How to pronounce Paula Kamen: kay-min
Paula Kamen is the author of Her Way: Young Women Remake the Sexual Revolution and Feminist Fatale. Her commentaries and satires have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Salon, Ms., and the Chicago Tribune, as well as in many anthologies, including Appeal to Reason: The Best 25 Years of In These Times and Shiny Adidas Tracksuits and the Death of Camp: The Best of Might Magazine. She lives in Evanston, IL.
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A Talk with Paula Kamen, author of All in My Head
Your book is about a headache that you've had, continuously, for over a
decade. How did it start?
Well, my Headache and I are actually celebrating our 15-year anniversary together soon. I think it's the paper anniversary, or the crystal one, I'm not sure.
I have what has been officially classified by doctors in the last decade as "chronic daily headache," or headache that happens at least 15 days/month for at least four hours at a time. (In past decades, this has been called a "mixed headache," meaning a mixture of migraine and tension headache.) Recent studies show that this afflicts 4 percent of the population. I am "lucky" to have the type that is CONSTANT, hitting about .5 percent (about the same number that have epilepsy) of the population. But since chronic headaches are mainly experienced by women of reproductive age, chronic daily headache is thought to happen to 10 percent of them.
When did it start?
I got my first real bad one in the spring of 1991 as I was putting in a contact lens, and the left one seemed to set off a mother of a headache in the left eye and behind it. I stopped wearing the lenses, but then the pain just started ...
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