Good Afternoon Warriors, I hope you are all having a decent weekend so far. I wanted to share my recent experience of a hemiplegic migraine with you and encourage you in the process.
As you’re are likely already aware, I have been suffering with chronic migraine for a number of years now. If you want more on my backstory of my journey, check out the page My Story
Some of you may have seen that I posted a message on twitter, facebook and instagram, highlighting that I experienced a hemiplegic migraine attack for the first time on Friday.
SO what happened?
Well I had been fighting off a migraine that had been lurking since the beginning of the week. I was quite successful in praying it away until Wednesday evening. It felt like an annoying – but normal headache. I figured it would have softened to a manageable level by the time I woke up on Thursday. However, that wasn’t the case…
I first woke up about 2 hours before my usual time. I felt EXTREMELY hot! I assumed it was because of the weather and attributed it to that. Thus, I spritzed myself with water and went back to sleep. When it was time to get up, I had woken up in a nightmare; the whole left side of my body was dead. My face, arm and torso couldn’t move. I felt an excruciating pain in my arm, as well as an intense throbbing in the left side of my head. This was extremely out of the ordinary for me because most of my migraine attacks usually take place on the RIGHT side of my head, or across the whole of my frontal lobe.Â My breath was also short and I was struggling to breathe.
Was I having a stroke? No I couldn’t be…I remember reading something about migraines being closely linked to strokes. About people having migraines that felt like a stroke…or people having a stroke that felt like a migraine…or was it about people having what they THOUGHT was a migraine, when really they were having a stroke? GOSH I COULDN’T REMEMBER!
So I panicked.
All rational thought had dispersed and I knew I wasn’t thinking clearly, so I dragged myself to my sister’s room next door. God is good because he used my sister. She helped me to calm down. She praised God and prayed to him for me when I couldn’t catch enough breath to do it myself. Once I calmed down, I was able to focus on putting my trust in God to sort the situation out.
By the end of the day, the feeling in my hand returned. But that was about it. In my head I wondered if I should go to the hospital, but I decided there was no point – I was already in enough pain and struggling to do anything. How on earth was I going to get dressed, go to the hospital and sit underneath blinding lights and crazy noise (remember I’m hypersensitive to BOTH) for countless hours, only to be given paracetamol? Paracetamol doesn’t even work for me anyway!
The following day I was still in a lot of pain, and my arm/torso still felt like it was being tormented with pins and needles. The only description I could give at the time was “my arm felt like it wasn’t a part of my body anymore, like it was a separate body of it’s own”. It has been three days since it started and my arm still feels a bit disconnected sometimes, like it’s an add on.
After doing loads of research, I came to find out what I had experienced was a hemiplegic migraine: which are more rare than other types of migraines (according to the medical sites I’ve read). They differ greatly from the migraines I usually experience. The articles I read highlighted that they usually happen as a result of a mutated gene. They also pointed out that it sometimes takes people days for their body to fully recover and feel normal again after such attacks. So I’m keeping my head up and trusting God that it will pass. That I won’t have to experience this again. But I am reminded that if I was to experience such an attack again, God will be with me just the same. After all, he promised in the bible that he would never leave me nor forsake me. He also promised that he will be with me during the difficult times;
“…listen to the Lord who created you…I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”
Warriors, what I experienced was frightening and made it very easy for me to panic. However after some time of reflection, I realised something; it’s important to have an anchor. That anchor is what pulls you down. It helps you to regain your senses and to think clearly when you are panicking. That anchor is the person you can trust to be 100% honest with you because they only ever have your best interest at heart. Now God essentially is the one who keeps you sane, upright and enables you to bounce back during situations that wreak havoc on your life. That being said, he will also place people around you to anchor you down and talk sense into you. Those people for me are essentially my sister and my mum.
Pain warriors, I encourage you to figure out who your anchors are – the people who you run to in times of need when you aren’t thinking clearly. They don’t always have to be people who are around you physically. For some of you, they might be people who you contact straight away online or via the phone. They might be friends or even colleagues who you work with. Once you have that individual in mind, take a moment to give thanks for those people. They have your back. If you feel like you don’t have one, trust that you will get one eventually, even if its through the spoonie communities online – that’s absolutely okay. Because that anchor will understand your struggle better than anybody else!
We all need someone to anchor us down when we are losing grip of everything. I urge you to hold on to your anchors, because they hold on to you.
If you think you may have experienced a hemiplegic migraine before and you’re not sure, I do urge you to get yourself checked out – because if it is, it can be very dire and need to be diagnosed as soon as possible as their symptoms mimic strokes. Check out the Migraine Trust website for more information https://www.migrainetrust.org/about-migraine/types-of-migraine/hemiplegic-migraine/
Have a great weekend warriors. I’ll be sharing my update about my chronic life journey in the next few days!