From my mono diary, March 12, 2002:
Migraine headaches. Over the past year, these have become increasingly
more frequent and severe. I can now go for weeks without having a fully clear
head. It's been making work impossible.
There seem to be three stages
1. painless (very rare these days)
2. minor pain (90% of the time. I can cope with loud music and flashing
3. major pain, light and noise sensitivity (fortunately rare)
For the last six months, I've been trying various remedies prescribed by the
doctor. Some have worked (to some extent), but not very well. It seems it's
converting stage 3 to stage 2, which I'm cool with.
For a few years I mostly had them under control. At the Foundry I did not take a sick day off in 2007, until Feb 4 2008. In June 2008, I said:
My headaches have worsened in the last year or so. I went to GP today finally. He thinks it is "medication headache" - where I get headaches partly as a side-effect of taking painkillers to deal with the other headaches. He may very well be right. I have been told to stop taking painkillers until the headaches go away. This is not compatible with functioning.
Headache turned into a horrible horrible migraine on Thursday. Was sent home from work and ended up at A&E asking permission to take something. Was told to take sumatriptan, which I did. This partly helped. Greatly helped by ewtikins who escorted me from King's Cross to my house and then kept me company; I was in a right state and don't know how I'd have managed to get back without her. Friday was a write-off despite the mild improvement, and I definitely got worse when I spent time in front of monitor, so Friday night was quite grim as well. By today I am more or less recovered in terms of ongoing pain although I am still quite light sensitive, and I am really really tired due to inadequate sleeping.
September 2010 I started at a new GP and complained about my headaches, and finally had an MRI.
Examination Date: 22-09-2010
Title: MRI of the Brain
Clinical findings: chronic headaches with photophobic and nausea. brain lesion
Technique: Sagittal and coronal TSE, transversal PD + T2 + DWI ep2D
Normal appearance of both cerebral hemispheres, brain stem and cerebellum. No significant focal parenchymal abnormalities on MRI scans are identified, besides dilation of the Virchow-Robin spaces in general and some white matter, subcortical and basal ganglia T2- lesions. Ventricular system is of normal size, shape and configuration for the patient's age. Midline structures including the craniocervical junction are unremarkable. No evidence of demyelination. No evidence of cerebellar tonsillar descent. The dural venous sinuses are patent. The paranasal sinuses are clear. The orbits are normal.
There is moderate patchy mainly anterior cerebral white matter T2 suggesting minor small vessel ischaemic changes. Changes could be seen in migraine, alternatively in a small vessel vasculitis. No evidence of any subdural or subarachnoid mass lesion.
In 2011 I was mostly concerned with wrangling hormones and joint problems. I eventually got the hormones sorted out, but the neurological stuff is ahead of that in the queue.
Two bad things happened in March 2012: me *fainting and having a panic attack at Warren Street, and then nearly getting attacked at Baker's Arms, and then this was followed by me basically falling apart a bit. I struggled through April, had some migraines at EasterCon, and then work sent me home on April 25th in a taxi, after I had what I can only describe as a seizure, which involved akathisia. This happened again on May 2nd, and I ended up taking 4 sick days of in May.
I went to the London Migraine Clinic in May and they placed me on amitripylyne.
I apparently should not have been on the paramax in the first place, at least not 4 daily. It is more commonly used for an attack, not as a preventative. Instead for that I am to take amitriptyline. For attacks I am going to take domperidone with ibuprofen. Apparently the anti-emetic component of this actually helps absorbtion of the painkiller part due to its effects on the stomach - that's why ibuprofen usually doesn't work for me, because it just isn't getting absorbed.
Later in May
I was supposed to be increasing the dosage from 10mg/day to 20mg/day now, but I've decided to delay this for the moment, as I'm finding the drowsiness in the morning side effect quite problematic.
I changed glasses, continued with my meds, and I had a good June/July/August/September. Only 2 days off sick during them. Returned to Migraine clinic in July. Quote from Dr Booton:
Since the amitriptyline is producing unacceptable side effects I suggest changing to atenolol 50mg OD. As this is much less likely to cause side effects.
I probably started taking this in August.
In September and October things got worse. The office has become increasingly noisy and I had to start working from home in October. My e-mail of October 16th
I have been really struggling with the general noise level in the office
over the last few weeks, again, but I'm not sure what to suggest.
This got particularly bad in the spring, and since then I have sought
the advice of the National Migraine Centre and have been placed on
preventative drugs, which is probably (along with the noise-cancelling
headphones I've been using) why I've had a greatly reduced incidence of
not being able to make it in these last few months. But their core
advice is to identify triggers and avoid them. And I'm left with the
fact that the office is pretty clearly a trigger.
I got worse in November. This culminated in me going in to work on Nov 29th, about which I wrote.
But now I have an exciting new set of symptoms. And some of these I haven't told anyone about. Bits of my head feel alternately numb and pulsating, like there's a snake wriggling around in there or something. Sometimes I kind of phase out for a bit, apart from the fact that I can't concentrate any more. My eyelid twitches. I have woken up with no circulation in the little finger of the my left. I can't sleep. I am getting irritable. I am making basic word substitution errors.
Sometimes, I get chest pains.
I had been doing so well over the summer. I managed 3 months without having a sick day. But since September I have been getting worse: full migraine days, days where i can't concentrate, days where i just sort of feel disconnected. I've mostly been working from home since October, when I basically just collapsed again at work. I can do it technically, but this has increased my sense of isolation. We released last week, and I went into work on Wednesday and Thursday. I found it intolerably noisy, still, but I wanted to feel part of the team. A meal out was scheduled on Thursday, and I went along but when I got there and saw what the environment was like I just bolted.
I ended back at the office, in tears, and unable to talk. A colleague of mine was able to talk to me and calm me down and make me feel better, which was good. I admitted much of this stuff to them, but not all of it. And I talked about how I was shit scared even if I knew intellectually I had no reason to be.
I don't know what I am afraid of more: the idea that I am burning out again, or that there is something e;se badly wrong with me.