Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pain in the neck. Or the head.

I get headaches.* My doctor, who is Phi Beta Kappa, etc, etc, says they are migraines, but I don't become debilitated and have to spend the day in a darkened room, although if I had a book, I suppose I wouldn't mind. I think they are merely someone trying to drive a railroad spike through my right eye. Is that a migraine? Or just an inconvenience? Is this a tomayto, tomahto moment?

Whatever. My doc is smarter and better educated than I (but I bet I had a lot more fun in college), so I will let her call my headaches what she wants as long as she stops them.

Unfortunately, she has not been able to stop them. I have tried topamax, which is this great drug that removes all desire to eat from my being. I lost about ten pounds on topamax the first time I took it, which was when I lived in Memphis. It wasn't that I didn't have an appetite, it was that the very thought of eating disgusted me.

If you know me in real life, you know that this never happens to me. Nothing puts me off my feed. Nothing.

But it was when I was climbing the stairs from the 8th to the 10th floor at work back in the days when I was still employed and a valid, taxpaying citizen as opposed to the gold-digger that I am now, doing nothing more than watching "Mad Men" and then cleaning the trash can and cutting the grass in my spare time, that I realized that I was feeling quite dizzy.

Whence the dizziness? I asked myself. I always take the stairs because I have no physical problems that would require me to take the elevator and healthy people who do not take stairs are pure-D lazy if you ask me.

Then I realized that all I had eaten since the night before was three sprigs of asparagus. I had brought a nutritionally complete lunch, but had to stop eating after that little bit of veg.

But. I was wearing clothes I hadn't worn in years. The thin jeans! And I could see - yes, this is true - my abs. Not the washboard part, but the part on the sides. That has never in my life happened, not even when I was in high school and going to swim practice every day, although my lack of ab-ness might have had something to do with the fact that my friend Julie P and I stopped at the bowling alley for ice cream every day on our way home from practice.

Anyhow. The topamax did not stop my headaches, not even when I tried it again recently. It also did not help me lose any weight, but that might be because SH and I eat pretty well and it takes a will of iron to stay away from the Kopps Midnight Chocolate Cake in the freezer, which goes from being frozen solid to perfectly mushy in just 45 seconds half power in the microwave.

Then my doc suggested I try depakote.

Here's the deal.

If there's a side effect, I will get it.

Guess what the main side effect of depakote is?

Weight gain.

I had almost decided I was willing to put up with the weight gain or at least watch what I eat if the drug stopped my headaches.

Which it did not.

But then my hair started to fall out.

Every time I touched it, ten strands would cling to my fingers. When I washed, I saw clump after clump of hair wash down the drain.


I cannot stand.

I can buy new clothes, but I can't get new hair.

Now I am going to try another drug. This one might make me suicidal, but if I die, I will die thin and with good hair.

* Or "headaitch," as Fr Joe, the Vietnamese priest who did our premarital counseling, calls it. "If wife have headaitch, husband should not say, 'Why you no get aspirin?' Husband should say, 'Oh! You have headaitch! I get aspirin for you.'"


Lindy said...

Oh gosh... hair loss is not good. Maybe I've written this before, but I use to get migraines until I had my food allergies done. Now I don't eat aged cheeses (e.g. blue cheese, parmesan, brie skin), red wines, beer, dark chocolate and sour dough bread... and no headaches. My best friend had debilitating migraines that stopped at age 45 when she went though early menopause. Hope you find something that works.

Class factotum said...

Lindy, I have stopped consuming artificial sweetener. That hasn't reduced my h/a much, but now if I do have a diet Coke, I for sure get one. Great. Not that diet Coke is so fab, but I want one so much now.

I tracked the aged foods for a while b/c my doc told me the same thing, but it didn't seem to make a difference.

LPC said...

Gosh I'm so sorry. I had these when I was young, but giving up coffee was enough to make them go away. It would be awful to have them as lifelong companions. Good luck. Third time's the cure?

Mel said...

CF, you have my sympathies :(

Like Lindy's friend, my mom got migraines until she went through early menopause, too.

Maybe it's a perimenopausal thing. That can last, what, 7-10 years? Not a pain in the head or neck, in my opinion. More like a PITA :-P

Take care...

Michaela said...

I get migraine-type headaches too, very similar to yours. I have already tried dumping the contraceptive pill, and keeping well hydrated. I like the sound of that topamax. Anything that can dissuade me from pigging out on cookies after dinner, would be good. Good luck with it, xxxooo

Laura(southernxyl) said...

CF, you've tried a beta blocker? I'm on nadolol, 20mg/day. Turned those suckers off like a switch.

Class factotum said...

Laura, I tried nadolol a few years ago and not only did they not stop the h.a. but they made me so weak and tired that I could hardly move. Don't they lower blood pressure? I already have low BP to begin with, so this didn't help.

Mel said...

CF, I read this article about headaches earlier this week and thought of you:

Hope there's something in there that helps!

Class factotum said...

Thanks, Mel. Maybe I need to try acupuncture. I do want to know what "lifestyle changes" they recommend to prevent a headaches caused by weather changes. Move to another state?