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Recognizing My Own Aphasia

I’ve realized recently that my Migraines make me look like a ditzy, forgetful, dumb, drug addict and alcoholic. I am none of those things. I suffer from Aphasia. Let’s break it down:

Alcoholic– yes, I drink occasionally and it doesn’t affect my Migraines in small quantities. From the outside though, I could easily be portrayed as being drunk occasionally. Stumbling, talking to myself and not making any sense are all classic characteristics of a drunk party girl. In reality, my balance is awful. I’m working on some exercises to get that back in order. I have so many bruises from things that I’ve walked into in my own house. When I run into the coffee table, I curse under my breath knowing that I shouldn’t have made that mistake.

Drug Addict– yes, I take a LOT of medication, none of which I am addicted to. A large part are over the counter supplements, five daily preventatives and four different abortives. I have syringes in my purse and bottles of toradol and DHE stashed everywhere. More than the medications, I get what I call “Coke Nose.” I use a ketamine nasal spray. Sometimes the liquid can run down my nose and create a crusty white substance at the bottom of my nostrils. Sexy, right? It actually makes me look I just did a line of cocaine in the bathroom.


Forgetful- I can completely forget conversations I had days earlier. The other day, my boyfriend mentioned the picnic we had planned. I was clueless. What a great idea and how romantic! But he reminded me that we talked about it yesterday. Slowly thoughts of that conversation came back to me.

Ditzy and Dumb– These two things go hand in hand. Lately I’ve noticed that I’ll be working on something, but don’t fully think through all the steps. I’ll go to someone (usually my boyfriend) and he’ll ask what a bunch of questions that never crossed my mind. That’s not like me. Before becoming chronic, I was on top of my game at work and could remember minute details about deals. I was my boss’s go-to person when he needed a refresher on a client. Even if I write things down now, I can miss the smallest detail. I can walk into a room knowing I needed something in there, walking with such purpose. In the 10 seconds it took to go from the couch to my room, my mind draws a blank.

Bumbling Idiot– When a Migraine starts to hit and I try to shake it off and move forward, I can forget words very easily. I can be in the middle of a sentence and completely lose my train of thought. There’s nothing I can do but apologize or look to someone else to help me. It even affects me while writing. I can go back and look at something I wrote and the mess of words makes no sense at all.

Lack of Focus– Recently I had one errand to run. It should have taken at most 20 minutes round trip. Granted I was at a friend’s house, but I know the area very well. Not realizing how much pain had just gripped me, I drove around and made stupid mistakes. I thought I had already passed the store, so I turned around. Then I realize I didn’t go far enough. When I got close, I made a wrong left turn in a dead end. Bottom line, it took me an extra hour to get this simple task completed. I felt like an idiot. That’s when I realized that combined these minor incidents could be categorized as mild Aphasia.

Aphasia is characterized by loss of words, mumbling in coherent sentences, nonsensical and confusion. It is a symptom that usually shows up before the Migraine hits, much like a visual aura (also called the prodrome phase). In some people severe Aphasia can look like a stroke. Patients who have Aphasia experience a neurological phenomenon and not a loss of motor skills. For me, the Aphasia is manageable so far, but I know I need to keep track of it to see if it progresses. Have you ever experienced any of these symptoms?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Zaneta
    7 months ago

    Wow, thank you. I did not realise that there was a name associated with this.
    Thank you for sharing, this has certainly made me normal. The people around me just don’t get how I can go from a very efficient and smart person to someone so dumb

  • Zaneta
    7 months ago

    I can normally get rid of the pain, but the dumb goes when it feels like it, not a moment sooner 🙁

  • kimmersutphin
    2 years ago

    Where do you live at you can get ketamine nasal spray

  • Katie M. Golden moderator author
    2 years ago

    I got to the Jefferson Headache Clinic in Philadelphia. I’ve gone through six 5-day ketamine infusions. When I leave they prescribe the nasal spray for use at home. Most neurologists are apprehensive about prescribing it or just don’t have much experience with ketamine.

    Try looking into pain management clinics. Many will do one-day ketamine infusions or prescribe the nasal spray. I hope that helps!
    -Katie
    Migraine.com Moderator

  • Katie M. Golden moderator author
    2 years ago

    Yes, they took insurance. But I hve to pay for the nasal spray pu of pocket. It’s somewhere betwen $60 to $100.

  • kimmersutphin
    2 years ago

    Did Jefferson take insurance

  • mammapeaches (Susan McManus)
    2 years ago

    During an attack, I can have trouble coming up with the correct word during simple conversation. My memory has also been affected from being chronic for so long. I used to be so good at remembering people’s faces and names, but not anymore.

    Last weekend, my daughters had a reunion on their college campus during a Gameday so my husband and I were there as well. I had to keep asking what their friends’ names were and these are kids I know, but just haven’t seen in a year or so. It really scared me because I was not experiencing a migraine at the time. It concerns me that so many migraines are beginning to take their toll.

  • Katie M. Golden moderator author
    2 years ago

    @mammapeaches Thanks for sharing. It’s so incredibly frustrating when it happens. Sometimes I give up and just say that I’m in a fog. It happens when I’m not having an attack too.

    I did want to mention that there are certain migraine preventatives that affect people’s ability to think or find words. You may want to look into side effects of any drugs you are on.
    -Katie
    Migraine.com Team

  • Janice
    2 years ago

    I experience Aphasia probably every 3rd migraine, mine comes on after the visual aura, my children bless them have learnt to recognize it as a migraine symptom and will not ask questions that they know i will not be able to answer and will try to finish my sentence if i’m asking for something, sometimes i forget their names (very frightening the first time it happened) the good thing about my aphasic migraines is that they are always painless, but the fog can last for hours 🙂

  • Jojiieme
    2 years ago

    Oh, that fog! :(( Doesn’t do much for self-confidence, does it?? Sigh.

  • Turtle
    2 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your experiences. I can relate to the degree that, in many ways, i suffer from many of these issues due to chronic migraine. I thought I was losing my mind, at first, before I came to recognize the signs, just as you have.

    My best to you and yours and I do hope and pray that you are able to be relieved of these symptoms, or at worst, adapt to them.

  • scarletlove
    2 years ago

    I so appreciate the lightheartedness and brightly intelligent comedy of this essay Katie, thank you! Tears are streaming down my face right now. So THAT is the medical term to describe what happens to me when a migraine creeps in? Maybe I’m not destined for the looney bin.

  • Katie M. Golden moderator author
    2 years ago

    You are NOT destined for the looney bin! But if you are, I’ll be there too!

  • Karim
    2 years ago

    I just went through it today at work. The migraine hit after a workout (I forgot to hydrate afterward) and as the pain started setting in, my speech, typing, and ability to read clearly were all impacted. I also get the aura where I lose vision before the pain starts, but the aphasia is new to me and this is only the second time it has happened.

    Does anyone have information on and/or use the aphasia wallet cards I’ve read about in other articles?

  • Katie M. Golden moderator author
    2 years ago

    Karim,
    So sorry this happened to you. I’m sure your thoughts were all over the place trying to figure out what to do. I hope you were able to get home safely.

    I don’t carry an aphasia wallet card because I feel like I can always spit out the words “I have a migraine.” But I really like the idea of having one!

    You may want to look at your medications and see if there are any side effects such as “trouble finding words.” The website http://www.drugs.com is a good resource for med information. If that is the case, talk to your doctor about it.

    But if it’s not med related and has only happened when you’ve had an attack, this could be a change in symptoms for you. Many of us experience new and different migraine related symptoms as we get older.

    Either way, talk to your doctor about it.

    -Katie
    Migraine.com Moderator

  • Janet
    3 years ago

    Yes I have..all of them…
    🙁

  • SPSwafford
    3 years ago

    As someone who has become increasingly more aphasic, let me vent about my highly verbal friend who never forgets a word and writes trilogies on Facebook nightly.

  • SPSwafford
    3 years ago
  • mrst53
    3 years ago

    The last time I had a “hemi-plegic” migraine, I couldn’t even open a sliding door that was held together by a magnet. My head hurt so bad, I sat on the floor and cried. I was having hallucinations and I could not talk or cry out, even tho, I thought I was. I was really scared. By the time I got to an ER, the doc that I was having a stroke. My son, who was with me(16 at the time) tried to tell the doc that I was having a hemi-plegic migraine, the doc wouldn’t believe him. Only after doing a CT scan, did the Doc finally agree. I spent 2 days in the hospital, not able to talk. It was awful. When I started talking again, I would lose my words in the middle of a sentence and my favorite word was”fiddlesticks” Thank God it was that because I worked in Christian school and all the kids thought it was funny. It took me almost 2 weeks before the everything came back. I can look back and laugh now, but at the time, it was the scariest time in my life.. Now, I can recognize all fog, forgetfulness and loss of words as just par for the course. I take my meds and go to bed.

  • Winnie St. Mark
    3 years ago

    This basically sums up how I was yesterday. As an episodic migraineur, I haven’t been able to recognize the prodrome signs typically, but yesterday when my migraine hit I wasn’t remotely surprised. My boss asked me if I was ok because he could see that I didn’t look like my normal self. Then he explained a fairly simple task he wanted me to complete and I just couldn’t understand what he was explaining. About an hour later the migraine hit and things just went downhill. Though the pain was barely present, I couldn’t stay at work because I couldn’t focus, talk, write, etc. When I told my boss I was going home, all I said was “New drugs. Strong.” Geez!

    Thanks for sharing Katie.

  • sasthomas
    3 years ago

    Oh, my gosh! That describes me exactly! I never thought about Aphasia being mild or in any other form other than what I’ve read about or seen on tv. It has been so bad at times that I was scared that I had early onset Alzheimer’s disease. The symptoms are similar and when you look them up it will scare the hell out of you!
    Thank you so much for posting about this because I know it will help me and I’m sure many others.

  • menopausalmigraineur
    3 years ago

    My husband and children have just nicknamed this the migraine fog and fibro fog that Mom has been dealing with the last 20+ years. I to make notes, keep an organizer, keep my phone handy, can’t find words when I used to have an extensive vocabulary, have trouble spelling and can’t balance a check book without a great deal of thought. For someone who was trained to run multi-million dollar computer and network projects and keep them on track with their various people and time frames it was a major hit when pregnancy made my headaches chronic. My neurologist was smart enough to recognize that I was in no way able to perform my job and refused to clear me for work. She saved my sanity. My intermittent migraines became clusters, and I still got migraines, and it was pretty much daily for the next 23 years. So here I still am. 🙂

  • Jackie
    3 years ago

    I had a migraine attack right in front of my pain specialist and she wanted to call 911 thinking I was having a stroke. Even my husband asked me once if I was tipsy. It makes it worse when I try to talk to them because I will slur, stutter and forget simple words. We have started taking our 5th wheel out for trips and I feel terrible if I have a migraine and in bed most of the weekend.

  • Jojiieme
    3 years ago

    Guessing from the date, I may already have responded. But I’m not going back through all the great replies to see – reading them, I want to cry.
    Because, yes. Me too. Often even in the middle of a word or even of the very thought itself.
    Try living with acquired brain injury that affects your memory selection and retention as well as your speech, a facial paralysis that affects the formation of words, imminent start of perimenopause (so you’re never sure if the memory stuff is hormonal, stress or migraine), and the kind of working life where you’re pulled in 8 directions at one time…
    I can no longer remember strings of anything with more than three elements. If I write notes, I never remember where I put them. I carry a huge paper diary with stuff stapled in as well as an electronic calendar. Everyone relies on me to remind them, or to be the spokesperson yet they’re baffled when I fall apart…
    I ring my sister, who lives on the other side of the country, to help me select what I need in the supermarket and get back into my car.
    It’s not the topamax, it’s not either of the other drugs. They just slow the cascading in my brain sufficiently for me to be able to think again through the logjam of sensations. I can actually see and feel that quite clearly; it’s like a computer freezing. But certain parts of my brain just can’t process any more information and everything has to clear either through sleep or ‘white out’ time on the couch before I gingerly tiptoe through the next phase.
    This was going to be short. 🙁

  • lsrivers55
    2 years ago

    I was having problems with Aphasia as I struggled to maintain my heavy workload as an elementary school teacher. The neurologist put me on a heavy dose of Topamax. I thought I was going out of my mind. The Doctor said I would adjust with time &he kept increasing the dosage of the Topamax. I just know in my heart that the other teachers and Administration thought that I was taking too much pain medicine (little did they know that pain medication did not touch a migraine). I begged the Doctor to take me off of Topamax as I was still having attacks lasting 3 – 5 days at a time with only a day to regroup. I finally had to give in to the fact that I was not able to do my job effectively. I was working twice as hard to get 1/2 the work done. It just was not fair to my students. I had to go on short term disability and then long term disability. I quit the Topamax and found another Doctor. I hid in my room in the bed. Ashamed that I had lost control. I had worked so hard to keep others from knowing that It was so bad. I tried to hide it from everyone. The depression was awful. I cried a lot. It took nearly
    6 months to detox from the Topamax. I still had 21 or more headaches a month. But I was able to get out of the bed. It has been about 5 years since then. I have had some success with Botox after the 2nd treatment (you take them every 12 weeks).

  • kangi
    3 years ago

    Reading some of the other posts i thought I would like to add this as enocouragement, or at least I hope it does encourage so,e. I was taking a massive dose of Topamax, 500 mg. and teaching while working on my graduate degree. I average 12 to 15 migraines a month. I will be 75 this December. I have tried all kinds of medications, therapies, etc. I attend a Migraine Clinic at a major hospital and receive Botox every 3 months. This does not prevent the headaches, but they seem less severe.I have no idea what my life would be like without these headaches; I’ve had them all my life. I don’t understand pain, only that nothing prevent it. I have no recognizable triggers, in spite of years of managemnet. It’s a miracle I’m not depressed.

  • Katie M. Golden moderator author
    2 years ago

    @isrivers55 ,
    I’m so sorry that happened to you. You’re doctor was clearly not listening to you and you made the right choice to go to someone else. I’ve had to wean off Topamax too and it was pretty brutal, but I’m so glad I did it

    I hope now that some time has passed that you are not a failure. Having migraine disease is NOT your fault. It can take people years to find the right combination of drugs and lifestyle changes that help you to manage your disease better.

    Thanks for sharing and I’m glad Botox is helping you!
    Best Wishes,
    -Katie
    Migraine.com Team Member

  • kangi
    3 years ago

    I was incredibly touched by this posting, so much so that I’m determined to have my husband read it as a “gift” to me for our 37th anniversary this month. I have been a chronic mirgane person( I don’t like labels) all my life, as well as having to deal with being a fully verbalized autistic. I have simply given up on having others understanding me; and that’s painful, so I’ts very comforting to read an article that describes many symptoms that occur with regularity as occurances with my chronic migraines. cycle.

  • mrst53
    3 years ago

    Kangi,
    I am going to have my DH read this too.We have been married 43 years in June. He has a migraine once in while, that lasts a few days. I have had mine for 51 yrs. No one quite understands the fog, not being able to talk, verbalize, looking for words, not being able to walk, see, read or understand or remember. I hate it. I used to have a great mind. Now I have a hard time remembering what someone said to me yesterday. I keep reading and doing crosswords, hoping to stave off, whatever else is coming down the road. I am really afraid of whatever that is.

  • cal2
    3 years ago

    Before Chronic Migraine began, I was always known for having a sense of humor and being a bit dingy in a fun way. Friends were respectful and enjoyed being with me so I laughed with them. I had fixed my low self-esteem after years of feeling stupid from ADD. I didn’t notice problems with aphasia throughout my younger years of hormonal migraines that would begin 3 days before my period each month in the years before Imitrex was available and after. Until 9 years ago, Imitrex made life so much easier for me and my neurologist gave me a safety net of prescription of pain medication that I took back to the pharmacy past the expiration date when handing them a new script for my safety net. The day the Imitrex didn’t work, I never had another period and I never had another day without a migraine. Three neurologists worked together trying everything on the same list Mayo and Thomas Jefferson used and spoke to doctors there to see if there was something else while I attacked it with accupuncture, massage therapy, nutrition etc and nothing worked. When I was trying Topomax, I told a waitress I wanted a chair with no mayo while she and my friend laughed. My friend didn’t ignore it as I continued in the same way throughout the day and I eventually stopped taking it after it didn’t budge the pain level. Later, I read that Topomax, for some, is “like flushing your brain down the toilet”. After that, all of the meds in that group didn’t help the pain and caused varying degrees of the same flushed brain. Five years ago I found the only thing that has helped my pain level is varying amounts of Estrogen. Since I take pain meds when I am required to have a life (not mentally or physically addicted), my very noticeable aphasia causes references to my drug haze, being doped up or drugged out and more. I feel lucky that I’m able to take pain medication without side effects and that it can relieve pain even if it only makes it tolerable. I’ve followed all the suggested days on/days off/stopping but my doctors have to tell me sometimes that it’s okay to take it to get out of bed because I’ve let myself be affected by the words of “friends” who are lucky to not know. I hate taking them though; I can’t take one near bedtime because I can’t fall asleep if it’s still working but I struggle to fall asleep at mid to high pain levels. My psychiatrist and prescribing specialist have watched me closely and are comfortable that I’ve never shown a sign of addiction and both notice I think and speak more clearly when a pain pill is working than I do through the pain. Nausea meds are just the opposite and I cease all function. I feel better knowing I just have bad aphasia since my father had a brain tumor when he did the same thing. I just wish I could go back to laughing at being just dingy instead of being questioned over my ability to do my job or being branded a drug addict. This sounds somber and I’m not feeling that way right now; I’m just frustrated and find writing easier than speaking coherently.

  • Katie M. Golden moderator author
    3 years ago

    Christina,
    Sounds like you’ve had quite a ride with finding out what treatments work for you. Keeping hormones under control can be very difficult. Below is an article on hormones and Migraines.

    Also, I know how you feel when I can’t think of certain words. So frustrating!

    https://migraine.com/blog/estrogen-friend-or-foe-for-women-with-migraine/

    Best wishes!
    Katie
    Migraine Moderator

  • SleepyBri
    3 years ago

    This can easily be my most frustrating symptom. I’m like some of you, where I mostly loose words and my train of thought. I also have poor short term memory normally due to Narcolepsy, and a migraine kills it dead.

    I’m very open and honest about my migraines at work and have been blessed by compassionate, supportivery coworkers and a boss who (unfortunately) also suffered aphasia with migraines when she was my age.

    I run a Test Center, so migraines really impact me at work. I’m very organized due to the impact of short term memory issues, so at work I have binders basically telling me how to do my job, what to say, etc.

    I also make a point of informing my testers that I have a migraine, and I appreciate their patience and understanding up front. I’m always met with either “I get them too, it’s the worst” or “Okay, I’ll go easy on you” jokingly. My coworkers keep track of me throughout the day and let me know if the aphasia gets worse.

    I know I’m incredibly lucky and only hope that in future endeavors, I have even half the support and understanding I have now.

  • Katie M. Golden moderator author
    3 years ago

    SleepyBri,
    Thanks for your detailed story. You are incredibly lucky to have such a great support system, especially at work.

    If you find your symptoms getting worse making it harder to work, I suggest you read this article. You may not need it now, but knowing the options if you ever have to go on disability can be helpful.

    https://migraine.com/blog/disability-income-preparation-guide/

    Best Wishes!
    -Katie
    Migranie.com Moderator

  • JanetH
    3 years ago

    And here I thought my being tongue-twisted was just part of menopause! Seriously, until the combination of perimenopause and being put on first Topamax and then Neurontin, I don’t recall having as many times when I can’t recall words, or they don’t come out right; not to mention forgetting and the almost adult ADHD symptoms of being easily distracted. I write myself lots of notes. I also note that sometimes my spelling is going awry. I am not sure yet how much is normal aging and how much is migraine and medication related. I guess it doesn’t really matter, in some ways?

  • Katie M. Golden moderator author
    3 years ago

    Janet,
    In your case it may be a combination of multiple things. You mentioned that you are on Topamax, which is notorious for causing people to forget things or have trouble finding the right words for even simple objects.

    Or it could be part of your Migraine cycle.
    All we can do is recognize it and make accommodations, like writing everything down! I always have a notebook handy!
    -Katie
    Migraine.com Moderator

  • Janet
    3 years ago

    Excellent article…sadly it describes me perfectly. Also sadly we have a daughter in in-patient recovery for alcohol and drug addiction…but my symptoms emulate the behavior of our daughter..

    I hate aphasia and it’s been part of me for a long time.

    Again, as I’ve written many times on many posts to terrific articles…the general public needs to see these articles and our posts…not each other. We all know what we go through…I can only imagine what people think of me if I even get the luxury of leaving my house.

    Blessings
    Janet Jones

  • Katie M. Golden moderator author
    3 years ago

    Janet,
    You are absolutely on point! The public does need to be educated. There are 36 million of us who experience Migraines in various forms.

    The best way I’ve found to educate is to share articles that explain how you feel with those you love. Sometimes people just don’t get it and hearing it from a third-party can help them understand what you’ve been saying all along!

    And best wishes for your daughter!
    -Katie
    Migraine.com Moderator

  • Misstootie
    3 years ago

    Oh my gosh! This fits me to a T (besides the drug addict part…) I don’t take much of anything right now, only because nothing has helped so far. But wow…everything else is me. People look at me as though I am “special” when this happens, which is almost always since I have daily migraine. All my doctors brush this symptom off, and it is one of my most frustrating symptoms (besides the pain). VERY embarrassing in a professional situation.

    I can add one thing…I cannot spell anymore. I used to pride myself in having good spelling skills. Thank God for spellcheck! I hate that I need it, but I do.

  • Joanna Bodner moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Misstootie,
    Thank you for taking the time to comment and we are so happy to hear that you related so well to this article! It’s always reassuring to know that you are not alone with such a disruptive symptom like this! You mention spelling also being an issue for you now and I thought you might find this article related to this topic interesting: https://migraine.com/blog/my-spelling-has-gone-to-the-dogs/. Thanks again for sharing and for being part of our community! Take care, Joanna (Migraine.com Team)

  • DadOhio
    3 years ago

    Katie,
    Your post mentions a link to docs that have experience with Ketamine.
    I think you left off your post
    Thanks!

  • Katie M. Golden moderator author
    3 years ago
  • Yoyo
    3 years ago

    I have been frustrated with my primary and neurologist. I have had migraines for close to 25 years. In the past I only had cognitive problems during the headache and I attributed it to the pain. Now I frequently have codnitive issues, speaking, word finding problems and lightheadness with clumsiness every week almost daily. Did any of learn about migraines from your doctors and if so how did you find providers that understood all of the aspects of migraine. After 2 years and about 10 appointments with my neurologist he concluded my symptoms are anxiety and feel free to call him for migraines. Thank-you for the information and reassuring me that what is happening to me is more than just anxiety.

  • SleepyBri
    3 years ago

    My migraines have developed somewhat a typically according to my neurologist (although from the stories shared here, maybe not so much.)

    Symptoms vary widely by person, and can vary between migraines in the same person. Best step 1 advice: Get and keep a headache diary. It will help you notice patterns, things you don’t pick up on, and act as a record for doctors. It gives them a bigger picture. Step 2 (which you should start as soon as you can) is to find a headache specialist. If you aren’t experiencing just migraines, it doesn’t mean you’re not having them. There might just be more to your story.

    Here’s my experience…
    I started with
    first, migraines without headache pain or aura symptoms that would last a week or better, like a really long awful prodrome.
    Then, occasionally these started to end in a headache I attributed to dehydration/low blood sugar. I started heart meds for inappropriate sinus tachycardia that ended up working as preventative.
    My frequency and length decreased, but I began having classic migraine with aura more than not.

    My doctor has been patient and helped me put the pieces of my headache puzzle together. Sometimes we grab the wrong piece and have to dig in the box again, but we’re both patiently working on it.

    Eventually, everything will come together for you like it is for lots of us. We’re here while you sort your edges from your insides. 😀

  • DadOhio
    3 years ago

    I used to call it “headache stupid”. I’d be speaking to a group and could not go off my notes because I wouldn’t be able to find my place. I’d try and drive to the vet to get the dog and find my self on the other side of town.

    I’m thinking about asking for Ketamine. What convinced you that it was OK for you? Was it hard to find a doc to prescribe it?

  • Katie M. Golden moderator author
    3 years ago

    My headache specialist at Georgetown had done her residency at Jefferson University Hospital in Philly. I didn’t even know it was a possibility until about 2 years into seeing her and failing with multiple drugs and treatments.

    She referred me to Jefferson and after a long appointment with them, they felt I was a great candidate. However, the first in-patient treatment I tried was Lidocaine, which I did NOT respond well to. So almost a year later they talked about Ketamine.

    I did my research and I’m always willing to explore new options to a certain degree. My neuro at Georgetown reassured me it was safe while also setting low expectations and giving me proper disclosures on the risks.

    So I really didn’t go out seeking Ketamine, it found me.
    There are some anesthesiologist (especially in pain clinics) who will do one day ketamine infusions.

    This link has a number of doctors who use ketamine for pain patients. Maybe there is one near you. Let me know if you do it and how it went!
    -Katie
    Migraine.com Moderator

  • mxj8jk
    3 years ago

    I struggled with this to an extreme degree for almost two years until the docs realized that my main anit-rejection med (I’m a transplant patient) was taking my normal, inherited migraines nuclear. This was in July 2015.

    Totally relate to driving around and getting lost. I eventually stopped when I couldn’t find my own house in the neighborhood!

    My husband was very patient with my forgetting of conversations, but I did lose a friend over it. Don’t think she really believed me. Thought I just wasn’t paying attention to her anymore. Sorrow.

    The worst, though would be when I was in the middle of an activity and would completely forget what I was doing. I would suddenly find myself standing in the my kitchen holding a jar of mustard. Why was I in the kitchen? Why did I have mustard in my hand? Then I’d have to look around to find out. Oh! I’m making a sandwich. Am I getting out the mustard to add it, or putting the mustard away? Those were scary.

    At least a dozen times I went into full “stroke” mode with paralysis. I’d lose speech completely or it would be nonsensical. It wasn’t until the last 6 months of my condition that we found out it was migraine. I went to specialist after specialist, who each concluded that I was a Somatic who needed to do more yoga and breathing exercises. That sucked.

    Now that I’m on a new med, I only get the painful migraines 3 – 4 times a week. Comparatively, this is a cake walk! However, the new med has a 50% chance of bringing back the hemiplegic migraines with aphasia and just ten days ago I had my first hemiplegic migraine since July, and have had two since. Trying not to panic and hoping it’s just seasonal allergies kicking in!

    Thank you for this article! It is nice to know you’re not alone. 🙂

  • Katie M. Golden moderator author
    3 years ago

    Wow- you’ve been through a long journey with this. Your symptoms can be very severe and I’m sure that’s really scary at the time. I feel your pain.
    -Katie
    Migrane.com Moderator

  • Edomal
    3 years ago

    I do this all the time. During my last year teaching seventh grade, I was writing notes on the board and I wrote the same word 5 times, and each time it was misspelled a different way. I joked about with the class but I was afraid and not sure what was going on. Since then (3 years ago) I’ve figured out that it was related to my migraines. I also say the wrong word for things a lot. I’ve also found things in strange places, for example my car keys in the refrigerator. It’s good to know others have the same problem, although I wish no one did.

  • Katie M. Golden moderator author
    3 years ago

    Edomal,
    I wish none of us had to experience this at all too.
    But I did get a chuckle out of the keys in the fridge incident. It’s not funny when you’re going through it, but you have 2 choices- laugh about it or cry about it. I think we’ve all done both at different times.
    Keep fightin!
    -Katie
    Migraine.com Moderator

  • Eranvo27
    3 years ago

    Thank you for your article! I’ve been dealing with chronic migraines for the past year and there are times I have many of the thighs listed. I thought I was going crazy! I’m still learning about my condition but I’m glad to know I’m not alone!

  • Macbeck
    3 years ago

    The last year I was able to work I was constantly forgetting things, such as my purse in a store shopping cart while out with my boss, clothing in the hotel room, etc etc etc. Really?? Who among us forgets their purse (where the rescue meds are!)?? I taught adult education & had trouble keeping my train of thought during class. Even before I learned about aphasia as a migraine symptom I knew these things were related to the migraines.

    I’ve always been someone who can deal with anything easier when I know what I’m dealing with. Still gets frustrating, especially when it takes me twice as long to write something because my fingers don’t remember how to spell.

    Thank you for a good article.

  • Meaghan Coneys moderator
    3 years ago

    Thank you Macbeck! We are happy you related and that you find support in our community. If anything it helps to know we are not alone in our symptoms and our experiences. Please continue to reach out to us when needed. We love hearing from you. Wishing you all the best. Warmly, Meaghan (Migraine.com Team)

  • ShannonAW
    3 years ago

    I can’t even believe that I have not ever been told of this! For 10 years now I’ve thought I was going crazy! I’m actually pretty angry about it. I first noticed this nagging suspicion that I was forgetting someting. It came on in 2006 (when my migraines were still somewhat intermittant) and gradually became quite prominent. So much so, that it became a family ‘joke’ because every time we left the house or went shopping or made any kind of plans I’d always say “I feel like I’ve forgotten something”, but we could never figure out what was missing. By 2008, I was certain that it was early Alzheimers or something, especially when I had the attack in 2008 that put me in the hospital for a week.
    I’m not bragging but I used to be a serious multi-tasker. I was an Executive Assistant in a major hospital & supported 2 Executive Directors who managed 12 clinical Directors with a staff load of 1200 +/-. I was also back-up support for the CNO and CEO. It was very easy for me to memorize all kinds of things and I was commended for that ability often in my annual reviews. I was proud of the work I did and how helpful I could be to so many co-workers. Now, I can’t even remember my own phone #. I’m constantly at a loss for words. I forget tv shows and movies that we see by the next day, which really irritates our teenagers, LOL! I used to be able to spell anything and now words, sentences, letters and even numbers often look like foreign symbols to me. In 2009, I was told by a Neurologist that I have this problem because the pain was so distracting that it caused me to be unable to focus on anything else.
    I rarely drive now & one of the main reasons is that I can’t remember where I was going or how to get there but the really scary part is that I actually get confused as to which lane I should be turning in to; especially on left turns in large intersections. I have actually turned in to the oncoming traffic lane because I couldn’t remember which side of the cement divider I was supposed to be on! I used to be a super-organized,type A. Now, I’m so scatter brained it’s not even funny. I think I’m being organized but I have at least 5 note books that I’m writing everything in, especially important things like web site log-ins, phone messages, notes of things about the kids, meds, household stuff, etc but then I can’t remember where I wrote it down at. I know there are several solutions to this simple-sounding problem but it is proving to be actually quite difficult to over come.
    Again, why don’t our medical providers know about this?
    Why can’t they prepare us for it or talk to us about it?
    At the very least, I think that the agenda of a Migraine appointment should have some kind of diagnostic questions that would indicate a patient is experiencing this so they can discuss it and plan accordingly.
    Some of these things could be quite harmful to the patient, their family & friends and even the general public; like my issues with driving.
    All of this is but a small part of the ugliness of redefinig who I am as a Migraineure. It hurts and sucks and I’m not doing well with it at all.

  • RitaCarol
    3 years ago

    I quit buying cars with manual transmissions because while stopped at a stoplight I would forget not only where I was going, but also what i needed to do to get the car going again. Automatic transmissions and a GPS are helpful in getting me where I am going these days.

    I also have an in-house memory aid when school is not in session. On days when the brain is especially foggy, I tell my 9-year old what room I am going to and why I am going there. When I get to a doorway with a blank slate, I ask my child what I was supposed to be doing. She tells me.

  • mxj8jk
    3 years ago

    I feel you! I was an office admin. and started several ministries. Migraines took it all away. I use an app on my phone to help me remember things, because I always keep it on me. It’s still not perfect, as I can forget why I’ve even opened my phone, sometimes.

    Not fun.

  • Meaghan Coneys moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi ShannonAW – Thank you for sharing your experience with us. We are so happy you are a part of our community and we really appreciate your honesty. Your experience helps others. It sounds like you’re struggling with your symptoms, and that’s putting it lightly. I am so sorry to hear how aphasia has impacted your life. We hear you, here at Migraine.com, and we are definitely here for you. The following article provides more information on aphasia and gives some tips for managing the associated symptoms – https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-symptoms-transient-aphasia/. It seems like you’ve utilized some of the tools already, so apologies if it is redundant, however I felt it may be helpful. It does sound like you have people around you who understand and support you, which can really help us manage, adjust, and live with our symptoms. Still, I thought you would find the following articles helpful – https://migraine.com/blog/a-list-call-for-creature-comforts/, https://migraine.com/blog/community-responses-what-are-your-go-to-techniques-that-bring-you-comfort/. They identify and discuss various self care techniques that migraineurs use while in the midst of an attack. Perhaps you could find something helpful or relate. Thinking of you today and sending loads of good energy your way. Warmly, Meaghan (Migraine.com Team)

  • Ligeia
    3 years ago

    Hi. I am new to the group. I have had the same experiences. I got let go from my job in December 2015 due to too much absenteeism from my migraine. I tried working with some of these things and made so many mistakes at work. I’m scared that I won’t b able to hold down a job again. Some of them have lingered and sometimes I won’t drive b/c I still don’t feel right.

  • Joanna Bodner moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Ligeia,
    Welcome to our community! We are so happy that you found us!! I am so sorry to hear that you lost your job in December and also that you experience these symptoms discussed in this article. I thought I would share some information with you regarding work and managing migraine (for your future reference): https://migraine.com/blog/migraines-and-unexcused-absences-from-work/ and https://migraine.com/blog/ada-accommodations-migraine-triggers-making-the-workplace-work-for-you/. I hope you find some of this information helpful.Thanks again for sharing your comment and we look forward to hearing more from you! Always feel free to reach out.

    Take care,
    Joanna (Migraine.com Team)

  • Reesearoo
    3 years ago

    This. Is. Me! Lack of words is probably my worst symptom, but slurred speech happens along with not being able to concentrate. Today is day 8 of a migraine for me, so having migraines that last as long as mine do I have no choice but to push through it…..work when your brain is not working. I just wish the rest of the world had an inkling of what we migrainers go through. I never go to the ER, just give myself a Toradol shot and some phenergan for the nausea. Topamax as a daily preventative, plus I use the Cefaly headband daily. I have tried it all. My heart goes out to you, Katie. I feel your pain.

  • rebecca
    3 years ago

    The first time I had aphasia I was in college and totally freaked out because all of a sudden I couldn’t talk. I could think of words and write them down, but speech was beyond me. Either I couldn’t get the words out or I stuttered incredibly badly. I ended up in the hospital because no one diagnosed it as a complicated migraine or a migraine aura until the actual migraine hit two days later.

    I still get aphasic with my migraines, and generally the worse it is the worse the migraine will be. My husband and I have ended up in the ER more than once because despite 15 years of history with chronic migraines (that one in college started it all), I still get scared when I can’t speak and I’d rather go and get told it’s nothing than not go the one time it actually is a stroke.

    My short-term memory seems to be fritzing, too, and more so the worse the migraine is. I won’t be able to remember what I was saying or doing two minutes ago unless I *really* focus on it. When I’m not in attack phase it’s okay, but when I am I need my husband to remind me what I’m doing sometimes.

  • Still Smiling
    3 years ago

    I do this a lot! Forget how to take a shower and mix shower gel, shampoo and conditioner up!, be having a conversation and then get a complete a ‘mind blank’ forget what was said, what I intended and even people”s names, I’ll be out walking and forget where I’m going or the location of places, a complete breakdown in communication and not able to type/spell at all (words and sentences don’t make sense!) – won’t be able to read as words won’t make sense I’ll feel suddenly dyslexic…

  • Ligeia
    3 years ago

    I do the same things. Even when I don’t have a migraine. I’m scared b/c I don’t know if I will ever get bk to being the old me and able to go bk to work and hold down a job.

  • Holly H.
    3 years ago

    Yes, I do and it varies. From what my sister and I refer to as our migraine talk, like Douglas wrote, we’ve also described a “turny thing” for a salt grinder; or we’ve used another word altogether from what we’ve meant. However, I take it further when I am into a deep spike, for I can: (a) lose my ability to converse but can slowly come up with one word and use gestures, (b) think I’m speaking something, but what people are hearing are just sounds, (c) be unable speak at all. That is why I carry a paper with me when I do go out, “Transformed-Complex Migraine Neurological Events: How It Feels To Me,” where I have detailed information because I have ended up in the ER and unable to speak for myself as to what is going on.

  • Katie M. Golden moderator author
    3 years ago

    Holly,
    You’ve done an amazing job of making sure others understand your condition when this happens, very smart!

    I don’t experience totally unrecognizable speech and can’t imagine how frustrating that is. Best Wishes!
    -Katie

  • Douglas
    3 years ago

    While I am sorry to hear that you suffer from aphasia with your migraines, I am glad to know that I am not alone in being frustrated by aphasia. I am now having aphasia almost constantly lately. I have gone from being articulate to resorting to descriptions in lieu of the proper word (“turny thing” instead of salt grinder).
    I hope that your efforts at raising awareness continues to be successful.

  • Katie M. Golden moderator author
    3 years ago

    Douglas,
    I now say “whatchamacallit” or “what’s his face” when I can’t remember a word.
    -katie

  • bluebird
    3 years ago

    What a relief not to feel alone with this.

  • dmae
    3 years ago

    Absolutely. Last week I gave a lesson for my morning class that went well. Then a student started to peel an orange, the smell of which has become an odd trigger. By the time the afternoon class arrived, all I could do was fumble through the lesson. My notes didn’t make sense, and I couldn’t remember what was next. Frustrating.

  • Katie M. Golden moderator author
    3 years ago

    How awful! So sorry. I can’t imagine being in charge of students and having such difficulties. Keep fighting!
    -Katie

  • Luna
    3 years ago

    Katie, thank you for this article. I can relate to a lot of it and can see where some of it has been in my life since very young. Not until in my 30s did I see a brochure listing the difference between sinus headaches and migraine. I diagnosed myself and the Doctors have never disagreed. The episodes were just a few times a year and didn’t last very long. But I do remember being much more clumsy at times that had nothing to do with the episodes. I do have excellent balance a lot of the time. Then there are the spells like you described of ditzy and dumb, bumbling idiot and lack of focus that didn’t really start until I became daily. On forgetful, I think that anyone who goes through intense migraine attacks will have forgetfulness as a coping tool. That is my excuse anyway. Something I have trouble with at times is what I call tunnel vision. My mind will only focus on one thing at a time. And my mind is … actually just lost the rest of that. Keep joy in your heart or at least a song.

  • Katie M. Golden moderator author
    3 years ago

    Luna,
    It’s frustrating, right?? It took me awhile to realize why things were happening. Some of it can be chalked up to meds, but when the balance became a serious issue, I realized this was part of my Migraine prodrome.
    -Katie

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