Black woman in back to back screens, one with tongue out, other with red itchy nose.

My Three Strangest Migraine Symptoms

I’ve always felt like a bit of an outsider. I first noticed this in grade school when I didn’t find myself fitting into one particular social group. Maybe it was my rainbow leg warmers that scared the kids or my affinity for Xanadu-like ribbon barrettes. I’ll never really know. So, when I discovered I had unusual migraine symptoms, it simply seemed par for my misfit course.

A common migraine symptom: Photophobia

I do have some migraine symptoms that are very common. Along with 80 to 90 percent of migraine sufferers, I experience sensitivity to light. Photophobia is a term used for those who suffer from “an abnormal and extreme sensitivity to light and is a common symptom of migraine” according to The American Migraine Foundation.1 This hypersensitivity leads me to spend vast amounts of time in a dark room when suffering from a migraine because light of any kind skyrockets my pain.

A quick internet search yielded information and solutions for my photophobia. Excited that my migraine symptoms were fitting in, I tried searching out some others I thought would be a fast fix too. But apparently, my misfit tendencies (or my rainbow leg warmers) shorted out my online search engine. I couldn't find an answer to these three symptoms:

The chills

While lying in my bed during a migraine attack, my body becomes racked with chills. I don’t have a fever. I don’t experience any cold sweats. I can feel these fever-like chills (sans fever) start at my toes and work their way all the way up to my head until my whole body shivers. The whole ordeal lasts a minute or so and subsides until the next incident. This happens with every migraine I have and can sometimes wake me up if I've finally been able to fall asleep.

Weird taste in my mouth

During a migraine attack, I endure the strangest taste in my mouth. It’s a bad taste that finds me dragging myself out of bed so I can brush my teeth to get rid of it. It’s not acidic. It’s not metal. It's not good. I can’t even describe it other than to say it tastes bad. And this only happens when I have a migraine.

Stuffy nose

When I have a migraine, there are times that I’ve suddenly become congested. It’s like a magic wand is waved over my sinuses or I’ve stepped into a field of dust, pollen, and ragweed so my nose has no choice but to become swollen and stuffy. This doesn’t happen every time I have a migraine, but it does happen often enough that I have a box of tissues by my bed ready to go.

Over the years, I've come to understand that all of the qualities that might lead me to feel like a misfit are my awesome personality traits that make me who I am. The same applies to my migraines - they're such an individual experience because no two migraineurs are alike. Unless I'm willing to share my rainbow leg warmers.

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