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I am not a medical professional so if you have any stroke like symptoms you should still see a doctor. However I have done some research since I had a very alarming migraine yesterday and want share what I found. Migraines that seem to mimic a stroke are a specific type called a "hemiplegic"migraine. While anyone can have a migraine, hemiplegic migraines are a result of a genetic disorder from a gene mutation. They're apparently very rare compared to the regular kind. Normal migraines are often comprised of an aura and a headache with light sensitivity. I think the author was confused about what an aura actually is. It's not a state of confusion or aphasia, it's the term for the silver, shiny looking arc (or other hallucination) that shoes up in your vision and sometimes makes it hard to see. However aphasia, often accompanied by confusion and/or slurred speech is more indicative of a hemiplegic migraine. If you have one of those, you may also experience paralysis or numbness on the left side of your body. If this happens don't freak out! If it is a migraine it will pass and the paralysis will only be temporary. If you don't know if you have this condition, then you should go to the ER asap incase you are actually having a stroke.

This happened to me yesterday while I was home alone cooking breakfast. I knew I had a history of ocular migraines usually accompanied by nausea, an aura, visual distortions, blind spots and mild aphasia but I wasn't prepared for the severity of my episode yesterday. As soon as I began to notice these visual symptoms, I immediately took some aspirin which usually seems to stop most of the pain before it starts. I prepared to lay down and ride it out like usual but I was suddenly hit by a severe wave of confusion. I couldn't make sense of words or numbers and felt disassociated from my own limbs. At the time I was cooking. I began to panic and tried to turn off the stove which took probably 5 minutes because I couldn't understand the dial. I was so confused and disoriented I started to have an anxiety attack. I felt like I couldn't discern between what was real and what was my brain playing bricks on me. The only thing I could begin to relate it to is having a bad psychedelic trip. I didn't know if I was having a stroke or some sort of psychotic break. All I could do was sit and try over and over again to dial my mother since I knew she had debilitating migraines as well. In my irrational stupor I decided it would be a good idea to see if this had ever happened to her before calling 911. It took many tries to actually type anything into my phone but she wasn't answering anyway. I tried to calm myself down by playing som relaxing music and I found that I was unable to sing along or even hum correctly. I was slurring my singing. After about 30 minutes of this horrid confusion I began to see the silver aura, my head began to hurt and my left hand went numb. The numbness began to slowly travel up my arm. This made me feel better and worse. The aura was relieving because I knew I was having a migraine, not something new. The numbness made me think there must REALLY be something wrong with my brain. By this time, my roommate had come home and was offering to take me to the ER. I kept saying I should wait until I heard from my mom. It seemed unlikely that I, an extremely active and nutritionally conscious 20 year old, would be having a stroke. The confusion and aphasia was going away and I was left with a completely numb hand and a mild headache. So I immediately began looking these things up and found out about hemiplegic migraine. I saw that I fit just about every symptom and read that it's common to have a parent with it as well. It all made sense. I suddenly remembered 2 separate times as a kid when my mom had such a horribly disorienting and confusing migraine we had to pull over on the side of the road and wait it out. She would lose her vision, see the silver aura and be almost unable to communicate. Years later, she had at least 2 episodes where she thought she was having a stroke and told my stepfather and I to keep an eye on her. She felt disassociated from her body parts and was having an extremely hard time understanding us. I don't remember personally but she thought she was slurring her speech. Before we could take her to the hospital it passed and she was left with a headache.

I have yet to have this confirmed by a doctor but after explaining this to my mom, we both have plans to see a neurologist.

If this has ever happened to you I want you to know, hemiplegic migraines are benign but terrifying. They're also unpredictable. They can come at any time and vary in severity each time. I believe it's rare but some episodes can be so severe the person can pass out or even go into a coma. If you think you may have this, I encourage you to speak to your doctor about doing tests. There's a medication you can take to mitigate the effects (like paralysis or losing conscious) which could become dangerous if you're alone.

Again, I took a risk not assuming the worst. I should have gone to the ER to rule out stroke right away. Luckily I was fine. But others shouldn't take that risk.

However I hope this helps someone out or gives them something to ask their doctor about. Or at least helps them relax during an episode. I know it would have helped me yesterday to know about this. Feeling like you're going insane with no one around to help is a terrifying feeling.

June 9, 2016 - 10:41pm


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