Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Happy Spring Ola Zuri!!

Supposedly Spring is around the corner yet winter has not really wanted to let any of us go yet... the snow has been coming sporadically on again, off again for weeks on end.  Every time we think it is over...  surprise, there it is again to put a little twinkle in our eyes!!

So here was the surprise and twinkle in my eye over the past few weeks...

I awoke in the middle of the night and found I was unable to move the left side of my body.  I thought -- weird, what's wrong, did I sleep wrong, tried to shake and realized I really couldn't move.  I was completely numb on the left side of my body.  Well now I was nervous!

Was I sick?  Having a stroke?  Heart attack?  Then for some reason... I could smell toast?  why could I smell toast????  It was two o'clock in the morning and I was alone?!!  what was wrong with me!!!  I had to snap out of it!  I reached over for my laptop with my right arm and googled stroke symptoms and found out what was happening seemed like a stroke, a mini one.  okay -- so two hours later, I relaxed, my left side appeared to wake up a little bit and I finally went to sleep for awhile before having to get ready for work.

So... went in to work for my shift.  I let my bosses know that I was a tad shaky still, weak and that I may have had a slight stroke in the night but I thought I would be okay for the day and of course they freaked and sent me to the doctor straight away.  Good thing too because as it turned out, I was way too weak and numb to be at work.  I spent the rest of the day in the doctor's office and then the hospital having tests and such to find out that the neurologist believes I did not have a full stroke but a migraine that causes stroke like symptoms and if not treated can cause strokes which can then continue on to actually cause strokes for the rest of my life.  Great!   That's what I wanted to hear!

Well, I am now on a medication to prevent the migraines that will supposedly prevent the strokes which will allow me to live longer.  However, the medication is awful and has such horrendous side effects that I am quite sick from having to take them.  There are also some memory issues happening, some speech problems occurring, I can't count or react efficiently or in a timely manner at work the same as I always have before, and my skills had slowed down significantly to what I am used to.  Sheesh!!

After all is said and done, this type of migraine is called a Hemiplegic Migraine and I will paste the definition below for what I found out about them here:

Hemiplegic Migraine Headaches

Headaches are common. But hemiplegic migraine is a rare type of headache. It's also one of the most serious and potentially debilitating migraine headaches.
There are several types of migraine. One major group is called migraine with aura. Hemiplegic migraine is a severe subtype of this group.
Migraine is a complex neurological disorder. It generally includes headaches, but not always. Before the actual headache pain of a migraine, you can have a host of other symptoms that serve as warning signs that a migraine is coming. These early symptoms, called auras, include temporary disturbances in one or more functions:
  • Vision
  • Muscle control and body sensations
  • Speech and language
  • Hearing
For most migraine sufferers who have aura, the visual disturbances are the most common symptom. But for people with hemiplegic migraine, muscle weakness and paralysis can be so pronounced and extreme that it causes a temporary, stroke-like paralysis on one side of the body. This paralysis on one side of the body is called hemiplegia.

What Are the Symptoms of Hemiplegic Migraine Headaches?

Hemiplegic migraine symptoms often start in childhood. Then for some people, they disappear in adulthood. While the stroke-like symptoms can range from worrisome to debilitating, the good news is that no permanent nerve damage occurs from this type of migraine.
Migraines are unpredictable and unique to each person. You may have a hemiplegic migraine headache with extreme pain and minor paralysis one month. Then the next attack might bring extreme paralysis without much headache pain at all.
Symptoms of hemiplegic migraine include:
  • Severe, throbbing pain, often on one side of your head
  • A pins-and-needles feeling, often moving from your hand up your arm
  • Numbness on one side of your body, which can include your arm, leg, and/or one side of your face
  • Weakness or paralysis on one side of your body
  • Loss of balance and coordination
  • Visual aura, such as seeing zigzag lines, double vision, or blind spots
  • Language difficulties, such as mixing words or trouble remembering a word
  • Slurred speech
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Extreme sensitivity to light, sound, and smell
  • Confusion
  • Decreased consciousness or coma
With hemiplegic migraine, the aura can be more severe and last longer than with other types of migraine with aura. Symptoms usually last from five to 60 minutes. It's rare, but some people gradually develop long-lasting difficulty with movement and coordination.

What Causes Hemiplegic Migraine Headaches?

Researchers have now identified three genes linked with hemiplegic migraine.
Defects, or mutations, in any of these three genes lead to a breakdown in the body's ability to make a certain protein. That protein is needed for clear communication among nerve cells. Without that protein, nerve cells can't release or take up neurotransmitters -- the chemical messengers between nerve cells. The three genes linked with hemiplegic migraine are the CACNA1A, ATP1A2, and SCN1A genes.
Most people with hemiplegic migraine have inherited the gene mutation from one parent who also had the condition.

Something I wish I could have known I may have been prone to get from the family however with a closed adoption, nothing was ever available as far as records for me to find out and I did not know.  Only because I was able to meet my biological mother did I even know that she had suffered many, many strokes in her life did I have that knowledge.  When I was growing up, I suffered from migraines almost on a daily basis, for sure weekly.  It never occurred to me that there was one out there that could strap me down and have me not understanding what was happening.

I will fight this and get better - it will take time and healing and that is all we have!  After all is said and done though, I still have to Believe In Me!!!  Right Kids?!!  Right!

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