Word Perv
(noun): One who takes delight & is skilled at constructing, writing or saying naughty phrases or dialogue.

It’s been a while since I talked about my never-ending headache so I figured an update was in order.

When my headache started near the end of March I really thought it would be a quick fix – after all, I’d been plagued by these headaches five years ago and had gone through all the tests and medications then, finally finding one that worked. I foolishly assumed this time I’d get back on the old med and VOILA! My headache would be gone and life would resume as it once had. Instead I had an insecure doctor who didn’t want to give me the medication that worked before. Eventually she told me she wouldn’t prescribe me anything without getting another MRI.

So I got an MRI. And I learned I had a lesion on my brain. This lead to a CT scan, a consult with a neurosurgeon, and a lot of worries. It also lead to me naming my lesion Napoleon and finding a little humor along the way. I learned I didn’t need brain surgerythank Buddha – but my headaches still plagued me, sometimes bringing me to tears and pushing my pain level to a full 10.

My new neurologist tried other drugs. Nothing worked. Then he tried Botox. It initially sucked. And then he added another drug and suddenly, for the first time in over four months, I had an entire day where I didn’t have a headache. An entire day! You cannot imagine the relief that day brought. That night my boyfriend and I went out with a friend for dinner and I celebrated my headache-free status by drinking a (half of a) giant margarita. Because everyone celebrates a headache-free day with tequila, right?

Celebrating with a giant margarita!

Celebrating with a giant margarita!

 

I’m now 3 weeks (mostly) headache-free – I’ve had a few headaches but they are no longer a daily occurrence. I don’t know if it’s the new med or the combination of the Botox and the medicine, all I know is it’s working. And I am grateful, so-so-so grateful.

Last month I participated in August Poetry Postcard Fest. Given my love of poetry and postcards it seemed the perfect fit.

I sought out and found the perfect postcards featuring pictures drawn by Edward Gorey. When I read the title of this book of postcards I knew I’d found exactly what I was looking for: Mysterious Messages, Cryptic Cards, Coded Conundrums, and Anonymous Notes.

Postcards by Edward Gorey

Postcards by Edward Gorey

 

I ended up sending a total of 32 postcards – 31 postcards, one for each person listed after my name on the master list (containing over 300 people!) and an extra to the amazing Ms. Peggy Miller. I met her at the Chesapeake Writers’ Conference in July and she’s the one who told me about the Poetry Postcard Fest so I simply had to send her a poem. When I met her I thought of her as a typical grandmotherly type. And she was – petite and gray haired and friendly. But I grew to appreciate her as a wonderful poet when we read her poem in workshop. The poem detailed missing the intimate relationship she’d shared with her husband. I remember reading the poem and feeling a bit awed at how perfectly it captured the raw emotion and beauty of what she was feeling. And so when I found her name on the list I dropped another postcard in the mail, bringing my total up to 32 poetry postcards sent.

I received 19 postcards during the month of August – there may be a few stragglers that find their way into my mailbox over the next few days.

Poetry postcards received

Poetry postcards received

 

I loved this poetry project. It got me to write poems in a totally different way – I was forced to keep them short enough to fit on a postcard and while I don’t write pages-long poems, keeping them postcard-length was a challenge, but one I enjoyed. I also loved reading the poems I received. I would read them eagerly, and then once again more slowly, savoring the words that a stranger had shared with me.

And so I wanted to share the last poem I wrote for the Poetry Postcard Fest. It went to the last person on my list. I hope he/she enjoyed it.

Poems

I hesitate to write

these words,

this last poem

in a month of poems.

Words have graced

my lips,

this pen,

these pages…

They do not stop with this.

A little over a week ago I got Botox for the treatment of my headaches so I I figured I should provide some thoughts and impressions about Botox.

- Botox is weird. I mean, if you think about it, the whole concept of Botox is weird. You’re injecting a toxin, into your skin, to paralyze the muscles and nerves. While Botox has many uses, to include headache treatment, excessive sweating treatment (strange but true), it’s probably best known for stopping the appearance of wrinkles. Which means most people who get Botox are getting shots to the face, much like I did.

- While the shots don’t hurt necessarily, they don’t feel great. It’s much like getting any other shot – you feel the pinch of the needle and then another pinch as the medicine is pushed into your body. I got seven shots, from temple to temple, across my brow line. It didn’t feel great, and if it cured my headaches I would have endured dozens of these shots but I can’t really imagine doing it every three months for the sake of having a wrinkle-free forehead. I guess I’m not vain enough.

- Many people get immediate headache relief from Botox. Sadly, I wasn’t one of those people. For over 24 hours I could still furrow, wrinkle, and otherwise normally move my forehead. And I still had a headache. Then, while driving my boyfriend to the airport, I got an intense pain in my forehead and I could feel the numbness moving upward from my eyebrows. When it reached the top of my forehead the intense pain faded to a 2-3 and I was no longer able to furrow or wrinkle my forehead.

- The next couple of days my headache was lower than usual, staying in the 2-3 range and I hoped the Botox was working. But then my headaches started getting significantly worse, culminating with a solid 7 headache on Friday. These headaches are different though. Previously my headache felt like someone was stabbing me through the temples with a red-hot ice pick. The pain was intense and piercing. Now it feels like there’s a vise on my temples and it’s cranking down, causing extreme pressure and pain from temple-to-temple and across my forehead. Is this the Botox-related headache that some people suffer from? Is this my body fighting the now-paralyzed muscles and nerves? Or is this how my headache feels when Botox is added to the mix? I don’t honestly know but I’m hoping my doctor has answers.

- My friends are really amused by my inability to move my forehead. I cannot raise my eyebrows in surprise or furrow my brow in anger no matter how hard I try. My eyebrows stay in place and my forehead remains smooth. If nothing else it’s fun to amuse people for a few minutes. ;)

Overall I’m not yet happy with Botox because it hasn’t stopped my headaches. Yes, I have a smooth forehead that I’m unable to move, no matter how hard I try, but being able to furrow my forehead wasn’t a bad thing. I’m now over four months into dealing with a nonstop headache and as I lamented to several friends recently, I really don’t like the person I am right now. I’m cranky when I’m in this much pain and so my friends and my boyfriend bear the brunt to that. I try to keep it to myself as much as possible but I know sometimes I can’t and I am cranky and irritable and just plain bitchy. So to my friends and loved ones, thank you for putting up with me these last couple of months and hopefully the end is in sight. When I’m headache-free and able to celebrate with bubbly the drinks are on me. We’ll have earned a little celebratory toasting I think.

August 11, 2014

Hollywood

Written by Posted in Random Babblings Comments 2

On Saturday I got my first Botox treatment. Now wait, I know what you’re thinking – I’m only 35, aren’t I a little young and awfully vain to be be getting Botox? Yes, both of those things would be true if I were getting Botox to erase my wrinkles but instead I got Botox to treat my never ending headache.

Over a month ago my neurologist put me on medicine #5, the same medicine I was on five years ago when I was last plagued by these intense headaches. He started me on a low dose. It didn’t work so he doubled the dose. When that didn’t work he doubled it again. He made several other tweaks to the dosage but I never found any relief. Having tried many medicines he decided it was time to try something else, hence the Botox.

While Botox is famously know for its use in eliminating the signs of wrinkles, it also is effective in treating certain types of migraines. In order to even qualify for using Botox to treat headaches you have to suffer from them at least 14 days a month. Given I have a daily, nearly constant headache, I clearly qualify. So on Saturday I was laying on the examining table getting shots in my face.

I got a total of seven shots, from temple to temple, across my brow – this is where my headaches reside and so these are the muscles and nerves my doctor hopes to temporarily paralyze. He started with a low dose of Botox – to ensure I don’t have a bad reaction since it is a toxin – and I may need a stronger dose later, we’ll see how this works. I walked out of the office with a slightly numb forehead and a head still hurting. But hey, in theory I won’t be able to furrow my brow as much so there’s a plus side even if it doesn’t help my headaches, right?

 

A helpful guide to my Botox treatment. Also I'm wearing my new DvF shirt!

A helpful guide to my Botox treatment. Also I’m wearing my new DvF shirt!

 

After leaving the doctor’s office I ran a few errands, including stopping by my favorite consignment store, Current Boutique, to drop off some clothes. Of course while there I had to peruse the racks and I ended up leaving with a Diane von Furstenberg silk top. Once home I walked my dog, had some lunch, then lounged by the pool and finished the book I was reading.

Botox, designer clothes, and a pool? I’m ready for Hollywood.

Last week I traveled a little bit, down to Louisiana for work for a couple of days, back to Virginia for about six hours, then we hopped in the car and drove to Maine.

map

 

It was a busy week and I don’t necessarily recommend anyone cram that much into one week. But hey, I got to eat some delicious fried food in Louisiana (there’s a reason it’s the 4th fattest state in the country) and then I was able to run it all off during the cool Maine mornings. All in all, not a bad thing and I guess it balances itself out.

This week has been equally busy because even though I travel with my work laptop and phone, and check it even while on vacation, it’s not quite the same as being in the office so I’ve spent the week trying to catch up. In addition to getting caught up with work I’ve spent the week settling back into my workout routine and I think I’ve finally gotten to a rhythm that really works for me:

Monday: Run in the morning, yoga in the evening

Tuesday: Run in the morning

Wednesday: Swim in the morning, strength train in the afternoon/evening

Thursday: Run in the morning, yoga in the evening

Friday: Swim in the morning, strength train in the afternoon/evening

Saturday: Run

Sunday: Yoga

It looks like a lot but it’s really not that much. I’m only running 5 miles each day (and relatively slowly at that) and swimming is still something I’m not good at so I’m lucky to get in 20-30 minutes. I’m getting better each time I go but it’s not an exercise that comes easily for me. So I’m getting a good mix of workouts in and I’m feeling good, sleeping well, eating well, and if I can just get my never-ending headache to go away, I’d be feeling damn good.