I just wanted to write a quick post because I can’t properly explain myself on Twitter. As much as I want to, I will more than likely not be staying up all night tonight.
I didn’t push my fundraising for One Brave Night this year as much as I did last year, mainly because the last couple weeks have been really difficult.
As I’ve written on here before, the past few months haven’t been easy. I’ve gone through what has been the most severe depressive episode I have ever experienced. It came on gradually, starting some time in May or June. I didn’t realize it was happening until sometime in July. I initially thought it was just a bit of a down period, which is totally normal, but it just kept getting worse, peaking in September.
While things have started getting better over the past few months, I’m still struggling, especially with my motivation and energy.
More recently, I have had a severe, persistent headache that has lasted 13 days. Yes, thirteen. Almost two weeks. And it hasn’t been a headache each day, it has been one constant headache. I’ve woken up in the middle of the night with it still there, it’s been there from the moment my morning alarm goes off right up until I doze off at night.
Having a headache is physically tiring. When pain relievers are having no effect, it makes you more tired, which actually makes the headache worse. I was stuck in this endless cycle of exhaustion and no relief.
The headache started on Sunday. I tried taking Tylenol (acetaminophen), Advil (ibuprofen), Aleve (naproxen), and Aspirin. Nothing provided any relief.
Finally, the following Friday, I went to my doctor. He gave me some samples of prescription strength naproxen with an esomeprazole coating (reduces stomach acid to prevent ulcers) and told me to take 1000mg of Tylenol (2 extra strength) on top of it (max of 4000mg). Still no relief over the weekend.
Monday, I went back to my doctor. He gave me a prescription for Tylenol 3 with codeine. It helped, but didn’t eliminate it entirely. My doctor also put in a request to have a CAT scan.
End of the day on Tuesday, I called my doctor’s office again because I couldn’t remember if he’d told me to come back. I also asked about the CAT scan appointment but they hadn’t heard from the radiologist yet. They left a message for my doctor. Wednesday morning, I gave them a couple hours to call me back, but eventually I called them. My doctor’s response was that the next step would be an injectable pain medication. So, he faxed a prescription to my pharmacy and I had to go pick it up and bring it to the doctor’s office to have a nurse give me the injection.
I made the appointment for Wednesday at 2:30 with a nurse. I hadn’t taken any T3s since 6am because I knew I was going to have to drive to the doctor’s office. I went to the pharmacy at 2:00, since it’s just down the street from my doctor’s office. When I got to the pharmacy, they told me they don’t keep it on hand because it expires. So I had to wait until their shipment came in first thing the next morning. So I stopped in at my doctor’s office to reschedule the appointment with the nurse on my way home.
By this point, I hadn’t taken any pain medication for several hours and my headache started to get increasingly worse. I took a T3 as soon as I got home, and another one shortly after 6pm. They weren’t doing anything. This is when I realized that the headache had been getting worse, but the T3s were holding it back enough that I didn’t know.
I decided later to have my dad take me to emergency because my doctor had told me to do just that if it got worse or my symptoms changed. They had also told me that the injectable was the same as what they give you at the hospital for a headache.
At emerg, they did a CAT scan, but didn’t see anything. The doctor said that it sounded like it might be intracranial hypertension, which apparently will not show on a CAT scan. Apparently, optometrists can see it best because of their tools for looking into the eye.
After doing some research, intracranial hypertension makes sense. Although, I don’t have the vision changes that usually go along with it, I have had pulsatile tinnitus for several months that my doctor thinks is tied to my sinus issues. Being all in the same area, it is likely all tied together somehow.
They didn’t give me anything for the pain, but it wasn’t a total waste, since I did get the CAT scan. They also told me to keep taking the T3s as well as the Naproxen, which I did when I got home that night. When I woke up in the morning I still had the headache.
After taking another T3 at 5:30am on Thursday, it seemed to get better. It started wearing off by the time I left for the pharmacy though. I picked up the Toradol and went to see the nurse at my doctor’s office. That seemed to help too. Later on, when I felt it was wearing off, I took another naproxen and held off on the T3 until it became too much. That seemed to help enough that I was able to get a couple hours of work in, since I hadn’t worked at all this week.
When I woke up this morning, the pain seemed to be bearable. I took my time in the morning and later sat down to try working for a bit (I’d picked up my laptop from the office on Monday and had set up a workspace for myself on Tuesday but just had not been able to think or focus.
I didn’t last long before I started dozing off and losing focus. I managed to whip through a few support tasks but ultimately decided to call it early. My work week this week totalled 4.75 hours. That’s hours I actually tracked. I sat at my computer for probably just as much time not doing anything because I literally could not think.
I didn’t take any pain meds all day, until around 9pm. I’d noticed it coming on earlier but hoped it would just go away on it’s own, as it had a couple times already today, but it didn’t. So far I’ve only taken the Naproxen because I only have a few T3s left, so I’m saving them for if I really need them.
That explanation ended up being longer than I expected, but it has been a rather eventful two weeks.
I’m also 8 weeks into a 10 week training class with my dog, and classes are on Saturdays which means I cannot sleep in.
So…. I’m going to stay up as long as I can. I fell asleep earlier this evening (around 5:30) and woke up choking on my own saliva, and coughed for a good ten minutes afterwards, and my stomach and throat have felt super weird since.
About an hour ago I wasn’t sure I was going to make it much longer, but surprisingly I seem to be a little more awake right now. I can still feel the sleepiness lingering, but I’m not having to fight to keep my eyes open, for the time being. The naproxen is kind of helping my head right now, but not as much as I’d like, so, I’ll probably take some extra strength Tylenol and see if that’s enough.