Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I've been keeping the daily. detailed diary (alliteration!) that is suggestion by so many chronic pain sufferers, particularly those with migraine. I was reluctant. My last headache journal stopped after two weeks. I didn't like thinking about my headaches so much. I invented a code of abbreviations and symbols to try and control the process as much a possible, to make the writing of it as succinct as possible. But I made it harder on myself. When had a headache, it was hard to articulate what was happening. I couldn't remember any of my codes and would get myself confused trying to remember everything and package it in this complicated little box of explanation I had created for myself. It was frustrating and self-defeating, so I gave it up.

I've started a new one. This one is more freeform. I just write what seems important at the time and try to fill in any blanks as i go along. Sometimes it's a page long (in a small notebook) and sometimes it's just a number. I do at least one entry per day. It's been successful so far. I don't feel like I'm dwelling but I have something I can coherently reference. I've kept the pain chart I made for myself. Doctors always ask what pain level I'm experiencing but I have a hard time assigning my pain a number, until I saw a chart that was made for children, with faces that express the emotion that the pain causes. 0 was smiling, and 10 was screaming. Then, it clicked in my head and I created my own version, which is easy for me to reference even when my aura has me feeling like a stroke victim.

0: no pain
1: background pain
2: ignorable pain
3: distracting pain
4: disorienting pain
5: incapacitating pain

This has been the key, making the pain and its analysis my own. It gives me that feeling of control without me getting frustrated if I don't have the ability to write for five minutes about whether my headache is sh/st leye or ach ao (shooting/stabbing in my left eye or aching all over). Also, I am making notes on everything I am exposed to that could be a trigger, hoping for a common theme I haven't caught on to yet.

So far, I haven't found any connections between food and my head. The major connections seem to be between activity and sleep. The sleep I've got down, I just get as much as possible. Too much sleep can cause a headache, but I rarely sleep too much. Activity has been the most frequent and obvious trigger. I can't talk, listen, laugh, run, jump, or even walk briskly without ending up disoriented and in pain within hours. It's worth it for a good conversation or for a little fun. But not every day. So reclusiveness is where I've ended up. Neglecting my loved ones and holing up in my messy little house.

I'm maintaining positivity, no matter how depressing it all can seem. I am making plans and having ideas. Having a headache all the time has really forced me to stand still for a minute and evaluate myself, my life, all life, and the point of it all, or what i want the point of it all to be. Silver linings.