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Marinating in the migraine of pain

As I mentioned earlier, whenever I’ve started my car the last couple weeks the “Change Oil Soon” light has turned on for 30 seconds and then turned itself off. I finally read my owner’s manual, and learned that if you don’t reset a button in the fuse box after you change the oil, this light comes on every four to five thousand miles. I had my oil changed 1000 miles ago, and I bet the mechanic forgot to reset the button. So I popped the hood, got my hands dirty, reset the fuse, and the light hasn’t come on since.

The “Change Oil Soon” light in my head is still flashing, causing my nerves to light up a headache in my skull although nothing is actually wrong with me. I have not been able to reset the fuse for the past 19 days. Yes, I have had a headache for literally 19 days. 24/7. Non-stop. Not 19 headaches over 19 days, just one, long, never-ending symphony of pain. It feels like too much pressure in my head, like I’m trying to stick 3 gallons of brain into 2 gallons of skill. It’s mostly focused in the front of my face, sometimes directly behind my nose, other times as a low hum around my forehead and sinuses. During the first few days I had the hope that I would go to bed and it would be gone in the morning. Now I just go to bed and hope it will be less painful in the morning.

I’ve tried acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), aspirin (uh, Aspirin), naproxen (Aleve), sumatriptan (Imitrex), a shot of ketorlac tromethamine (Toradol) in my hip, fexofenadine HCl and pseudoephedrine HCl (Allegra-D) in case it was my sinuses, and azithromycin (an antibiotic) in case it was an infection. A cat scan of my sinuses confirms it’s not sinusitis, which bummed me out because I was really rooting for a fungal infection. Instead, I just have a mysterious headache of unknown origin. I have started keeping a headache diary. You can tell this is starting to get really serious because starting today, I have given up caffeine.

I have given up caffeine!

I’ve been weaning myself off of it slowly so I don’t get a withdrawal headache on top of my other headache. Yesterday I only had one can of soda. I have been forced to drink water. Water! Boring, tasteless, flavorless, water. I’m really sad to say that I think it’s helping. Yesterday it felt like my head was only stuck in a vise instead of being crushed in a car compactor. The unfortunate side affect is that I also felt like taking a nap at my desk at one o’clock in the afternoon.

I don’t want to whine about my headache at work, but it is making it more difficult to function. One of the headache sites I’ve been reading said it’s like driving through life with the parking brake on. It makes everything harder. It’s an invisible pain too, so I don’t get credit for working through it. I wish I were at least bleeding at my desk so people could appreciate what I’m dealing with. See! I’m in pain and I’m coming to work anyway! I’m not a slacker! I’m a tough chick. Boo-yah! Instead, whenever I mention it, I feel like a whiner complaining about my poor little headache. Who wants to listen to someone moan about their pain? That’s as interesting as listening to that weird dream your friend had. I also hate being both the girl on a diet who does not want to eat pizza or go out for burritos AND being the girl complaining about her headache. Why don’t I start knitting everyone socks and baking cookies to complete the female stereotypes?

Oddly, exercise is one of the few things that helps. When I’m running on the treadmill, the discomfort of exerting my body drones out the pain coming from my head. It’s like how one dripping faucet can drive you mad, but the sound of a thunderstorm is soothing. Or it’s like how one person speaking in a room is distracting, but the indistinct murmur of a crowd is easily tuned out.

Last night I came home and wanted to curl up on the couch and marinate in the pain, but I think it’s better not to indulge it. I need to take care of myself and ease up, but I can’t use it as an excuse to do nothing. So, despite the pain, despite the long workday, despite the urge to go to bed, I went to the gym and ran for 50 minutes like my training schedule told me to. If any one of you thinks you have an excuse not to exercise, just remember that I drove to the Y at eight o’clock at night and ran 4.25 miles with a 19-day headache. How good is your excuse now, huh?

I’m still working with my doctor on this and hopefully I will find some magic pills that make the pain go away. It’s not a debilitating pain, just a constant, annoying, background pain that brings me down to 70%. But I don’t want to live life at 70%. I want to live it at 110%. It worries me because there are things I need to do and I’m not sure if I’ll be physically able to do them with this pain. I’m too tired to do the things I love, like blogging. I can’t keep up with my email when my head wants to implode. Right now I’m just hoping I can make it through the week. Then maybe I’ll make it through the month. And hopefully the month after that. Because lately, I have been feeling completely miserable.

And I have the world’s largest whitehead on my lip.

Huge zit

PS – No comments on this one because typically when I complain about a problem, people try to fix it for me. I don’t want you to try to solve my problems. I want you to pat me on the back and say, “There, there, now. It will be okay.” I’ll imagine you doing this.

Chocolate & Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn't Go Away
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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 JennetteFulda.com 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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