Migraine with Aura

Written on:September 7, 2011
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I have off and on for years had migraines but a few years ago they changed in how I got them and the frequency in which I got them.  I used to get the run of the mill kind, by letting myself get dehydrated or stressing about things too much. Or when my kids were small, not getting enough sleep.  Then one day I was in a store and had the strangest thing happen.  I had been having a stressful day I will say that but nothing too awful.  Then without warning  I started feeling like my eyesight was weird, as if things around me were blurring and brighter somehow.  I had a tingleing feeling in my face. My arms and hands felt numb.  Then I had black spots in front of me. This was followed by one of the worst migraines I had ever had.  A sharp pain on the right side of my head.  I was certain this was it, I must be having a stroke! 

 I left the store and since I lived very near drove myself home, looking back on this I realize had it been a stroke this would have been a really stupid thing to do!  But drive I did and by the time I reached home I was in terrible pain, so much so that my husband took me right over to the ER.  After several hours of tests and something for the pain that made me no longer care what was going on, they told me a had suffered from a migraine with an aura, or ocular migraine.  I had never heard of this before. 

When I went for my follow up with a neurologist she told me to start keeping track of anything I ate before a migraine came on.  I now suffer from migraines on a regular basis and have become very aware of everything I eat or drink because of this.  If you have ever had a  migraine you know how awful they are.

Some things I have found to be sure triggers, artificial sweeteners of any kind, one bite or sip of something with them in it will have me out the next day.  Depending on how much I have accidently ingested it can be anywhere from hours to days of pain that follow.

My migraines don’t always have an aura with them nor do I always get a migraine after an aura has happened.  This I have learned is how it works for most people who have these kinds of migraines. 

I find if I am in stores or other places with a lot of fluresent lighting I will get the aura. Again, not always followed by a migraine, but I usually try not to stick around the place long enough to let it get there.  Sometimes I have noticed I will get the aura a few times over a few days then the migraine will finally hit.

I found what I think are good sites for migraines in general and one of them has a section on migraines with aura that was helpful. ,

Migraines can really mess with your life.  They can come on without any warning and ruin your plans.  I guess in a weird way the aura helps me know what is coming.  At those times when I get the aura and it is not followed by the pain it is a pleasant surprise. 

I highly recommend keeping track of what you eat and drink to help find and avoid triggers.  This has helped me a great deal to avoid migraines.  For example I have a friend who is very weight conscious and she very often uses artificial sweeteners in her cooking.  Sometimes in dishes I would not even think would have it, like salad.  I now know I just have to be forward and ask before I eat anything at her house.  Otherwise I know, the next day I will awake with a horrible migraine and most of my day will be shot, not to mention the awful pain I will have to deal with. 

Another thing I have found to be a trigger is being in any kind of bright light for too long.  This includes natural sunlight.  Strong perfumes or smells can kick start them as well.  The more you understand about migraines the more likely it is you can avoid them at least some of the time.

Best wishes for a migraine free day to you!

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