I talked about my headaches once before on my blog. I was seeing a neurologist at the time that diagnosed me with cluster headaches. I stayed with him for a year and tried one prescription after another. The only thing that seemed to work were steroids but he kept taking me off of them once the headaches were gone and then they would promptly come back. I finally realized I really did not like this doctor so I decided to try another doctor in early November. (Sidenote - I was very annoyed when I called my physician for another referral and through our conversation the nurse told me she had heard similar complaints about the first doctor I had seen. Then why did you refer him to me???)
So anyway I went to my new doctor and immediately liked her. I told her about my history and treatment up until that point. She asked me why the other doctor hadn't had me try oxygen. I had wondered the same thing and I was already feeling more comfortable with her as my doctor. As I went into more detail about my pain she said she thought they weren't actually cluster headaches but I had what was called neuralgia. Neuralgia is nerve pain that occurs when a nerve is irritated. She schedule a bunch of tests and scans to rule out anything scary and she tried me on new medications. As my previous doctor had done, she started me off with a medication plus a steroid and so I wasn't surprised when my headaches went away after a few days.
... Just to remind you, I'm talking at least three headaches a day, every day without a break. I've had this for at least five years. They could be so painful that I would lay down because of the pain and wake up nearly two hours later and feel like I had passed out. I tried not to talk about them too much with my family because I didn't want to worry them about how painful they were. Most nights I would wake up in the middle of the night because of the pain and not be able to fall back asleep for at least an hour. I was taking Alieve every day and was worried about becoming addicted to it. It was a pretty miserable time. One of the worst parts is that I would be just going about my day just fine and then the pain would start under my eye and I would know the next 60 minutes would be miserable. The headaches happened around the same time of the day give or take an hour so I had to avoid scheduling work meetings during times I would be afraid I would get one. It was just awful. It hurts my stomach just to think about it ...
So back to my treatment, I took the steroid and the anti-inflammatory drug she prescribed and relished the few pain-free days I knew I would have while on the steroid. And as I tapered off the steroid to see if the anti-inflammatory drug held the headaches off I held my breath. I held my breath for 10 days and then finally felt comfortable enough to admit to myself that the drugs were working. It was amazing. I was still having some breakthrough pain in the middle of the day, but nothing like what I experienced before. My doctor was so thrilled at my follow up appointment. She prescribe another daily dose of the anti-inflammatory drug which eliminated the pain completely.
So now I take my medicine three times a day. I don't have any headaches. I haven't taken an Alieve in weeks. I feel wonderful. It's almost to the point now that I forget how much the pain used to effect my daily life. It's hard for me to remember the fear I carried around just waiting for the next attack. Afraid to go to sleep knowing I would wake up in so much pain. Feeling like I was missing out precious time with the family when I had to lay down because of "one of Mommy's headaches."
I have alarms set on my phone to help me remember to take my meds. Every once in awhile I'll forget to take a dose at the normal time and I will begin to feel a little bit of pain breaking through and it's then that it all comes rushing back to me and I'm so thankful I don't have to deal with the pain anymore.
I was thinking about all this last night and I realized you can draw similar parallels to losing weight. When I was 50 pounds heavier that weight would make me feel miserable on a daily bases. I never knew exactly when it would bring me down - whether it be seeing my reflection in a window, seeing a friend look great in clothes I wished I could wear, trying on bathing suits - but it happened daily.
I tried different diets and different theories. Sometimes they would work for a little while, but eventually the old feelings would come back. I stuck with the same plan of trying over every Jan. 1 even though I knew in the back of my mind that it wasn't right for me.
And once the weight was gone I was so excited. I could hardly believe it. I had no idea what it would be like to be thinner and it was a wonderful feeling. But as the days went on I got more and more used to my new body and healthy lifestyle that I didn't appreciate how far I had come. It wouldn't be until I fell of the wagon that it would all come back to me how unhappy I had been with the extra weight. Never again will I miss out on precious time with my family because I'm too overweight to participate!