Death by overactive, fatigued brain

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By nature I am not a hypochondriac. I don’t acknowledge illness and much prefer the land of denial. I hardly ever alter my schedule because of sickness. I had fabulous attendance both at school and at work. I would go for years without a sick day. A key to my successful record was that I loved school and my job.  Even people who enjoy what they do, occasionally take a sick day. Not me.

Occasionally I don’t feel quite right. If it doesn’t go away in 24 hours, I start self-diagnosing my issue. I don’t stay home but I mentally exhaust myself with what I could possibly have. This is compounded by the fact that I had a bout with breast cancer several years ago. Once you have done the dance with cancer, you are never quite the same. You can almost feel those little aberrant cells swarming around trying to grab hold of you…again.

So here I am. I have a headache. For one week, I have had a headache. Nothing helps – not Advil or acetaminophen or aspirin. I never get headaches so this is discerning. It could be a brain tumor or perhaps the cancer came back. Breast cancer does recur in the brain. Do brain aneurysms give you a headache right before they rupture? I have been doing these mental exercises for several days.

Yes, of course I made a doctor appointment. Seems that everyone is ill and unless I am having a seizure (in which case I should call 911), I have to wait two more weeks until I can get to explore my hypotheses. Secretly, I am hoping it goes away before then because that’s a long way off.

I know I am not the only one who does this. The beloved husband blames this on all the hospital shows I watch. I have become very familiar with a lot of new illnesses. On the Gifted Man, I saw a woman survive a car crash with a broken leg and just a slight bruise on her head. Within a day or two she was dead caused by bleeding in the brain which destroyed her memory center and then killed her. Good lord, could I have that? I did whack my head on the kitchen cabinet.

Tonight is Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice. Maybe I’ll learn something new although it’s really tough getting past all the sex on those shows. I once asked my doctor if there is that much sex happening in a hospital. He spit his coffee through his nose and said, “I wish!”  We’ll see.

20 thoughts on “Death by overactive, fatigued brain

  1. “Once you have done the dance with cancer, you are never quite the same. You can almost feel those little aberrant cells swarming around trying to grab hold of you…again.” Amen. I completed my last round of treatment for breast cancer last friday but already I can feel myself falling into this pattern. I can picture those rancid cells dancing around. And I’m a doctor, so I have no excuse. Do get that headache checked out.


    • Good luck! I remember my last day of radiation. I made my husband stop for a hot fudge sundae on the way home. The headache is sinuses probably related to the season. I never had seasonal allergies before so of course I thought it was a brain tumor!


  2. Pingback: The Psych Life » Feeling Sick? The View of a Hypochondriac [Guest Author - Jasmine Morales]

  3. First, sorry about the headaches – no fun. They may be cluster headaches…which appear and stay for a while and leave (and inflame a bunch of tiny little nerves on the side of your head – which causes more headaches!). Or allergy (sinuses love pollen season) Or stress….Even if they are not caused by stress, if you gently do some spine stretching exercises, you may get some relief. 1. Sit on floor legs out straight. Arms up by ears and stretch to sky. Slowly bend forward- stretching outward to the tips of your fingers. Keep back straight – you do not have to grab your ankles – even bending forward half way may help. 2. Stand against wall with arms out in T shape. Slowly bend at waist and move slowly until on arm is pointing up and one down. Reverse and do the other side. Try to keep back against wall as you move. 3. Stand tall: pretend there are strings attached to your ears pulling you up like a puppet. Pretend you are wearing a shirt with buttons on the front -pretend there’s a string attached to that 3rd button pulling up to the ceiling.(tuck rear in and under) Bad headaches make people slump and raise shoulders because of the pain. and the body seems to “freeze” tighten muscles along spine and neck – which causes more headaches! Drink lots of water! Do hope you find relief and the cause is a simple one!


  4. Everyone secretly worries that some little pain is an indication of something very wrong. You may more reason than most people to worry. Call the doctor back and insist. Being bitchy works.


  5. Between TV shows and the internet, I have become an expert at diagnosing illnesses. I would do the same for you, Kate, but so far I’m only right about 2% of the time.

    I hope you start feeling better soon and can cancel the appointment.


    • Last night’s Grey’s Anatomy had a brain surgery go bad. Not a good thing! I hate googling symptoms because I always go for the worst. The good news is that it’s better today and hopefully whatever it is, the body will heal itself. (and I am so going to do the ice cream thing this afternoon!)


  6. Kate, I’ve suggested this remedy to a couple of my friends who have had migraines and they said it works. Eat ice cream. I did read somewhere that this freezes those very parts of the brain that are playing havoc with you. The down side … you may have to get a new wardrobe if you try this “cure” too many times. 🙂 Hope you’re feeling better soon.


    • Now this is a helpful suggestion. I can do ice cream. It’s better today. With my husband still down with a severe respiratory illness, this has had more sickness in the last week and a half than it has in the last decade.


  7. Well, if it isn’t an aneurysm or meningitis or cancer, maybe it’s a sinus headache because spring is trying to blow in, or maybe it’s a migraine headache because you recently gave up caffeine. Seriously, I can’t believe you have to wait two weeks to see a doctor (ridiculous), and that you’re supposed to just make do and suffer through the headaches until then (again ridiculous).

    I’m hoping they at least asked you if you had any of these
    other symptoms before telling you to wait two weeks:
    *stiff neck
    *slurred speech, dizziness, numbness, or tingling
    *confusion or drowsiness
    *shortness of breath
    *high fever
    which can all be symptoms that suggest you need urgent care,
    when they accompany an intense or prolonged or persistent headache.

    Assuming none of the above apply, and assuming that Grey’s Anatomy or Private Practice doesn’t magically diagnose your problem, then I hope that maybe a cool compress or a scalp massage might at least bring you a bit of relief while you’re waiting to see the man with the white coat. Two weeks? Really?


    • They didn’t ask but I didn’t have any other symptoms so when I am not being overly dramatic, I wonder if it isn’t sinus issues without the drainage or eyestrain. See I can do this forever!


  8. Good lord, Kate, now you’ve got me worrying about you. Worrying is contagious…did you know that? You can’t catch a headache but you can catch worrying. Do you think the beads work? If making your readers laugh makes you feel better, you should be doing the “I’m cured” dance. I’m sending you “get better” karma.


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