Posted by Graham (126.96.36.199) on February 27, 2001 at 17:55:15:
It’s been a long time since I last posted; so many of you who read this may not know who I am or anything about my past experiences with these headaches. Therefore I will include the following brief description of my experiences. I am working from memory (which is poor!!!), as I never recorded the onset and progress of my headaches or medications taken, so some of the timings are rough to say the least. Actually, the only written record of my experiences is the message board on this web site, and it would take me far too long to search out my previous posts and put together an 100% accurate description. In short the description is very rough and lacks detail!!!
I am chronic of over five years who started out as a chronic from the beginning. I initially started with the odd headache with the usual symptoms. The headaches got more and more frequent over several months until I eventually reached a fairly constant daily battering of between 1 and 8 headaches a day of varying intensity (mild to incredible agony) and length (ten minutes to two hours). I went nearly two years (or was it three, I cant remember without checking!!!) without diagnosis, taking many different types of medications without success. Then I found this web site and an open minded doctor who agreed with my diagnosis of chronic cluster headaches. Verapamil at 240mg a day worked incredibly well for a few months, then the headaches started to gradually come back, again over a few months. I carried on taking the same dose of Verapamil, as it often seemed to ‘kick in’ again for short periods. Therefore, I went a quite a long period of time having good months where the headaches reduced in frequency, and bad months were I suffered the same as my pre-Verapamil days. I was apprehensive about upping my Verapamil dose (for various reasons) so I started thinking seriously about additional or alternative approaches. Eventually, when my suffering became even worse I decided to try the magic mushroom remedy. It was either that, upping my Verapamil dose or starting Lithium. I went ahead with the ‘shrooms’ as they were coming into season where I live. I continued to take 240mg of Verapamil a day, AND STILL DO TO THIS DAY.
NOW FOR THE SHROOM STORY!
I took my first dose after a VERY bad week of clusters. This was in the middle of September of last year-I think! I then went about three days without any headaches, which was unbelievable for me. Then I got hit with some major clusters for a few days. They were stronger than usual but not as frequent as before the ‘shrooms’. I then shadowed heavily for a couple of days until I took another ‘dose’ of ‘shrooms’ one week later. I think I then got about 24 hours of complete relief this time. The clusters came back over the next few days, again, strong in intensity, but I wasn’t getting ‘hit’ as often as before the shrooms. Over the next month the clusters settled down to a fairly constant level. However, they were still less frequent than usual, and also less painful in general.
I think I posted my last post around this time, but I could be wrong!
During December they gradually started to further reduce in frequency, and also in intensity. I started to get days without any attacks. I also noticed that I alcohol did not always initiate an attack, which it always had done for many years. This improvement continued during January and up to this present day. I would say that for the past month my clusters have become nothing more than slightly annoying and I have had no attacks above kip 5 since Christmas. I get the odd shadow from time to time, and I would say that I can drink alcohol and not initiate an attack 80% of the time. During the last two weeks I have had about one shadow and one very mild cluster (kip 3?). So, at the moment my head is behaving itself very well.
Now, I am in no way saying that the ‘shrooms’ are definitely the reason for my relief, but they could well be. I was seriously chronic after all.
I am somewhat optimistic! You, of course, can make up your own mind! However, before you do I must include the following points to consider.
1) Around the same time I started taking the shrooms I took a decision to never take another over the counter painkiller. I never took that many anyway, as they never worked. I took them more in hope than judgement! I there a rebound factor at work here (I certainly don’t think so!)?
2) I have always continued to drink, apart from the odd month when I went without it to see if it gave me any relief. They always became more frequent when I did this, and as a night out on the beer gave my 100% relief from clusters the following day, I decided that alcohol did more good than harm (with my headaches that is!). Therefore, as I have initiated so many attacks over the past few years with alcohol, has my body/head become tolerant to the pain or possibly the INTERNAL MECHANISM THAT TRIGGERS AN ATTACK?
3) Before Christmas I went through a period of around three weeks where my workload and subsequent stress levels went to an ALL TIME HIGH. As stress lowers serotonin levels in the body, did this experience alter the serotonin production and/or levels in my body in a beneficial way? However, since Christmas I would say that my workload/stress levels are at least back to normal, possibly even less! Also, my sleeping patterns have been less than consistent. This usually makes the headaches worse, but they have nearly disappeared!
Sorry for going on a bit. I’ve rushed this post a little so I apologise for the lack of detail and complete accuracy. I will try my best to answer any questions I may get regarding this post but please bear with me! I do not always get chance to reply straight away!
Best wishes everyone,
P.S. I have never properly thanked the people who gave me support and advice with the ‘shroom’ treatment. I am incredibly grateful to all of these people, regardless of whether they have worked or not, and also regardless of what happens with my headaches in the future. Flash and pinksharkmark-I especially owe you a big thank you!
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