I've had migraine disease for quite a signification portion of my life. I was twelve years old when I experienced my first ever migraine. I had come home from a ski trip and started seeing yellow spots, had a splitting headache on the right side of my head and vomited. My mum gave me an ibuprofen and a glass of ginger tea and sent me to bed; I slept for a good part of eight hours and didn’t experience another migraine until I reached the age of sixteen.
During the last two years of high school, I would often collapse and come to with a splitting headache, it was first believed to be a vasovagal response from sensitivity to heat. When I had graduated from high school I was leading a pretty normal life. I was a full time student and intern, a part time musician, and part time worker as a nurse aide.
At the age of nineteen, my life changed as I was shipped off to hospital in the back of an ambulance. I had been ill for several days with migraine, my boyfriend had gone university and I had taken the day off college to sleep. When he returned home, he couldn’t wake me and I was unresponsive to pain stimuli. It was first thought that I had experienced a stroke, but after several scans and tests, I was diagnosed with “migraine with complex neurological features.”
The migraines later developd to a point where whenever I got an attack, I would collapse and upon ‘coming to’ I wouldn’t be able to understand my native language, couldn’t speak or swallow, and had lost control and sensation of my right side. Sometimes I would even be unconscious for more than twenty four hours straight. By this time I was practically housebound, I had to pull out of study, quite my job, and I had my license suspended which lead to a major bout of depression. It took several months of severe attacks, trips to the hospital, extensive tests and scans, and neurological workups before I was finally diagnosed with hemiplegic migraine (HM).
Thankfully now after trialling several medications, we’ve found one that works for me. I’ve also had to make several life changes including changes in diet, and exposure to certain stimuli, such as bright light. I’ve also learnt that I need to inform others of this condition for my own safety; I wear a medic alert bracelet and regularly talk to other people about this condition.
E-J also created a video of her experiences and what she’s learned from having migraines and hemiplegic migraine. You can see her video at Project Migraine Hope.