course of low dose steroids.  Through out the month I was still having headaches.  The break in headaches during the short course of high dose steroids didn’t last long.

I have been having not only migraines, but a lot of different kinds of head pain.  The one headache my doctor agrees I’m not having is Rebound Headaches. also know as Medication Overuse Headaches.  There are certain medications that you take on a regular basis that cause you to have rebound headaches, I do not take most of these medications, and the ones I do take I do not take on a regular basis.  I am extremely cautious about this.  I am very afraid of getting rebound headaches.

For weeks, months now, I have been having severe pain.   It wakes me up at night, screaming, often yelling NO, NO, NO….with tears running down my face.  I’ve been studying Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction to help with chronic pain and this has helped, but I can’t control the pain when I’m asleep.  I dream about being in pain.  I’m nauseous.   I wake up so exhausted and I have no idea how to stop this pain.   There have been two different types of headaches I’ve been getting that are different from the migraines.  One is a sharp pain that feels like a poker stabbing me in the eye, my eye waters and I can’t open it all the way.  It’s only on one side. It is the most intense pain I’ve ever felt.  I have a much greater appreciation for the song Maxwell’s Silver Hammer by the Beetles, however I wish he would make sure I was dead at the time. (this is only the pain talking)  I can only rock back and forth and pull my hair, I scream….it came at the same time each day for 5 days, it would last for about an hour or so, stop then return in about an hour…this would have for 4-5 times each day.  Then they stopped, for 5 days, and started again, for 3 more days.  To date, they haven’t come back so far…..Yesterday I was seen at Duke’s Pain Clinic, I saw my Neurologist’s (who is a Headache and Facial Pain Specialist) Nurse Practitioner, since this was an emergency appointment.  I now have a new diagnosis.  CLUSTER HEADACHES.

Cluster Headaches (have been called suicide headaches) occur in cyclical patterns or clusters, which gives the condition its name. Cluster headache is one of the most painful types of headache. Here’s a link to find out more about them at the Mayo Clinic site. Cluster Headaches via Mayo Clinic   There are many other good resources on the internet too.    Cluster headaches can go away for weeks, months, even years.  They often return with seasons.  I hope mine never return.  If they do, I know they will end, and that will get me through it.

I’m also experiencing a lot of pain in my neck, this pain also comes on while I’m sleeping.  It rarely happens when I’m awake.  It does cause some of my muscles to tighten, but the main pain does not feel muscular.  I must have a CT scan to try to find out more information.  This pain started after the Walmart expedition.  When I was in the car I was not in a very good position, my head and neck were at an odd angle.  I don’t know, but I think this may have attributed to this pain.

So every night at 4 am I wake up in pain.  EVERY NIGHT.  I try to help it, change position, meditate, massage, anything…. and it will feel better, I will go back to sleep, and about 15 – 20 minutes later I’m awake again…..OH it hurts!  and we start again….it goes like this until I give up.  I try so hard not to wake Stuart.  No need for both of us to lose sleep.  I’m exhausted.  Sleep deprived. Some days I can nap a little.  Sometimes during these naps I will wake up screaming.  It is terrifying to wake up screaming and crying.  I know my husband is so frightened for me.  I hope the CT scan will give us some answers.  I also hope it is something that can be easily fixed.

Why suddenly am I having headaches that wake me up with so much pain?  Why am I having headaches that are so different from headaches I’ve had before?  We don’t know.   There is no known reason why Cluster Headaches start, some studies suggest certain things, but there are no conclusive answers.  My other headaches?  We are working on finding that out.   My CT scan is schedule for June 16th, and my return visit to the Pain Clinic is on the 19th.  Hopefully, I’ll have some news then.  How I’m going to sleep until then, that is a mystery……but one I’m sure I will unravel.

Bang! Bang! Maxwell’s silver hammer
Came down upon her head
Bang! Bang! Maxwell’s silver hammer
Made sure that she was dead