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Friday, June 05, 2009

National Headache Awareness Week

me: Did you know next week is National Headache Awareness Week?
Joe: Oh believe me, I'm very aware of headaches.
me: Think it's a coincidence that we're going on vacation with my family during that time?
June 7-13 is National Headache Awareness Week. I'm posting about it a bit early mostly due to the impending doom family vacation that commences tomorrow.

The goals of National Headache Awareness Week are:
  • to gain recognition of headache pain as a real and legitimate condition,
  • to encourage sufferers to see a physician for proper diagnosis and treatment, and
  • to let sufferers know that there are new treatments available.
As anyone that follows my blog knows, I am a migraine sufferer. I can remember experiencing "bad headaches" as far back as 4th grade. However, it wasn't until my junior year of college that I was officially diagnosed. Over the past ten years, we've managed to decrease frequency from 15+ headaches per month down to one or two. I'm usually able to manage the pain myself using a combination of migraine-specific medications (Relpax though doctor gave me a trial of Treximet for next time), vicodin, ice packs, and dark rooms. If that doesn't do it, I take a trip to the doctor for some injections. Current preventative care really only consists of some hormone manipulation due to migraines being worse around my girly time.

And as anyone who follows my Twitter knows, Joe has recently been diagnosed with cluster headaches. This last week has been terrifying for me. He rarely suffers from headaches and those are usually mild and short-lived. He recently began experiencing excrutiating headaches that lasted for 1-3 hours every night. Due to the sudden onset and severity, he saw a doctor last Friday and had a head CT on Tuesday. I've never been so relieved to hear my husband referred to as "normal" and "unremarkable". The doctor ruled out anything more serious than the clusters and now we begin the search for effective pain treatment. In the meantime, it seems that this cluster may be over so we're hoping for a long remission period.

So as they say in the UK, MIND YOUR HEAD! Any sudden headaches or pain that's out of the ordinary for you should be closely monitored. Follow-up with a doctor and take care of yourselves. For more information on headaches, check out the National Headache Foundation.


mo.stoneskin said...

Why word I'm glad he's ok.

My dad suffers about one migraine a month, and it's pretty severe, but fortunately so far I have yet to experience a migraine.

I do suffer a terrible headache when ever I'm asked to hoover the floor though, are they any popular treatments for that?

Sass said...

Just in the past couple of years, I've started having a few headaches here and there.

Knock on far nothing severe.

And I'm with Mo...they seem to get progressively worse when I'm doing any type of housework. ;)

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

Athena, the Greek Goddess, was born when, one day, Zeus had a headache and Haphaestos took an axe to daddy's forehead. Out popped Athena.

So, whenever I have a headache, I just open my skull in hopes of a comely lass in warrior's garb rising from my injury.

Comedy Goddess said...

That must be hard to deal with for both of you! That sucks!

I thought it was Feed Your Head, a la the Jefferson Airplane?

blognut said...

I can't say I'm shocked to learn that your family vacation coincides with headache week. Not at all.

Try to have a good trip anyway!

blognut said...

And think of this trip as blog research. I'm sure it will provide you with plenty of interesting material!

Snarky A. said...

Crossing my fingers for a long remission, and for a great vacation!

Good luck Cate!


Ryan Ashley Scott said...

All good information.

Why does "girlie time" bring headaches? I'm thinking of filing a complaint.

Good luck on the vacay, and fingers crossed for your sanity.

C. Beth said...

My grandma had "bad headaches" for years. I think she still does. But I remember just knowing she had "headaches" when I was younger--that was before doctors knew so much about migraines. I am SO glad that, since you guys have this crap to deal with, at least there are some good meds out there and at least we're in an era where doctors take it seriously.

Still, I hope one day the pain just stops entirely for both of you.

Lora said...

Sometimes I wish Dave got headaches so he could better understand, but I can't imagine a life revolving around 2 sore heads. Ugh!

andy said...

i had massive headaches that would last for days when my meds were messed up.

course, that was kind of self it was more like i was asking for it.

so don't feel sympathy for me, 'cause i deserved the pain.

and i agree with you...this would be the only good time to refer to joe as normal and unremarkable.


p.s. may the force be with you tomorrow. i'll try and focus some happy happy your way my friend.

The Wife O Riley said...

I am so glad he's OK, but headaches are the worst. My head must know about the awareness week, because it's starting already!

Call Me Cate said...

Mo - the cure for your headache is beer. Trust me.

Sass - I'll knock on wood for you.

mjenks - Someone once told me I have headaches bc my brain is so busy. I'd rather think it's going to birth a creature!

Comedy Goddess - Those Brits can be an odd lot. I'd rather feed my belly.

blognut - You as well! I'm coming home with SO much material.

Snarky A - Thanks for both.

RAS - The fluctuation in hormone levels can cause headaches. I've found this definitely happens for me so my girly time is now quarterly.

C Beth - It's definitely encouraging to have so many options. Though sometimes frustrating trying to sort out the right one.

Lora - That was one of the first things I asked Joe when he was describing the intensity of the pain. "So, now when I tell you I was thinking of permanent solutions to end the hurt, you realize I wasn't exaggerating, right?". Still, I'd rather he not have it.

andy - When I first went on the Lexapro, my head was so bad I thought it was splitting in two. Thanks for sending me some happy. I'm taking a bottle or two of it in my bag as well.

Wife O Riley - My head has been way too aware all day. Sometimes it doesn't pay to get a head start!

TMC said...

I had migraines beginning at age 4. I had them all through my childhood but thankfully by my late teens I'd "grown out of them." I still get headaches (it's just how my karma goes) but they aren't migraines as I remember them.

I'm glad you and Joe are doing that whole being proactive thing. :)

Jenna said...

Glad he's ok!!


2cats said...

I had my first migraine when I was pregnant with my son. That should have told me something. Because I was pregnant I didn't take anything. It lasted 3 weeks. I almost passed out at work and they took me to my doctor. I was at the stage where it was safe to administer drugs. I fell in love with demerol that day.
I am a lucky migraine sufferer, I only get a couple a year. But I do have trijeminal neuralgia, which is like labor pain in my face. Only morphine makes that pain go away.

Ribbon said...

Wow it's making me ache reading about all this pain that you're experiencing and that some others in the comments are too.

I do know the pain of migraines, but they have been very rare visitors in my life.
I hope there comes a time when they are just a memory for you and not a lifestyle.

Wishing you fun on your family holiday and not the horror that you're expecting.

best wishes

Ribbon said...

PS... Cate often when I visit your site the background is just your smiley faces and it can take a long while before the plain background appears so that I can read your posts.
I don't know if anyone else experiences this.

x Ribbon

Me, Amplified said...

does having a headache lead to quarantine time? cos i think i feel one coming on... lol ;)

Yaya said...

Lol at 'I'm aware of headaches'!

Mary@Holy Mackerel said...

I'm a longtime migraine sufferer, and it ain't a day in the park, that's for sure. For me, it's quiet, a dark room, codeine and extra strength tylenol.