My cluster headaches are back. I’ve shared about this some on social media, but for those who only follow the blog, here’s a little more insight to cluster headaches from my last cluster period a couple years ago.
I feel like such a whiner/attention seeker when I share about my cluster headaches, but then again sharing my life with you all is pretty much just what I do, and if I’m being honest, life’s not always rainbows and butterflies. Also, writing is my outlet. Putting my thoughts to paper is like breathing for me. It helps me keep going. And right now?
I’m. So. Frustrated.
It’s 3:45 a.m. I tried to go to bed at 10. By 10:30 I was having my first headache. At 12:30, a second. At 2:30, another. Breathing in pure oxygen is helping to lessen their intensity and end a little quicker, but they just refuse to stay down.
All night long for the last week it’s been like this. I haven’t slept. And when I try to take a nap during the day? Same story. It’s like freakin Freddy Krueger. I keep hearing the little boy singing, “Nine, ten, never sleep again…Never. Sleep. Again.”
We ventured out of the house yesterday because I was going totally stir crazy. But we stayed within two miles in case I needed to get home quick. The lack of sleep was evident when I tried to fill out the form for my library card, listing my spouse as myself, having no clue what date it was, then adding my birthdate as the current date. My poor husband didn’t do much better. Turns out sleep is really important for day-to-day functions, and he’s been getting practically as little sleep as I have. I’m so thankful for him. Swapping out oxygen tanks, getting me ice packs, massaging my shoulders and being so patient and supportive.
I hate it, too, because I don’t like disrupting his life like this.
I feel like a prisoner in my own body. I can’t sleep, I can barely leave the house for fear one will come on. I canceled all my plans indefinitely, because the thought of letting anyone else down again gives me anxiety. I’ve been on such a great workout streak and now I can’t even dance for five minutes without triggering another headache. Not to mention the stress of trying to get back to work and be able to function, just a week into reporting to a new manager. Great first impression.
It’s only been a week or so. Historically my cluster periods last a month. I’m trying to remain positive, but honestly, it’s a struggle. I’ve already had a few meltdowns. None of the new medications I’ve tried have made a difference. In fact, one of them just made me feel ten times worse, with a crazy electric feeling running through all my nerves, a tightness in my chest and severe nausea.
It’s so lonely. I keep feeling so very lonely. Even with my sweet husband holding my hand. Even with my friends and family constantly reaching out to check on me. When I’m in the throws of a headache or afterward sitting here unable to sleep all night, I feel alone. I feel crazy. I feel whiny and unworthy of complaining knowing that so many people are suffering too, and struggling with much worse. When I really think about it, it makes me feel ridiculous.
So I’ve been desperately trying to make it less about me. During a cluster headache, I’ve been trying to pray not only for my own relief, but for everyone who is suffering and lonely to feel less alone, less afraid, less crazy, less selfish, less miserable. If you’re in a similar position, please know that I’m with you. I’m cheering you on and praying for you. (Sometimes I’m also just begging for relief and cussing a little, too, but I think you’ll get that, and I think God does, too.)
I know this has been a lot of complaining, but let me end by saying this. For all you who doubt the power of “thoughts and prayers,” I hope that you never have to be down in the trenches to understand just how impactful they can actually be. Every single note I’ve received, from people I haven’t talked to in years, to people I’ve only known a few months, has given me so much. So much hope. So much strength. So much love. As lonely as this can be, I can’t imagine how it would feel without your thoughts and prayers. I can feel every single one and I’m eternally grateful for them.
Must go now…I can feel Freddy coming back. It’s 4:21 a.m. I need the sun to rise soon. This, too, shall pass.
Ending on hope. Picked this book up at the library yesterday. Slipped my bookmark into it. Flipping through later and saw this verse highlighted by a previous reader. Different verse, but same message. Made me smile.