Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Post #3

Day 3: I was dreading the treatment on Friday morning. I arrived, headache already well in hand, and hopped into the chair. It was just as bad as I imagined it would be. The pulses started hitting and it was quickly too much. Fortunately, this coincided with the 26-second breaks between pulse barrages. I also believe they had moved the power setting up because they wanted to get me to the prescribed level dictated by my motor threshold gauging earlier in the week.

I also decided to add an arbitrary rating system to my categories below. To get a sense of improvement over time. I’ve also decided to add Pain as a category all it’s own.

Lastly, I experienced something very strange and unusual. I offer the fact that I discussed blueberries with someone I encountered throughout the day. I remember thinking that blueberries sounded delicious and I’d have to find a muffin, pancake, or a yogurt bowl sometime in the near future. Later in the evening, shortly before attempting to sleep I had an olfactory hallucination of the freshest blueberries as if I were chewing them in my mouth. The smell was unmistakable and so potent and fresh as if I were literally eating a bowl of blueberries. I don’t know what that means or if it’s even a common side effect. But, I think, it’s worth noting.

Pain: How badly did the treatment hurt? Headaches after? Other issues?

4/5 – Intense, but bearable. Barely.

The treatment itself was intense and painful. The following hours treated me to a migraine of the light-sensitive variety. Two rounds of Advil and some caffeinated tea later I managed to break it down to a pretty awful tension headache. This headache became my constant companion for the rest of the day.

Sleep: How’d I sleep? How many hours? Quality?

2/5 – I slept, but it wasn’t particularly restful.

I managed to sleep for about 2-3 hours. Unlike previous nights I was barely asleep and it felt like I woke up hundreds of times. It was very unpleasant to go with a crappy headache.

Appetite: How’d I feel about eating? What did I eat?

3/5 – I had no desire to eat at mealtime but once I ate some things it was pretty easy to eat a much smaller amount of food than I normally do. There’s definitely something up with my appetite and willingness to eat. I feel like I’m just picking at food instead of really eating it as I would normally.

Physical Activity: What did I feel capable of doing? What did I ultimately do? How did I feel after?

1/5 – I didn’t want to do anything. I forced myself out into the world and had a decent time with what I did but really just wasn’t feeling it. My head kept hovering somewhere in between a migraine and complete exhaustion from trying to filter the pain out.

Motivation: How much proactive motivation did I have? What motivated me? What were my goals? Did I hit them?

2/5 – I’m not sure if it was more determination not to stay locked in my head or motivation but I did get out and about for a while. It was refreshing but quickly depleted what little energy I had.

Baseline Mood: What am I feeling as a baseline.

2/5 – Low, enjoyed the evening but fighting the headache kept bringing me back to a place of ungrateful preoccupation with the pressure behind my eyes.

Happenings: What’s happened today that may impact my baseline?

A decent day of work, read a book of poetry by Margaret Atwood, roamed a thrift shop, got a little sad about not owning a house yet, imagined what I’d build into my future home office.

Reactions: What were my reactions to the happenings?


Learnings: What did I learn, observe, etc?

Imagination seems to be waking up. I was able to conjure up smells of blueberries and ideas for a future office. It was fascinating because my imagination has been quiet and almost non-existant since chemotherapy. It was this moment, this thought, an indulgence of imagination that gave me one little blast of hope at the end of the day.

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