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Scintillating scotoma

I have very infrequent migraines but have had some amazing and frightening experiences. I have only ever had one massive headache and that was during a particularly stressful time. Normally, not only do I get a detached feeling before the visual disturbances (it happened today) but I get confusion which has lasted up to two hours in the past and extreme tiredness post attack.

Other symptoms in the past have included creeping numbness in my thumbs and up my arm to leg and tongue numbness along with pressure behind one eye – as if someone was pushing at it from the inside. Today my migraine attack happened just after eating a very late breakfast in a shopping center. I felt a little distant while talking to my husband in the cafe and then it felt as though my ears were slightly blocked then when I left him to try on some clothes I noticed the assistants face was half obscured by something and then my vision started to alter. I sat down by the changing room door and summoned my husband by phone text. I walked around with him for a while and it was ok.

I get the vaguest headache but it’s the awful confusion which is the most debilitating. My husband was talking to me today during my attack and some of the words just didn’t make sense – I couldn’t even recognize my son-in-laws name and repeated it as if it was completely new to me!! Also things around me seem to slow down and I have to walk carefully and purposely – thank goodness I had my husbands arm to hold on to. I have had an attack once before in town and I had to let it burn out before driving home which took ages. Today however it took just over an hour and a half for my head to get pretty clear and again hardly any hint of pain only a little on the top of my head…but I felt wiped out and slept in my chair at home for hours after as if my eyelids were glued together. As for the hereditary link I do know that my late father used to have migraines and had to avoid certain foods. I on the other hand have put mine down to either great stress or lack of food and drink so I try and avoid (oops forgot today) all three situations. Ah well I have slept all afternoon and feel quite lively now. Has anyone else had the same experiences?

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  • Ellen Schnakenberg
    8 years ago

    jojo, You might want to read about the stages of Migraine. Did you know that you can have a Migraine attack without any pain at all? It’s called Acephalgic Migraine. Here is some information on the different types of auras which you might find interesting.

    You’re not alone. Preparing a plan ahead of time in case you’re somewhere and a Migraine hits may be a wise decision for you. I carry a Migraine Bag with me that helps. How Can I be Prepared for my Next Migraine Attack? What Should I Put in my Migraine Tool Bag?

  • Terence Morris
    8 years ago

    Hi jo jo,

    you have just discribed my migraine attacks to a T, I have started having them about every week now, hope this don’t last.

    kind regards Terence.

  • Terence Morris
    7 years ago

    just read your story on migraines,same as me when i was at school i had the numbness in my arm face and tongue,now all i get is the visual disturbances the headaches and chronic fatigue after.hope things have improved for you..

  • Joan Gill
    8 years ago

    Hi Terence, good to read your response – unlike me you appear to be having very frequent attacks. Perhaps you could write a diary listing your food intake or maybe like me you sometimes forget to eat? Long story warning….Many years ago my attacks would start with a numbness in one side of my nose and this would spread and affect my tongue and then the visual disturbances would start. Whilst always hating the vague and empty headed feelings which accompanied (and still do) each attack I was always fascinated by my inability to write due to the blind spots in my vision and trying to make sense of the world even for the shortest time was and still is baffling – don’t you agree? Still, I know I can get by, by being calm and staying safe. Once about 7 years ago I was on my way from work for a dental appointment and whilst driving experienced the tell tale shimmering silver lights in my peripheral vision…mainly in my right eye. I pulled the car over into a pub car park and turned the engine off then started to panic…knowing that my vision and concentration would deteriorate..I tried to get some help but the pub was closed and I decided to drive straight home (about 4 miles)…so I did. I was so glad that it was a clear road. I got home and my daughter let me in…I then remembered that I would not be able to attend the dental appointment…so I got my daughter to telephone the dental practice but the call went straight to answer phone…I then remember leaving a rather garbled message about not being very well and blah blah blah. I got over the attack by relaxing on the sofa…my friend came round to talk to me…I didn’t know what the heck she was talking about…what the hell is a Eurotunnel???….Anyway the funniest part of this story is that a couple of weeks later when I attended my appointment there was a notice on the wall explaining that they couldn’t take answer phone messages to cancel appointments any more…ha!!!I wonder why??So there you go…..I get to change dental practice…practices…..

  • Susan Anne Smith
    8 years ago

    Our son Mark has migraines Terry. He’s had them since he was 16. He’s found, over time, that if he gets over tired or lacks sleep or gets stressed to the tits, it brings one on. Thought I’d just mention that……:) Hope you are all okay.

  • Elaine Axten
    8 years ago

    I have no idea why I do this, but I always say to doctors that I don’t get visual disturbance, but I do, and I always have that confusion. I call it ‘stupid world’. and the exhaustion afterwards. yep.

  • Phil Renshaw
    8 years ago

    That is the spark of light that ignites like lighting and and burns like afire across your brain blinding you and after they are burn out you are left with a monster head ache still prefer that to vomiting and getting outrageously angry.

  • Todd Witmer
    8 years ago

    aphasia is scary and I’ve found that some of the vision disturbances and detached feelings can still present themselves the day after an attack and take time to go away.

  • Lisa Caughey
    8 years ago

    Todd, thanks for sharing this site! I also suffer from migraines (aura migraines) and this site had a lot of good information! Thanks!

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