Doc's Cluster Headache Journal

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The lull is over

I have been only having low-grade (about what think most people consider a bad headache) pain, and somedays not feeling any type of headache at all for many weeks now but that ended yesterday. I woke up in pain and thought it would just turn out to be another "low-grade day-long" thing. But around 4-3 in the afternoon I started feeling "stupid" and could feel the familiar discomfort that I have come to know as the prelude to a cluster attack...

At around 5pm as a test I started beating on my head with my fist and yup it "short circuited" the feeling and I realized I was at about a "1" it hovered there for a while and I thought I was safe and went to dinner with friends as I can "fake" normalcy all the way up to about a 3 or 4 if I am well rested.

During dinner it started to ramp up... this is a frightening situation. Clusters can reach full intensity very quickly and when in public you always are gambling that it won't get so bad that you will break character and start acting like a wounded animal. Beating yourself and growling tends to not get you invited back to parties.

I toughed it out but by the end of dinner I realized I was saying some kinda crazy crap and was becoming intolerant of chit-chat... It was gonna get bad. Luckily the dinner ended. (I have to wonder if people would have hung out longer if they hadn't perceived my discomfort or got tired of my increasingly rude behavior) By the time I got home I was moaning and "out of it". it got to about a 4-5 intensity and Katy rubbed my head and then "distracted" me in a very pleasant way as it ramped down quickly.

Not a bad episode in itself but like always... its discouraging to start having a new cycle of what are clearly clusters.

I woke with a headache this morning and its on the wrong side of my head and near the surface not responding to repetitive shock either so I would call it a migraine. It shows no signs of fading and is really killing my productivity. I really think I am just prone to headaches of any kind...

yay me.


  • I am so sorry for your pain. It's good to see you back, out on the town, and enjoying life.

    By Blogger deborah, at 3/06/2007 7:25 AM  

  • I've suffered from episodic clusters since I was 16 (I'm 39 now), but for the last 2 years its been chronic. They tell me that I get migraines & clusters because the onset is different. I also get aura migraines w/ no pain but some vision loss a couple of times a year. A walk in the park, really. Increasing pressure in the back of the neck is the migraine and the sharp eye pain is the cluster. Although I never had migraines apart from clusters. I used to think the migraine was an "in between" headache just gearing up for the main event...the inevitable cluster attack.

    You perfectly described faking and social situations. I fake it so much, I don't even realize I'm doing it. Although, people may think what's the big deal. I can fake it most days because some meds help me and I can function. I am always nervous to go do things with friends and family. I can just as easily pop my pills when I am out as I can at home and if it doesn't work I can go home. But for some reason, I just feel more secure at home. I still make myself go out (with a little proding from my husband). I am on medical leave from work but I doubt I will be able to return to a 9-5 job. I must find work where I can make my own hours to work around my headaches.

    I am glad to hear that your wife is doing a documentary on clusters. It aggravates me that no one knows about it. I feel like the public/media opinion is that not many people suffer from it, so why bother getting the word out to the public. They don't call them suicide headaches for nothing and perhaps we can save some lives if not improve the lives of suffers and their families.

    Good Luck to you! Lynn

    By Anonymous Lynn, at 4/15/2007 1:32 PM  

  • Lynn,

    Thanks for posting, I always have mixed feelings about hearing from other suffers. I hate it that anyone has to go through this... but it is good to know that other people truly understand.

    You could explain this to people till you are blue in the face but I imagine only people like us can really understand what its like. Before I started getting Clusters I certainly would have never guessed a person could even BE in that much pain.

    I am lucky in that I have a pretty flexible work schedule as I am self employed as a art director and with a few exceptions I can set my own hours. But like you, I don't think I could manage going back to a 9-5, I simply don't see how I would be able to do it.

    Good luck to you also!

    By Blogger Doc, at 4/22/2007 11:37 PM  

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