Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A View Of, "I Have A Headache This Big...."

It always starts behind one of my eyes - a throbbing feeling like something very sharp is trying to force its way inside of or from out of my head.

Pretty soon, the feeling is behind both eyes and centers itself in the center of the bridge of my nose. It's an intense feeling - like pressure and radiating pulses simutaneously. Imagine having a giant rubber band around head right about where your eyeglasses would be, then imagine that same rubber band shrinking. Or picture this:

Sometimes, if I'm lucky, the sensation will stay in that area. Other times, the pain will grow, creeping down the back of my skull to the base of my neck. When that happens, it's hard to even tilt my head. No matter where the pain starts, or even where it decides to migrate, all I can do is lie back and take it.

Sometimes medicine helps. It seems like I've taken every type of headache and sinus medicine out there. They go away for a while, then the weather changes. Or it rains. Or it gets really humid. Or it gets really dry. Or something. Right now, I'm on not one but two sinus and allergy medications - a pill at night and a nasal spray in the morning - and everything was fine until this weekend when I got hit with a lulu. I was off work and in bed for two days nursing a head that felt like a balloon fit for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. All I could do was wait to sneeze, then the cycle would start again - pressure, pain, sneeze, sinus drain, slight nausea, pressure again. I came to work today still feeling queasy, but feeling only one bout of that damn pressure - this time behind my left eye.

It's nothing new. When I was a kid, I suffered from horrible migranes with the works - aura, sensitivity to light, nausea, intense pain. My mom did everything she could to make things better - taking me to the doctor, trying all sorts of remedies, holding my hand through all the tests, telling me that it would be okay and I would get better. I had x-rays taken, EEG's run, I was poked, prodded, pulled this way and that, and still the headaches came. I can't imagine what it must have been like to tell your 5 year old that she can't have any medicine until the doctor can take a look at you and not lose it, but my mom did it. I felt sometimes as though I was making everyone else sick along with being sick. After all the tests, all the treatments, all the worrying, the only thing they could tell us was that they didn't know what caused the headaches and that I'd eventually outgrow them. Hearing that diagnosis was enough to bring on a whole new wave of headaches - ones caused by wondering why and if it would ever end.

The doctors were partially right. By the time I reached my teens, the severe headaches went away. No more sensitivity to light, no more auras, no more nausea with every headache. When I was a kid, I could count on one of the headaches at least once a month. Now it's once every three or four months, give or take a month or two. They're still not sure what brings them on or if they'll ever stop.

I go back to the doctor again tomorrow, and we'll start over. Hopefully, something can be done to help lessen the pain if not make it totally go away. If not, the cycle will continue. Kind of like beating one's head against a wall because it feels good when I stop.

More to come later, 'cause I haven't got time for the pain.


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