Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Please, PLEASE let this be it!

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!


Layla said...

That's AWESOME!!.. Not that you have them of course, but that they have an answer!!... I have an Ex that actually got diagnosed with that right towards the end of our ralationship (no connection to the break up mind you), but the pain was so bad sometimes, he actually passed out!... It was that trip to the ER that led to the diagnosis. Glad it didn't come to that for you!

Erin said...

OMG, how did you not mention in your post that they're called SUICIDE HEADACHES! Ugh, that is so horrible. Hopefully they will be gone forever, and soon.

Faith said...

Fortunately, I haven't felt suicidal while having them. I've curled up in the fetal position and cried and cried and cried, but I haven't wanted to kill myself.

I can attest to the part of the article that mentioned how people with the condition are usually willing to submit to any operation that might bring relief is absolutely true. I've wanted to bore something into my brain - my fingers, a powerdrill, a knife - to make the pain stop. I think that if the severe level of pain happened more frequently than every couple of weeks, I might eventually get to that point. Which is why I'm glad I have medication that might help now. :)

Nuke said...

"the worst pain known to medical science"

Shit you don't half-ass anything do you?

So whats the Doc giving you, corticosteroids or anti-psychotics? Whichever, I hope they help cuz that picture is SCARY (the wikipedia one, not your new profile pic which is actually pretty good).

Faith said...

They're in between...I have antidepressants. But we'll have to see what I do, because I realized that I'm already on something that's supposedly a prophylaxis to cluster headaches (propranolol, which is a beta blocker), and I'm not sure if I'm supposed to stop that before I start the new med? Or do I take them both? Or do I take the new one (which is called Elavil,'s a tricyclic antidepressant) at the same time as I wean myself off the propranolol? (You aren't supposed to just stop taking it all of a sudden, or else bad things will happen, apparently.)

All I do know for sure is that keeping track of all this shit is a PITA. The doctors want each other to fax files over, and to see the reports written on me, etc...I can only fathom what cancer patients must go through, and it canNOT be pretty, if this is all ya gotta do to deal with a bad chronic headache. Whew!