Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Piercing Pains

Guess They are Here to Stay

Went to see my headache specialist in Kansas City. I've decided to nickname her Doc Optimist as she has a very hopeful outlook and is quite cheery. Poor Doc Optimist was sick with a cold today, but she saw me anyway. What a pleasure the appointment was. I showed up 15 minutes before the appointment, went back to the room, was seen at 3:00 on the dot and out in 15 minutes, with my next appointment for January.

Discussed the problems I have been having to Doc Optimist, especially the piercing pains I have been having on the left side. She said that jabs and jolts headaches often appear with hemicrania continua, and now that the other pain is less I am noticing these. Unfortunately the only medication that works for the jabs and jolts is indomethacin which I can't take because it gave me pancreatitis and upset The Belly. I told her I could take the pain, I just have to bear down and deal with it. As long as it goes away at some point, I have pretty good pain tolerance. She said before we give up trying to treat it she had quite a few tricks to try.

I also described the right sided headaches I have been having. They are not migraines, at least not like the migraines I have had in the past. Doc Optimist does not think they are cluster headaches but said the hemicrania continua can switch sides. I told her that these are not continuous at least not yet. I would be horrified to get right sided hemicrania continua after whooping the left side. I hope they were just an aberration or maybe pancreatitis induced, since I haven't had one in about 10 days. Doc Optimist said if they continue we might try Relpax to see if they were migraine related instead of hemicrania continua related. She wants to see if a medication change will help first.

I told her I was not working full time yet, but that I had other health problems that might be interfering in addition to The Headache - especially The Belly at this time. Doc Optimist prescribed some vistaryl/phenergan to be compounded in a cream to be absorbed through the skin. She said that since The Belly is kicking a fit, I may not be absorbing medication properly and we were going to bypass the GI tract entirely. Now I have to find a compounding pharmacy...sigh. She wanted me to use suppositories but since I don't have an intact anal sphincter anymore because of the radiation induced fibrosis I told her that may not be a very good idea.

Doc Optimist had interesting insight on my cold spells that correspond to The Headache. She said many other headache patients have similar symptoms - either get really really cold or really really hot. She speculates that this is because the autonomic nervous system controls and the hypothalmus reside in the central brain area that is thought to be activated by severe headaches. She said even though I am not experiencing the pain of The Headache, The Headache is still there (which I could tell if I turned the stimulator off long enough!) and it is still creating the same symptoms - I have just short circuited the pain. I told her that my eye still swells and my nostril runs, so I knew that some autonomic symptoms were hanging around, not surprised the shivers were part of The Headache. I guess I will have to figure out how to deal with the shivers, Doc Optimist had no suggestions on how to help with this. Perhaps a lovely cup of hot chocolate or warm tea would do the trick!

I started off the morning with the remnants of Monday's headache, but The Headache got steadily better all day. Starting to get worse again now, but I have had a very long day with driving in wet rainy conditions so no wonder! I am going to medicate in a few minutes and hopefully won't be up till 3:00 AM with The Headache's siren call awakening me. Ready to go to work early tomorrow!

All in all a great visit, feeling that even if The Headache is changing (and I have hopes that the stimulator still has more magic to perform on the stabbing pains) there are steps to take and movement towards 100% normal. Now if Dr. Gnome's visit goes as well.....


  1. Glad to hear that you got some answers. I get cold chills with my Migraines somewhat frequently, especially if I have high pain for a long time. DF and I call it the "Migraine Cold" because I cannot get warm for anything. Usually the only way to warm up when I get like that is a hot shower. :-/

    Be well,

  2. Thanks MJ

    I was surprised so many persons with headaches have this temperature issue!

    I couldn't figure what was happening at first. Then my PCP thought it was because I was "shocky" from pain (which could be autonomically related I guess) but when it still happened without the pain I was beefaloed!!

    I keep blankets and use an oil filled space heater at work, and microwave heating pads. I even carry those chemical handwarmers in my car because it happens at odd places and times and put them in my shoes or hold them in my hands....

    I will try the hot shower next time it happens at home! The hot liquids help but don't do anything for my hands and feet or the shivering! It seems like I just can't get warm!