I realized recently that since I last posted an update, it has been almost three months. I’ve been keeping up my list, adding this and that, writing about one thing we’ve tried, and another, and now my blog tells me I’ve made 73 revisions over the last 3 months; I think it’s time to let you in on what’s been going on with our search.
As I explained in my last headaches post, I have chronic headaches, and have had them for around four years. Every. Stinkin’. Day. Chronic daily headaches are defined as headaches for at least four hours fifteen days of the month or more. When I read that, it just made me stop and think ‘wait a second, that’s all?’ Considering the frequency of my headaches, four hours every other day doesn’t seem like a lot. But then again, if I was on the other side of the spectrum and never had headaches, then that would seem horrible. It all depends on where you’re coming from. But anyway, they had seemed to be getting worse lately–adding to my headaches dizziness and more frequent migraines, and I just can’t ignore them anymore, which I used to be quite adept at. And so we’ve started going through everything we could possibly think of that might cause my headaches. You can read about the first few weeks, possible causes, and disappointments here. That’s right: disappointments. Nothing has worked so far, so we’ve been trying more and more things, ridiculous, improbable, and actually sensible. . .
Hair: I chopped my hair off! Not all of my hair, but I chopped. . . 10–12 inches off? Something like that. (I love saying I chopped a foot of my hair off. 🙂 ) A couple months ago now we were downstairs watching a movie and I was pretty wiped out, as I tend to be at the end of a day with a bad headache, and also getting fairly depressed (bad idea making a list of all the things we’ve tried: there’s a lot, and not much hope showed up between the lines), and Mack said: “I think she should cut her hair. It’s so long; she’s always saying how heavy it is.” We just sat there for a minute. And then Mom said: “You know, we haven’t tried that yet.” The fact is, my hair is heavy. Or. . .was. It’s pretty thick, and it would take upwards of five hours to dry after I took a shower (and that’s just if it was down; longer if I pulled it up or braided it), and I had been growing it out for 3 or 4 years. The next day Mum mentioned that, and we realized I had been growing it out about as long as I’ve had my headaches. So a few days later, before I could change my mind, I went back to having a bob. And I love it. I didn’t realize just how much I missed having short hair! Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to help my headaches too much, but I know that not having that extra weight is better, because before I did notice it making my headaches worse. So, some progress. It just didn’t magically make my headaches disappear, like Mack wanted. And sweet Macky, for several days afterwards (and as soon as I got my hair cut), he kept coming up to me with a hopeful face and asking: “Do you have a headache?” And when I told him yes, he was so sad–he so wanted to be able to say he found my problem. I just wish he could. But hey, progress is progress, even if it is slight.
Eyes: We went to the eye doctor. This (again) was a long shot, because I had my eyes checked years ago, and I had 20/15 vision, but if my vision was just a little off, we thought maybe. . . Now we’ve tried this, and found–surprise surprise–I still have great vision, and there’s no reason I need glasses. I’m glad I don’t need glasses, but it would have been nice to have such an easy fix. Ah, well. I’m just glad I didn’t have my hopes up too high.
“When I think something nice is going to happen I seem to fly right up on the wings of anticipation; and then the first thing I realize I drop down to earth with a thud. But really, Marilla, the flying part is glorious as long as it lasts … it’s like soaring through a sunset. I think it almost pays for the thud.” — Anne Shirley
Essential Oils: A good friend of ours called weeks ago and talked to Mum, and gave us some ideas to try. How we never thought of essential oils, I don’t know, but I’m so glad she suggested them. It’s not so much that they make the headache go away as that they make it bearable. I’m having tons of fun researching and playing with essential oils now. And more (slight) progress. This is so, so much better than ibuprofen or acetaminophen (which never made the headaches really go away anyway, they just seemed to keep the level of pain down), and since I’m off pain killers, now I can just use some essential oils and it helps, rather than my just going back to bed, or trying to get through the day counting down the hours until it’s done, & I can sleep.
‘Not Tonight I Have a Headache’: I’ve been reading this book all about different kinds of headaches; chronic, migraine, cluster and tension-type, along with others. It’s been very useful, as it’s all about finding the cause and eliminating it, not just using pills to mask it and help keep the pain level down. I still have a long way to go before I’ve finished it, but I’ve learned a lot already; including the fact that I really need to keep my sharpie pens with me when I read it, and leave ‘footprints’, underlining and enclosing certain parts, leaving notes in the margins, and doodling when all the talk about headaches starts giving me a headache. 😉
Chiropractor: We’re still going to see Dr J., but we haven’t been the last few weeks because we can’t take two hour-long trips to see doctors in different towns the same week. Hopefully soon we’ll be going back to more regular visits. Dr J. gave me some more supplements to take and even gave me needle-less acupuncture, which was both amazing and bizarre, when we went to see him the last time, a few weeks ago.
Doctor G: Alright. We did it. I went to the doctor. All day, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I kept wondering what was going to happen–I’d never really been to the doctor before. Not that I can remember, anyway. I knew what would happen; Dr. G. told me I’m healthy, he couldn’t see anything wrong with me, and ordered a blood test; he said that my trying all the things beforehand made our talk a lot shorter, since we had already ruled out a, b, c, d, and so on. He also suggested we go to the eye doctor, which is why that happened. So now we’ve been to see Dr. G. twice, and he recommended that I go to a neurologist. He said there were three different courses for us next: 1. meds, 2. MRI, and 3. neurologist (which would also mean an MRI). We decided to go with number 4. none of those. But I’ll get to that in a minute.
Blood test: Dr. G. ordered a blood test for me, to see if it was low thyroid or low iron, or something like that. I had several agonizing days waiting for him to call, calling the doctor’s office to see if he was in, and then when the nurse finally told us what the results were? Well, that week was full of news that I couldn’t figure out. Is it good news, or bad? For most people it would be good; but it just checks one more thing off my list, and my list is getting perilously short. My eyes were normal: Yay! But, at the same time, it would have been easy. And the blood tests? The results were normal. Yay? Nay? What do I say? All day I couldn’t figure it out.
Doctor D: We went to another doctor! (Course number 4.) After Dr G. gave us the three choices–none of which did we want–we decided to go to a doctor in The City that my sister suggested. We went and talked to Dr D., and she thinks she can help. She looked at Dr G.’s blood tests, and didn’t think he had done enough, so she had other tests she wanted to run. A lot of other tests. She told me something no one had yet: That there is a cause, and we will find it. And when she said that! Dr. G. told me repeatedly that most of these sorts of things end up that there is no known cause and they just go on meds. That scared me. I don’t want to not know what it is! I don’t care what it is anymore; just tell me. Don’t make me go on pills my whole life for no-one-knows-what! “There is a cause, and we will find it”. Best thing I heard all week.
She now has me off sugar, wheat, soy, corn, & dairy (inflammatory foods), on a paleo four-day rotation diet (I call the two my ‘duo of dumb diets’), on some supplements to help ‘heal my gut’ (don’t ask me!), and, well, she has some more tests she wants done too. So? Hope! I have more to try & do in these next few weeks before I go back to see her again, and I’m learning. Sandwiches aren’t too bad wrapped in lettuce. *snif*