A Headache That’s Lasted A Month

Since Deember 12, I’ve had a headache. Luckily most days it’s mild. However, for weeks it can be ‘I wish I could rip my scalp of’ viscous. I thought it was an uptick in migraines, or changes in weather, until remedies for those types of headaches didn’t help this headache. 

I went to see my nuerosurgeon. (I always giggle as I say this , as though everyone has their own neurosurgeon.) He didn’t like the sound of my headache and ordered an MRI.  After looking at the results, he wants to see me in eight weeks.  

Five years ago I was seeing him once a year. Four years ago I was seeing him twice a years. Then in 2016 I had two brain surgeries (shunt revisions) to treat my hydrocephalus. I then went to seeing him every six months.  Now it’s every two months.  This isn’t how technology is supposed to work!

I appears, also that I may have acquired another affliction related to my hydrocephalus. Oh joy.

I’ve rewritten the words of Huey Lewis’ song “I Want a New Drug.” My title is “I Want a New Head.”

For more frequent updates, follow me on twitter @FelicityG. Alternatively like and follow my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/ImHavingBrainSurgeryonTuesday.


I Swear I have Two Brains

The first one is the one everyone else has.  The second one is in charge of my headaches and has a mind of its own!

Since 2013 I’ve had an adjustable shunt, it’s changed me into a walking barometer.  Right now the sky is blue and the sun is shining, but I have a weather migraine.  Because of these migraines I usually know, with more accuracy than our local tv weather guy, if there’s a thunderstorm approaching.

I’m betting there’s going to be one later today.

My ‘other brain’ is responsible for: regular migraines, which I usually get after eating something on my ‘do not eat-it will give you a migraine’ list.  Until recently I couldn’t eat cheese without getting a migraine two days later.  However, now I appear to be able to eat most white cheeses?  Why only white cheddar and not yellow cheddar?  Ask my ‘other brain’.  How did I suddenly become able to eat pizza at all (including triggers of cheese, cured meats, etc.)? Why can I eat some pizza and not get a migraine and still get a migraine if I eat others? I’m not in charge of that.

I’ve also suddenly developed a sensitivity to gluten, which by-the-way only exists in wheat, barley and rye.  Why can I eat whole barley (as in the rice-looking grain) but not something made from barley?  Why can I eat some wheat bread and not others.  These gluten headaches appear immediately after I’ve eaten something that offends-you guessed it-my ‘other brain’.

My ‘other brain’ has also decided I can’t lie on the back of my head, or sit in a recliner without getting a headache.  I have to put a tiny pillow behind my head while in the recliner, and use a small travel tempur-pedic-like pillow to sleep with.  Just the sort of thing you want to deal with while getting a massage, or about to try to meditate your poisonous thoughts away.  Apparently the ‘other brain’ doesn’t understand these headaches aren’t relaxing, and they add more to the poisonous thoughts.😒

I don’t think an ‘other brain’- ectomy is available currently, but maybe with the advances in modern medicine, who knows anything can happen.  I survived infant viral meningitis, I’m thriving well for someone who acquired hydrocephalus as an infant.  I’m actually blessed.😇

Change of Weather Causes Migraine

Any time the barometric pressure changes significantly, my adjustable shunt is unable to keep up.  It’s unable to adequately drain the excess cerebral spinal fluid from my brain, causing a pressure build up. The result is a migraine caused by weather. What helps is a diuretic that’s able to cross the blood-brain barrier.

I wake up with a headache almost every day. Mostly, they disappear as I go from horizontal to vertical and the built up fluid drains appropriately.

Sometimes I’m not so lucky.  I get headaches for many reasons. Five types of headaches and three different types of migraines makes for an interesting daily life.

I also work out six days a week. Two yoga classes, two weight training classes and one intense cardio class. On Sunday’s I work out with a friend, usually another cardio/weight workout. This helps keep the headaches less severe than they could be.

Author Bio

Felicity Gorham, born on Oxford, England in 1970, caught viral meningitis the day of her birth. This alone should’ve killed her. Meningitis resulted in the author acquiring hydrocephalus, otherwise known as ‘Water on the Brain’. A life-long neurological condition, with no cure.

Felicity’s book, a memoir, I’m Having Brain Surgery on Tuesday; Living with a Hidden Disability  will help others who suffer with any hidden disability. Felicity has lived with hers for forty-seven years.

Describing Felicity’s daily life with hydrocephalus; and the reactions she receives from friends, family and strangers. The author weaves a tale of how the side-effects of hydrocephalus, affected her relationships, both current and past, as well as her day-to-day life struggles with this condition.

Felicity also explores existential ideas of what her life would’ve been like, or what she could’ve accomplished  if she hadn’t developed hydrocephalus.

Few outside the medical community have any knowledge of hydrocephalus. The only treatment for hydrocephalus is brain surgery. Felicity had her first brain surgery at the tender age of nine weeks. The only treatment for her, is an implanted brain shunt. A shunt siphons one pint of cerebral spinal fluid out of her brain every day.  Shunts have the highest failure rate of any device implanted in the human body.  The average life-span of a shunt is two years. A shunt surgery is performed, on average every fifteen minutes in the United States alone.

Felicity lives with her husband outside Chicago


Introducing Felicity Gorham

An up-and-coming author whose first book is a mystery entitled The Witch Hazel Concotion. Concurrently wring her own memoir I’m Having Brain Surgery on Tuesday, the story recounts Felicity’s struggles while living with life-long, hidden disabilities. Born with viral meningitis, and acquiring incurable hydrocephalus, Felicity writes eloquently about the barriers, bullies and beliefs of others she’s had to overcome to achieve her dreams.

She’s also written a number of short stories and poems.