Something to blog about...
I started this "Pathways" blog for complicated reasons, but I've just realized that perhaps I have something real to write about after all... Last night I got lost down the wormhole of internet research - when a simple search leads you to something else and something else and something else. I started with questions about a vitamin and ended up reading about Cluster Headaches (CH).
I first read about CH years ago in a Newsweek (I think) article. This was easily over 20 years ago, and I dismissed CH - they couldn't possibly be what type of headaches I had. They were described as the most painful type, and such superlatives don't apply to me. "There is no way that what I suffer is the worst it could be." But after last Thursday's and Friday's headaches, and after reading a description of the symptoms last night, I do wonder if this could be the right diagnosis.
I know it is dangerous to diagnose oneself using the internet (and I know not to trust wikipedia), but here is what I read that seemed to describe my experiences so well. Cluster Headaches (on Wikipedia)
Right now "wondering" about the diagnosis is all I've got. I haven't ever seriously pursued treatment for my headaches. I've been told they are sinus related and had them casually diagnosed as migraines. Those descriptors still feel true in many ways based on my symptoms, but I also have symptoms that seem very specific to CH. I begin this chapter of my blog because I am inspired to seek medical attention, and if I am about to dive into the unknown waters of health care and medicine, then I may end up with a story to tell. I might as well document as I go.
Since I do not have a GP, I think I have to start there. Perhaps I will be referred to a headache specialist or neurologist. I anticipate that this will take time. Meanwhile, I will write about past headache experiences, such as the most memorable one of my childhood, pain-relief strategies over the years (usually efforts of getting something cold on my head), and more recent headaches and the emotional burden that they carry.
A Discussion of Symptoms
Primary symptoms that suggest Cluster Headaches:
Characteristics that do NOT suggest Cluster Headaches:
Symptoms that suggest Migraines, Sinusitis, or Pinched Nerve-related pain rather than Cluster Headaches: