Migraines and Seizures

I suffered a severe head injury in my early 20′s, then I had viral meningitis in my early 30′s, in my mid-30′s I had a total hysterectomy, and my mom had both migraines and epilepsy. After my hysterectomy I started having severe migraines with visual auras, right sided facial numbness, ataxia, and slurred speech. The neurologist I went to put me on every medicine possible, but my migraines persisted.

Finally my husband (he’s a doctor) suggested that I try a different type of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and I switched to premarin. After 2 years of suffering with 3-5 migraines a week I finally found the answer, and my migraines reduced considerably. I still get visual auras, and facial numbness, but it’s rare that I get a full blown migraine. I will get a migraine if I let my hormone levels drop too low.

Then about 4 years ago I started noticing odd things – friends and family would tell me I seemed to be forgetting things, that I “spaced out” during a conversation and appeared to not be “present” etc. Finally, I woke up about 2 months ago, and noticed huge bruises on my forehead and my computer screen was shattered. I had no idea what happened other than that I assumed there was some connection. I than started noticing more and more lumps and bumps on my head, and other parts of my body, with no recollection of how I’d gotten these bruises, etc. Finally, about a month ago I went on a short, and very tiring trip to LA and Vegas. I was extremely tired, and lights have always bothered me, or been a factor in setting off my migraines. It was finally in Las Vegas that I had multiple seizures in front of numerous people. Given that my spouse is a doctor I received immediate care. The neurologist that I went to has told me that I had 3 factors for seizures which were a bad head injury, viral meningitis and my mother’s prior history of epilepsy. He explained to me that I have a focal region in my brain that has some type of “damage.” I have seizures that are commonly called “dropsy” – where I lose all muscle tone, collapse, lose consciousness and wake up with no memory.

Of interest I also experience a right sided head pain prior to my seizures, and all my migraines were always right sided, as were the symptoms that I had with my migraines – such as right sided facial numbness. So other’s may know – my doctor believes that there is definitely a genetic component to my seizures, and that there may be a link between migraines and seizures. The drugs to treat seizures are not pleasant I’ve, thus far, failed two of them – Keppra and Lamictal (got the deadly rash), and I now am on a starting dose of Oxcarbazepine. Of note I’m also starting to experience more visual auras, yet no headaches other than the minor right sided headache I get prior, and after, my seizure.

I hope my story helps somebody else especially if they have a doctor that isn’t listening to them. I couldn’t possibly have ever dreamed that any of this would have happened to me. Remember I didn’t have a single migraine until after having a total hysterectomy at age 35. I’m now 55, and it appears as stated above that I’ve been having seizures for the last 4 years.

Welcome to the world of a malfunctioning brain – said with a smile.

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