I've moved to JennetteFulda.com

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 made the cats run into my bedroom. It has made me come home numerous evenings and binge eat as a temporary way to ease the pain. It has made me go out to the parking garage during work and cry in the back seat and idly think that I could jump off the roof of the building if it gets unbearable.

And through this all has been the knowledge that I may never get better. No one seems to know what is causing my headache. None of the pills work. None of the eastern or western medicine is doing any good. I read stories about people who have had headaches for 10 or 20 or 30 years and I know I may join their ranks.

So, I have alternately been seeking a cure and also trying to learn how to cope with this unknown disease that may be with me for as long as I live. (Hopefully a long time. I was not seriously considering suicide and since I started anti-depressants have not even idly considered it as an option.) Still, it is hard. It is very, very hard. I truly understand that word now.

I have also not been taking care of myself. I have not been eating well and I have not been exercising. I know these things are important and would benefit my overall health, but I feel so overwhelmingly miserable on a daily basis that food is one of my few comforts and exercise seems a chore as difficult as swimming around the globe. (Which, of course, would be great exercise.) I know I need to do better in these areas, but I am focusing most of my energy on just getting through the day, on keeping my job and my health insurance that I need so desperately right now. I would love to lose weight, but I just don’t have the energy for it right now and it is hard to make it a priority when so many other things need fixing first. I can’t move the furniture when the house is on fire.

I have been trying to keep my momentum and keep living the life I was living a year ago. I’d like to be that girl again. But I feel like I’m sleepwalking through my own life, that I’m just going through the motions, miscast as the lead in someone else’s play. I would like that sense of normalcy back. So I try. I do what I can. But I also have to remember I have the right to do less than humanly possible. Otherwise I go a little krazee, as was evidenced last night.

I haven’t been talking about my struggles too much on the blog for a couple reasons. First, I didn’t want a hundred different opinions on what I should be doing. I know they are just voices of the caring, but they pull me in a hundred different directions until only shredded remains are left. This place has gotten so big lately that I don’t always feel comfortable sharing everything anymore, knowing someone is bound to misunderstand me. It does not feel as safe here as it used to. There are hypodermic needles on the playground.

Secondly, I like to act as normal as I can, to live as much of my life that I can, although lately I have been living a half-life, unable to do the things I want to, to feel the ways I used to. This blog used to be called “Half of Me.” I am now (a little over) half my weight, but due to my illness I’m living half a life too. I fake it well. I greet people warmly in the elevator and I smile at my doctor’s appointments. I tell jokes and goof around. They would say, “Jennette seems perfectly ok! She’d never take a header off the roof!” It makes me look around at my coworkers, at the people in line at the grocery store, and wonder how many of them are faking it too. There is so much suffering that goes unnoticed.

It might get better. I’m seeking help. I’m still seeing doctors. I’m trying to get by. My family and friends have been awesome, cooking me dinner and doing my dishes and checking in on me and listening to my whining. But I don’t know what will happen. I might be sick forever and that will be that. I’ll have to figure out how to live with this chronic pain. I’ll have to learn to do the best I can with what is left of my life. But at least there was a year there, when I was working out and eating well and I was healthy, when I felt really good and the world was full of so many possibilities. I was happy then and it was nice. I’m glad I had that year.

And to anyone who thinks there is something noble about my suffering, about the way I carry on so bravely in the face of insurmountable odds, fuck you. There is nothing noble about this. There is just pain – meaningless, endless pain. There is no purpose to it, no greater meaning. It will change me and test me, no doubt, but I don’t want any congratulations for the fact that I still carry on. I do it because I have to and death is not an option.

So, on Friday I leave for vacation. I’m going to the Quaker Oatmeal Festival in Colorado because God knows I could use a fucking vacation. I will try to have a good time even if the high altitudes make my head explode. And by God, I promise to eat a shitload of oatmeal.

Chocolate & Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn't Go Away
Home: Main index


Peg • January 7, 2009 at 9:06 am

I’ve been there. I understand. I had a migraine and vertigo everyday for months.

I know you don’t want any suggestions, but being a stubborn redhead, I’m going to make one anyway.

It might be time for you to ask your doctor to write you out of work for a short term leave of absence. You can keep your health insurance and (at least in my state) temporary disability payments are non-taxable. So the amount you get is ends up being equal to your salary.

A short term leave will take the pressure off and allow you to work with your doctors on a solution.

It will also relieve the pressure of the simple things: having to get dressed for work, having to smile and have normal conversations, trying to focus on your work. When you are in the middle of blinding pain, even these simple things seem like insurmountable tasks and drain your already depleted energy.

Just my two cents. And if your not going to eat free oatmeal on your vacation, send it to me….I love oatmeal.


BrightAngel • January 7, 2009 at 9:06 am

I hear you, and I understand.


Lynn Kent • January 7, 2009 at 9:14 am

Please take my silence as absolute total support for your choices……..


Christina • January 7, 2009 at 9:14 am

Thinking of you. Enjoy your oatmealy goodness. You are stronger than your pain.


Ashley • January 7, 2009 at 9:14 am

I really really really hope you find a cure:)


dg • January 7, 2009 at 9:47 am

Take care pq…


Narya • January 7, 2009 at 9:47 am

I’ve been in bad places, which I won’t detail here, because everyone’s shit differs. Personally, I particularly hate the feeling of not knowing when, if, or how the particular hell is going to ease up. I’m glad you’re taking the steps you can take to move in a positive direction–or, at least, to not move in more negative directions. That’s all we can do sometimes.

And thank you for sharing what must have been a very hard post to write. I hope you enjoy your oatmealy vacationy goodness.


earthmamma • January 7, 2009 at 9:49 am

oh pasta queen… may the oatmeal and high altitude combo be the magic wand you have been needing.

enjoy your holiday…we will be here waiting when you return. take as much time as you need…

your archives will keep me amused until you return…


Roxie • January 7, 2009 at 9:52 am

I am so sorry that you are going through this.


Sharon • January 7, 2009 at 10:04 am

I’m usually a silent reader, feeding off of my Google Reader and rarely clicking on your site itself, but I think after reading this post, we all, even the silent ones, are sending you prayers and happy thoughts, moonbeams & stardust and whatever else that would make your headache ease.

Good luck!


Saucy Wench • January 7, 2009 at 10:06 am

I hope the fresh Colorado air helps you and you find your cure in the healthier environment there!


Vanessa • January 7, 2009 at 10:07 am

Thinking of you and hoping you have a great vacation (and find a cure).


Metro15 • January 7, 2009 at 10:10 am

I can only imagine how difficult it is to have had a constant headache for almost a year, and to not be able to foresee a time when you will have relief. Thanks for sharing with us.


emi • January 7, 2009 at 10:22 am

oh PQ, wish I could give you a hug.

I have no experience with chronic pain, but plenty with depression (& an eating disorder), and I get what you mean about the half life, acting normal, but feeling like crap and wondering who else out there is doing the same thing.

i hope you have an AWESOME vacation.


Deb • January 7, 2009 at 10:25 am

Hi PQ, You may have lost half your life (though I hope with all my heart that you get it back), but you haven’t lost your sense of humor, which is a (very) good sign. I love you! It sounds like the hardest thing would be to have to accept that this is, actually, your whole life. I hope that never happens. Two things about your post: One of the reasons I love you is because your grammar and spelling are so good. So it was especially charming when you mentioned that your “whaling has made your cats run into your bedroom.” Maybe they’re afraid you’re going to take a harpoon to them, too. I am sorry it’s come down to wailing, however. The other thing is that tirade about nobility. I loved your response (FU). What the hell choice do you really have? None. And I admire the hell out of you for realizing it and calling people on it. I’m not a praying person but I will hope, hope, hope that your headache just magically disappears immediately. You are not alone. Love from cyberspace.


Mary • January 7, 2009 at 11:01 am

This is NOT advice, just an observation on my part. About 10 years ago, over a period of 2 years, I lost 100lbs. IWhen I was done, weighed 159lbs and suddenly my body was FLOODED with hormones. I felt like a pregnant woman with PMS almost every day. nauseated, frequent migraines, moody, depressed – oh man, I thought getting thin would CURE my depression!! I was never more depressed in my life. Finally went to my GYN and he told me hormone levels take years to adjust, that I still had enough hormone for a 265lb body in a 159lb body. He said it would adjust over time, it never did, at least for me.

It hurts to read your posts, I wish I could do something for you… my thoughts and prayers for you to heal. take care.


Cathy Brown • January 7, 2009 at 11:02 am

Sending hugs and prayers your way! Having a headache even for a few hours just drives me crazy and makes me feel like its hard to even function. The idea of having one for a year is beyond my comprehension! Take care and enjoy your time away. I pray that the getaway and change in routine will at least make your headache ease up if not completely go away!


Ms. Turtle • January 7, 2009 at 11:04 am

Being skilled at faking it sometimes really sucks, so I’m glad you finally let it all out. This post made me want to cry because your acute misery is so palpable and clearly expressed. Hey Universe, help PQ get better or I will go stomp on a dozen daisies!


Jessica • January 7, 2009 at 11:06 am

PastaQueen —

Sending you hugs, if that helps at all.

I’m a Coloradan and I just wanted to make sure you knew to drink lots of fluids, as the change in altitude can do a number on your body (including headaches) and maybe make the big headache worse.

Otherwise, we’re a great state! Welcome and enjoy!



Shelley • January 7, 2009 at 11:11 am

PQ, I understand perfectly about your headache. My hope for you is that yours will go away soon, as mine did. But the cause of mine was eventually figured out, while yours hasn’t. I feel for you, more than you probably realize. I know I keep saying this, but hang in there.


JJ • January 7, 2009 at 11:11 am

I know you will have fun here in Colorado. It is a beautiful state full of great people so know that you will be welcomed. Take it easy your first few days so your body can adjust (water is your friend) but overall enjoy the beautiful air and scenery. It is unseasonably warm (i.e., mid 40s) for January but we get sunshine 300 days a year. Great food and lots of fun outdoor activity await you!!!


elife • January 7, 2009 at 11:17 am



Lori • January 7, 2009 at 11:19 am

Just hugs for you. Enjoy Colorado – it’s beautiful there.


Kimberly • January 7, 2009 at 11:20 am

God, I am so sorry. I know mere words on a blog comment page aren’t going to help you, but if I could hug you I would.

Have you considered or thought about your headaches originating from an environmental source? Is there something where you live or work that is different from before the headaches? Or have you started using some food or hygeine product that might be affecting you? I don’t know. I am just throwing that out there. It is probably from watching too many episodes of House.


Tam • January 7, 2009 at 11:21 am

I have a story for you (I will not say it is a suggestion because you don’t want one)

A friend of mine was suffering with an incredible headache for about two months. She saw many different doctors and none seemed to have a solution. One day the pain got so bad that she went to the emergency room. There they pumped her with some morphine and she said it was the best she felt in months. (I’m not suggesting morphine but it could be a temporary relief, lol).

Anyways, on with my story, one of the doctors at that hospital had a suggestion. He thought it could be tooth related and told her to make an appointment with her dentist. So she did.

After taking x-rays and doing an exam the dentist insisted there was nothing wrong but my friend is very stubborn and kept insisting for the dentist to keep looking. I imagine her saying “Look deeper!” which my dirty little mind finds amusing. So her dentist followed her orders and indeed she found something. It was the smallest little crack on one of her wisdom teeth. This little crack fucked around with the nerves in that area and sent a shooting, constant headache. They scheduled her for an emergency extraction.

After a week of eating Jell-O she started to feel her self again.. NO HEADACHE! Well a few months later she started getting a similar headache and decided to go straight to her dentist. It was her other wisdom tooth! She’s feeling normal again :)

My wisdom is: See your dentist. It wouldn’t hurt!


kyle • January 7, 2009 at 11:24 am

I wish there were something more I could do other than just comment on this blog entry and send you some good vibes from South America. May the vibes pick up the healing powers of the Amazon on their way up.

Not that this helps you in any way shape or form, but after reading this I felt like the problems that I was just crying over five minutes ago, suddenly seemed more surmountable. I don’t have a headache, my life is fine, I can take steps I need to fix the things I need to. So thanks for that.


Maureen Brand • January 7, 2009 at 11:32 am

I hope 2009 brings you relief from your headache. ((Hugs))


Alexia • January 7, 2009 at 11:34 am

I’m so so sorry you are dealing with this :-(


debby • January 7, 2009 at 11:34 am

Happy vacationing, PQ! I’m voting for the two commenters who gave suggestions anyway–taking a leave from work FOR ANY REASON sounds good to me! And the hormone thing…that kinda happened to me too, even though there weren’t many left. I’m actually having a hot flash while I write this….


Carrie • January 7, 2009 at 11:37 am

Just started reading the blog after buying (and reading) your book a couple of months ago. Can’t imagine dealing with the headaches. Won’t bore you with my opinion. I wanted to let you know that I will start praying that God will take the headaches away. May sound trite, but that’s how I roll. :) Sorry you have to eat oatmeal. UGH!


martha • January 7, 2009 at 11:40 am

Wow, I can’t imagine. I can only let you know that there are many of us that are thinking for you and feeling helpless.


JEM • January 7, 2009 at 11:43 am

Sending you love and good thoughts. I am sad you are having to go through this shit.


Nicky • January 7, 2009 at 11:43 am

I’m sorry. My heart goes out to you.


Nina • January 7, 2009 at 11:48 am

I feel you, man. I had an MRI yesterday for my headaches/migraines. I’m seriously hoping there IS something there so this doesn’t remain a mystery.


scfrogprincess • January 7, 2009 at 11:49 am

Wishing you a peaceful, happy, painfree vacation. So sorry that you are having to go through this! *hugs*


Carrie • January 7, 2009 at 11:52 am

I’m so sorry you are still dealing with this fucking headache. I know we would all like to hand you the gold encrusted pearl that would magically fix your problem. I’ve got nothing, though. It just sucks.


PastaQueen • January 7, 2009 at 11:53 am

@Nina – I hear you on that. In that vein, I hope you have a tumor :) There have been many times I wished I just had cancer.


Sue Peterson • January 7, 2009 at 11:56 am


Just wanted to add my $0.02 worth; and say I’m so sorry for your ongoing pain and strife.

I hope that you can find an effective treatment.


Zoey • January 7, 2009 at 12:00 pm

I’ve been in your situation for the past 15 months. Not headache, but severe adrenal and thyroid failure, which took 10 months to diagnose correctly and more months to fix even the slightest. Sitting upright made me sick, standing felt like I was going to collapse, exhausted all the time, no matter how much sleep. Etc. I live alone. The symptoms actually crept up over the past 3 years and hit the fan 15 months ago. Family lives far away. Lost contact with most friends over the past year or two due to my exhaustion, and due to some stopping calling me. That was sad and painful. Ran through ALL savings last August, and the bills keep coming. Thought I was going to default on the home in November. Slowly, slowly getting better. Eventually will pay off bills and get stable again. Nothing is given though, and for a very long time I didn’t know if I’d ever get better, or if I’d even die. Seriously. Nothing I can say except, yes, I’ve been there. Long term illness is a terrible thing, one that most will not experience..a good thing at that. Yes, I’ve been really irritable and explosive in my exhaustion and fear. Careful with that, seems like you are taking care of it/yourself, but it can push others away, and you need them so very much right now. Yes, they offer things that don’t help, help that isn’t wanted, and just don’t understand. You still need them!

And the name and URL in the comments thing. I know, little things drive you nuts. That’s how it is. But remember, we are not all as apt as you are with computers. I’ve always put it (on any blog) because it doesn’t always show up (on every blog) , and I personally think posting ‘anonymous’ comments on someone’s blog is kinda wimpy.


Dawn • January 7, 2009 at 12:07 pm

I think Mary hit on it that it might be hormonal. I have a close friend that had terrible migraines for years. She finally went to a clinic that just dealt with migraines (she said they are all over the country now) and after all the meds she had been trying they finally helped her there. They said it was hormonal. She now takes a birth control medicine called lybrel. She said she still has a migraine 2 days a month when it is normally time for her monthly cycle (she doesn’t have a period now) but that’s it. She said she finally has her life back. I hope you can find something that works for you because a half a life isn’t a good way to live. I feel for you and you’re in my thoughts and prayers.


Dee • January 7, 2009 at 12:11 pm

I like your candor… your “fuck you”.

I shake my head when people say things like “you are so strong”, or “you’ve come so far despite everything in your way”. Um, no. I’ve lived my life because the alternative was unacceptable. Don’t we all do that?

You rock. There, take THAT.

And I’m jealous of your oatmeal.


Rachel • January 7, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Silent long time reader here..

Just wanting to let the PQ know that I feel for her and hope there comes a day when there is either relief or acceptance.


Peg • January 7, 2009 at 12:13 pm

@PastaQueen – Ouch! I feel bad about your headache, but as a cancer survivor I think it’s very insensitive to say “I wish I had cancer”.

I don’t think you’d like facing your mortality, being wheeled into the operating room while your loved ones said goodbye and cried, meeting with your lawyer in case something goes wrong in the operating room, going for check ups every 3 months and waiting for the call to see if the cancer has returned.

Brutally, brutally insensitive comment.


Mary • January 7, 2009 at 12:15 pm

PQ, A few weeks ago, I expressed my thoughts to one of your posts that didn’t settle with me and make me all warm and cozy as your posts normally do. Your next post seemed to address some of the very things I accused you of and I was satisfied that you’d been open to how I perceived your previous post. My post was harsh and disrespectful and I judged you knowing deep down there was something more going on with you than just the surface we see. I accused you of being ungrateful, a little high on your horse, etc etc. I need to apologize to you and tell you that I’m sorry. My response was uncalled for, rude and didn’t help the siuation you’re in at all. I really thought hard about whether I should email you this privately or post a comment and frankly, I feel that if I’m truly sorry I should admit that to all the readers as well that read my garbage I wrote.

Jeanette, I truly am sorry. Know that our prayers are with you.


deanna • January 7, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Plain awful, enjoy the vaca, perhaps the fresh Colorado air will do you some good! I hope it stops as abruptly as it started.


Caroline • January 7, 2009 at 12:16 pm

I hope that the vacation helps. The negativity in the past two post has been really disparaging. While I understand that it’s your blog, body and emotions, I feel berrated as a reader. As for the name / URL in the body thing, since that warning is displayed in ginromous bold font, maybe you can add asterisks to the name and e-mail fields and a footnote to indicate that they are required.


PastaQueen • January 7, 2009 at 12:19 pm

@Peg – It is actually very common for chronic pain patients to wish they had cancer. A tumor is a visible, known presence. Pain is invisible, often with an unknown cause.


Denise • January 7, 2009 at 12:19 pm

I know there’s nothing I can say to help but you’re in my thoughts and I hope an explanation for the headaches gets found asap. Look on the bright sid: there’s so many different types of cancer they may have just not yet discovered yours!

Also I didn’t know there was an Oatmeal Festival. I’m intrigued by this. Take pics and (try to) enjoy the vacation!


Jen • January 7, 2009 at 12:22 pm

Thanks for another great entry. Have fun in Colorado, I hope it’s a fun-filled oatmeal fest.


PastaQueen • January 7, 2009 at 12:26 pm

@Peg – It’s always the cancer jokes that get me in trouble with people. I should probably stop with those, eh?

Honestly though, I’m very sorry for anyone who has cancer, particularly those who suffer as they die. I *do* have friends and family who have been struck by the disease, so I’m not unfeeling. But, there honestly have been times when I would prefer to deal with a known quantity with known treatment plans and timelines than to be stumbling around in the dark like this.

So, I am indeed sorry if I offended anyone or hurt their feelings with that comment, but my thoughts are not always logical or PC. Still, I don’t regret sharing my observation because it remains true. Sometimes this unknown pain makes cancer seem good. That’s how much it has screwed with my brain.


Shawna • January 7, 2009 at 12:27 pm

If being able to vent in this forum is helpful for you, then by all means you should keep venting. However, you don’t owe it to any of us to keep blogging if it is too much for you to deal with right now. Sometimes in life you have to be selfish and take care of yourself first. If I were you, I probably would have at least turned off the ability for others to comment on my postings long ago.


Debbi • January 7, 2009 at 12:28 pm

We got our wires crossed … I came through Indy this past Sunday (the 4th), and we totally could have gotten together and cried about what a year it’s been! I’m heading back to WV in a couple of days and hope to see you next time you pass through.


Meg • January 7, 2009 at 12:28 pm

*hugs* tons of hugs and positive vibes. Enjoy the Oatmeal!



Deb • January 7, 2009 at 12:29 pm

Hi PQ! I have read your blog for a couple years now and have never written. Guess it’s time to say THANK YOU for your entertaining and interesting blog entries!

Have a great time on vacation! Take a few days to adjust to the dryness & altitude — (run the shower in the bathroom til your room gets steamy) — and drink lots of H20. Then you should try your strong, half-marathon legs at skiing! It’s been dumping snow up there all week (2 feet in 2 days at Steamboat!). Hope you enjoy your vacation in my home state. Contact me if you want info on things to do and places to see!


Princess Dieter • January 7, 2009 at 12:35 pm

It’s not noble. It sucks. I went through 4 years as a respiratory cripple–the wailing, the crying, the depression, the suicidal thoughts–because I, too, thought: This will never get better. It did. But right now I’m into my third week of feeling EXACTLY THE SAMe as I did in those yaers in the ’90s that were the worst of my life (barring my mother’s last years of slow, awful drying). It’s very scary wondering,”How long? How LONG?”

I commisserate, because I remember the awfulness, and I still fear returning to that place, I gained the bulk of my excess pounds during those years when all I could do was eat, try to breathe, read to escape my misery (three books a day was the norm), and wonder why I couldn’t just fricken die already.

Hugs and hugs and a hope for you…


maxie • January 7, 2009 at 12:37 pm

@Peg – you’re wrong. In a few weeks, it will be one year since my husband has been so ill he doesn’t have the strength to leave the house. He is a cancer survivor (15 years) and he wishes the doctors would find something–anything–so we’d know what we’re up against.

And, yes, he’s been to every kind of specialist there is. We live in an area with exceptional research hospitals.


Skye • January 7, 2009 at 12:49 pm

My girlfriend was a collegiate soccer player who suffered from chronic, debilitating back pain for two years. She was put through every test you can imagine, and finally the athletic trainers at the school she attended settled for giving her steroid injections and antidepressants to keep the pain at bay without compromising her performance on the field.

After years of living this “half life,” as you so aptly name it, she finally was diagnosed with cancer. Bone cancer, actually. Stage IV, unimaginably shitty prognosis. Guess what? She was (and remains) relieved as hell. Because that diagnosis was incontrovertible proof that she was neither crazy nor a pussy. Like you, she loathes being referred to as brave or strong–she just does what needs to be done. (Although she will throw out the “cancer card” in a minute to get out of minor inconveniences like parking tickets.)

So, PQ, here’s hoping it’s cancer! Or something equally awful that will elicit the same outpouring of sympathy. I just hope that whatever it is, it can be treated, and you can get your whole life back.


Karen • January 7, 2009 at 12:50 pm

Um, didn’t you just come from an Oatmeal Festival? Or was that just a meeting. Sorry, I did read the rest of your post, but I tend to focus on food. I guess that is why I was drawn to your blog. I don’t want to say something stupid because I am afraid you will get mad (you tend to get mad at your readers alot–but I like that) but I do want you to know that I really care about your getting well again. I know what it is like to live with pain (I have chronic back pain) and it is just awful. I guess that is stupid to say. Sorry. Please accept that your readers care so much because you have presented yourself as someone they can identify with. I read this because you are a damn good writer–as well as the fact that I think I can identify with you. And because of this I feel I have the right to say that I am feeling sad that you are in pain. And I wish it would go away. If only it were that simple.


PastaQueen • January 7, 2009 at 12:53 pm

@Skye – Thanks for that story, Skye. It reassures me that I’m not a nut and that chronic pain patients are indeed *big* fans of cancer. Bizarre and twisted, but true!


Rachie • January 7, 2009 at 12:53 pm

I’m so sorry. I can’t even imagine what it’s been like for you. I hope that somehow it gets better soon.


Bee • January 7, 2009 at 1:00 pm

I have nothing insightful to say or any words of wisdom, I just wanted to give you a hug!



Gail • January 7, 2009 at 1:06 pm

PQ, this entry literally made me cry in sympathy! From a 66 year old who loves your writing…all my hopes for a cessation of your headaches and a return to a full life! Enjoy Colorado and the oatmeal!


Jeannine • January 7, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Another long-time mostly-silent reader here, offering support. I sincerely, truly, hope your headache goes away, and that you can feel again like you have a full life, and not a half.

About the name in the comments, well, to me posting comments feels a bit like writing a letter, and it’s polite to sign a letter, so I always do that. I’m older than you, though, and maybe just old-fashioned. I sincerely hope that the few times I have posted here, I have not been one of those that annoyed by doing so.


Rebecca Hoover • January 7, 2009 at 1:10 pm

@Peg – It was not brutally insensitive….and both my father and my stepfather died of long, lingering, painful cancer. She’s just saying it’s the not knowing. That’s the true torture, a life of unending, undiagnosed pain. That certainly scares the shit out of me. Keep up the good fight PQ, I’m praying that you find a cause, cure, etc.


coraspartan • January 7, 2009 at 1:14 pm


I haven’t posted a comment in a long time, although I read your blog all the time on my Google Reader.

I actually teared up reading your post today. I am so, so sorry for wht you are going through. Sending major healing hugs your way. I hope your pain improves soon.

And ditto what Shawna said. If you need to stop blogging to deal with your pain, we will all understand and be behind that decision 100%.


coraspartan • January 7, 2009 at 1:16 pm

@Caroline – get over it. PQ has a very valid reason for being so negative lately. If you don’t like it, stop reading!


Ali • January 7, 2009 at 1:22 pm

My mother has dealt with chronic pain for 25 years. Doctors told her she was crazy. She couldn’t eat properly because of her pain and they put her in a facility for anorexics for two weeks (until they realized that she is not anorexic – just to much in pain to eat). The doctors have told her she is a faker, just crying for attention, a hypochondriac, …

25 years of being told all of that has really taken a toll on her and has made her fragile and self-conscious.

Finally she found out about chronic pain syndrome and realized maybe that’s what she has. She is now with a very expensive neurologist who combines Chinese medicine with Western medicine and she is starting to do better for the first time.

She is also dealing with her pain through medication which has really made a difference for her. The pain is still there but she now knows how to deal with it.


Peg • January 7, 2009 at 1:24 pm

@PastaQueen – @PastaQueen –

Jesus! Will you listen to yourself?

Do Quaker Oats and other companies who interview you and send you freebies know how insensitive you are about cancer?

If they did, I think your freebies would come to an abrupt end.


PastaQueen • January 7, 2009 at 1:24 pm

@Mary – Aw, thanks Mary. That means a lot to me and it is so rare on the Internets for people to apologize for something like that. You’ve got admirable character! Thank you.


wr • January 7, 2009 at 1:24 pm

Breathtaking. It’s terrible and yet amazing to read about pain in such an honest and visceral way.

As you say, suffering isn’t noble. It’s just suffering, and it sucks. I’m sorry that you have been suffering for such a long time.

Whether you find a diagnosis and follow a treatment plan or the headache simply goes away of its own accord, I hope it happens ASAP.

Sometime in the next 10 seconds would be good…


Angie B-S • January 7, 2009 at 1:25 pm

I am pasting this blog entry to the front of my exercise journal. I will read it everytime I start bitching about how much pain I’m in.

May every inch of your being be healed.


Janis • January 7, 2009 at 1:33 pm

I’m sorry you’re suffering. A year is a long time for anything, but for a headache, it’s just unbelievably cruel.


Naomi • January 7, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Long time reader, first time commenter. Your blog has given me so much pleasure over the years, so much inspiration and laughter and food for thought. I’m so incredibly sorry you’re having to go through this, and so understand that living without a diagnosis and without optimism for recovery must be unbearable.

Is it weird and stalker-like that I went to look for your wishlist on Amazon so I could send you a gift, just to say ‘thank you, and people who don’t even know you are thinking of you and hoping you get better’? I don’t know… so I thought I’d ask here. Not that I think gifts make everything better, but as I can’t think of anything I can do to improve the pain it seemed like a good idea.

Anyway, I send you my sympathy and my respect. I’m a migraine sufferer, and the idea of a continuous headache is terrifying to me. The amount that you’ve managed to achieve this year, in chronic pain, is incredible.


EG • January 7, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Hm. You would be missed, but do you think it might be time for a vacation from this blog? If it’s a good vessel for you, keep on blogging! But if it’s hurting instead of helping, you don’t have an obligation to it or us.

Love The 3 Day ad. I walked once and was a Crew member once. Walking is the best. It’s a great thing.


Jen, a priorfatgirl • January 7, 2009 at 1:36 pm

For being honest, for saying how you truly feel, no matter how much it may or may not offend people, for sharing what is truly happening in your life, THANK YOU. You are so inspirational and motivating. May you continue to be blessed. On days that you struggle, may you find a way to make it, yet another day. With every other comment above, I’m sending hugs your way! :)


Quix • January 7, 2009 at 1:43 pm

I can’t even imagine what you’re going through, and all I can offer is a hug and the plea to keep sharing with us anything and everything on your mind, even if it feels rude, redundant, whiny, painful, or whatnot. Your blog was one of the big reasons why I started running and now I’m up to 5 miles!


Wendy • January 7, 2009 at 1:51 pm

Here’s to oatmeal and fresh air.

And to a cure for chronic pain before you are driven mad.


Nienuh • January 7, 2009 at 1:53 pm

Eat oatmeal. REST! And take care.


Melissa Fast • January 7, 2009 at 1:53 pm

Many years ago when I really experienced HARD, I found it was important to have people in my life who were comfortable with the uncomfortable. They offer support without judgement or advice. I hope you have some of those people in your midst.

I send you white light.


Dee • January 7, 2009 at 1:57 pm

@Peg – I think it’s about using dark sarcastic humor in the face of tragedy, a perfectly acceptable coping mechanism and consistent with PQs personality that most readers here get, and enjoy, and in these circumstances, sympathize with.


Jen • January 7, 2009 at 1:59 pm

@Peg – Why don’t you report her to the Oatmeal Police. Seriously?


mousearoo • January 7, 2009 at 2:01 pm

I feel your pain…well, not literally, but I suffered headaches for weeks and weeks on end, and do again now that I’m off medication. I can understand.

Plus, I feel as though I’ve been a fraud about my weight loss and surviving on my blog.

Although I don’t have the exact same experiences, I know your frustration.

Wishing you a restful vacation filled with oaty goodness :)


Nancy • January 7, 2009 at 2:12 pm

*Hugs* I’m keeping you in my thoughts and sending positive thoughts your way! I can’t even imagine how much that must suck. I hope you have a good vacation.


Jannie • January 7, 2009 at 2:15 pm

I’m sorry. I’m so, so, sorry that damn headache still hasn’t gone away. Please forgive me for making a suggestion- I know you hate them, which is why I haven’t mentioned this one yet even though I saw it on TV a few months ago and thought of you. But I wouldn’t forgive myself if it turned out to be your problem and I hadn’t said anything.

There was a bit on the news about people who suffer from migraines…that are actually caused by a deviated septum or some other abnormality in the nasal area bones. Once the doctor performed a little surgery and fixed the bone or septum or whatever, the migraines went away. They think that a lot of migraine sufferers might have this kind of problem.

If I’ve annoyed you with this suggestion or you’ve already looked into this, please accept my apology. The last thing I want to do is add to your grief. I sincerely hope things get better soon and I will say a little prayer for you now and then- it couldn’t hurt!


anji • January 7, 2009 at 2:16 pm

@Peg – she was replying to Nina’s hope that they DO find something…

I suffer from chronic pain, that has never been pin-pointed exactly what it is. Six years out of 30, I have been suffering. I wish they would find something that’s causing the pain…. then you don’t feel so crazy because, you can tell people, “I’m in pain because I have the cyst the size of a golf-ball in my wrist” instead of, “I’m in pain and NO i’m not a hypochonriac… just because they can’t physically SEE something, doesn’t mean there isn’t something going on.”

I’ve actually contemplated mangling my arm in some way or breaking it or, YES, I’ve actually considered find a way to amputate the damn thing if I could when the pain was at it’s very worst.

Mine was related to a workplace injury… repetitive stress injury (RSI) … it’s not something you can see, but was given the run around. People will think you are faking it when you have something like that… but, if I was working in a meat packing plant or in a forestry mill and it got cut off, people would SEE the disability… and they are treated differently. My arm is barely functional and sometimes, I wish I HAD the visible disability so that people could understand WHY I can’t open the g-damn door and have to use my feet sometimes to swing it open, or WHY I can’t write exams in school with everyone else, or WHY I look like an idiot when all of a sudden I drop whatever it is I’m holding (so far, cans of coke, screw-drivers, pencils, etc…) and I fear one day, if/when I have a baby, that I will accidently drop it.

Chronic pain sufferers not only suffer the pain they feel but the pain of not being able to live the life they want. And, when you finally come to the realisation you can’t do it all anymore and grin and bear it (this is PQs current stage!) , you start to mourn the loss of your past life… and you really wish you could have the old life back.

PQ? This is the low stage… it only goes up from here, I promise. And, I hope for both our sakes, we find our cures.

And, BTW, wouldn’t it be a shit-kicker, if the cure to your headache is high altitudes with a diet rich in oatmeal? Colorado could be your saving grace!


Amy_Jo • January 7, 2009 at 2:17 pm

Oh, dear PastaQueen – you so often seem to say things I think about saying. My blog is my escape; my place to be open and brutally honest, and selfish, and self absorbed. I cannot imagine knowing that hundreds of people would be reading it (although having more than 1 loyal follower sounds nice sometimes!).

Just know that you are a refreshing encouragement to others; but don’t feel obligated to write, or obligated about WHAT to write. Life is too hard to have more annoying things to worry about.


Rachael • January 7, 2009 at 2:37 pm

I can’t imagine what you are going though. I get mirgraines and am frequently in so much pain that I sob. They typically ease up in a few hours, though.

I’m so reliveved for you that your job was safe and you didn’t lose health insurance!!!! Doctors and medication are so expensive. I was prescribed Imitrex for migraines. The cost $20 a pill WITH my insurance! I asked my doctor for something cheaper, of course.

Best wishes.


Rachael • January 7, 2009 at 2:37 pm

@EG – Or maybe disabling comments would help?


Jolene • January 7, 2009 at 2:38 pm


Where in CO will you be? I know you don’t want any more suggestions and I respect that! ANd I know you’re working with various doctors and I honor that.

But I just wanted to say, if you email me, I’d be happy to share some great doctor names and healing options in CO. You’re coming to one of the best places in the country as far as high quality, very compentent doc’s, who deal with “unknown” symptoms and get to the bottom of things.

Please let me know if you want me to pass on these resources.

Best to you!–Jolene

PS I loved your rant last night, it was beautiful!


Misty • January 7, 2009 at 2:42 pm

I’m really sorry you have to bear this, Jennette.

I had a headache for about three weeks in December, and my life pretty much ground to a halt. I was reminded of your struggle and tried to complain just a little bit less because I didn’t truly have it that bad.


Rachel • January 7, 2009 at 2:44 pm

Hang in there. All your readers are hoping and praying that you will find a cure as well as a cause! I was diagnosed with a chronic pain disease myself this year – but I was fortunate enough to be DIAGNOSED – I know exactly what is wrong with me. I can’t imagine how awful it must be to have chronic pain and not know why you have it. I also completely empathize with your desire to keep it to yourself, to some degree. Even well wishers and sympathetic friends can grate – sometimes I feel like if someone asks me one more time how I’m doing, while making their “concerned face,”, I will scream. Sometimes I wish I had never told anyone.


Janell • January 7, 2009 at 2:56 pm

@Caroline – Don’t read the blog then. Geezus!

PQ is intense pain- emotionally and physically. It has to be depressing as all hell to be in such agony and then you have to go and leave your dumbass comment.

If you don’t like it, move on. You won’t be missed here.


Thumper • January 7, 2009 at 2:58 pm

Honestly, I have 3 different chronic pain conditions and have been in pain for over 10 years; something hurts *every* day. But if I had to choose between this and even a moderate headache for just a year, I’d keep what I’ve got.

It’s not as difficult (for the most part…I know there are people in terrible pain every day who just can’t function it hurts so much) to suck it up when your body hurts; I don’t see how anyone can when it’s their head that feels like it’s about to crack open.

I have no answers, even if you wanted them. Chronic pain in any form just blows donkey balls, that’s all.


Erin • January 7, 2009 at 3:01 pm

PQ – I know how you feel, and I know it’s not good. I’ve been dealing with a diagnosed chronic pain in my lower back most of my life, but the last year and a half have been unbearable. There’s no real solution, there are “possible solutions”…and back surgery that doesn’t guarantee my pain will go away is not an option for me. I’ve done physical therapy, steriod injections into my spine…some relieve the pain for a while, but it comes back.

The depression that comes with it is the worst thing I’ve ever dealt with. I understood every word you said (though, I would add that I’d like to rip my leg off and beat myself with it just to put the pain somewhere else!). The 50 pounds I’ve gained because I can barely walk certainly don’t help – and take longer to go away, and the self confidence I’ve lost may never return.

I’ve tried to focus on the positive, I have great people in my life that I know love me, but it’s hard to focus on it, when all I want do is lay in my bed and cry.

I just wanted to let you know that I understand every word you wrote….let me know if Colorado cures you – I’m willing to buy a plane ticket. :)


Susannah • January 7, 2009 at 3:10 pm

Dear PQ, this post brought tears to my eyes (it helps that I’m a tad pms-y). Flying jeebus on a unicycle, you have been through so f’ing much. Like everyone posting above me, I wish I could help you, hug you, cook your dinner…I’d even clean the kitties’ litterbox!

You are doing an incredible job of taking care of yourself, you really are. I hope beyond hope that 2009 brings back your health. Enjoy your vacation!


Jen • January 7, 2009 at 3:12 pm

@Peg – I feel like a crazy person for coming back and commenting again, but I felt like my last comment sounded a little too mean.

I think the point was that she wishes she had some diagnosis and could be treated, not that she thinks people with cancer have it easy.


elife • January 7, 2009 at 3:14 pm

@Caroline – Um…this blog is not a public service. It’s a private citizen’s blog and she can write whatever she wants. Her job isn’t to keep you happy. If you get something out of it, keep reading. If you don’t, move on.


Eliz • January 7, 2009 at 3:17 pm

@Jolene – is that what we call irony?


Liz Remus • January 7, 2009 at 3:18 pm

It must be really tough to deal with a headache everyday. I know when I have one for a few days I get pretty crabby so I have no idea what it’s like to deal with it for as long as you have.

But I do know what it’s like to battle depression. That was the second toughest thing I’ve ever had to go through. The first was surviving my abusive father.

At first it seems like nothing gets better but hang in there, you are not alone. It does get better! I know a blog isn’t supposed to be the place to air personal problems but it’s okay to reach out when you need help. Just know you are not alone. Good luck!


Cindi • January 7, 2009 at 3:28 pm

Thanks for letting us know your struggles so we can support you with good thoughts.

I’m not that far from Lafayette–how long will you be here in CO? Can we take you out to dinner? :-)

Please email me if you need anything while you’re here! It’s been SUPER windy lately, so be prepared. I think this weekend is supposed to be nice, though.


KLCthe BookWorm • January 7, 2009 at 3:28 pm

If you can take the medical leave suggested, my vote is to do it. It was invented for problems like this after all (needing a break and time to shuttle back and forth to doctors).

And I’ve had two family members stricken with brain cancer on my mother’s side. My cousin’s was caused by the massive head trauma she suffered when she was two-years-old. They now track children who undergo what she did because of the correlation of them developing the type of cancer, but she was the wrong age for that. Her death was hard. My uncle’s tumor wasn’t the same type and his surgery and recovery have come a long way.

But my cousin had headaches so bad all she could do was curl into a fetal position, but I never saw her do that after she knew what was wrong with her. I’m sure the specific drugs helped, but I’m not discrediting the fact that after years she finally knew what was wrong helped too.

And I share that because I should be all offended by your cancer jokes, but I’m not. In fact, I laugh sympathetically. We all do what we have to do to survive.


Mary • January 7, 2009 at 3:28 pm

@PastaQueen – I don’t think the cancer comment is particularly insensitive–it’s so completely NORMAL to want to find out what it is. My mother just went through life-changing treatment for colon cancer, my sister’s husband died recently of pancreatic cancer, and a very close friend has a serious brain glioblastoma (no headache involved, ironically). So if I don’t get torqued up about it, I think it can be a “pass” for you.

We are in an environment where we scrutinize every little comment of a policitician, poor little blogger, etc. It’s just such an unforgiving culture we have created. I blame it on the lawyers! (Go ahead lawyers, come get me!)

Hang in there. I hope you’ll get “medieval” on some doctor’s ass about this. You know, like Shirley Maclaine in Terms of Endearment!


Pinky • January 7, 2009 at 3:28 pm

@Jannie – I also saw something about this on a TV show and had thought about suggesting it to PQ. They had a man on Grey’s Anatomy that had suffered from a headache for ten years. He too had been through numerous testings and various doctors to no avail. One of the interns read about the deviated septum thing and when they put the little scope or speculum up his nose and touched that area they were able to find that that was indeed the cause of his pain. I know this is only a TV show, but these medical things that they speak of are real. I hope they find out soon what is causing you all this pain PQ and have a blast in Colorado (as much as you can). Thinking of you!


KLCthe BookWorm • January 7, 2009 at 3:29 pm

@KLCthe BookWorm – PS take a vacation from the blog too. I know I’ll still be here when you get back.


Amanda • January 7, 2009 at 3:37 pm

@Tam – I know somebody who almost had brain surgery because of a headache that wouldn’t go away. Good thing she didn’t go through with it, because soon after, just like in your story, she found out it was a tooth even though there wasn’t any obvious dental problem going on when the headache business started. Once the tooth was gone, the headache went away. Amazing.


Rachael • January 7, 2009 at 3:37 pm

@Skye – Different situation, but along the same track… I work at a nonprofit with young children and their parents. One 2-year-old had been kicked out of preschool after preschool for aggressive and disruptive behavior. The pediatricians, teachers, mental health professionals kept blaming the mom and dad’s parenting skills. Finally, the child was diagnosed with sensory integration disorder. The mom was so happy to finally have a diagnosis, to know what was going on, how to deal with it and ease the guilt and judgement coming her way.


Ginny • January 7, 2009 at 3:39 pm

You’ve brought me back to a place that I really don’t want to be. I remember the pain, the awful, awful pain. It’s still there, now, but muted, a background to my day. To say I know what you’re going through sounds so damn trite, so I won’t. Just hang in there. Day by day. I wish you peace.


Stephanie • January 7, 2009 at 3:39 pm


I have been through highs and lows of depression, where a year goes by of working out and being healthy and then crash! barely getting out of bed. I too felt like I was living half of my life, especially in comparison to all I was accomplising before. All of this was without the chronic pain you have. I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine the struggle.

Do me a favor. Don’t compare your “half life” now to what you had before. Only look at the present. See what you have, what you’re working with, and see that you’re doing the damn best you can in these circumstances.


Karen • January 7, 2009 at 3:46 pm

PQ, you are in my thoughts and prayers. My father is also suffering from an undiagnosable pain (not a headache, but horrible and crippling aches in his back, legs, etc.). He’s been to a variety of specialists and no one can give us even a slight idea of what might be causing this pain, and what he can do to treat it. Although it’s not happening to me, I definitely understand the frustration and anxiety that comes with not knowing. Be well and have fun on your vacation :-)


Katharine • January 7, 2009 at 3:56 pm

PQ, I don’t have anything original to say. I wish, though, that I had magic to make your headache go away.


MizFit • January 7, 2009 at 3:59 pm

thinking about you.

hang in there and have a wonderful time.


Donna • January 7, 2009 at 4:03 pm

Longtime reader, occasional commenter – I feel like I’ve been rooting for you forever, before the goal, before the book, before the headache. I’m hoping for the very best for you, whether that means the headache goes away or not. But I hope it does.


Jeanessa • January 7, 2009 at 4:10 pm

@PastaQueen – in February 2007, I sat across from my mother while the doctor told her she had Stage IV lung cancer. She hadn’t been able to breathe properly for two months and had chronic, debillitating pain in her hands and feet, so made several appointments.

The look in her eyes. Complete and abject terror. I will remember that look for the rest of my life and fight the tears.

They gave her four months to live. She fought hard and died on July 14, 2008.

You don’t want cancer. You want a diagnosis, one that you can treat, fight and win.

I wish you the best.


Bob • January 7, 2009 at 4:12 pm

PQ- Yeesh- I can’t imagine having to deal with what you’re dealing with, though your post gave some idea of the magnitude. I know if it was me, I would not be ‘going gently into that good night’, either.

I hope for the best for you.


Ellen • January 7, 2009 at 4:20 pm

Sending {{{{loving energy}}}} your way :)

I’ve been reading for about 2 years now and I am so sorry this is happening to you. I can’t even imagine what it must like. I hope you are able to have some fun on your vacation :)


Charlotte • January 7, 2009 at 4:34 pm


Longtime reader and fan. I am so sorry for what you are going through this year. I am so lucky never to have faced this kind of ordeal, but many of my friends have lived with undiagnosed illness for years, and one of them wrote a book about it.

I have no idea if it is a good idea or a terrible idea to read about other people’s experiences with chronic/undiagnosed illness, but in case it’s a good idea, my friend Sarah Manguso’s memoir is “The Two Kinds of Decay.”


She had a degenerative auto-immune disease that destroyed her peripheral nervous system for seven years. Then it went away. Her book is funny, dark, powerful, moving–a lot like this most recent blog post. And I think you would dig her sensibility. She talks a lot about dealing with uncertainty and fear, which might be helpful for you.

Or it might just remind you what you’re going through, in which case screw me and my dumb ideas.

(She’s my friend, but other than that I have no interest in promoting her book.)

(The two kinds of decay are: yours, and other people’s. Which I think is brilliant.)


scone • January 7, 2009 at 4:41 pm

Aw, hon. I’m so sorry. I think I get what you mean about cancer– any kind of diagnosis, with even the slightest possibility of a cure, would be better than “we don’t know what’s wrong with you, and we may not ever be able to fix it.” Been there.

Sending thoughts and prayers to the PTB for you.


therese • January 7, 2009 at 4:45 pm


Having chronic headaches are just awful. I found a nifty little product at the Origins counter at Dillards called “Peace of Mind”. It’s even stopped a migrained in its tracks. (Just once, but that was a victory.) It’s soothing and relaxing, smells like peppermint and lavender, and it tingles. And it’s not expensive.

Good luck!


Liz • January 7, 2009 at 4:49 pm

@Skye – You know, I now almost feel silly saying this because what I have so isn’t as serious as cancer… but I was GOING to tell PQ that as long as I can remember I have had joint pain. EVERY joint and nothing helped -nothing except lots and lots of pain meds. I remember, and will never forget, the time that I just broke down into tears in the (umpteenth) doctor’s office. Oh, I will never forget the despair of that moment. The hope of being sent to yet another specialist who could help… and then he couldn’t. I just couldn’t take it anymore. That was when I was 21.

PQ I feel you so much. I would (and still do) get SO ANGRY that I was born with this rebellious, rude, cranky-ass body that won’t just be normal and stop hurting for no-damn-good-reason.

I did finally (after 10 years of doctor visits that helped not-at-all) get a dignosis. And just your story – I was so relieved! Even though the diagnosis was “the good news is that this disease usually does go away, but by the time it does you will be old enough that you will probably have degenerative joint pain. so that is the bad news.”

Just to know that there was a NAME for my personal torment, somehow it helped. It gives me something to put on medical forms other than “all my stuff hurts, can I just circle the whole body?” I don’t know why it matters, but it does.

PQ – I really understand what you are feeling. I know how cranky I am if I have a headache for 2 hours. For a whole year, jeez, I would maybe have been on the news for committing some unforgiveable crime at this point you are at. So – all I can say is good luck. You can, and will, find a way to live with your rebellious body, and I hope that it allows you graduate from 1/2 a life and get up to at least 90%.


girliefriend • January 7, 2009 at 4:56 pm

Breathe on PQ….


Barb • January 7, 2009 at 5:33 pm

@Mary – Whoa, interesting. Maybe it has nothing to do with PQ’s condition, but still, you’d think we’d hear more about this. I wonder how many others have had this hormonal situation from losing weight–you’d think many!


ebj123@gmail.com • January 7, 2009 at 5:35 pm

Man, there is nothing worse than chronic pain. I am sure this doesn’t help at all, but this just seems so very very unfair. You worked so hard to improve your life and now you have to fight against a never ending headache too? What a crappy deal that is.

I truly do hope you figure out what this and you get back to that place you were at during your good year. My heart went out to you when I read that line.

Keep on keeping on. I am thinking of you and hoping for the best.


Marshmallow • January 7, 2009 at 6:06 pm

Oh Jennette! {{{BIG HUGS}}} Sending you much love from Kiwiland.


Cat • January 7, 2009 at 6:16 pm

although you have a ton of replies, I just feel like adding my voice to the cacophony. Although I have no headache, I do have that feeling of faking it through my life, and missing who I was a year or two ago.

I don’t know when it will end, and you describe it so well, and no, it doesn’t feel noble, it feels endless and miserable. and I try so hard to find meaning in it all…

anyhow. yea…thanks for sharing, because I feel you, albeit differently, somewhere along the same lines.


G.G. • January 7, 2009 at 6:50 pm

Just know there are a lot of us out here hoping things get better for you soon.

Chronic pain sucks, and you’re right–there’s nothing noble or profound about it.

I wish you whatever it will take to make this go away and give you your life back.


Lisa • January 7, 2009 at 6:55 pm

Have a wonderful vacation. We’re all thinking of (and rooting for) you!


G.G. • January 7, 2009 at 7:00 pm

@G.G. Not that the “lot of us” thing matters a whit or is something you don’t already know. Anyway. HUGS.


Boilergrad93 • January 7, 2009 at 7:06 pm

Hope you get an answer good or bad. The not knowing sucks worse than the diagnosis. Enjoy your vacation and the oatmeal…I’m SO stinking jealous. I love oatmeal!!!


seattlegirl • January 7, 2009 at 7:23 pm

I started reading your blog after reading your book (awesome, by the way). And I don’t usually comment on people’s sites, but I just had to express my deep sympathy for your headaches, and hope you find a cure. I cannot imagine living w/ that daily. I get migraines, which sometimes last a week or more, but eventually, I get relief, at least for a few days.

I wish you all the best.


SeaShore • January 7, 2009 at 7:38 pm

I’m sorry that you have to deal with this.

I hope you have a good trip.


Jenn • January 7, 2009 at 7:46 pm

@Peg – I’m sure PQ understands that many people have suffered and died when diagnosed with cancer. However, she is also suffering with something unknown. Cancer is something with a name and a severity that matches how she feels, but it has a name. The name empowers cancer sufferers to fight back to try and retake their life. It has a course of treatment. It has specialists. It is something real to fight against. It seems PQ is wishing for her suffering to have a name so she too can be empowered to fight for her life back.


Kathy • January 7, 2009 at 7:49 pm

((((hugs)))) prayers healing energy

wish I could help relieve your suffering


sonia • January 7, 2009 at 7:50 pm

HUGS Darling!

I had chronic leg pain for years, and it really compromised my happiness.

I hear you sister, let it out.


Jen • January 7, 2009 at 7:57 pm

I’m so sad to hear how horrible it’s been for you. I wish that I could do something to help, but failing anything tangible, you have my good thoughts…


FatGrlSlim • January 7, 2009 at 7:58 pm

Ok, totally off comment thread…

Wahooooo, Colorado! I never knew Lafayette even had an oatmeal festival! The altitude out here can do funny things. If you can, get up to Estes Park and enjoy the mountains. Oh and Super Diamond is on town this weekend… and who doesn’t like Neil Diamond cover bands?????

I hope you enjoy your trip out here! And if you feel the need for excessive polyester and more rhinestones than you can shake a stick at, let me know!


Sara • January 7, 2009 at 8:05 pm

I’m sorry things have been suck-ville, PQ. Pain can be dealth with, chronic pain is undendurable.

I hope your team of medical profesisonals find something to soothe you post haste. Take care.


Ang • January 7, 2009 at 8:15 pm

I hope you have a wonderful time, you deserve it. I will think healthy thoughts for you!


F. Pitman • January 7, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Have you had your eyes checked? I had a non stop headache for a year I got my eyes checked got glasses and presto, my headache went away!!


F. Pitman • January 7, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Have you had your eyes checked? I had a non stop headache for a year I got my eyes checked got glasses and presto, my headache went away!!


Sarah • January 7, 2009 at 8:36 pm

Oh, MAN, this post made me feel incredibly sad. I … just … don’t even know what to say.

I will keep you in my prayers, and I sincerely hope you feel better soon.

P.S. I’m sorry if I’ve ever signed my name in the comment field – I think I might have! Sometimes it’s a natural reaction.


Tonya • January 7, 2009 at 8:49 pm

I don’t think I can say anything more than everyone else has already said, but I hope you have a great vacay and immerse yourself in oatmealy goodness. ((hugs))


Bree • January 7, 2009 at 9:11 pm

Thinking of you. *hugs*


Heather • January 7, 2009 at 9:13 pm

Just adding my warm wishes to the collective. Have a fabulous time in Colorado.


Kari • January 7, 2009 at 9:33 pm

Hope you have a great time in Colorado and are able to relax and enjoy yourself while you reap the fruits of your oatmeal recipe creativity. :) Who knows, maybe the change in altitude will help throw your system and at least reduce the headache to a 1 or 2…hope so. Enjoy your vacation!


Suzanne • January 7, 2009 at 9:48 pm

@Tam – I too recently heard a similar story about a headache going undiagnosed for so long that turned out to be tooth related.


Lori • January 7, 2009 at 9:56 pm

Have you tried… *ducking*

Pain in your head is the worst… headache, ear pain, dental pain… you just can’t get away from it because it’s right there, all up in your shit.

If I lived closer I’d bake your favorite cake and hand it to you with a fork (I’m an enabler that way, cake is how I tell people I care about them) and offer to cat sit for you while you’re gone.

I hope the time away is peaceful, and I hope your head doesn’t explode.


MB • January 7, 2009 at 9:57 pm

There is nothing worse than constant cronic pain. Just getting through the day without jumping off the roof is a huge accomplishment.

You need a good vacation with a side of cure. Be sure to stay hydrated and take it easy day one in the higher altitude.

I’m so sorry you only had one good year and hope the vice grip that’s been holding your head gets rusty and falls off soon (like yesterday).

You deserve to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Take care and have fun in Colorado (I’m jealous – I’ve always wanted to go there). Oh, and I LOVE OATMEAL … mmmmm …. OATMEAL ….


Tam • January 7, 2009 at 10:00 pm

@Amanda – Yeah it’s pretty crazy what kind of suffering your teeth can put you through. My mom says that she’d rather give birth to 100 more babies than have a tooth-ache. And she’s a cancer survivor!

After my friend went through her ordeal I started thinking I should go to the dentist for a check-up. I’ve been having some headaches myself. But mine could be from a million things.

Thanks for the reply, made me feel special. (I’m kind of new to the blog thing)


Tam • January 7, 2009 at 10:04 pm

@Suzanne – No wonder our dentists are allowed to charge us ridiculous fees!!

I live in Canada so I’m not used to paying for doctor’s appointments. I tend to avoid the dentist as much as I can.

P.S. Your reply made me feel even more special. I was like “Wow, i’m so popular, I got two replies” then I jumped in my chair in celebration :P


KateG • January 7, 2009 at 10:06 pm

Just wanted to add I’m thinking of you and hope your time in Colorado is relaxing.


David Crowell • January 7, 2009 at 10:12 pm

Pain sucks. Unknown pain sucks worse. Best of luck, and enjoy your vacation.


jilly • January 7, 2009 at 10:13 pm

Shit. Shit, shit shit. So sorry about the pain. So sorry about the need to work through the pain. So sorry that you have worries and anxieties about it all. So very sorry.

Get away, eat oatmeal, breathe. Then eat oatmeal with brown sugar. And extra creamy milk. Then look at cute mountain men. They grow ’em pretty cute out there in Colorado.


Kimberly • January 7, 2009 at 10:23 pm

I’m so sorry you’re going through this, PQ. Years ago, I was struck down with an excruciatingly painful mystery illness, and I was genuinely shocked to realize that the mystery was just as torturous as the physical suffering. Many months later, I finally found my diagnosis and was treated. I sincerely hope you find your diagnosis too…and soon.



Alli • January 7, 2009 at 10:45 pm

I am so sorry you are dealing with this. I am a super fan ever since I read your book.


Courtney • January 7, 2009 at 10:52 pm

I don’t want to make useless suggestions but I keep wanting to ask you questions that you’ve likely been asked a million times, like “Did you move in early 2008? If so, could you be allergic to something in the walls of your new place?” Stuff like that.

Love your blog. Hate that you’re in this pain. Hoping for better times ahead!


Theresa • January 8, 2009 at 1:25 am

I want to add my sympathy and support. I agree there is nothing noble about enduring something when there is no option. I feel honored you shared your story with cyberspace and opened yourself up to lots of support and again more suggestions.

I will continue to have you in my thoughts and prayers.


s • January 8, 2009 at 2:49 am

i hope you have a great time in CO with all the oatmeal.

and i won’t lie, the cancer/pain mini-threads shook me a little for a few reasons. everyone has their own chords that get struck at what seems like the slightest provocation to others, it seems.


Liz B. • January 8, 2009 at 6:55 am

I made a crack yesterday to your former post and I want to say I am sorry. I have never experienced what you are going through and did not realize the severity. I hope this vacation helps make you feel better. I’m praying that the docs figure it out and you no longer are in pain.


susan • January 8, 2009 at 8:23 am


I’m not even going to pretend to know what you’re going through. And even though you sound like you’re going through hell, your blog still makes me laugh. I don’t know how you do it but I hope you keep it up. I really hope you start to feel better soon (for your own sanity). Enjoy your much need oatmeal vacation. Can’t wait to hear your stories when you get back. :)


Pam • January 8, 2009 at 8:37 am

I had a particularly bad “monthly migraine” the other night and was ready to jump out the window too, so I understand completely. It just sucks. My thoughts and prayers go out to you.

A few years ago a neighbor told me she had constant migraines and they found that it was due to blockages in tiny tiny sinus cavities – not the big ones, but much smaller ones. She had some kind of surgery and is all better. Just saying.


Anon • January 8, 2009 at 10:54 am

@Peg – Go away! You clearly haven’t got a clue, and no regard at all for individual responses to devastating conditions. PQ is hardly the first person, and she won’t be the last, to so desperately want to know what is wrong that she would welcome the worst thing she can think of.

You can’t fight it if you can’t name it.

As for you, PQ – sometimes life sucks. You’ve got more going for you than 95% of the people on the planet; you’ll make it.

Yes, lots of us are out there faking it in the face of overwhelming problems. What the Pegs of the world think couldn’t be more irrelevant.


Karen in Tally • January 8, 2009 at 11:08 am

I developed Rheumatoid Arthritis when I was twenty-nine. For the first year or so, I cried a lot. It derailed my lifestyle and I packed on 35lbs. It has been four years now, and I’ve removed all but 5lbs. I have accepted that I will always be in pain, but more importantly, I have learned that it is crucial not to talk about it with other people. People always like to suggest things for you to try, and they mean well, but they don’t know what they’re talking about. I am stronger because of this, and truthfully, unfortunately, I like myself better now. I wish you the best, PQ.


Laura • January 8, 2009 at 2:41 pm

PQ As a long time lurker! I love your humour and that you’re not scared to be honest and “politically incorrect! i also relate having a problem the doctors can’t label! in my case food intolerences. i know you don’t want “cures” suggestions but wondered if anyone had mentioned DLPA ( DL -Phenylalanine) in the UK it’s an over the counter supplement, Chicago Medical school studies confirm it can boost body’s natural pain control, might help with your current pain – appolgies if you already know about it, read most but not all comments . (((((HUGS)))))


Brandi • January 8, 2009 at 7:51 pm

I’m aware that this comment is likely to get lost in the masses … But I want to express again my sympathy and prayers which go out to you. This post nearly made me cry, just imagining what you’ve been going through. I really hope that all is well for you someday soon, PQ.

In the meantime, just keep doing what you can do, hon. It’ll get better.


donna • January 8, 2009 at 9:24 pm

Wow…..the fact that you continue with your dedication to us and to continue your blog during such times of pain is such a testiment to your character. Thank you.

I also am stubborn and need to throw my 2 cents into the pot……I know you visit your Dentist every 6 months, which also says alot about your value to yourself. I myself am a Dental professional and have seen MANY people with chronic headaches due to missing teeth /grinding teeth (esp during times of stress….which is like always) Pillow changes, etc Just a thought to inquire about a nightguard or tooth replacement at your next cleaning appointment.

Enjoy your well deserved vacation and thank you again for being there for us.

Big Fan (no pun intended!)


Julie • January 8, 2009 at 11:23 pm

I’m probably late to the party in writing this comment, and seeing that there’s 165 of them and that you’re leaving Friday for Colorado anyway, I doubt you’ll read it anyway, but I’ve been wanting to write something like this for a bit now and this just seems like the right time.

For the last two years I’ve been dealing with chronic pain. And by “dealing with”, I mean suffering with, figuring out how to exist with, trying to decide if life is worth continuing if I have to live in so much pain, that’s what I mean by “dealing with”. The thing I’ve found both amazing and oddly comforting in reading your blog is that – IT’S NOT JUST ME! Dear god, it’s NOT JUST ME! I thought all the nosy stupid people in the world making the dumbest stupidest suggestions in the world thinking they were “helping” me were doing it because they thought “I” was too stupid!

You know the worst part about it all? I’m a chiropractor! A woman of skill and learning and science! For the past two years I’ve had people suggesting to me the most stupid, asinine remedies (“I’ve heard that moving your bed to the southwest corner of your bedroom really helps!” “Have you tried wearing rose quartz jewelry? Its vibrations really help!”) I even had one friend come up to me at a picnic last summer and say “I liked you better when you were healthy.” He tried to pretend he was joking, but you don’t say something like that and not mean it.

So I read some of the things people write in your comment section and I realize it’s not me. It’s them. It’s people. They’re…people. They don’t understand. I guess they just mean well? Or, they really are just that dumb. I’ve been in such pain that I’ve felt like I’m on fire, literally, and I just don’t think people get what that feels like.

Anyway, thank you for your blog and your honesty and for, I don’t know. Just thanks. As maybe a little ray of hope for you, about two months ago, I started to feel better. I have no idea why – I do a bunch of things to help me feel better. I can’t tell you what if any of them made a difference and I wouldn’t suggest any of them to you anyway, our situations are way different. But about two months ago, on a Friday morning, I woke up and about 90% of my pain was gone. It’s not been totally perfect since then, but it’s been really awesome a great deal of the time. May you have the same sweet relief tomorrow.


Julie • January 11, 2009 at 8:51 pm

Oh my gosh!!! I ran the 5K at the Oatmeal festival!!! I didn’t make it in for breakfast but I hope you had a great time! A little chilly but not a bad day. Hope you enjoyed our beautiful state. …must say I have to wonder what brought you to the Oatmeal festival…I’m assuming you didn’t come just for that? :)

I know you ‘ve heard it all as far as the pain, so I will just say I’m sorry.


Elizabeth • January 13, 2009 at 11:52 am

@Peg –

I have had cancer. I’m still in treatment, actually. I totally get what PQ is saying. Cancer has sucked, yes, and the treatments for it have been awful. But I know what it was, and I know where it was, and I know when the treatments will end. I do have the rest of my life to wonder whether it will come back, but even then, I’ll know what it is and there will be a course of treatment available for me. PQ doesn’t have that right now, and that has to be unbelievably frustrating.


Diane • February 16, 2009 at 4:08 pm

Depending on what type of anti-depressant your on, it could be the culprit! I also lost half of my body weight and went of effexor to handle a little winter blues. Everything was going great. I felt good, wasn’t hungry. I thought life was grand, until a fateful night almost like yours where my head started to explode inside my skull and has done so since. It’s been almost a year and still no one could figure out what was wrong. I went to the Nuero. I had test after expensive test done. MRI’s, MRA’s… etc. Finally it came down to me asking one very simple question no one else did. Hmmm. 2 weeks after I started Effexor I got this blinding, never ending headache. Do you think it could be the anti-depressant? HMMMM! Doctors don’t always know the side effects of what they’re prescribing! In the end, since coming off the Effexor the headache has disappeared. I’d rather feel blue, than feel like I’d like to turn myself blue by holding my breath and dying. Check with your Doctor or even WebMd. I got more answers by looking at others through Google than my own doctor could.

Hope this helps.

From a Fellow Sufferer.


Amber • March 4, 2009 at 12:40 am

I KNOW that you have received ten bajillion-eleventyone1!!ONE suggestions for helping your headache, but I must suggest one more option – http://www.nucca.org/ It stands for the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association. No, I am in no way affiliated. It’s just that so many of my massage clients have had many a mysterious, chronic pain solved by visiting an Upper Cervical specialist. And of course, I mean “upper cervical” as in the base of your skull, not having your uppermost lady bits adjusted (ouch, ewww). Try it out! I am sending you my best get-well thoughts. A year-long headache has GOT to suck.


Bullwinkle • March 5, 2009 at 3:39 pm

Thanks for posting. And thanks for posting so much. I can’t read it now (it makes me cry). My headache started Jan 17th 2009. May Yours get better and may I never catch up. I’ll be rooting for you.


Headacheslayer • March 7, 2009 at 4:41 am

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I haven’t had quite all those suggestions/tests/medications, but in 4 1/2 years it gets OLD real fast.

RE: cancer jokes. My MIL died of cancer last year and there are times I still wish I had something–anything–so they could at least try to fix it. And it sounds horrible for me to wish I had cancer but there ya go. Better than the tens of thousands of dollars we’ve spent (not just on my headaches) just to hear “your tests are normal”.

I also want to say that after reading your book, I don’t feel so alone in crashing and burning in the exercise department. I feel so guilty that I can’t just suck it up and work through the pain and lose the weight. So thank you for your blunt honesty.

I am so sorry you have to deal with this–that we have to deal with this. Wish I was closer so we could stick pins in voodoo dolls together ;)



Gina • June 3, 2009 at 6:21 pm

Hate to mention it because someone else may have, but have you ever had a scan done to check your sinuses? You can have a chronic headache from those nasty buggers.

Much luck.


Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog at JennetteFulda.com.

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 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.

Lick the Produce: Odd things I've put in my mouth
Half-Marathon: Less fun than it looks
European Vacation

"What distinguishes us one from another is our dreams and what we do to make them come about." - Joseph Epstein

Learn to run...online! Up & Running online running courses