My headache story

My headache story – Part 2

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In this series of posts I try to describe my life with the beast as accurate as possible. You can read the first part of my story here

Annoying pain becomes more annoying

In part 1 I wrote about my first encounters with cluster headaches. I described an attack as ‘annoying’, and for a long time I experienced them that way. More so, when I started working for a software company and as such spent my days at a computer screen, I was sort of able to continue working while having this annoying, slightly drilling pain. The attacks weren’t that frequent either at the time. As I’ve written before about 3 to 4 times a week over the course of 4 weeks. All of this about 3 times a year.
But around 2006-2007 something changed for the worse. The headaches were no longer just ‘annoying’, they started to hurt pretty badly. On top of that they became more frequent: 4 times a year, 5 weeks with attacks every other day between 9 and 10 AM. To be even more precise: attacks always started at 9.15 and stopped at 10.15 AM.

Insisting to keep working

I still didn’t know what these headache attacks were. I always stubbornly kept working while the pain became worse than ever before. My reasoning was that if I kept focusing strongly on blocks of java code (a programming language, for non ICT people reading the blog), I would be distracted from the pain. But that never happened, the pain remained at the foreground. How such an attack felt is described here.
A full hour I felt the most severe pain I’ve ever known and after that hour it seemed as if nothing happened and I could continue my working day carefree. Often, in the evening, I forgot how bad I’d suffered in the morning. That is the main reason for consulting my GP relatively late. Who goes to the doctor when they’re not sick, right?

Two headache attack in one day

Sometime later during those days I started to get attacks in the evening. Often I was sitting on the couch watching TV with my girlfriend. I tried so hard to hide the fact that I was in such terrible pain, like at work, but most of the times I asked for some aspirine because the headache was unbearable. Little did I know aspirine is useless against the brutal beast that is cluster headache. I’ve long thought traditional painkillers were helping by the way, the headaches all disappeared after an hour after all. It didn’t occur to me that the pain also disappeared without painkillers.

This pattern went on for while until I finally realised that there might be something more to these headache attacks. In March 2007 I had a week in which I had 2 daily attacks. One in the morning and one in the evening. The next Saturday I stepped into my GP’s office. More on this next time…

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