Cluster Headaches and Medical School, Residency, and Life as a Physician

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Oct 19, 2020
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Hello!

I'm not seeking any medical advice, but I AM seeking to hear about experiences of those with cluster headaches who are in med school, residency, or working physicians.

How has it affected your education and work life?
Did you struggle in school or work?
Did you ever need or seek any accommodations?
Did you mention cluster headaches in your applications or interviews or is it something that should be kept secret even though it's a huge challenge?

I'd love to hear more than just responses to these questions so feel free to discuss anything related!

Thanks guys,
Josh
 

K9419

5+ Year Member
Jul 9, 2014
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This is not to discourage you, but how well controlled are they? Do you have a good system down for when you get a severe headache?

I have migraines and I know any intense schooling would have been problematic for me during times in my life before I had good prophylactic and abortive treatments down.
 
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YCAGA

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Jun 10, 2017
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I can’t imagine dealing with that during clinical years of medical school or residency. There really isn’t much leeway for sick leave in the culture of American medicine, especially not something chronic and reoccurring. I don’t want to discourage you completely, more encourage you to try to get them managed very well before starting medical school.
 
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Oct 19, 2020
28
16
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
This is not to discourage you, but how well controlled are they? Do you have a good system down for when you get a severe headache?

I have migraines and I know any intense schooling would have been problematic for me during times in my life before I had good prophylactic and abortive treatments down.
Mine are managed fairly well, much better than when I was younger! The treatments available are much better nowadays. I've also been considering getting an SPG stimulation device, although I hate going under anesthesia, so I've been avoiding it. It might be something I have to strongly consider if I get admitted to med school though.

Luckily my headaches are almost always at night, so they just leave me very tired the next day from lack of sleep which leaves me with an obvious cognitive deficit but doesn't directly interfere with my day.
 
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Goro

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Jun 11, 2010
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Hello!

I'm not seeking any medical advice, but I AM seeking to hear about experiences of those with cluster headaches who are in med school, residency, or working physicians.

How has it affected your education and work life?
Did you struggle in school or work?
Did you ever need or seek any accommodations?
Did you mention cluster headaches in your applications or interviews or is it something that should be kept secret even though it's a huge challenge?

I'd love to hear more than just responses to these questions so feel free to discuss anything related!

Thanks guys,
Josh
If you have a good academic record, this would make a good material for the greatest challenge prompt
 
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Oct 19, 2020
28
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  1. Pre-Medical
If you have a good academic record, this would make a good material for the greatest challenge prompt
Well I had trouble doing my degree when I was younger, I withdrew over half of my semesters due to headaches, although I did manage a 3.0. Ended up with 50k in student loans and no degree :( Doing much better this time around, so far A's in sciences and B in English. It's definitely a challenge, and has led me to agreeing with euthanasia as a viable treatment. I know sometimes clusters become chronic and untreatable with age, and if that happened to me I'd probably want the option myself... Also it will help me to understand patients with other chronic pain and quality of life problems. 3 of my 5 specialty interests would be affected by this, PM&R, oncology, and palliative care.
 
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