Hemiplegic migraines – not a stroke

Exam from neurologist has preliminary diagnosis as hemiplegic migraine for me. I had no idea my brain could do this. Its completely fascinating all while being completely terrifying and debilitating.

Here’s a great blog devoted to it so I don’t have to type so much.


excerpyt “Hemiplegic Migraine (HM, a hemi), is a rare and complicated form of migraine disease where sufferers have temporary paralysis, among other dramatic dysfunctional symptoms similar to a stroke, spinal meningitis, and a LSD trip (so I hear) all coming together for temporary misery, typically on one side of the body.  After too many attacks or over a very a severe attack the HM’er can have muscle atrophy, permanent loss of function, experience a stroke, have a coma or die.”

“It is believed that in this process of calcium/ionic imbalance that the brain cells are hyper-stimulated and then suppressed by a phenomenon called a Cortical Spreading Depression.  This is not depression like, a mood, or hormonal imbalance in the brain, but this is thought to be a reaction to a trigger, or something that irritates the brain, one cell get’s overly stimulated and does a little high energy “jig” then he shares his happy energy with the next, cell, as he passes it on, he get’s drained and overly tired.  This little hyper/exhausted relay spreads from one cell out  rhythmically across the whole brain, effecting every cell.  This of it like a drop of water spreading, and the ripple spread out in ring like waves. All of this electrical activity causes all the of the chaos and exhaustion that the HM’er suffers through. It also affects things we cannot see like the hormones in the brain, which affect a persons mood.  This chemical change makes the person change involuntarily, and even the most positive person can become suicidal.”

“Symptoms that May Emerge During a HM Attack – I crossed off ones I have not had yet

Remember all are temporary, unless complications occur, most symptoms are usually on only one side of the body, and the *ed ones are very rare, and typically happen in only a few genetic strains of HM, not all HM’ers are susceptible.

  • Syncope (passing out)
  • Paralysis, 1 or more limbs at a time or alternating
  • Facial tingling
  • Spinal swelling and discomfort
  • Swelling of limbs, neck, spine or face
  • No feeling at all
  • Muscle cramps
  • Aversion to light
  • Wavy Lines in vision
  • Rippled effect in vision
  • Sparkly vision
  • Alice in Wonderland Vision (warped, altered shaped, tunnel, zigzagged)
  • Blind spots in vision
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Tearing or dry eyes
  • The horizon line of the floor/earth can tip from 10 degrees to completely upside down
  • Reduced  or inability to hear
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Vertigo
  • Seizures*
  • Coma*
  • Stroke*
  • Reduced smell and taste
  • Increased smells to the point of very offensive
  • Dog like powers of smell
  • Inability to speak
  • Slurring
  • Confusion mentally
  • Difficulty processing language
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Craving Carbs, Fats or Junk Foods
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive but scant urination (like a need to go every 1 minute)
  • Very sensitive skin or scalp
  • Runny or congested nose
  • Hot flashes followed by extreme chills, cold to the bone
  • Cold limbs
  • Unusual emotional reactions (burst out in tears, shouting, irritated, depressed, etc)
  • Throbbing head
  • Neck muscle pain
  • Nodules in muscles (starting at the base of the head and spreading downward) that are hard balls, that are painful
  • Difficulty with deep inhalation
  • Excessive yawning
  • Mild chest pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Joint pain
  • exhaustion after
  • elation after

Wow. This sure sound like me. Maybe this is the answer to so much of my suffering throught the years. Sure h ope it doesnt progress to the ones I crossed off.

Feeling so much better today than yesterday. still have some head pain, but the brick is no longer crushing my skull. Some tremor and weakness in right arm and leg but I’m getting around without holding onto stuff today.

Meds I’m on now:

medrol – methylprednisolone – steroid

zanaflex – muscle realxer – CNS depressant

gabapentin – antiepilectic/anticonvulsant – calms nerve endiongs

I worked more today and now I’m afraid to overdo it and going to ly down.


One thought on “Hemiplegic migraines – not a stroke

  1. Somehow saying it’s good news doesn’t sound quite right. It is hopeful in that at least you know you aren’t crazy. Praying you find some useful answers.

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