Disclaimer: I don’t want to needlessly worry anyone while they read so I will say now that I do not have the equivalent of terminal rust and it’s not a tumor.
About a week and a half ago I started to develop a pain behind my right eye. My best guess was a sinus infection. It would happen around the same time every evening, usually after I ate and got comfortable lying around. I figured it was due to the temperature/humidity in my home or the relaxed state I was in. I’d take two Asprins and about an hour later I’d feel better. I thought it was a little strange I could breathe normally but chalked it up to the pain being behind my eye and not around my nose (After all, I do play a doctor on the internet).
At about day 3 the pain had become strong enough I felt the need to look through the medicine cabinet for something a little stronger and not yet beyond its expiration date. Found some Motrin and it seemed to do just as well as the Aspirin did initially. The pain would still subside after an hour or so.
Day 5 saw the pain go up another level and at times it would move up my head and also down my nose a little. In desperation I started standing over a boiling pot on the stove. Maybe Motrin wasn’t really effective? Found some Extra Strength Acetaminophen tablets and again, after an hour it would clear.
Last Friday I didn’t go home and went out with some friends after work. It happened again. The pain now was very, very bad. I asked around and the advice I received was to do a saline flush or spray. “Even with being able to breathe normally?”. Yes, was the unanimous answer.
Saturday morning I went straight out and picked up a Saline spray and of course that evening I found an opportunity to try it out. It did nothing.
4 o’clock Sunday morning I was awoken with a pain like I had never felt before in my life. It either felt like a person was reaching behind my eyeball with their fingers and pulling, or like being stabbed in the eye with a very fat knife. There were tears but only from that one eye. I have an abnormally strong threshold for pain and on a scale of 1-10 (10 being something unimaginably painful) I’d rate this a 10 without question. I’d slept only 2 hours that night. This combined with the pain gave me dark thoughts of pulling my eye out (it couldn’t hurt any more than it already did). It was that bad. It was a nightmare.
Now in hindsight I should have gone to the doctor Monday morning (not that it would have changed anything, but it would have been the smart thing to do) but I had a work related emergency. Strangely enough everything was totally fine that day.
Yesterday morning at 4 am I wanted to throw myself from my patio. By 7:15 I was waiting outside the doctor’s office for the 8 o’clock opening. By the time I got there I wasn’t in pain though, as usual it only lasted an hour. I sat and described my self-inflicted ordeal to my doctor and she told me she didn’t think it was a sinus infection. I was gutted. This is not what I wanted to hear.
I was told it’s most likely what they call a Cluster Headache. For those who haven’t heard of it, it makes migraines feel like a scalp massage from a small lady followed by a happy ending. Woman who have been through child birth say it’s comparable. It’s very rare, affecting 1 or 2 people in 1000 (that doesn’t sound that rare to me though). It usually affects only half the face and almost always behind the eye. They don’t know what it is, what causes it, or how to cure it. Family doctors only know to throw pain killers at it, and my doctor did just that. I was prescribed two, one very strong and one so strong it should only be taken in an emergency. I took one of the weaker painkillers and went to work yesterday. It was okay.
Through my research I have been unable to determine if the name comes from it occurring as a cluster of pain in the head or the intervals of time in which they occur. They usually occur in the fall or spring and can last days, weeks, or months. Many can expect them to return the same time next year, for some they never go away, and for some lucky people it’s a one-time ordeal. Fingers crossed I fall into the last group.
Also learned that lying down is a no-no. To get a good night’s sleep I used 2 pillows stacked and it seemed to work well. No problems again today and no need for painkillers.
If I still have them in January I’ll be going to see a specialist to look at more drastic measures. Until then I’m relaxing and moving like a sloth.
tl;dr: Thought I had a sinus infection but learned it wasn’t the case. Been to hell and back. Things are just okay now.