the will to live
rating: +11+x

my age: 30

Diagnosis: my diagnosis: Chronic
Clusters started: date clusters started: 2008

My name is Todd. I am 30, married with two daughters and a son. Im from Kansas and work for a city at a wastewater treatment plant. This includes a shift change every 28 days. My sleep pattern changes with it. My first cluster headache was at age 9. It was a one time headache and caused literally blinding pain. I didnt have another one for 16 years. At that time i had a few, but since my sinus always had pressure i regarded them as sinus headaches. They didnt last long, maybe a week. Then i had a remission for 2 years. The next attack was like Gary described. ''I thought at first, I had a brain tumour and was going to die, there and then….'' I was at work and had my wife come get me….I broke several work regulations and ended up in the ER, where upon arrival the headache had subsided. The doctor there had me describe it and diagnosed it right then. He prescribed Imitrex. That is 25 dollars a pill and i couldnt afford it. So i tried to research it instead. I found that my sleep pattern is a primary trigger. It is in conjunction with certain seasons. Generally it is Fall or Winter and night shift. But last year they lasted through two shifts. 8 weeks worth and i decided i better see a neurologist. I scheduled an appointment but it was 2 weeks out. In the mean time the attack subsided. I saw this man for 5 mins where he explained i needed to come back when i had headaches to try preventative medication. He sent me a 300 dollar doctors office bill. I have found that caffeine will pull me out of an attack almost instantly if its strong caffeine. This is nice except for when you really need to be sleeping. Most people run on bankers time, i sleep while everyone else is working many months out of the year. So its not really a viable solution. I dont believe in prescription medications. To quote Chris - ''Unfortunately, I've been through all of the meds that can be prescribed for CH and I'm still in pain, if not worse for the wear of trying.'' They seem to do more harm than good for more people than they help. They are a money driven industry. To cure your problem isnt in their interest, so i have hard feelings about them and refuse to subject myself to that treatment. I have studied this and found two sure cures. One lasts 6 months and you have to have it done again. That is deep brain stimulation. I dont know about you, but that doesnt sound inviting to me. The other will cure it but leaves your face paralyzed. They can clip the nerve that sends the pain signal, but i dont feel like talking out one side of my mouth. Through the last cycle i lost the will to live.
So i went to the neurologist. His news wasnt encouraging, so i am not going back. I have found that stress makes them worse. so does lack of sleep. I try to keep a stress free environment, which is impossible and very taxing to maintain. I try to get as much sleep as i can, but i have children that need fed and nurtured so that doesnt seem to work out either. Recently in the last 2 weeks ive had shadows. Everytime ive had a shadow i have told myself in my head that i wont have a headache today, tomorrow, or the next day and they havent hit. Your mind is a powerful tool. Try to use it. Try to seek a spiritual health. Everyone keeps referring to their attacks as 10's. I hate to disagree, but mine are 15's. Im 6ft 200lbs. Ive been hit by a car. Broke both my legs. Had multiple surgeries. Im no stranger to pain. These arent 10's. They take my will to live away. I cry and roll around in bed with a wet towel to catch the drool and snot. My wife rubs my head and sometimes that is just enough distraction to ease my mind. She cries for me. I wouldnt know what to do without her. I have no advice for anyone. Im just hear to learn and be a part of. Maybe these accounts can be analysed and studied and a cure can come of it. I wish everyone the best and to have some peace of mind.

Date Event
Jan 2003 sample event


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