Friday, February 27, 2009

Objective Perspectives and Labels

This pain in my head is different than any other pain I've ever had. I don't know if all chronic pain sufferers feel like this, or if it's just a common theme with migraine/headache people, but there is a nagging voice that is constantly telling me that I might be faking, or blowing this all out of proportion. It's not like my knee pain, that comes and goes and has a valid origin (youthful exuberance can be damaging to your joints), or my back pain, which is almost chronic but at such a low level I can ignore it 90% of the time. I have a headache every day, but when it's not totally debilitating I find myself wondering if it ever was. I can remember having days in which I just can't get off the couch, but maybe I was just being lazy. I can also recall having crying fits because my head hurt so bad and regretting it because any emotion makes it pound like a bass drum. But, I could have been PMSy.

It enrages me when someone else tries to minimize my pain or emotions or opinions or whatever. So, why do I do it to myself?

I just mocked up a calendar on a notepad, referenced my headache journal I've been keeping and filled in about 30 days of my pain ranges, highs and lows. Nothing too complicated, just a visual aid to give me an objective perspective on what's going on up there.

I've had a headache every day. I broke down the statistics, cause that's what I do, and I had no days when my pain level stayed down to a 0 or 1. I only had one day that stayed down to a 2. I had 11 days at a 3, 15 days at a 4 and 4 days at 5.

Pain level = # of days

0 = none
1 = none
2 = 1 day
3 = 11 days
4 = 15 days
5 = 4 days

I'm not sure how much sense this all makes, since I am typing through a 3-4 right now. But hey, migrainous blogging could be helpful in it's own right. Unfortunately there is no way to convey how many times I have to rewrite a sentence to make sure it is intelligible. (At least once.)

I don't consider myself diagnosed. My neurologist told me on various separate occasions that I had atypical migraines, tension headaches, chronic daily headache and that he had no idea what was wrong with me. I hesitate to call myself a migraineur. I feel like I may be labeling myself incorrectly and that's unacceptable. If someone asks me what's wrong with my head, I usually say I have a chronic headache. If they ask if it's migraines I, until recently, would say no or maybe. This generally led to a lot of pointless conversations in which I tried to explain what was going on with me and ended up with a headache for my trouble. I now usually just say that it's chronic migraines. Most people know what that is and don't ask too many more questions.

What it's called is becoming less important. I'm still researching obsessively to find treatments and therapies, but I'm focusing more on the symptoms.


Jasmine said...

I can relate to everything you're written. I'm no doctor but it does sound like you're dealing with Migraines. If your Neuro isn't giving you a definite diagnosis or helping you prevent or manage your pain I highly suggest you find a new one.

You're welcome to visit my blog. You'll find a list of other bloggers like me who are living with Migraines. You are not alone!