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Two Years Happy Anniversary To Me

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Two years ago I was going in to see the movie "The Descendents". I was holding a diet Coke and had just finished talking to a friend. I turned around to follow my husband into the movie and it felt like someone hit me with a 2x4 in the back of the head. I grabbed my head and said "Oh my God Roy. My head! Something is wrong!" Then I felt stupid and stumbled after him. I don't think he heard me. He said "Are you okay" and I said "I think so" and thank GOD the theater was right near us. I went in and sat down and thought I was going to throw up, it hurt so bad. I thought I might pass out, it hurt so bad. I was doubled over. I started to say "I need to go to the ER" and I heard Roy say "Do you want to go home?"

Then I thought, "This is stupid! Grow up! It's just a headache." I said no and laid back in the chair, pulled my hood down and tried to breathe through the pain. (I know. Stupid.) I stayed. He stared at me and then asked me if I was sure. I said I was. Of course it was dark, so he couldn't see I was sweating and probably pale. When we finished the movie I told him I wanted to go home to bed so I did wearing my hood. I took two vicodin we had left over from an injury and tried to sleep the pain away. Finally I pulled out my laptop and turned the brightness down and typed on FB "I have the worst headache of my life. Is this what a migraine feels like?" Within moments my friend, Amy, who was an EMT, started texting me to go to the hospital. As people replied to my FB update, everyone with a medical background was saying the same thing. When Amy threatened to call Roy, I said okay. Stumbled out to the kitchen and told him, "I think I need to go to the ER." He literally dropped what he was doing and off we went.

I felt stupid going to the ER. I had never heard it could be a sign of a stroke. Thank God our ER has a good neurology unit. I was admitted and stayed for three weeks.

It wasn't a bad bleed, thank God. Most of my symptoms are gone. Because I started in excellent health (I'm a marathon runner and personal trainer), my blood pressure and heart rate was super low and they figure that's why it wasn't worse being that I waited six hours to go in. (Since I sat or laid down the entire time). Unfortunately, I live with chronic dailly headaches. I have not had a single pain free day in the last two years...not one. However, I am back to running marathons and ultra marathons. That is a HUGE blessing.

I have learned to embrace life and to let go of stress. Stress causes my headaches to shoot up, so if something causes stress, I let it go. It's lovely. I haven't learned to slow down and I may never, but I have learned to ask for help. I have become slow to anger because anger really is an issue for my headaches, so everyone benefits from that.

Still frustrated at the thought of living with headaches for the rest of my life. Haven't found anything that helps except, curiously, long distance running and eating. Both work for a short period of time. I've tried nearly everything else; elimination diet, pain medication, supplements, relaxation techniques, acupuncture, massage, etc. I've been inundated with ideas from well meaning friends who don't understand that it is NOT caused by gluten :roll: and no it isn't the same as when your 92 year old father in law had a stroke. After awhile I just want to scream SHUT UP! But I don't...although at least once a year I have to remind people that I understand they mean well, but I prefer to take advice from my medical team.

I do appreciate that I'm still alive but I also will admit that I get depressed more as the time goes on and the head keeps on banging! Could be worse, though and most of the time I'm still happy clappy.

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Teechur, thank you so much for your update. As someone who is only 2.5months into their recovery from a haemorrhagic stroke it's lovely to hear of positive stories. Like you I never dreamed I was having a stroke (I was 27, fit and healthy with low blood pressure!) and right now I'm just hoping I can return to my pre-stroke physical fitness. Right now I'm still battling the fatigue, headaches and vision loss but stories like yours help inspire those of still in recovery, so thank you!

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Bravo!! Such a goal to conquer. It's hard at times, really hard. I am getting ready to go on 10 months and hope and pray at two years most of the "funky irritating symptoms" will be gone. I have noticed the busier I am the less I hurt or feel dizzy. It's when I relax that it all settles on me. Crazy. Maybe its the endorphins kicking in when I am busy. Who knows.

I live on the East Coast (USA) so my head is letting me know all about the winter storm coming up the coast. Ugh!!

Good luck to another two years and more. Keep running....I am just in walking phase again but I'll get there.

Thanks for your inspiring story.


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I was on a BIG dose of Amitryptiline and it caused me to gain a lot of weight; like 9 pounds in a week. I fought to keep it below 15 pounds overall (I am a personal trainer and weight loss coach so that was important). When I changed neurologists she immediately lowered my dose down to 25-50 mg per day (I was on 100-200 per day) and she said she never gives female clients that much because of the weight gain. I also hated how tired it made me. Now I'm on Topamax, Gabapentin, Ami, Lexapro (to slow the uptake of serotonin) and a bunch of supplements trying increase the production of serotonin and other natural pain killers, while calming my pain neurons. My current neurologist is a Headache Specialist and she says that the pain neurons are on overdrive and we have to calm them down and it might take a very long time.

Most of the time I'm okay with that, but on super bad days I get pretty bummed out. Yesterday was really bad. Had to go home from work and lay down in bed all day grading final projects with dogs sitting on them. It wasn't restful, but at least I got to lie down and binge listen to the show "Girls" and relax until I had to go to bootcamp, where my partner in crime (who is literally about to have a baby any day now) sent me home.

Today is an okay day...headache at about a six, but it is what it is! Moving forward! :biggrin:

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  • 1 month later...

Congratz Teech!

Living with pain is so stressful that it is a stress that makes itself sometimes! No one who hasn't been through a constant pain can know this and they just offer their advice on how they deal with a normal headache...which is meaning well on their part, but it just adds to frustration that people tend to think you haven't already tried everything and more. I hope you will have pain free moments this next year. I know how much it would mean.

Nothing holds you back!


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