Sunday, May 24, 2009

cluster headache: brain writhing on a corkscrew

IT lurks in the peace of sleep. No, that is not quite right it IS sleep itself, intertwined and indistinguishable.
90 minutes after closing my eyes, it (a Cluster Headache) jabs that corkscrew from hell above my right eye and torturously twists it in and then out. Malevolently crafted, headaches can last from 15 minutes to 2 hours.
"To sleep, perchance to dream- ay, there's the rub."
I admit I fear and resist sleep even while sleep becomes more tempting with sleep deprivation.

My first episode coincided with my first year of juggling Multiple Sclerosis spouse caregiving and raising our daughter. Cause and effect? Coincidence?

Over the past two decades, Cluster Headache episodes occur on average about every 18 months and last from 8 – 12 weeks.

Sleep deprivation eventually dominates any episode. Piles of things around me tell the tale of lost focus. Caregiving is a juggling act, yet one by one the juggled balls fall. My head snaps at the sound of rumble strips as my tires drift across lanes scaring me into adrenalin fueled alertness.

Disabling? Yes, during an actual Cluster Headache. Inconsistent abilities try to move forward through the deepening mud in between. However it WILL end! Or at least, it always has.

Nothing ends without learning. Empathy for pain in others and a window to better understanding life altered by disabling symptoms are lessons learned from a brain writhing on a corkscrew.

Previous related entries:

by Patrick Leer
Caregivingly Yours, MS Caregiver @


  1. I'm so sorry Patrick; its a shame you have to be tormented like this with these


  2. I am so sorry your having these. Horrible.

  3. Before my son was diagnosed with Chiari, they thought he was having cluster headaches.

    I sure hope you're feeling better by now!

  4. Patrick, I am so sorry you have to deal with cluster headaches. I can't imagine what that must be like. I hope you are feeling better soon and that they are coming to an end for you at least for this session.

  5. Ow ow ow ow ow ow, bloody OW! What torture it must be to not even have sanctuary in sleep. What treatment options are there?

    Please use your "Get out of driving free" card whenever your eyelids are heavier than your heart.

  6. Patrick,

    I haven't experienced cluster headaches, but have a long history of migraines. My heart goes out to you...

  7. Patrick, just stopped in to see how you/Patti were doing; hoping you got some relief by now from these cluster headaches!!! hope is as well as it can be


  8. i hear you buddy im a cluster head myself im in a cycle right now affraid to go to sleep

  9. Very interesting post about Tcluster headache: brain writhing on a corkscrew, in these days Headache is more common and people have to try to be careful with their health, for example I unfortunately spend much money in buying generic viagra only because I need it and well Im close to be a senior citizen.


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