Person navigates hilly obstacles while shrouded in a dark tornado

My First Migraine With Aura Attack

I was in 7th grade. I had a sleepover with my best friend Saturday night. Sunday morning, my parents had gotten us donuts for breakfast, something we often did at sleepovers as kids that I cannot fathom stomaching as an adult.

My vision was distorted

As my friend’s mom was visiting with mine at pick up, I started to notice my vision was off. I felt like I had a head rush from standing up too fast, but I was sitting down. I could see the outline of things, but everything was shrouded in a pulsing, swirling blackness. It was getting worse, and I was feeling disoriented from not being able to see.

I couldn't find the words

My friend left, and I told my mom I felt weird. I tried to describe my vision issues and had a hard time coming up with the words. She blamed the donuts and had me eat some peanut butter toast to have something more solid in my system. My vision did not improve, and my right hand went numb. I was having some trouble forming thoughts. My mom declared me exhausted from chatting all night with my friend and put me to bed.

My body went numb

Next, the right side of my face and my entire right arm went numb, and I thoroughly freaked out my vigilant mother. Soon the headache began. It was worse than any headache I’d ever had, pulsing and pounding behind my eyes, in my whole skull, down my neck.

My mom thought I was having a stroke

My mom called the pediatrician. She thought I might be having a stroke. They told her there was a very bad flu that year, and I was likely coming down with it. They also said they were at capacity and to only call back if I stopped breathing. My mother did not like that response one bit and took to watching me closely, asking me questions, monitoring me, and basically keeping me awake.

Then I threw up

Then I threw up, something I almost never did. In fact, I was so dead set against puking that the last time I’d done it was in preschool. I instantly felt better, if a little weak. My headache evaporated and only hurt if I bent over. My mom decided I did indeed have the flu and kept me home from school on Monday. It was the first time I’d missed a day of school in my whole life.

I was having migraine with aura

It wasn’t until the same thing happened again a few months later that my mother figured out, either by independent research or consulting our doctor, I don’t know which, that I was getting migraines with aura.

My mom adapted quickly

After the second one, all I had to do was tell my mom I was getting an aura, and she’d be at my side, trying to get me to take painkillers, giving me a cup of black coffee, and getting me to bed. She’d heard it was good to keep your hands warm and your head cold, so she’d bundle me up and put a bag of peas wrapped in a dishtowel on my head. She even learned to decipher my aphasia. That’s love.

So began my fun-filled and life-long adventure with migraines.

I didn’t eat donuts or peanut butter toast again for fifteen years.

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