I hate my brain

It all started two weeks after going on the combined contraceptive pill although I didn’t realise the connection until a few months later! I was sitting in my parents house when my vision became disjointed and I could only see half of the people I was looking directly at. My mum knew it was a migraine and told me to lie down, advice which I ignored as I felt perfectly fine apart from the strange vision problem. 20 minutes later the agony of my first migraine began.

I continued to get these about once per week and came off the pill after seeing my doctor. I was prescribed Aspirin which made no difference. About three months later I experienced my first paralysis attack, the left side of my body went completely numb, my face drooped, I couldn’t speak and the words in my head made no sense. I couldn’t move my leg or arm at all and my husband called for an ambulance, we both thought I’d had a stroke, as did the paramedic. He made me chew up an aspirin to get it in my blood quicker and I was rushed to hospital. By the time we got to the hospital I could talk again and could move my limbs but still felt numb. I don’t know if numb is the best way to describe it, it was more like a snake tightly wrapped around my whole arm and leg. I’ve always struggled with finding the right language to descibe my symptoms, I say numb but its not like being too cold or crossing your legs for too long. Anyway, the hospital didn’t do any tests but based on my migraine history diagnosed it as a severe migraine attack. Several times over the next few month I rushed to hospital convinced I was having mini strokes or that they’d missed something because no tests had ever been carried out and I was totally freaked out by how severe these attacks were. It was the scariest time of my life and followed by years of pain and confusion.

I saw several neurologists over the next few years, we tried beta blockers and other preventatives, tried several painkillers and triptan drugs but nothing helped. I became quite depressed during this time and although there are migraine sufferers in my family none of them are chronic migraineurs and none of htem knew how it affected me daily, I’d be scared to make arrangements in case a migraine forced me to let people down again. My husband was the most understanding and always dropped what he was doing to pick me up from wherever I was when the warning signs started, I believe his help alone saved me from sinking into a major depression.

Then I fell pregnant, I experienced up to 4 or 5 migraines per week during the first few months of the pregnancy, had morning, aftenoon and evening every day and experienced sudden paralysis / numbness a lot more than I had before, it was almost every day. I was so stressed during the pregnancy, I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to look after my baby as I was so ill all of the time. But then I gave birth and the hormones of breastfeeding really seemed to agree with me, I had no migraines from giving birth until I started weaning my daughter off the breast around a year later. That year of breastfeeding was the best year of my life, I constantly reflected on how amazing it was not to have a headache and to be free from the fear of headache, I didn’t take it for granted at all.

Unfortunately my migraines returned with the return of menstruation. I felt happy that I at least knew what my trigger was but that was shortlived as I can’t predict my irregular periods and soon realised that there was still nothing I could do about it.

Its not all bad though, a fellow migraineur on a forum recommended maxmelts, a triptan drug which melts on your tongue and I’ve found that this is the only drug thats ever improved my pain, it cuts it down to 3 hours and the severity is not as bad. I’ve only had it for my last 3 migraines though and it does have undesirable side effects on me, I’ve experienced a tonne more sudden paralysis attacks down the left side of my body. Its also introduced a new symptom which I find really hard to descibe, its like a loud buzzing in my head and I feel as though I can’t hear but when I test it I can hear, its just as though I’m under water. Irrational or not I still fear stroke so I might have to limit my use of this drug.

I haven’t found any other triggers apart from exercise which is a pain as I really want to get fit but I’m scared to let my heart rate increase too much. I’ve kept a food diary and can’t identify any food triggers, i wish it were as simple as cutting out a food type.

Weird symptoms – When I have a migraine I get an almost irresistable craving for junk food, my nose runs and I am running to the loo for a wee every half hour.

At the moment I’m worried about taking this drug, annoyed that they have returned, terrified that I’ll pass a horrible migraine gene on to my daughter and broody but too scared to experience such a horrific pregnancy again.

Sorry to have rambled on for so long, well done if anyone has read all the way to here.

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