Hemiplegic Migraine

First let me just say that in my opinion ALL migraines are incredibly painful and I feel for anyone who suffers from them. I am no stranger to fleeing like a vampire if the sun

First let me just say that in my opinion ALL migraines are incredibly painful and I feel for anyone who suffers from them. I am no stranger to fleeing like a vampire if the sun dare come out during a migraine attack, but the migraine that we are talking about comes with more than the average wide array of symptoms. Instead this is categorized as a rare and serious type of migraine headache. According to WebMD, muscle weakness can be so extreme that it causes temporary paralysis on one side of the body, and the most common symptoms mimic a stroke. This is called hemiplegia and is a symptom of Hemiplegic migraine. 1

Ok, so if you have read my other post on PCOS, you can guess that I am no picnic to deal with on a normal day. This is yet another diagnosis that has consistently caused major deficits in my life. I was diagnosed with HM in 2013 after doctors couldn’t explain left side paralysis along with double vision, an extreme sensitivity to light and sound, and slurred speech. Now, I am normally a very fast talker and pretty animated, but in this moment my communication pattern changed completely. I couldn’t remember the words to say what I was trying to say, and when I did, I couldn’t get them out without slurring my speech. It was scary and extremely frustrating. I was having what, I think was, the first Hemiplegic migraine attack. When the ER ruled out stroke or heart attack, it was game on. It has been a smorgasbord of testing since that day. They are still looking for something to explain certain symptoms.

So many new strange things started happening. They wound up being new symptoms that would send multiple physicians looking for a needle in a haystack. These new symptoms were slowly chipping away at my quality of life. I was having trouble just doing my paperwork, which was what most of my job at the time was. I wasn’t able to type well or hold a pen unless I had taken a significant break. Unfortunately, I am left handed so it was difficult to get around. I was also having trouble walking or doing any physical activity. The days of power shopping with the kids were over! The days of cleaning the house until my heart was content were over! The days of being ME were over!!

I didn’t recognize this slower, weaker me. My nickname was “Spaz Monkey” at one office I worked at due to my being all over the place, and being so damn fast! HA! This was a joke, right?! Surely it wouldn’t last…*SIGH*. It’s been five and a half years.

Another day living with excruciating pain.

I remember having to pick my left leg up to get in and out of the car, or to get in or out of a booth at the restaurant. And having my husband and daughter escort me to the bathroom like a football player being helped off of the field. I just wasn’t strong enough anymore to get myself around. I was losing my overall strength and would tremble most times. I had to stop going to the store because I wouldn’t make it from start to finish. I would hit a wall and just wasn’t able to push through it. I kept trying to shake it off like I would’ve done during a game, but this wasn’t something I could shake off. I was also beginning to realize that I really, really needed to start accepting help.

Unfortunately, I have very little memory of the last several years and find myself not remembering important details in my families lives, or even parts of my own. I find I do not remember that I’ve visited places or that I’ve watched something. It would be alarming to anyone. This is one of the more invasive diagnoses and there are very few answers for me regarding my symptoms and how to treat them, besides the plethora of medications I take.

I continue to struggle with attacks and feel that I have a long way to go before I am healthy and not experiencing migraines on the regular. I have many other conditions to worry about so any new diagnosis is hard to take.

I plan on trying new preventative techniques to help lower the frequency of the attacks. I currently go to massage therapy as often as I can, typically every two weeks or I seriously regret it. I have changed my diet and cut out dairy. During the summer, I was going for daily walks but have fallen off the wagon since the weather changed. I plan on getting back into walking as soon as possible, and trying others’ suggestions for strengthening my body and getting my physical health under control.

1 WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/hemiplegic-migraine-headaches-symptoms-causes-treatments#1

2 thoughts on “Hemiplegic Migraine

  1. I completely understand! I just had my first HM a couple weeks ago and I am still not 100%, not fully back to work yet. Mine was on my right side…everything resembled a stroke I was very scared!

    1. I am sorry to hear that you went through that Melony. It is very scary and hard to pinpoint in a lot of cases. I hope that you are able to gain some balance and get back to doing what you need to do. 🙂

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