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A day in the life of chronic illness

Recently Rebecca asked in the comments of an entry:

By the way, have you been able to lose any of the weight you regained when you were attacked by the Killer Headache? Do you think you’ll ever talk about the subject? Since many (if not most) of us were drawn to this site by your book and or diet adventures, I think you’d have an eager and receptive audience. And, as a long-time maintainer of an 85 pound loss (more than five years, and holding…) I’d be interested in what you have to say about “rebounding.”

Weight loss? Oh, right, weight loss. I would still like to lose my headache weight, and I do think about losing weight every day, but lately my thoughts have been more preoccupied with figuring out how to live with my constant headache. I have a chronic illness. I will probably always have a chronic illness. I have good days. I have bad days. When I wake up in the morning I don’t know what kind of day it will be, but [...]

My half life

As you can probably tell by yesterday evening’s entry, I have been going through a very difficult time lately. It has, in fact, been the most difficult time of my life, worse than the days when I was a 372-pound recluse living alone in a studio apartment.

People always said life is hard and I would nod and agree, but I did not understand. Weight loss is hard and college is hard and finding a job is hard. All those things are hard, indeed, and I’ve done all those things. I thought I understood when people said life was hard, but I didn’t, because you cannot understand suffering until you have suffered.

I have been suffering lately. I have been suffering since the evening of February 17th, 2008 when I got a headache that has never gone away. Some of you probably laugh a little and think, “Ha, that’s weird. But it’s just a headache. How bad can it be?”

It is bad. It is very, very bad.

It has made me cry so badly that my wailing has [...]

A sickness I can name

I have a cold and I’m rather enjoying it. I sneeze and people say “Bless you.” My throat is sore, so I take cough drops. When people see the wastebasket full of tissues, they know I have a cold. It’s visible and understandable. Everyone has had a cold. They know what that feels like. They know what to do. Take Vitamin C. Keep Kleenex handy. Cover your mouth when you sneeze. It will pass eventually.

It is not like my headache, which no one can see. They might notice the zoned out look in my eyes or notice me rub my temples, but otherwise my chronic pain is invisible. When I try to explain what is wrong with me, they don’t understand. They’ll say, “How are your headaches?” using the plural. They don’t get that the headache never goes away, that it’s just one headache, not many. They try to empathize, but they don’t really know what it’s like, and I’m thankful because I would not wish the experience on others. They can say “That must [...]

The headache that never went away: Part 4 – Watching my life unravel and knitting it back together

It’s odd to be sitting in bed writing an entry about how my chronic headache started destroying my life because right now I feel fairly fine. I’ve felt fairly fine for two weeks. I’m still working on the world’s record for longest headache, but it’s dialed down to a level 2 or 3 instead of a 5 or 6. I’m able to go about my life without thinking about my pain ever 5 minutes. When the headache is bad, all the normal thoughts I have during the day get pushed out, like flood waters washing possessions out of my house. The only thing that exists is the pain. It’s nice to have my brain back, at least for now.

However, there have been times in the past couple months when I’ve not been grateful to be in possession of my brain considering how badly it has been hurting. It’s made my life suck. Oh, let me count the ways.

The emotional toll

When I started crying alone in the parking lot of the doctor’s office in the rain [...]

The headache that never went away: Part 3 – Have you tried…?

Continuing from where we left off yesterday, here are other possible causes I’ve thought of for my headache as well as things I’ll probably try when I find the time and extra funds. Sorry if all this talk of headaches is giving those of you looking for weight-loss posts a headache, but this problem is affecting my life and my ability to live a healthy lifestyle, so I consider it relevant. Plus, it’s my blog, so I get to do what I want to. Neener, neener!

SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

There’s no doubt that I get down when the weather is bad and winter in Indiana lasted about 20 years this season. I bought a special light to sit in front of for 10 minutes in the morning. It helped me feel a little less depressed, but my headache didn’t go away. Also, we finally kidnapped the sun back from the southern hemisphere this month, so I don’t think it’s SAD.

New office

I got my headache a month after I started a new job. I’m not going to [...]

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Man looking into telescope

Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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