If the headaches start for Diane Wattrelos, as they occur for a half-hour 10 times a day, she claims it’s like someone “stuck the screwdriver inside my eye and then turned it”.
These aren’t normal headaches. They are cluster headaches that create intense pain, typically behind one eye, doctors liken it to having a limb removed without anaesthetic.
Also known as “suicide headaches” because the pain can trigger suicidal thoughts. This severe neurological disorder is experienced by 1 out of 1,000 people across the globe, as per the Migraine Trust.
Some people only experience it often however Wattrelos has been for almost a decade afflicted by almost constant attacks.
In an interview with AFP in the backyard of her house located in her home in the French neighborhood of Eure located to the west of Paris she revealed that she was recovering from another night shattered by discomfort.
Her hair fell short after shaving it off in part an illness in the hospital.
At 31 years old she’s had 12 surgeries and has tried a variety of therapies in a desperate attempt to reduce the pain.
All of it began when she was just 14 years old.
Before that, she was a “very content” teenage girl, she recalls experiencing “electric electric shocks within the neck” for the first time.
She ignored these warning signsin hopes for a quick escape from her parents her brother suffered from a different form of illness.
It would take several years before she was properly diagnosedan unfortunate occurrence for people who suffer from cluster headaches.
The attempt to escape hell”
Despite the hurt she carried on living her life by traveling as well as studying and partying before getting married to the guy who was going to later become her husband at 19.
One day in 2013 the cluster headache “floored” her.
“That day, I noticed the pain of my husband’s eyes. I knew that I couldn’t continue to cover up the illness,” she said.
She couldn’t be able to go for a single dayor even at night — without having an attack.
She lost 15 kilograms (33 pounds) and began to feel depressed due to her pain.
One morning, her legs swelled up underneath her which led to her being taken into the hospital emergency room. There, she was administered various tests.
In the end, she was diagnosed that she suffered from cluster headaches for which there isn’t a identified cause or cure.
“At the time, I felt justified in my suffering, and I reassured myself that I would eventually receive treatment,” she added.
However, after trying 20 treatments, she discovered that none did anything for her.
In desperate need to “try every trick to escape this abyss” she decided to undergo surgery.
She was “mutilated” following 12 separate procedures, she claimed.
All through her life she was worried that the procedures could make her sterile. Her unstoppable desire to have children kept her motivated.
“My husband has told him that this disease had removed a lot of us, but it’s not going to be able to take it away,” she said.
Strengthening through pain –
Utilizing fertility treatments and fertility treatments, the couple welcomed the birth of a son.
However, even with all that joy was a hit.
Her diagnosis was that of endometriosis. It is another chronically painful condition that is not curable and hard to manage.
“It was very difficult and I wasn’t feeling sufficient to fight another illness,” she said.
The couple later had a child in what she described as”a “miracle”.
She found a different salve after sharing the story via Instagram.
“I discovered that I was helping lots of people by sharing my illness. That was my most effective method of therapy” the woman said.
She has now published an ebook, titled “Mes mis in couleurs” (My suffering in color).
“I am turning my handicap into a strength” she told me.
If cluster headaches are present and the wattrelos breathes oxygen, a commonly used treatment to ease and reduce the duration of the attack.
She also has what she refers to as”the “miracle injectable” made of sumatriptan, a drug.
“I’m only allowed to inject two times every day, which means I’m forced to decide which ones” to apply it to she explained.
However, she’s usually getting greater than 2 injections even though there are risks.
Her battle against pain has also led to an increase in opioid addiction.
She admitted to using the opioid tramadol over the past 10 years. She only realized that she was hooked after watching a television show about the subject last year.
Her family keeps her going, she added.
“Some days I am unable to stand up but I do have wonderful moments that give life meaning.”