Person extends arms in Frankenstein style with forks stick out of right arm.

My Hemiplegic "Roommate"

Migraines, from my experience, are like roommates. They’re all dumpy. Sorry, let me explain.

I haven't had the greatest of luck with roommates

I haven’t had the best luck in roommates. Some would play video games in the dead of night, setting up chairs in the hallway, making it impossible to hide how often I need to use the bathroom. Next, I had one who would hide under my bed and record Star-Trek-esque captains logs until I came home from classes. THEN I had a roommate who would scream obscenities and threats to his Canadian partner over FaceTime. Let’s just say, I haven’t had the greatest of luck.

Each person brought forth a different set of challenges and often and new ways of anxiety-induced pain management. Migraine has felt, to me, very similar. Each kind has had a similar set of symptoms and stimuli. There are things I know that I shouldn’t do in hoping that I won’t receive one. That was... until...

I researched my new migraine symptoms

I decided it was about to research exactly why my body had decided to fail me. So, naturally, I googled up a storm to find that…

According to the American Migraine Foundation, “a Hemiplegic Migraine is a rare form of migraine where people experience weakness on one side of their body (hemiplegia) in addition to the migraine headache attack. The weakness is a form of migraine aura and occurs with other forms of typical migraine aura like changes in vision, speech or sensation.”1

Cool cool

So, one evening, I had gotten home from classes, it was a Friday I believe. The day wasn’t remarkable. One filled with both parts acting classes and gossip proving that I really did get a degree in drama. At the end of the day, I was just relaxing, watching some videos on my phone as one does. Having some quality me-time, when I realized something.

My right arm was going numb.

Sometimes if I sit weird, or lay funny, my butt would get numb, but never something like this. Not my entire arm, unprovoked. I guess you could say that I was pretty freaked out. See, I had never experienced a migraine like this! I mean was I having a stroke, could this change my life forever?

I just laid there, panicking and telling my mother to come down and check to see what was happening.

It was a hemiplegic migraine.

This was something that I had never experienced before. It’s like finding out your new roommate is a hundred feet tall and eats live sharks.

Was this going to be reoccurring? What can I do to prevent it? The biggest thing I learned, was to remain calm. Sure, it’s something easier said than done, but going forward, when my body decides to freak out, the least I can do is not feed the fire with any more craziness. Yet, I can’t push it aside like I have.

This is something serious that could have long-lasting effects. I was fortunate that nothing serious resulted, but that’s not the case with everyone. It goes to show how important migraine self-awareness is and migraine, while plentiful, can still provide new experiences. I’ve always gotta be on my toes, but be prepared. Cautious but positive. Never know which roommate is next....

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