Weird Neurology and Flashing Lights!

2 Apr

Most of you have figured out by now that I am quite random, to the point of being ADD!

In fact, I am convinced that, had I been scrutinized by today’s standards, I would have been put on ADD medication back in school.  As it was, since I just drifted and daydreamed, then passed all my tests with A’s, everyone back then left me alone.  I turned out to be my class valedictorian, amidst intense competition, so obviously I could focus when I was after a goal I really wanted.

So this may be the most random post ever.  It has no intent other than to commisserate with thousands of others who have alternate neurology!

You see, I have also inherited a tendency to silent migraines (thank God, no headache follows my auras!!!) from my mom.  My eyes are the vulnerable spot in my body where all of my stress and/or diseases seem to show up first.  

I first noticed the alternate neurology when I was ready to give birth to my son.  A month out from my due date, I was walking back to my desk from the Exchange cafeteria on base and noticed that the atmosphere was shimmering in far more than the normal way the sun would shine on a sunny day.  

Since I was still wearing my contacts, against my doctor’s advice in late pregnancy, I chalked this phenomenon up to my naughtiness.   

Still, I thought I had better call the clinic just to be sure.

They wanted me to come straight in.  I went in after work.  They sent me to the naval hospital.  Three days later my labor was induced in the midst of pre-eclampsia, or the beginnings of toxemia.

Five years later, I was again hospitalized when I suddenly developed tunnel vision on the way to work at an oceanfront base.  Again, it was a sunny day and I thought my eyes were playing tricks.  A co-worker disagreed and drove me straight to the naval hospital.  

After three days of hospitalization and tests (MRI, CT scan) that were negative for strokes, I discovered in talking by phone with my mother, that she had long had a pattern of silent migraines.  

My doctor, upon hearing about my mother’s history, knew right away that I had inherited it.  He gently chided me, “Do you never speak to your mother???”

I then went through ten years with no issues.  Then in 2007, I suddenly began getting what is called the fortification phenomenon.  

For some people it signals the onset of a migraine.  For others of us, it stands alone as an aura.

A curved “C” of flashing lights, usually blue and orange, very crystalline, invades the side of my field of vision.  Normally for me, it is the left side (right brain, I guess).

In 2007, I had regular fortification phenomena that would last a half hour at a time until I was given a blood transfusion for anemia.  The phenomena stopped immediately.

Now they have begun again.  I have had about one a week for the past month.  I am a bit anemic but not enough to get a transfusion this time.  So I will need to up my consumption of spinach and other foods that have large amounts of iron.  

This time, they tend to be on the right of my field of vision, blocking things that are straight ahead of me there.  The other night at church, I had to stop playing in the orchestra by the third hymn because the wavy lines had spread enough to block out half of the music, no matter how I turned my head or eyes.

I am getting quite relaxed with this as it becomes my new normal.  Although an eye doctor does need to check me,  just in case, it appears to be a normal part of me, as it is normal in the lives of many of my friends.

In fact, my doctor, his wife, and their ten children all get it.

Inherited tendency, indeed. 

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One Response to “Weird Neurology and Flashing Lights!”

  1. Jennifer Morris April 3, 2013 at 1:53 AM #

    Mary you are a champ for all you do and over come! I am a sufferer from – you call yours silent migraines – screaming migraines, and I have been for 20 years. Recently my nutritionist friend recommended magnesium and B6 to be added to my diet. Since my preventative medicines took my migraines down from 3 or 4 a week to 1 or 2, the additions took them down to (ready for this) 2 or 3 a month! I still take some advil during the month – but nothing serious. Another “cure,” a spinal tap – that is only in my extreme cases.

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