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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Migraine with Aura

So I guess I get migraines now!

I've often wondered if I've had them in the past because I've had some doozy headaches, but yesterday I saw these pretty spinning sparkly circles about 15 mins before my headache started which I guess pretty much means they are migraines.

I think I'm fortunate as far as migraine sufferers go, I just need to drink a bunch of water and sleep for a few hours to get rid of the headache. And I'm blessed with the ability to fall asleep anytime anywhere. Plus those auras are kinda cool to watch once you know they will go away.

I found this website where people have posted animations of what their auras look like. I think its an interesting connection to art. Mine are kinda like the video below but are sparkly, like the sun shining through thin shards of ice, and are snow-flake shaped.

Lots of people are blogging and commenting that these occur when they are dehydrated - that coincides with my experience. I got my headache last night immediately after an intense yoga class in a HOT room where I was sweating a lot.


Blogger dignature said...

Welcome to the party. I wish mine didn't feel like they are causing lasting damage or that my brain is sloshing towards one side of my head, but Ce la Vie.
In sitting down with my neurologist she said, "What we look for on the MRI are large white blobs near the frontal lobes..." Looking at mine I see a bunch of small white blobs. "What about these?" I say. "Oh those. We don't know what those are except that most migraine sufferers have them..." Dandy. From what I understand of MRI, white is lack of substance. Little holes in my head. I need those like a hole in the head, as my Mom would say.
My aura is more like tunnel vision with crispies around the edges. My real defining characteristic that I am going to have one is that I get what I call a "Brain Slosh" also known as a "bruie" I am told. When I move my eyes to their edge of vision, it sounds like a wave breaking inside my head. Cool, no?
Are you super light sensitive? Does the bright winter light & reflection add to the problem? Do you get weird pains, "noises" during eye movement?
Dehydration can definitely be a factor, and for me a lot of camera work and squinting doesn't help.
Thanks for sharing, sorry to hear it, but I wish you the best. At least you now know more about your issues.

09 December, 2008  
Blogger Zeolite said...

Wow - crazy, luckily I have no eye movement noises or light sensitivity.

I had a brain scan a while back for an unrelated deal and they didn't see any blobs - I talked the techs into letting me see the unanalyzed image and I didn't see any blobs either.

I've only had two aura episodes so I'm not totally sure what causes them yet. At least its nice to know I'm in good company. :)

09 December, 2008  
Blogger dignature said...

I was thinking about your post the other day and it reminded me of a New York Times article that my wife pointed me to:

It is about the patterns within aura, very interesting.

Also, your comment "At least its nice to know I'm in good company" rang a bell (heh) with another article I read from the times about migraines and creativity:

"Annie Gosfield, an eminent composer, asks whether migraines are commoner in artists; Andrew asks if there is any relation to high intellectual capacity. Those of us who are migraineurs would like to think so, but I do not think there is any strong evidence for this. But when migraines and creativity do co-exist, there may be complex and highly individual interactions between them, as Gosfield brings out in her fascinating self-observations. And while all sorts of new medications and other methods of dealing with migraines now exist (for migraines are, of course, physiological events, with increasingly well-understood mechanisms), it may be necessary to look at the role of migraines in people’s lives, in the whole economy of an individual life.

I once had a patient who was a highly creative mathematician with severe weekly migraines. These would start in the middle of the week, and be excruciating by the weekend. But on Sunday evening, the pain and misery would drain away, leaving a vivid sense of refreshment and creative renewal, and he did his best mathematical work on Mondays and Tuesdays. I prescribed him medication to prevent the migraines, thinking that he would now have seven migraine-free days a week for creative work, but he soon came back to me and reported that his creativity, along with his migraines, had ceased entirely. He apparently “needed” his migraines in some complex, strange way."

You might read some of the blog there, the author Oliver Sacks, is well-versed on migraines and has written a popular book:

Interesting stuff.

12 December, 2008  
Blogger dignature said...

Hmmm, looks like blogger is truncating my link. Try this:

12 December, 2008  
Blogger Zeolite said...

I just got around to reading that article today - super interesting - I love the art it links too. But there is just some weird quality to the actual experience that can't be replicated that well on paper it seems... Thanks a lot for the link!

16 December, 2008  

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