I’ve suffered from headaches since high school and they’ve always been rather severe but I had never really classified them as migraines. I just took an ibuprofen or Advil or whatever medication I could get my hands on at the time and tried to get through the day. As I got older and had my Kiddies they intensified in severity and frequency. It was then I started taking Excedrine Migraine even though I’d never gone to a doctor to have them diagnosed as that.
It was after my second Kiddie that they began to be more of a hinderance and interference in my actual day-to-day life. The headaches were so intense I would have to lay down, lights off and very little sound for hours at a time. My Hubby told me they were not normal headaches. I said okay but fear kept me from going to a doctor. Has anyone ever have a feeling that something may be more than what you are admitting it to be yet you simply push that to the side and try to keep going? Yeah that was me.
The fear was stemming from the fact that when I was a teenager my father had been admitted to the hospital for an aneurism and ended up having major brain surgery. When my grandmother took me to see him I remembered seeing him with his entire head shaved and wrapped in gauze. I was completely freaked out. As an adult I found out he’d actually walked himself to the ER after experiencing a severe headache and just knowing something “wasn’t right”. When he got there they ran tests, diagnosed the aneurism and he had emergency surgery to correct it. I also found out from my Aunts that he suffered from these headaches all throughout his life. Hearing this just made me even more fearful. Yet instead of sending me straight towards a doctor’s office it actually kept me further away. That is until one day…
It was maybe 3 months after I had my youngest Kiddie. I was home alone with him and my Girlies who were only 1 and 2 at the time. I had gotten up with a pretty intense headache behind my left eye and had taken maybe 3 800mg ibuprofen within a 4 hour time frame with no true relief. I was trying to lay down as much as possible yet with all three Kiddies that was close to impossible. The baby, still a newborn was demanding my attention and my breast constantly and I felt close passing out. I tried eating something but was so nauseous I could barely stand. Every time I leaned over or reached for something I would get a major head rush. I was seeing flashes of lights in my vision. I had just placed the baby in his playpen and say on the edge of my bed when my entire left side went numb and tingly. At nearly the same time I felt a piercing pain in the left side of my head. I immediately thought I was having a stroke. My Girlies were upstairs watching TV, my Teenagers were at school, my Hubby was at work and I was home alone. I starting praying. I called on God and asked him to please spare me and not let me die with my Kiddies here. I didn’t want to leave them or to find me. I think I must have blacked out for a while because I don’t remember anything for a bit. The next thing I remember was waking up on the floor next to my son’s playpen. I know I was sitting on the bed before. When I tell you I was scared. I can’t even express it in words. Just writing this now makes me emotional. The thought of my Kiddies possibly finding me like that is simply too much.
I immediately called my Hubby who came home. I explained to him what happened but I still didn’t truly give all the details because…honestly I was still scared I was dying or something. I know stupid right? Why not tell everything? I was so scared I was having whatever had happened to my father I just didn’t want to scare him without reason. Have you ever kept back information from a spouse because you thought you were protecting them? Yet, my Hubby being who he is and a trained soldier with medical experience I think he knew there was more to it than what I was telling him. He watched me really closely thereafter. I did tell him I needed to make a doctor’s appointment ASAP which we did. we actually went to the Acute Care Clinic the next morning (ACU). The doctor there diagnosed it as a Tension Headache and prescribed me a muscle relaxer and more ibuprofen. Deep down I knew this was not right. The headache was just too intense. I wasn’t tense prior to it happening and they had been too frequent. If a doctor gives you a diagnosis and you gut tells you there’s more…follow your gut.
My Hubby helped me contact another doctor and get in to see a Neurologist. Once I saw him and explained what occurred and my history. I even opened up about my father’s history. At this point the fear of my Kiddies not having me went beyond any fear I had of anything else. He told me that what he felt I had experienced was called a Hemipalegic Migraine which explained my numbness the aura or white lights I used to see prior and during my headaches and a lot of the other symptoms I had. Simply hearing someone tell me what it was and that it wasn’t stroke was such a relief and a release. I felt like a weight was lifted off me. He scheduled an MRI just to be sure I had no blockages within my brain or needs to worry about possible aneurism. In the meantime he gave me a combination of prescriptions to combat the migraines when I felt one coming on (a mix of ibuprofen and Tylenol).
My next hurdle to conquer was the actual MRI. I went in knowing that I didn’t particularly care for enclosed spaces but I didn’t think it would be that big a deal. the neurologist had asked me if I needed anything to relax me in order to do it and I said I didn’t think so. Boy was I wrong. The MRI Operator placed me on the table and began strapping me down and laid the heavy blanket over me (the one that protects you from the radiation) and immediately my heart began racing and I felt like if I didn’t jump off the table I was going to absolutely loose my mind! I told her I felt really anxious her reply “Well, I have other patients behind you so are you going to be able to do this or not?” Really Lady!! No bedside manner whatsoever! Yet I felt I had to try to push my way through it. She went on to tell me I wouldn’t get another appointment for a month so I told her I would try. Have you ever allowed others to push you into doing something you knew you weren’t ready to do? As the table slid into the tunnel I felt like I was going to explode. I literally felt like my body was going to jump out of the restraints whether I wanted to or not. She’d given me a panic button and before I could help it I was pressing it as if my life depended on it mainly because I honestly felt like it did! I could barely control my breathing. I was hyperventilating. I got out of there so fast. I called the doctor and he calmed me down and said he would reschedule it and prescribe me a Valium to get me through the procedure. He also fast tracked the rescheduling and I was back in the MRI office within a week. This time the experience was totally different. I took the Valium 20 minutes prior and by the time I was placed on the table I was asleep as she restrained me and she had to wake me up when it was over.
When I met with the neurologist for the MRI results I was relieved to find out that I had no signs of any constrictions which meant no aneurisms. He suggested yearly MRIs simply based on my family history. He then gave me Elavil as a preventative medicine for the Hemipalegic Migraines and said to maintain the ibuprofen/Tylenol mix should a migraine actually occur. This all happened while we were stationed in Hawaii. The Elavil was a mild medication he gave because I was still nursing my son once I arrive stateside and stopped nursing I switched to a stronger preventative called Topamax which works very well. My migraines have decreased significantly. I’ve also learned how to lessen the frequency of my headaches with my diet and my water and salt intake and by controlling my stress levels.
In telling my migraine story, I hope to help someone reading this realize you can’t let fear keep you from facing reality. That fear may cause you a damage that can’t be repaired, fortunately my story had a happy ending but it could have been a lot different.
This is not a sponsored post…Excedrin did not compensate me in anyway and these are my own opinions