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Suzanne Kohler

Tagged with:FatigueLimb Weakness

What was your life like before you received the COVID-19 vaccine?

I've had chronic migraine for years. But at the beginning of 2021, for the first time in 25 years or so, I was down to only three or four substantial headaches/brain malfunctionings in a month! I was positive and hopeful and felt pretty sharp. I believe my relief was due to intermittent fasting and drastically lowering my sugar intake, which takes a mountain of willpower, but I was feeling cautiously optimistic. In the past, I've tried almost every preventative except the newest CGRP drugs (such as beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, botox, nerve blocks, and an array of heavy-duty anti-convulsants/anti-seizure drugs) and have had various results. However, since I no longer have sufficient insurance to cover expensive treatments, I'd finally given up on the medical establishment to solve my issue. Early in 2021, I was planning to take a class as soon as we got back from visiting family hoping to get back in the workforce and be able to drive regularly again!

Describe the symptoms and the timeline of the reaction.

However, within a day or so of getting the "vaccine", I was back to chronic daily headaches and nearly constant brain fog. They are not generally what I would call "severe"(none involve nausea), but they are, and until I do something stupid or dangerous, I'm not always fully aware of how poorly I'm functioning (it's hard to be fully aware when your brain isn't functioning). I have more pain when I lean over or exercise vigorously (walking is tolerable). I have mostly quit driving because I no longer trust myself and feel I have to "juice" myself with caffeine and meds before I drive. I regularly scare myself with my slow reaction times when I do drive and use the adaptive cruise control to help me. My world has become so much smaller and less hopeful. I am a self-reliant person, and that loss of self-reliance is sad.

Describe the solutions that helped your symptoms

My headaches only relent with a fairly significant dosing of anti-inflammatories or aspirin/caffeine meds like Excedrin, along with magnesium and beta-blockers. I am very aware and careful not to provoke either medication or caffeine "rebound headaches", but it has become harder with the persistence/recurrence of these headaches. The headaches don't respond well when pressure changes roll in with the weather (historically my old worst trigger). On days like that, I will approach 6 or 7 doses (around every 3 hours) and afternoon coffee, but normally I live with 2-3 doses of medication on regular days (and only morning coffee). Unfortunately, I never feel what I think of as "sharp" and learning, which I love to do, is a huge struggle. I don't have the confidence or energy to apply for a job.

Which solutions were not helpful?

I have not had luck with intermittent fasting as before. I need to give it another shot in a prolonged fashion (as before) and see if I can reduce the frequency of the headaches. I also have had bad experiences sharing my experiences so I generally am quiet and try not to commit to anything that would reveal my dysfunction. I also find this sad and un-empowering.
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