It’s Hemiplegic migraine Awareness day! Say what!?!? Yeah that’s a tough one, also a tough one to suffer through. Let me break it down for you….
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. Hemiplegic migraine is divided into Familial hemiplegic migraine(runs in the family) or Sporadic hemiplegic migraine (happens only in one individual). (From American Migraine Foundation)
Symptoms of a Hemiplegic Migraine
- Motor weakness on one side of the body (Hemiplegia)
- Other aura symptoms – vision changes (flashes of lights, sudden little stars or sparkles, visual field defects), numbness, tingling, trouble speaking
- Impaired consciousness ranging from confusion to profound coma
- Ataxia (defective muscle coordination)
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Increased sensitivity to light and sound
Because the symptoms of a hemiplegic migraine is similar to a stroke, this is definitely one of the scariest ones to suffer from. I don’t like it and it also is one of the most uncomfortable ones to have as well. The numbness and tingling that goes on for hours raises my anxiety. I’ll share a story of having suffered through one during a critical moment.
So in 2018 I was in the middle of running yet ANOTHER marathon. I was running alone, and by that I mean, the big boss was not running that year and I was not running with friends. But the boss was waiting along the course for me with my meds and anything I need per the norm. Well….I was running along my happy way and then my head started to pound. I ALWAYS run with my medication on me in case of emergency. I took it. But this migraine was on full force that day. The side of my face starting going numb and then I started to lose my vision in my right eye. I was way past the half way point so there was no quit in me. So there’s that. I finished the race but felt like total crap. I did throw up and I couldn’t see. The flashes of lights I saw and the amount of pain I was in was indescribable but I somehow managed to finish the race and went directly to the medical tent. But suffering from hemiplegic migraines is one of the toughest because the symptoms are no joke and are so scary. But I have powered through them at some of my demanding, unbelievable moments. I just wish that there was more treatments and cures for them. I suffer from this rare type of migraine more often than the others I suffer from.
The thing that sucks about suffering from hemiplegic migraines is that no one sees the pain and the discomfort. It is a pain that is definitely debilitating and will knock you off your feet. While I may have gotten used to my other types of migraines, this is one that has rocked my world, and not in a good way. This rare form of migraines is killer and and when you tell someone your symptoms, some don’t believe you. Even some doctors because it isn’t seen. It is a tough one to deal with and live with.