Audra, a public relations professional in her late 20s, has lived with CDH for 10 years. Here’s her story:
My headaches started when I was 17, or about 10 years ago, and now I can’t even imagine life without them. I got a cold, including a sinus infection, cough and headache. Everything went away except the headaches. We’ve never nailed down a cause for the headaches and their pain level has escalated over the years.
The first thing on my mind when I do anything is the pain. If I go out to dinner, will the restaurant be so loud that I can’t handle it and will have to leave? If I go to church this morning, will they play the trumpets and make me want to run from the back pew before I feel like my head has been shot out with bullets?
I do have to be thankful though, because I am high-functioning and go to work nearly every day, but sometimes it’s a struggle, and it’s my social life that suffers and my poor husband who misses out on time with me, because by the time I push myself through the pain each day, by nighttime I’m usually exhausted.
I’ve tried so many things — things all headache sufferers have tried – dozens of medications and IV therapy to prevent, as well as "rescue" when the pain is horrible and alternative treatments such as chiropractic, acupuncture, herbs, physical therapy, etc. One after another doctors tell me they don’t know what else to do for me.
Each time I try something new I get my hopes up – why I don’t know. My last neurologist really got them up, he was so aggressive and presented such a well-rounded plan, but ultimately he too told me he couldn’t help me. He told me that my persistence to live my life as normally as possible was stronger than any medication he could give me. Thanks for the compliment, but I’m still in a lot of pain.
So, I sought out the next level and I’m seeing a doctor at the Diamond Headache Clinic for a couple months. While I’m still in pain every day, I have been feeling better the last few weeks on the new treatment plan. We’ll see — often my body figures out what the latest "trick" and finds a way to overcome it.