Sunday, August 16, 2009


Eyes open too wide
Bright burning sun, eyes closed, seeing red
Colors bleached out, muted

Sandy eyes, dry, bloodshot
Pupils confused
Pain lurking behind eyelashes

Facial tension
Skin too tight, fragile skull
Crows clawing eyes

Frying my brain

Monday, August 10, 2009

radio silence | part 1: another acronym, another diagnosis

Well, hello there, everyone. I'm hoping to get back into more regular updates, and in the meantime, I hope to catch you up a bit on what's been happening in my corner of the world.

When I saw Dr E in February, he prescribed a low dose of Celexa (citalopram) to help with the anxiety and depression I was dealing with because of life stressors (namely, unemployment) and my health. Celexa is also used as a Migraine preventive, so we were hoping it would help in the head pain arena, as well. I spent a few weeks trying to gather my courage enough to swallow that first pill, and in the meantime, found a part-time job, so I never did try it.

During my follow-up visit with Dr E in April, he asked me where I wanted to go with my treatment. I had seen some success with Dr P, and obviously I was feeling skittish about trying new prescription drugs. So I brought up an issue that had been simmering in the back of my mind for over a year - are my vague symptoms actually due to Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension? I certainly have at least mild head pain every day, with dizziness; as well as unexplained Migraine attacks, nausea, shoulder and neck pain, and tinnitus. Dr E and I had discussed this when I first saw him in 2008, and we had decided to try a few other treatment ideas first before further exploring IIH.

When I brought up IIH again, Dr E agreed that we had come to a point in my treatment where it made sense to test for it. He scheduled me for a lumbar puncture at the end of April. The procedure itself was fairly straightforward (though massively anxiety-producing) and I found out that my pressure is higher than normal. I ended up with a truly terrible spinal headache after the LP that left me completely bed-bound for a week, but I was able to get a blood patch to treat the headache.

While I'm certainly not happy to have another thing wrong with me, getting diagnosed with IIH has opened up my treatment options. Dr E prescribed me a very low dose of Diamox (acetazolamide) to reduce my spinal fluid pressure. I've been taking it since May, and just increased my dose a month ago, and I'm already seeing some positive effects. I'm tolerating it better than the other prescription preventives I've tried, so all in all, the LP was worth it.

I still have a long way to go in finding an effective treatment regimen, but adding the Diamox to treat my IIH has been an important step. I'm having less overall head pain, fewer Migraines and less severe Migraines. Every little bit helps, so I'm glad I followed my instincts and discussed IIH with Dr E.

More to come...

Be well,