This picture perfectly describes what my everyday life has been like for the past 4 weeks now. I haven’t really been keeping up with the weekly photo challenges but I knew exactly what I could post for this week’s challenge of “everyday life”…a picture of me holding my head. Because I am in this position at least 2-3 times a day for at least 30 minutes each time, squeezing my head as hard as I can trying to make the pain go away. I suffer from cluster headaches…and all I want to do right now is complain about them.
I didn’t technically get diagnosed with these until a few years ago, but I’ve had them ever since I was in 7th grade. They would start suddenly and I would get anywhere from 2 up to 10 a day, every day, for 2-3 months. Each headache would last about 30 minutes. It would start as a dull pain, always on one side of my head (either the left or right temple) and within minutes the pain would be excruciating and nothing would help. Before any kind of medicine had any time to kick in, it would be gone. Pressing as hard as I could on that major blood vessel in my temple is the only thing that seemed to help even just a little. My eye would water and get red on whichever side of my face was affected and my nose would run and get stopped up on the same side. Then I would get this horrible stabbing feeling in my eye/cheek/temple, but I would always be so glad when I felt that because I knew that the headache was about to end. And then it was gone as fast as it came.
This happened every day, over and over again and finally after about 2-3 months they would taper down and then just stop. I would be pain-free for a year or two years. Then like clockwork, they would start again, usually in August of every other year. Every website I’ve ever researched describes the pain perfectly…like a red hot poker being inserted into your eye, much worse than labor or childbirth…it’s even mentioned that they’re probably one of the worst pains that humans experience. They are definitely the most painful thing I’ve experienced. They’re also nicknamed “suicide headaches”…go figure.
Less than 1 in 1,000 people suffer from these cluster headaches, which are many times more intense than migraines. Of these, only 1 out of 6 are women. How did I get so lucky? These things are supposed to be the worst pain that humans experience. I guess that should make me feel a little better about feeling pain as I get older…at least it can’t get much worse, right?
Do you still think I have a low pain tolerance, Babe??? 🙂