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I saw my neurologist yesterday at the Headache Clinic. She asked me a lot of questions about my pain and did an exam. She said that she did not believe it was shingles but was inflammation of my occipital nerve. These are nerves that run up the back of your head and are one of the primary nerves involved with migraines. She believes that when I had the abscessed tooth a couple of months ago and the subsequent root canal, it aggravated my occipital nerve causing a trigger migraine.

She told me that this could take months to clear up, but there were things they could do to improve the condition. She began by prescribing to me a six-day course of a Medrol Dosepak (methylprednisolone). I’ve taken this before. It’s not a pleasant treatment because it causes me to shake uncontrollably, but it is usually effective. However, I could not start the first dose until this morning before I eat breakfast. 

In the meantime, she gave me an occipital nerve block, i.e., injections of lidocaine in the back of my head. Almost immediately, the back of my head was numb. She told me that this should stop the pain for about four days giving the steroids time to work. Sadly, the pain came back within a few hours.

I sent her a message through their online portal to let her know that the pain was back. She told me that nerve blocks are not always successful and to put ice on it for twenty minutes every hour. She also said not to give up on the nerve block just yet; it could still provide some relief. The ice pack did help some and eased the pain for a time. If the nerve block does eventually help, then she can give me another one in two weeks, then once a month until this clears up. I’ll be going on March 8 for my next Botox injections, so that might also help.

I am praying that the Medrol Dosepak helps, even if I have to suffer through the shakes. The treatment for this whole thing is not pleasant, so I hope it works. The administration of the nerve block was very painful, and we shall see how my body reacts to the steroids this time. Hopefully, it won’t be as bad as the last time I had this treatment. I don’t usually say this, but please keep me in your prayers. This pain is not only wearing on me physically but mentally as well. I feel like it will never end, and I am destined for chronic pain for the rest of my life.

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

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