Posted by James (188.8.131.52) on December 17, 1999 at 09:35:25:
Hi friends. I havent' posted here in probably a year but I do check the post sometimes.
I'm a 53 year old man, live in Texas, and have had clusters for almost 18 years. Over the years my clusters have begun in the spring and in the fall but for the last 5 years they always begin around Thanksgiving and last for about 5 months. They usually start slow and peak in February with 5 or 6 attacks each day.
I'm pretty much the classic case of episodic sufferers. I like beer and smoke. I'm a bookkeeper and part time farmer. I've tried most of the meds on the market.
During the years, none of the classic cures or pain relievers have worked. Last years cluster, my doc tried Prednisone again and this time it worked. During the ten day treatment, I had 3 days of no attacks. The Imitrex Nasal was some help but it makes my heart jump up and down and it worries me. I also have "illregular heartbeat" or A.F., the same thing that Senator Bradley has that was just in the news. That started 10 years ago and I wonder if cluster meds played a part in that.
Anyway, during the years I've noticed that my mental condition changes according to the time of year and the type of medication I'm on. Most of us know that clusters are brought on by chemical changes in the brain. No one seems to know what causes these changes. I believe that's where research should be centered. I also believe that cluster heads have always had some sort of chemical imbalance. Chemicals affect much of our brain operation.
At this point I don't know if my "self" is the way I was born or a result of all the meds I've taken over the years, but in the last 5 years I've been a nut case. I never relax, I'm paranoid, and I have a very hard time having a possitive outlook about anything. I spend most of my mental energy trying to be "normal". I pull it off but at great expense.
Maybe I've been that way all my life. What made me realize that I have these problems is, during my last cluster, some of the meds made me feel real good. My brain seemed to function more normally. There were days when I actually felt good. Of course that was surrounded by attacts. Any way I realized what I was missing in life. After the cluster I was back to my old self.
I have a brother with clusters, even though they are not genetic, so they say,and he is similar in behavior to me.
My question is, do others have these same mental problems? Do others have personality traits that are abnormal? Do others have mental, emotional changes during and outside clusters?
By the way I'm not a complete nut. I work and function every day. I treat my wife properly and have friends and all that, but the struggle is internal. I'm so good at faking it that my doctor can't understand what I'm talking about.
I'm also a Christian and my faith helps me make it through the day. It's just a daily fight. I think that if this mental condition was corrected the clusters might go away. On the other hand, maybe it's the clusters that made me this way in the first place. Thanks for any thoughts.
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