A complicated migraine


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It was an average morning like so many before. My cat was rubbing my leg to get some attention from me, so I laid down on the couch as he perched himself on my chest constantly meowing for a rub down. I love this sweet cat of mine, so I gladly gave in and stroked his soft, beautiful fur. We had laid there for about five minutes when I felt four quick sharp pains right behind the top of my right ear. I stopped what I was doing because it really did hurt, but it seemed to be over, and I assumed it was just one of those weird body pains.

Little did I know. Approximately three minutes later the left side of my body began to stiffen out as hard as a board. I tried to move and bend my arm but I couldn’t. I got very scared not knowing what the heck was going on, but I knew it wasn’t good. I figured I had better get the phone sooner rather than later, and it was in the kitchen, two rooms over. My cat was still on me, so I pushed him off and rolled myself off the couch to the floor. I was still stiff on my entire left side of my body, so I began using my right arm to drag myself into the kitchen to get the phone.

Needless to say, I was in a panic at this point, so I actually got there pretty quickly. All I kept thinking is without a phone I’m done, that whatever is going on is bad and I can’t get help if I don’t get that phone, my lifeline. In reality, it probably took me about four or five minutes to drag myself to the phone. By the time I got there, my left side had relaxed, and I could stand now. I grabbed the phone and went to the bathroom to the mirror. I’m not really sure why I did that because I really had no clue what had just happened to me. I did notice that my face looked sad and strange somehow.

Read more: Life-long Migraine Sufferer

I decided to call my husband at his office and tell him what happened. About an hour before the incident I had felt all the familiar symptoms of a migraine. I’ve been getting really bad migraines since I was 28. I remember my first one, and I literally thought I was dying. It was so freaking bad that I was certain my brain had snapped in some god-awful way and I was in my last very painful moments of my life. I sometimes lose my vision for about 20 minutes right after I experience the aura. Migraines are a total nightmare for me, very scary.

Anyways, back to the morning of my mishap. When I called my husband, he wanted to come home, but I assured him I was fine and that I was going to bed that I knew I was getting a migraine and I needed to go to sleep and try and get ahead of it. Now, normally I would give myself an Imitrex shot when I felt a migraine coming on, but for some reason that morning I didn’t and had no intention of doing so. I went to bed and spent the better part of the day asleep.

When my husband got home, he kind of freaked out when he saw me and said my left side of my face was sagging and it looked as though I had a stroke. He insisted we go to the emergency room even though I told him I felt ok other than the residuals of my migraine. So, after the MRI the doctor confirms that I did, in fact, have a mini-stroke. I saw it on the MRI for myself and was very shocked. They wanted me to see a neurologist the next morning so home we went. I pretty much went straight to bed and slept.

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The next morning, I went to get up and couldn’t get out of bed. I felt really weak. I had to ask my husband to help me out of bed. When I tried to walk my left leg was super weak, and my arm was gone. It was dead weight, completely paralyzed. I called my husband, and halfway through the sentence, I couldn’t talk anymore. It was like my voice was tired and wouldn’t work. I felt this inner panic, big time. I could say “HELP.” He helped me dress, and we went straight to the ER again.

I was so confused about what was going on. Once again, another MRI and once again there’s another stroke right there in black and white in my brain. I’m looking at two separate spots that showed my strokes. I was in total shock. The first one did minimal damage, but the second one did some serious damage. My voice was 50%, my leg was 50%, my arm was 100% paralyzed. Thankfully my mind was intact. I do have some short-term memory issues, but I’m so grateful it wasn’t worse.

I remember my husband asking me when are you going to cry about all this. It had been about three weeks. All I could think was if I cry it will be tears of gratitude. It was something I could fix with therapy, and I did. I worked my fanny off. When I wasn’t at therapy, I was at home doing the exercises. I had an eleven years old child that still needed a hands-on momma. I could not drop the ball with her.

Read more: My Migraines Never Stop

My doctor said I got better in record time, and he didn’t really think I’d get full use of my arm back, but I did. My doctor explained that what happened to me was called a complicated migraine. It’s not really common and typically happens to women. I was 43 when it happened, and he said those migraines are usually hormone induced. So, until I stop producing hormones, I’m still at risk of it happening again. Also, had I taken my usual Imitrex shot that morning I would have made it much worse. I call that divine intervention.

I currently take medication to prevent me from having migraines, and it works for the most part, but every now and then I do get a migraine and boy does it scare me. They say once I’m done with menopause I’ll no longer be at risk of that type of stroke. I’ve been in menopause for eleven years now, I’m not sure it’s ever going to end. I’m 58 now and counting the days for it all to end. I’ve never met anyone else that’s had a complicated migraine or even heard of it. My neurologist just so happened to have participated in a study on them, so he was quite knowledgeable on them, thank goodness. He said he felt honored to have me as a patient and to work with someone that he’d studied about but had never seen. That’s my story – I hope it can help or at least educate someone.

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