Is this it? Have I finally found that elusive magic pain killer?
Life in the aftermath of the brain bleeds and subsequent surgeries is harder, it is also richer. In addition to returning to my full-time job as a college professor, I became a writer and public speaker. I also travel extensively, nationally and internationally.
Living a full life comes at a price. Among many other symptoms, I suffer from extreme fatigue and debilitating headaches.
Spending my life hiding a darkened room is not an option. I will not surrender to my damaged brain.
I recently returned from an exhausting and wonderful trip. I landed in the U.S. with a goofy smile and the early signs of an excruciating headache.
Because of the ongoing threat of brain bleeds, I have to stay away from any meds that increase the risk. Pain killers with blood thinning properties such as Advil and Aspirin are off limits, as are those that constrict bloods vessels around the brain. The headaches are horrendous, but the chance of another bleed is unthinkable.
As a brain injury survivor, I am hypersensitive to anything that causes neurological effects. I can’t take any controlled substances, such as morphine and vicodin.
Tylenol, my one remaining choice, doesn’t touch my headaches—I might as well take a placebo.
Since none of the usual pain killers work, I’ve resorted to experimenting with natural remedies.
A friend mentioned her success with ginger. When I complained that neither ginger tea nor capsules helped, she suggested crystallized ginger. It was effective—it took care of even the worst of headaches.
I was sure I found my wonder-drug. But several months later, ginger stopped working, completely, for no apparent reason.
My chiropractor urged me to experiment with turmeric, an anti inflammatory. No, it was no wonder-drug. But it usually took the edge off the pain, allowing me to function at an acceptable level. But like ginger, it too, stopped working after a while.
I continued my search—there had to be something out there.
Taking the advice of a fellow headache sufferer, I am now experimenting with CBD (cannabidiol) hemp oil. Though marijuana and hemp are both forms of the cannabis plant and have similar healing properties, unlike marijuana, hemp does not bring on a high, and is legal in all fifty states.
It worked! Like a charm! Once again, I was headache-free. Not only did it take care of even the worst headaches, it acted swiftly.
About to embark on a trip, I stopped off at the nearby apothecary to replenish my supply, and discovered CBD chewing gum, at 10 mg per tablet. Unlike the oil, it did not taste vile, and would not be at risk of spilling—it would be perfect. It was perfect. Though exhausted during the trip, I was able push on, enjoying myself as I hadn’t in years.
Back home, the CBD continued to be effective.
Until yesterday. I woke up with a headache. I chewed some CBD gum—nothing. I took a dropper full of CBD oil—no effect. And the headache kept worsening. Ever hopeful, I alternated between gum and oil throughout the day. By lunchtime, the pain overwhelmed my entire being. I lay in bed, the blinds lowered, dozing fitfully, occasionally whimpering.
From past experience, I knew I’d be spending the next couple of days in bed until the headache ran its course. But come evening, the pain suddenly switched from all consuming to nothing.
This morning, waking to a slight headache, I popped a piece of gum into my mouth. So far so good.
Have I found an effective treatment after all?