One year after my failed neurologist visit, I got a referral to a neurologist in Louisville who specializes in treating headaches. He is smart, understanding, and, most importantly, compassionate. Unfortunately those qualities, while they make for an excellent doctor, are not enough to create a solution. We’ve progressed through a few diagnoses and a long list of medications. Before I went for the first visit, I began reading online about different headache types.
His first diagnosis, which was my guess as well, was hemicrania continua. HC is characterized by pain occurring on only one side of the head. The pain is usually mild to moderate with short severe stabbing pains. It can be accompanied by teary eye and runny nose on the same side as the head pain. The real test of the diagnosis is whether the headache responds to indomethacin.
I left the office after that first visit with a prescription for indomethacin and a new sense of hope. The hope lasted quite some time – it was good to have a new ally in my battle. The indomethacin, however, did not stop my headache. I did feel a small bit of relief. Looking back, that may have been due more to hope than the meds. This small bit of relief led us to keep the diagnosis of HC and pursue other medications to treat it for about a full year.
We’ve finally ruled hemicrania continua out. We’re still certain this is a primary headache, which means it isn’t going to kill me. It also makes it harder to treat. Headaches are still very much a mystery.