Just an update in a series of Brain Pains – I have officially survived the Cluster Cycle of 2012. For those who are seeing this for the first time or are otherwise unacquainted, I suffer from cluster headaches. They’re related to migraine headaches and are a part of daily life for several weeks a year. Worldwide acknowledgement and support for this rare type of migraine has expanded exponentially over the past decade. We’ve come a long way since a pair of doctors shrugged and referred me to an eye specialist back in the 90s. Duh.
Anyway, I started feeling this pending cycle in April though I had a few “ghost” headaches all the way back in January. It took a while to really come on. I actually thought the trip to Ireland might bring on a cycle as it seriously messed with my sleep patterns but only one ocular migraine resulted. At Heather’s urging, I had (nearly) eliminated nitrates/sulfates from my diet. As usual, an ocular cycle precipitated the full blown cluster routine. The cycle went full-blown at the end of June and lasted until mid July when it began to taper. I had my final headache during the last full week in July. A rather short cycle this time but friggin’ intense. With my new job I have access to the little work-out room and I used it 2-4 times a day for a quick adrenaline burst to prevent the full onset of headaches. That many headaches in a day has been rare over the years. Fortunately, that density lasted for under 2 weeks when it settled back into the one-a-day routine.
Purely conjecture on my part but the stress of a new job and very active toddler might have been enough to kick off the cycle. The fact that I only grunted through a handful of headaches without the “adrenaline intervention” of pushups, curls and presses might have caused the dense cycle. On the other hand, being very busy at work might have helped end the cycle. As long as I can drop and push out 40 ups just as the throbbing starts to prevent the full agony of a cluster headache I’m going to take that opportunity. If it makes me have another one an hour or two later? Worth it. As long as I get a few hours to recover my muscles – or have other options like stationary bikes or stair-masters – I’ll take the quick fix any time.