Usually about this time I give you a run down of how my week has been, but I’ve been struck with another hemi-plegic migraine which has scuppered plans a little.
What is a Hemi-plegic Migraine?
Hemiplegic migraine is a rare and serious type of migraine headache. Many of its symptoms mimic those common to stroke; for example, muscle weakness can be so extreme that it causes a temporary paralysis on one side of your body, which doctors call hemiplegia.
Basically, it’s the worst type of headache you can imagine, accompanied by partial and temporary paralysis. Sounds like fun doesn’t it!
My First Hemi-Plegic Migraine
The first one I had was in October 2015, before I got SPS. I went to bed early, the same time as the kids, because I had a migraine. I woke up a few hours later in incredible pain and reached out for my painkillers on the bedside table. Only, I couldn’t reach out, no matter how I tried. My right arm could move but I my left side was completely paralysed and I had no strength to pull my right side over my left. So I decided to call out for help. Only, I couldn’t call out, not only was my body paralysed, I couldn’t speak either.
At first, I thought maybe I was having a nightmare. But, the pain was so severe and I couldn’t remember feeling such pain in a dream before. So, I then thought that maybe I was dying and that scared me and I started to panic. But I could still breathe so I calmed myself down and concentrated on breathing. In 2,3, out 2,3, stay calm, stay calm. I don’t know how long I was like that, it could have been minutes or hours, I just don’t know.
Eventually I could move again, although I had painful pins and needles everywhere. I managed to sit on the side of the bed and grab some painkillers. After a while, when I was sure I could move again and the pins and needles had subsided I got back into bed and fell asleep. When I awoke, I still had the migraine, but the paralysis had gone.
I went to the GP and he said that I should have called an ambulance straight away. That’s not easy when you are paralysed and can’t even shout for help. He said I’d had a suspected T.I.A which is a mini-stroke, and sent off a referral for a CT scan.
I never had that CT scan because before the appointment arrived I was admitted to hospital with paralysis from the waist down. This time I had no migraine, just pins and needles that had started in my hands and spread all over my body until I went numb and couldn’t walk.
That’s when I was diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis which was eventually re-diagnosed as Stiff Person Syndrome.
Migraine number Two.
My second hemi-plegic migraine happened in October last year. A week after my IVIG treatment at hospital. I couldn’t hold my head up because of the pain and the whole side of my face became paralysed. My husband took me to hospital because it looked like I was having a stroke. The hospital checked me out and said it was just a migraine.
A rare side affect of IVIG is meningitis, so I know we did the right thing going to get checked out. I would have felt daft going to hospital with a migraine, but to be honest, I was so ill that all I felt was pain. They gave me morphine while waiting to see the doctor, but it didn’t even take the edge off the pain. I did manage to sleep well that night though.
The Latest Migraine
Again, just a week after IVIG the third migraine appeared. Again I had temporary paralysis, particularly in my face. I felt more calm about this one as you do when something happens several times. I just went to bed and prayed that I’d still be alive in the morning. I was and after three days of pain I began to feel kind of normal again.
I’m seeing a link with the IVIG and the migraine, although I have had one treatment symptom free. I believe the key is probably hydration. I MUST not ignore my thirst, ever. I really need to get into the habit of having a bottle of water next to me at all times. IVIG thickens the blood and when the blood reaches the brain, if it is thicker it can trigger a headache or migraine.
My migraines have turned out to be nothing but migraines, but there are symptoms which I’ve learned that you should never ignore. Always seek medical help if you have any type of paralysis or numbness, pins and needles that will not go away and migraines that are really bad, in particular if you cannot stand any type of light, you cannot put your head to your chest because of neck pain or you have an accompanying rash of dark red or purple spots that don’t disappear when you press a glass on them.
Losing so much time in my week because of the migraine means that I’ve missed out on a lot. I couldn’t go out to the family meal for my niece’s birthday (although, I insisted my husband and the kids went.) We had a lovely sunny day that would have been great for a day out, but I spent inside feeling ill. And basically, I’ve had three days of not doing much at all.
Thankfully, I’m feeling better now and I am certain I’ll be able to shake the migraine hangover pretty soon. I hope so because I am going away this weekend on a blogger retreat! I’ll tell you all about it next week.
Do you have migraines?