Cluster Headache: "Probably the worst pain humans experience". Hyperbole? If you've experienced this neurological disease, or witnessed someone having an episode, you would probably conclude that CH is up there on the top of the list of unpleasant experiences.
Cluster Headache occurs in the population at about the same rate as Multiple Sclerosis (1 in 1000 or 0.1%), with a similar level of disabilty to the sufferer, yet it remains virtually unknown to the wider community.
It has had a devastating effect on my life; I have lost my family, career and physical health due to this disease.
Treatments for Cluster Headache are expensive and can be invasive in the extreme. And they are largely a hit-and-miss affair, with some treatments being effective for some sufferers and not for others.
For me, Oxygen Therapy has provided some relief. By Oxygen Therapy, I mean the utilisation of breathing techniques, like Wim Hof. However, these kinds of hyper-ventilation methods are impossible to perform when they are actually needed; that is to say, when one is experiencing a Cluster Headache episode it is physically impossible to engage in phycial oxygenation exercises.
Unfortunately, clinical Oxygen Therapy is prohibitively expensive; it is also very cumbersome given that it involves large, heavy gas cylinders.
The good news is that an increasing number of sufferers are reporting positive outcomes with alternative therapies: specifically psilocybin. Many CH sufferes say they have achieved complete remission for over a year at a time from a single treatment with psilocybin.
Psilocybin has been used with tremedous effect on numerous conditions, most notably PTSD and other forms of depression.
Many CH sufferes say they have achieved complete remission for over a year at a time from a single treatment with psilocybin.
Unfortunatey, effective plant-based therapies, like psilocybin, are illegal here in Australia, and seem likely to remain so for years to come.
I have had CH for 19 years now, suffering more than 200 episodes a year. The pattern has been two weeks of CH, two episodes a day, each being 45 minutes of the most intense pain, and then six to eight weeks remission.
Recently, however, I have moved into what is termed a "chronic phase", where I have had no period of remission for about three months.
Therefore, I am trying to raise money to travel to a jurisdiction where psilocybin therapy is freely available. I would love to travel to Colorado where this treatment is being used regularly to aliviate the suffereing of Cluster Headache patients.
By documenting my journey to heal Cluster Headache, I hope to bring greater general awareness to this disease. I also intend to bring another voice to the table to call for the legalisation of plant medicine in Australia.
The sooner I can get to Colorado, the sooner I may be Cluster Headache free. Freedom from Cluster Headache will transform my life and that of my two wonderful children. I'll be able to hold solid employment and improve our standard of living.
Much love and thanks to the other Clusterheads who have posted their attacks on Youtube; you have given me the courage to share my own story. To all my fellow Clusterheads, wherever you may be: stay strong, you aren't alone. There is a way.
Thanks for reading and for considering a donation to my fund.