Friday, August 3, 2018

Stress and the Stabby Skull

CT scan of my cervical spine.
(And... I guess, upper dragon spikes?) 
Let's take a break from Bipolar Blogging and have some fun with the Migraine Memoirs, yeah?

I had the long-awaited consultation with Dr. H at the Cleveland Clinic, going in with the multiple diagnoses of occipital neuralgia, chronic tension headache, migraine, and atypical facial pain.

The last one, the facial pain, is a psychosomatic neuralgia. That combined with the tension headache makes it clear that the headaches aren't a separate thing from my mental health.

But the body doesn't operate as discrete systems closed off from one another.

It's become a dream of mine that medicine could look like a meeting of disciplines. My GP at a table with my psychiatrist, my therapist, my pain management specialist, my headache specialist, and my allergist. (In my dream I can afford an allergist, because I'm dreaming—why fucking not?)

Dr H is a specialist in headache, pain management, and psychosomatic pain, so I was stoked. He seemed like the dude to see. The consultation was the most thorough doctor visit I've ever had in my life. It was nearly an hour of just talking over symptoms, answering his questions, and going over my medical history in depth.

At the end, his diagnosis was migraine triggered by stress and anxiety.

He doesn't think the type of headache I'm having will respond to procedures I'd expected, like Botox or cryoablation. His plan was to tweak my preventative medicines, add an acute treatment for the onset of the headaches, and get me into cognitive behavioral therapy.

So I'm on a beta-blocker, which can prevent migraine, lower blood pressure, and treat anxiety. But I have quite low blood pressure because I'm taking the maximum dose of alprazolam an anxious human can take.

The happy news is that I can stop with that.

So we have a weaning plan for that, which will please my doctors and very much makes me happy. Being on a benzo for this long has never been particularly ideal but it's been the only way I could cope with otherwise crippling anxiety.

So, speaking of that lovely anxiety, I spoke with V about CBT and whether she knew a therapist who does that sort of therapy (because I thought we were doing something different, I suppose?) and she informed me that I'm already in cognitive behavioral therapy. So yeah, we'll mark that off my to-do list.

Oh wait I don't have a to-do list. LOL are there people who DO THAT? 

So that break from psych talk didn't work, did it? Because bodies aren't made of discreet systems.


And I could veer into a tangent about the merry godddamn havock stress plays on the body and the fact that Medicare doesn't cover any any A N Y (well I guess in theory there may be psychiatrists in the world who actually see patients for psychoanalysis but I assume they're all fictional, treat only the very rich, are cannibals, and have extremely questionable and shippable relationships with foresnsic investigators) kind of psychotherapy because any medical care has to be provided my a person with the magical letters MD or DO after their name.

But I will not go tangential.

I will add this little button here because help with my payments is always appreciated:

Buy Me a Coffee at

Much love, 'boners.

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