Posted 11/1/2011 11:05 AM (GMT -7)
Hello, everyone! New to the site and excited to finally have found such a supportive and informative resource!
I am a 44 yr. old male who has had "normal" migraines (preceding aura, light sensitivity, ice-pick in the head) for about 15 yr's now. Debilitating when they happen but only about 4 or 5 a year.
In June of last year, however, I had my first complex migraine with stroke like symptoms (confusion, drooping right side of face and weakness in left arm and leg, as well as some lingering confusion, slight memory loss and the constant smell of lake water). I was taken to the local ER, given blood thinners and flown by EMS helicopter to the Mayo ER. A myriad of tests came back negative for stroke, diabetes or any heart problems). These symptoms persisted for about 2 days and I was back to work as a mechanic at a canning factory until about 2 weeks later when it happened again. This time I was given a "clot buster" and flown to Mayo again. I was kept in the Intensive Care Unit for 2 days and had a team of neurologists pour over me. It was at this time that I was given the diagnosis of complex migraines and put on Verapamil.
I should maybe point out here that I also take Welbutrin and Cymbalta for clinical depression, Synthroid for hypothyroidism, Lipitor for high cholesterol and over the counter medicine daily for acid reflux.
I also have a few "red-flags" concerning my health. 1) I have always had a somewhat low blood pressure (105/62 on average). Since these complex migraines started, it has elevated somewhat to something more mid-line. Also, when I was being transported in the helicopter those 2 times, I felt a bit of relief (possibly due to the pressure change?). 2) When I was found to have high cholesterol, the lab re-tested my blood 3 times because neither they nor my doctor had ever heard of a level so high - it was in the 700's. The Lipitor has been keeping it in the 200 range. 3) I have been diagnosed with a rare sleeping disorder called Catiphrenia (not sure if I spelled that correctly). It is like apnea but rather than exhaling and not breathing in, I inhale and groan or whine as I slowly exhale. This causes a lot of back-pressure in my chest and head. I know this because it wakes me up at times and I can feel it as I re-create the conditions when I am awake with the help of my wife.
Anyway, all seemed to be well and I was back to work. Then in January of this year, I had another complex migraine. This time I did not go to the doctor. I took some extra strength Tylenol and Ibuprofen and tried to sleep it off at home. This was fine for the most part, since all of the symptoms except for the left-sided weakness subsided on their own. The left-sided weakness continued to an extent that I was off work for 6 months. During this time, I went through physical therapy, saw 2 separate neurologists referred by my family physician, and also met with both a psychologist and a psychiatrist a few times (I was looking for answers and if it was all in my head, which I knew was a possibility with the depression, so be it. At least I would know where it was coming from.) The psychologist just gave me a more positive outlook on the situation, and the psychiatrist said that this was NOT "in my head". One neurologist, after a 10 minute exam, said that it WAS psycho-somatic (seeming to jump to this conclusion after I told him that I thought this may be a possibility given my depression). The other neurologist, even after looking over the first neurologists findings, after doing some more tests said that these symptoms were due not to a lack of blood flow to a part of the brain (like with a stroke), but to a lack of the bloods ability to get the necessary nutrients to a part of the brain. This neurologist changed the dosage of my Verapamil. This was the first change in my treatment since the initial diagnosis 10 months prior.
So the use of my arm and leg slowly came back and I went back to work in June. Things were going well until one day in August when I had another one. This time, most of the confusion was replaced by not being able to find words. The only way I could communicate was by drawing pictures and hand signals (one-handed). I was transported to a larger hospital, kept overnight, had some more tests done, met with another neurologist and released returning to work the next day.
Things were OK until last week after having left work early for a "normal" migraine. I went home, took a nap and was better that evening. I went to bed that night and the next thing I remember is sitting in my car, in a corn field with a deputy sheriff pounding on the window. I could not speak or use or feel my left side. An ambulance was called and I was treated and released from a local ER. The memory of sitting in the corn field came back to me later but the rest of it is a blank.
All of my faculties have come back now except for my left side. I am pretty much back to where I was in January only now I am scared to step out of the house let alone drive. I am not able to go back to work again. I have an appointment in December with a neurologist specializing in sleep disorders at the Mayo clinic. My family physician is trying to get that appointment moved up and I am putting almost all of my hope into that.
I don't know what else to do or where to turn. ANY feedback would be appreciated!