Friday, August 10, 2012

I got a headache in my head

Years ago my brother said he heard a professional athlete talking about having a headache, but he said, "I got a headache in my head." We aren't sure exactly where else you might have a headache, but it made us laugh. I often think of that when my head hurts.

One of the medical issues I've been dealing with in the past year and a half is headaches. I'd never had a migraine until September of 2010. I was with my friend Kathy in Houston where she was getting her chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer. That day her blood counts were off, so rather than going to the infusion center, she was sent to get a blood transfusion at Methodist Hospital. As we sat there, my head started hurting all on one side. I thought it was a sinus headache at first. Of all days to have no pain medicine with us, this was the worst. The nurse there offered me a tylenol. She had one. It really didn't help, but I appreciated her thoughts. I finally strolled down to the hospital gift store and paid about $5,000 (give or take a few cents) for 2 ibuprofen. Again, not much relief. When Kathy went to a different building to have another scan done, I drove to the nearest drugstore. By this time my head was hurting more than I'd ever felt before, I was nauseated, and I wasn't sure I'd make it through the drugstore without passing out. I bought a bottle of ibuprofen and some water, got in Kathy's car, and took 4 pills. I managed to drive back to the Medical building and find the area she was in. They have nice pillow covered benches lining the windows along the outer edges. They were big enough for me to lie down and rest. Rather, sleep. When I woke up, my head had finally stopped hurting.

Kathy told one of the nurses about my head hurting and the nurse immediately said, "Migraine." I had heard of migraines, but never having had one, I had no idea what they were like. When I got home I started reading, and sure enough, that is just what this sounded like.

It was months before I had another headache like that. Then more months before a third. Then they started coming closer together. I wondered if it was simply hormone related. I am at "THAT" age where things like that happen. Of course, having not only Kathy dealing with cancer, but also our dear mutual friend Linda (who passed away in December of 2010), the thought of a brain tumor crossed my mind momentarily. I really didn't have time to dwell on the headache issue because in the fall of 2010 I had my first pains from what I would later discover were kidney stones. That is a different story for a different day.

Fast forward to March of 2012. My ears had been hurting on & off since January. I'd been on 2 rounds of antibiotics. Now, my head was hurting daily. Some days I could barely get out of bed. Or, I'd get out of bed only to move to the couch. I was taking ibuprofen like candy, even though my gastroenterologist and urologist had told me not to use them. Some days the ibuprofen helped. Other times it didn't. Sometimes Excederin Migraine worked. When I went back to my primary care clinic, and saw a PA, I was told no more antibiotics would help for my ears, to see the allergist and that I probably had TMJ problems. The allergist said my ears did look red and irritated still, so put me on a round of steroids. That kicked my headaches away for quite some time! I also saw the ENT who said my ears (after steroids) looked fine and also said my pain was from TMJ. He sent me to a neurologist who just wanted to treat the pain and not find the root cause. This doctor said TMJ doesn't cause that kind of headache and put me on Lyrica (which he said doesn't cause weight gain) and Mobic (which he said wasn't an nsaid). Not long after that I saw my Primary Care doctor who said, "Let's not go back to him again." In the midst of this my blood pressure was up, so she started monitoring that. I then saw the Oral surgeon who concurs that I do, indeed, have TMJ problems. He's going to have a night guard made to see if that helps.

In the mean time, I am NOT taking Lyrica, NOT taking Mobic, using decongestants only as needed, trying not to take any nsaids (though sometimes it's the only thing to help certain pain), getting as little caffeine and salt into my system as possible, and taking Flexeril (muscle relaxer) and very occasionally, only as needed, hydrocodone (aka Vicodin). My blood pressure has come down. My head is not hurting nearly as badly as it was. And my weight, well, as you know, I'm working on that.

Part of the problem of losing weight is that the medicines I take for various issues (mainly chronic pain related issues, but also allergy & asthma) cause weight gain. Unless God heals those issues, I can't just stop taking these meds. I could, but my family would not be a happy one! ; ) Also, my weight gain didn't come from just overeating & lack of exercise, but from my gut "healing" after years of eating gluten while I had Celiac Disease in me. I finally started absorbing the things I was eating. I am sure that I could eat gluten again to lose weight, but since the main known consequence of a Celiac eating gluten is lymphoma, I'll keep my weight and leave the cancer out of the picture!

Today's weight check I was lower than yesterday at the same time, which is an improvement. My head was hurting last night and I did take flexeril and half a hydrocodone tablet. Then I had to take zyrtec and ibuprofen early in the morning. That meant I slept til 1 p.m.! Yet another side effect of meds. And today my daughter made gluten free chocolate chip marshmallow walnut cookies. And I ate a couple. We decided with the dark chocolate and the walnuts at least I'm getting some healthy oils! LOL!

Today I also started eating more calories on the Flat Belly Diet plan. I got to have a sprinkle of salt and my, oh, my was it good on my food! It's amazing to me that it takes so little once you are used to none.

I won't be at my goal weight as soon as I'd hoped, but I WILL get there, Lord willing!

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