I cannot tell you all how wonderful it was to find this forum today! I was so scared, and I had all but resigned myself to the fact that I had a brain tumor. But countless posters here have described almost exactly what I have been going through. It's amazing how much it can help to know that someone else has been through identical experiences, and lived to tell about it.
I started having migraines when I was around 14. They were CLASSIC. Blind spot, shimmery lightning bolts, then pain on one side of my head, nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and extreme irritability. They would last several hours, and slowly wear off, leaving me tired and "drug out" for the rest of the day. Usually I would feel pretty normal the next day. Everyone on my dad's side of the family, including his sisters and other children, get migraines like these, to varying degrees. As the years went by, they got more frequent, until when I was around 17, I got one two days in a row. I couldn't stand it anymore. I went to the doctor, and he immediately diagnosed "classic migraine with aura" and prescribed Propranolol LA 80mg. I started taking it every night, and immediately stopped having them. For the next six years or so, I only had about one a year. Then I started getting bad headaches, which I wouldn't quite describe as migraines. My doctor recommended increasing my dosage anyway. At that time, there were only two strengths, so we went up to 160mg. I stayed on that until about a year ago, and actually had even less migraines, down to even less than one a year. When I would get them, I could barely even call them migraines. I would get a very bright aura, and a blind spot, which would last almost exactly 20 minutes, and then it would disappear suddenly, leaving me with little more than a mild ache, which Advil easily kicked.
Then last year, my doctor noticed that my blood pressure was low, which of course it always is on a beta blocker. She recommended that I lower my dosage to the new 120mg strength. I was hesitant to mess with a good thing, but I decided to try it. I was ok for awhile, but I did notice that I got a couple migraines during that time, still very mild, so I accepted it.
A couple weeks ago, I got a migraine as usual. It went away as usual, no real trouble. Then a few days later, I got another one. Not cool. It is not normal for me to get them that frequently. That one didn't quite go away as completely as usual. It left a lingering ache for the rest of that day, and I woke up feeling horrible in the morning. I thought it was my imagination, but I also noticed a little bit of tingling and numbness in my left pinky and hand. It got better through the day, but the next morning the ache was back. It felt like a hangover, actually, so I drank some water and went back to bed. When I woke up, I felt great! Not a trace of any symptoms. I thought I had discovered the problem - I was dehydrated! I drank a bunch of water that day, thinking I would feel even better the next morning. Wrong. I woke up with a migraine instead. The numbness and tingling was back, too. Now I was starting to get really worried. I am a military contractor, so I can't just go to the doctor. If they get the idea I have something wrong neurologically, I might just end up fired. So I stuck it out. But there were other symptoms, too. I was confused, disoriented, nauseous, irritable - none of which I usually get with my migraines since I started taking the meds. And it wasn't just the 20 minutes before the migraine, either. It seemed to be totally random - constant headache, trouble sleeping, slight feelings of numbness, confusion, trying to think of a word and having it come out wrong in my head. I was so scared.
I had a few of my old 160mg Propranolol in my room, so out of desperation, I took one two nights ago. That night I slept like a baby, and woke up feeling perfect. I stayed feeling perfect all day. The problem was, I only had four left, and it takes almost a week for mail to reach us here. I have had someone send me a new prescription, but I still have to wait for it to get here. So I decided to alternate the 120mg and the 160mg until they arrive. That meant last night I had to take the 120mg. I didn't think it would be that big a difference, but I woke up in the middle of the night last night terrified, because I now had numbness in my face, my foot, my tongue, and my hand. I couldn't think clearly, and had trouble even dialing a phone number. When I spoke, it was hard to keep the words straight. This was about the time I decided I had a brain tumor. I didn't really have that bad of a headache, and no visual aura, but the other symptoms were horrible. It gradually wore off, leaving me feeling tired, thick headed, and basically "out of it".
When I got to work today, I decided to look up my symptoms, and that was when I found this forum. I can't tell you how great it is to find out that these bizarre and frightening symptoms are still part of my migraines, even though they are unpleasant. From some of your posts, it seems that it is not uncommon for someone to develop new facets to their migraines, like numbness or confusion. Now I just have to get through the next week or so until my meds arrive, and hope that it keeps them at bay from now on, as it has in the past. I know how fortunate I am that it works at all. I feel for all of you who are not so lucky. Thank you, thank you, for sharing your stories! Hang in there, and don't give up! If you have not tried a beta blocker, at least give it a try. If it works for you, it will be more precious than gold. I know it is to me!!