Or not. Hm...
I've just returned from the ear, nose, and throat specialist my neurologist suggested I see about my headaches/possible inner ear infection.
What I have is not an inner ear infection. My ears look perfect, according to this man.
BUT. After answering a few more questions about what I've been dealing with, and telling him other symptoms that have accompanied the pain I've been having, he did have a diagnosis he thinks is correct.
And halleluia, I think he's right! They're cluster headaches. Awful little buggars apparently misdiagnosed as migraines all the time, since so few people in the population deal with them, but after reading about them on Wikipedia, and then here at the Mayo Clinic's website, I'm sure this is what I have. Positive. (By the way, the picture that accompanies the article on Wikipedia? Yes. THAT is what I feel. Illustrative genius on that one!)
It almost seems wrong that I'm so happy right now! So happy that I'm trying not to cry. But man, if you could only understand how awesome the prospect of not having to deal with this pain is? You would totally get me on this.
So, soo happy. ::sigh::
It was when he started asking me if I'm ever woken up by the headaches that he put 2 and 2 together. And I said yes, quite often they wake me up at about 2:30 a.m. And that's after I've already treated an afternoon attack that hits at about 2:30 p.m. with Advil or Tylenol Extra Strength. And that I had really bloodshot eyes after the first batch of them I had a couple of weeks ago that started this whole mess. And the fact that my eyes were often watery when I last experienced the issue in the fall/winter, so we treated them as allergies.
Yeah, bloodshot or watery eyes are symptoms of the clusters. As is the weird regularity of timing of attacks. And this? "Nausea rarely accompanies a cluster headache, though it has been reported. The neck is often stiff or tender in the aftermath of a headache, with jaw or tooth pain sometimes present. Some sufferers report feeling as though their nose is stopped up and that they are unable to breathe out of one of their nostrils." Um, yes. Absolutely. Motherfucker.
I cannot WAIT to fill this prescription!