The Big Day

As I mentioned in my Getting Started post, June 16th, 2018 was a life-changing day for me.  It was not life-changing in a positive way, but rather in a very negative way. Allow me to kind of set the scene and lay out the picture. I was taking a six week Summer course, Microbiology and Immunology. The class is required to get into nursing school and trust me it was not an easy course. It was three and a half hours long for four days a week. I had to memorize bacteria, fungi, parasites, and what symptoms they presented with, how to test for them, and how they can be treated. It was a lot, but I was actually enjoying the class, until one day. It was the last test of the semester before the final, and I felt really confident. The tests were usually only about 20-25 questions long, and you had 25 minutes to complete the test. For this test, one question asked to write each step of the Acid Fast Stain. The last step is to apply the counterstain called MethyIMG_0151lene Blue. I know there are a lot of scientific terms, but for reference, I had been working with Methylene Blue for the past several weeks, and it was not something I should forget how to spell. When I reached that question, I wrote “Methylene,” but then all the sudden I could not figure out how to spell ‘blue.’ Blue, a word I learned how to spell in elementary school, but I could not figure out how to spell it. I turned my test over to see if the word blue was written somewhere on the other side and it was, but when I went to copy it onto the other question I could not write, my hand would not do what my brain wanted it to do, and then all the sudden I could not read and all the words on the page looked like a different language. I put my pencil down and began moving my hands, clenching and straightening them out over and over again, but I could not get my left hand to do what my right hand was doing. My legs were numb and tingly. The professor must have seen this, and she came over and took my test away from me. I went into the hall, able to walk just fine, but I felt like I was in a foreign place and had no clue what was going on. My vision had black spots, something I never experienced before. I stayed out of class for about 30 minutes and when I tried to go back I was still unable to take notes, was very confused about what was going on, but I just sat there. That specific class day was essential because we had to do a lab where we were given an unlabeled specimen and had to run tests to guess what it was. As soon as I got it I knew what it was and I knew that if I put it on a clear agar plate that it would grow black, but instead I picked up a black plate thinking it would turn clear. I was lost, confused, and my left side could not do what my right side was doing. I do not remember driving home that day or even how I got in my car, but when I got home I remember calling my Mom saying “I think I just had a stroke.” But then I remembered learning about complex migraines and how they can present like a stroke, it was odd though I was not having any headache pain. My Mom called my neurologist and I went and got Botox the next day to see if that would help. It did not. The next day is when the real pain started. I could not look at my phone or put the lights on because it caused intense pain, I was unable to listen to music or watch TV because the visual and the sound were just too much. My neurologist recommended that I do Zofran, Benadryl, and Ibuprofen or Cambia as a three-part ‘cocktail’ a modified version of what they would do in the Emergency Room. We tried that for four days, but I could not take the pain anymore, and we were off to the ER.

I had never experienced a migraine like this before, I was in so much pain it made all my other migraines feel like nothing, I was having migraine symptoms I had never known about such as visual changes, ringing in my ears and extreme sensitivity to sound. My head hurt so bad I was throwing up and felt like I could not move. My first and I hope my only Complex Migraine happened in school and I was terrified. June 16th was the beginning of a journey I was not prepared for, a migraine like no other that currently (December 27th) I am still battling. I will continue to share my story and how this all plays out. There were many hospital visits, numerous doctors, and some crazy treatments that will soon be shared.

  • Complex Migraine can mean many thing but in my case it was referred to as a Hemiplegic Migraine which is defined as “a rare type of migraine headache. Like other migraines, hemiplegic migraine causes intense and throbbing pain, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound. It also causes temporary weakness, numbness and tingling, and paralysis on one side of the body. These symptoms start before the headache.

New Medications Mentioned: 

  • Zofran: (ondansetran) a 5-ht3 antagonist that “blocks the actions of chemicals in the body that can trigger nausea and vomiting.”
  • Benadryl: (Diphenhydramine) is an “antihistamine that reduces the effects of natural chemical histamine in the body. Histamine can produce symptoms of sneezing, itching, watery eyes, and runny nose. Benadryl is used to treat sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, hives, skin rash, itching and other cold or allergy symptoms.”

2 thoughts on “The Big Day

  1. I’ve read all that you have written and can’t wait to read more. I started having complex migraines at 7 years old. I think it is just awesome that you are sharing your story with us. You will help so many people. Your words brought back some memories of my migraines before preventatives and the meds that stop a migraine from way back in the 70s. I loved that you shaved your head!! And kudos to mom for letting you do it! : )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really appreciate this. I just want to share my story and journey with others, the same way you are doing. Mom was not a huge fan of me shaving my head, but she understood so she let me do it!

      Liked by 1 person

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