Update: my health

I’m finally going to start updating again. I kept telling myself, “Wait until you feel better,” but I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon.

Since the end of August, the headaches I’ve had on and off for the past year have gotten much worse. They have increased in both frequency and severity. Since the beginning of September, I’ve seen my primary care physician about 5 times, a neurologist, a massage therapist, and most recently, a physical therapist. I had a CAT scan last week of my neck and brain (with contrast dye). Luckily, the CAT scan showed no abnormalities. Not so luckily, the contrast dye didn’t agree with me, and it ended up triggering the worse dishydrotic eczema outbreak I’ve ever had. I’ve had it for about 6-7 years, but only recently was I able to put a name to it.

I get migraines and cervicogenic headaches (which basically just means headaches caused by pain the neck). I’m taking an anti-depressant as a preventative medicine. Since I switched to a higher dosage, my headaches seem to be getting worse. I also have migraine medicine to take when it gets really bad, but insurance only allows for nine of those pills per month. I have five left to make it through the next nine days, so I should be okay. I’m not supposed to take medications like Alleve, ibuprofen, etc. because my neurologist thinks they can cause rebound headaches.

I saw a physical therapist for the first time yesterday. I have some exercises to do on my own, and she recommended I find ways to keep my computer and reading at eye level, to take some of the stress off of my neck. Apparently I have horrible posture- which I kind of already knew. I’m seeing her twice a week for the next month. She also said the vertebrae in my neck/upper back seem a little misaligned (i.e. they’re not symmetrical and things lean slightly more to the right) so when I see her, she’s going to have me do various exercise and stretches to try and correct that.

So this is why I haven’t been updating this blog. I currently have a headache that’s probably a 5 or 6 on a scale of 1-10, but I’ve had a headache (varying in pain level) since Tuesday afternoon (when I got a migraine). I haven’t missed much class or work because I have gotten pretty good at forcing myself to work through the pain. It’s not pleasant, but it feels necessary. This is my last semester of my undergraduate career, and I want to see it through.

I know so many other people have chronic health conditions that are much, much worse than what I’m going through. I just never understood how much pain can interfere with someone’s daily life before my headaches got worse. Simple things like cooking dinner, taking a shower, exercising, walking to my car, driving, and writing a paper are sometimes unbearably painful. My headaches tend to get worse with movement- even small movements. So I try to keep my head as still as possible when I have a headache- which is easier said than done.

I’m trying not to spend all of my time feeling sorry for myself. That’s also easier said than done. Yesterday I cried a lot and realized I’ve been holding everything in- not because I want others to perceive me as strong, but because I need to be strong for myself, in order to get through the day. But I also realized that part of being strong is being aware of my feelings and processing them. I think writing (whether on here or on paper) will help me to do that.

So, my blog is definitely going to have a different tone and different content for the foreseeable future. If that means you don’t want to subscribe/read anymore, I totally get it. I hope some of you stick around, though! It’s always encouraging for me to know that even just one or two people are reading my words.

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