Happiness, Weepiness and Cluster Headaches

I don’t drink. But sometimes I wish I could drown myself in a tankard of something (that’s the ‘hip’ terminology, right?). Problem is, I’d become an alcoholic pretty quickly. I’ve got enough addictions, thank you very much. To add onto that, I’d be a mean drunk. No… like, alienate everyone who ever loved me mean…

Cluster headaches are a frustrating thing.¬†For some people, they are so severe that they cause the victim to do whatever it takes to end the pain. I’ll leave that to your imagination. Requisite to point out: I’m not there. The last several days, I’ve enjoyed a significant bout of the cluster headaches. I’ve spend my evenings trapped in a dark room, and my nights and days wishing for anything to solve the problems. I’ve wondered about self medication. I’ve considered (though not too seriously) the drink. Truth is, the only over-the-counter solution that I’ve found is caffeine. So I drink a lot of Diet Dr Pepper, and pop caffeine pills. Problem is: Caffeine can also cause cluster headaches. I’ve got another term that starts with cluster for that circular dilemma…

These things are funny, too,¬†because they really add to my fibro-fog. This morning, I cooked some eggs and toast, plated them and put them on the table. I walked away to get a glass of water, or something, and 15 minutes later, having started and forgotten a dozen other tasks, I realized that I had eggs (now cool) and toast (now dry) sitting at the table for me! I was halfway through eating when Nathaniel called me into the other room to get him something or another… I forgot them again!

The men of my family are notoriously emotional. We comfortably share and express emotion… But with these darn headaches, I just look like a crazy person. For example, I’m feeling pretty happy today, overall. Nathaniel’s being cute, and Ezra’s enjoying school. Other than everything, things are going pretty well for me. The problem is, every time I smile or laugh, the headaches are so intense that I cry. It’s not as if I laugh until I cry… If I even crack a smile, my eyes weep and I sob a little.,, immediately. The end result is a laughing weeping person. and not like somebody who’s sad that has something to laugh at, nor like a sad person who’s laughing to the point of tears… no, more like smile/sob-stop. More like I’m some crazy person that should be avoided. Maybe nobody notices. Certainly, Julie is pretty understanding, and the boys are unconditional in their love… but thinking about how crazy I must look makes me smile a bit… and then weep.

Headaches and… Cancer?

As a young missionary, I began experiencing headaches. Not little uncomfortable things. Massive, severe… pain. Lots and lots of pain. I’d lock myself in a dark room and m3ake my companion have to sit in the apartment just waiting on me to feel well again. I went to the doctor, obviously. our conversation went something like this:
Doctor: “well, there are some possibilities.”
Me: “okay.”
“It could be stress headaches, but based on your description, I don’t think that’s it”
“It could be migraines, but I don’t think that quite fits the bill”
“it could be some muscles spasming in your neck, but I don’t see any signs of that”
“it could be a tumor…”
“Let’s check your blood pressure”
“wait, it… what?”
“your blood pressure is high, did you exercise before this appointment? Or are you nervous about something?
“you… nervous? why would I be?”
“i’m going to order a cat scan on your brain, but let’s reduce your sodium intake for that blood pressure, okay?”

Turns out, the doctor said that my “brain is perfectly normal.” Take that, deniers! I didn’t have a tumor, but the headaches continued. The problem with headaches, and all neurological disorders, to be honest, is that there are HUNDREDS of possible factors that can lead to the same symptoms, so diagnosis can take a long time, if it ever really happens at all. My headaches didn’t fit the bill for migraines because they were too frequent and too short. I wasn’t really able to monitor frequency at the time because all I could concentrate on was the pain.

I believe in the Bible. I believe James’ council (5:14), I had the elders lay their hands on me and offer me a blessing of healing. What I got was not that. I remember KYLE BROGDON acting as voice for that blessing. I remember his determination to command my body to be whole, to heal. I remember this because it’s what we both wanted. We both wanted to be able to work, to not be limited by my headaches. I remember his almost… awkward?… hesitation as he gave me these words instead: “you will not be healed of this affliction. You will have these pains the remainder of your life.” If you’ve never had the Lord confirm truth to you, it may be a difficult thing to understand, but at that moment, I had the truth of his promise confirmed to my soul. At the time, I believed it to be limited to the headaches. I’ve been shown since that it is not my place to put limitations on the Lord.

My headaches haven’t gotten better. I’ve been able to identify that they happen 4-8 times a day, and last 30-90 minutes, which better fits cluster headaches than migraines, but I’ve no official diagnosis there, either.