Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Headache Rut

I have fallen into another headache rut, or ditch as the case may be. After an up-and-down summer, my headaches seemed to stabilize for a while and be manageable. In other words, they didn't dominate my life. Lately, the monster has reared its head again, and I am partly to blame.

Last week, I was in training all week. The catered lunches consisted of sandwiches and soda pop. For 3 days, I gave into boredom and drank a Diet Coke. Bad move. Diet Coke, when I already have a headache, make it much worse. I know this runs counter to the "caffeine is good for headaches" thing. But as Kerrie mentions in a recent caffeine-related post, you really need to be your own caffeine coach, as the effects differ for everyone.

For me, caffeine means trouble, in either Diet Coke or coffee form. Except for when I drink it when I don't have a headache. Then, it only makes me pee. Funny, but chocolate has no effect. Maybe it's the aspartame? But what explains the coffee? Too confusing for me.

Anyway, to get back to the story. So I had a couple of Diet Cokes to top up my headache, and a few bad nights of sleep (too little). Over the weekend, David and I seemed to stay up far too late watching tv (or lying half-asleep on the floor as we are wont to do). So far this week, I've had poor sleeps due to laying awake thinking about everything under the sun. I've also woken up around 4am, wide awake despite the Elavil, and had a hard time falling back asleep. These two things have lead to some bad headaches this week.

It's time for a re-boot. I stayed home from work this morning and slept but the 4 extra hours didn't help. And I had to come into the office for an important meeting this afternoon. My head feels like it's in a vice. I also have positional head pain, meaning that when I make a sudden movement, like standing, or changing position (especially when I leaned over to put on my boots) my head pain seems to swell and throb. Ow! This isn't typical, but I have felt it before during bad headaches.

Time to get more sleep, lay off the colas, and stop thinking so hard at bedtime. But I guess this is the price I pay for being a closet Diet Coke lover, a night owl and a night time thinker. But I do some of my best thinking after 9pm! I have a very active - hyperactive - mind and it is often mired in endless details and plans. This sounds like a fantastic, celebrated Type A attribute, as I am also hyper-observant, a keen worker, and a slave for details. I would make an excellent wedding planner! Lately, I am distracted with the house buying details, but I enjoy it, especially learning the intricate details of the process and the fun bits like thinking about paint colours and furniture and coming home to David every night. But I need to slow down and stop thinking so darned much. I can't control everything. And all this thinking really does make my head hurt.

Sometimes I think they're right about that "ignorance is bliss" thing. If I could think and do and feel and live a little less fast and hard, I might be a whole lot happier. do I change my fundamental character? The over-thinking is definitely a contributing factor, for me at least, in the headache game. I am a sensitive sponge for everything - information, moods, body language, facts - and I just process too much information. Sometimes I wonder if I am vaguely autistic or have ADD? I do think my personality has consequential effects (not causitive). There has been heated debate over whether A-types have more headaches. It hasn't been proven to be true. But my personality does mean that I work-work-work and think-think-think to the point of brain fatigue, and that causes me to not relax, not rest, not delegate, and not take a breather when I should.

Hopefully, this weekend will slow me down. David and I are getting out of Dodge and travelling to visit his Mom for Thanksgiving (this coming weekend here in Canada). So with three days of rest and conversation, naps, reading, meal prep, and lots of turkey and carbs to make me sleepy, I just may feel a whole lot better Tuesday morning. I can dream...

Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. Anonymous5:57 am

    I can so relate to the Type-A personality with you. Work-work-work, do-do-do, to no end. Think-think-think!!! It never does end, does it!

  2. Anonymous1:01 pm

    I hope you have a great Thanksgiving weekend!!

    Sorry the headaches have been bad, I know you you mean about the caffine, if I have too much, then I'm hooped. I find one or two a week is about all I'm good for, which is an issue for me, like you, because I LOVE COKE!!!

    oh, and I love chocolate, and I haven't had a chocolate bar in over 6 months, and I think I'm starting to get the withdrawl shakes! But everytime I want one I just say to myself, "moment of chocolety goodness, or 3 days of migraine pain?" Usually that's enough to keep me from indulging. The coke thing, usually I cave and go for the coke!

    Oh, and yes, I've tried the caffine free kind, but it's not nearly as good!

    Ok, I'll stop now, have a great Thanksgiving!!

  3. Sarah2:57 pm

    I have many food triggers for migraine and Coke is one of them. For years I resisted giving it up because it seems like every other beverage known to man is also a migraine trigger for me--including all the stuff that's supposedly good for you.

    Initially I drank diet Coke, and it was clearly a trigger for me if I consumed it in isolation--i.e., unaccompanied by food. With food, the results were less predictable. After reading enough bad things about aspartame, I switched to regular coke, and kept my quota down to one a day, and consumed it with food. If I drank it in isolation, it was a trigger, so evidently it wasn't just the aspartame that was the problem.

    I continued this regime for a few years refusing to give up my beloved beverage, until one day I was eating a meal, and took my first sip of Coke for the day and felt excruciating pain in one of my molars. My dentist determined the tooth had a hairline fracture and I had to have it crowned.

    Although I don't think the Coke caused this to happen, the synchronicity of the event gave me pause--particularly because I hadn't had a cavity for over 10 years, and this was my first hairline fracture. I interpretted it as an omen that it was time for me to give up Coke and I haven't had one since.

  4. Hi T, at the very least I am happy that you had some reprieve from headaches over the summer. I can relate to the night-time overthinking, sometimes what is cooking up in there is just too good to want to shut off! Too bad the next day takes a hit.

    I am also very sensitive to the d.coke. Two mouthfuls and my whole body is nauseated, complete with headache. In general I have low tolerance for aspartame but d.coke hits me harder than anything else. Makes you wonder what is in that stuff!

    Hope you are feeling back on track. Congrats on the house.

    My love, a

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