My wife has suffered from cluster headaches for two years now. She suffers attacks that usually last hours (longer than the norm) and they can be triggered by just about anything.
Saturday she had her first CH free day in a year. She was her old self. Smiling, laughing, even wanted to go shopping. We took a long drive and that's when she confided in me about suicide.
I'm no stranger to suicide. I suffered chronic back pain from four herniated discs and had sever sciatica that led to nerve damage. By the time I had surgery (quad spinal fusion) I had given up and stopped eating. I lost 40 pounds in 30 days and it scared my doctors so badly they finally agreed to the surgery.
Two years ago my mother was diagnosed by mental health professionals with schizophrenia when they were called out to her home by the police department to try and talk her down. She shot herself in the head before they get her out of the house...
My wife has tried all the drugs and two brain surgeries. She has had so many of the drugs I don't remember them all. Imitrex, topi Max, Tripitan(sp) Oxygen. Nothing has worked.
Today I had to carry her in from the car, I don't think she realized where she was or that she was crying. Right now she has isolated herself in a dark room (nightly event).
I have seen suggestions for vitamin D. Energy drinks and more. Her CH seems like a worst case scenario from what I have read and heard from others. Her neurologist refused to see her anymore after the two surgeries that we had to pay cash for because her health ins. Wouldn't cover "experimental" procedures.
I don't know what to do anymore. Her family doesn't understand. I am the only one that sees all of it and how bad it is for her. Her work only knows she has health issues and misses a lot of time.
I have spent 60k of my mom's life insurance for hospital stays and treatments and maxed my credit cards which are now in default.
The only options I haven't tried are not legal in this state. But I will do anything for her. The problem is, there is nothing I have been able to do that helps.
When she is lucid and not suffering an attack she doesn't want to hurt herself but when the pain comes it is a consuming and it goes full bore in under a minute or two. Her moods have changed. She has PTSD and lives in fear of the next attack. Her anxiety levels are through the roof and most weekends are spent in bed taking muscle relaxers to stay asleep.
She also takes adderall and xanax. She stopped taking both for a while with no change. If anything it got worse.
Her doctor gives her Oxycontin, 10 pills to last 3 months. They help sometimes if she takes them right at the onset. But she is afraid to run out so she waits until the pain is unbearable.
She also has bad kidneys from the birth of my step-daughter, and a genetic heart issue that doctors claim she doesn't have even though her bio-dad and many on his side of the family dropped dead of heart attacks before the age of 40. She is 32 and was born addicted to drugs and premature. She and her twin brother were adopted (he died at 17).
The only doctor who really believes she has issues is her PCP that is not a full doctor but is a physicians assistant? (Like a nurse practitioner but one step up) and she is doing everything she can to help but she has to fight the doctors in her office to sign off on the pain meds.
She will sometimes hit herself , pinch herself, and cut herself. I understand why because I used to do the same thing. You can block pain signals to the brain by inducing different forms of pain to the body. It does work but the relief is usually short.
This is not who she is. She is highly intelligent (IQ of 152) caring, loving, Catholic, who is transformed by the pain. She is not mentally unstable. She is not a hypochondriac. She has no history of mental illness or depression, but her family just writes it off as migraines (I have these. They don't even compare) or pretends there is nothing wrong at all. We are truly alone and I don't know what to do to help her anymore.