Sunday, October 9, 2011

Migraine Headaches

I was 13 years old when I had my first migraine headache.  It happened while I was walking home from football practice one afternoon.  I noticed something strange about my field of vision.  There were  bright squiggly lines wherever I looked and I couldn't see everything that I was supposed to.  It lasted for about 30 minutes and really scared me.  I have since learned that that period of visual disturbance is called an aura.  My migraines always start with an aura that lasts for 30 minutes.  Since that first time, I have had migraines about six times per year.  Sometimes more often, sometimes less often.  I had one when I was learning Korean in Hawaii on my mission, but didn't have another one for my whole mission.  Almost two years with no migraine. When I got home from my mission they started up again.

Migraine headaches are hereditary, so some of you my get them.  My dad and brother both get them.  Hannah gets them, and Abby has had a few.  I think Kathy gets them once in a while too.  For me, they start with a small area of squiggly lines in my visual field on one side (sometimes the right side and sometimes the left side).  This gets bigger and moves across my field of vision until it disappears after a half an hour.  Sometimes this is followed by numbness in my fingers (on the same side as the visual problem) that spreads up my hand to my arm and sometimes to my face.  Sometimes I have a short period when it is difficult to get the right words out of my mouth when I want to speak.  Then for the next day or so I have a dull headache (for me the headache isn't that bad).  Though it sounds kind of scary, it isn't that bad.  In between headaches I am totally normal (well, as normal as I can be), and I am only bothered for that short period when I have the aura (Kathy calls it an "eye thing').  I went to a neurologist once and he told me I had "let down" migraines.  That is, they happen after a period of stress when I am winding down.  Because of this, the visual aura has rarely made it so I couldn't do something important at work.

I wanted to let you know about this in case it starts happening to you.  If it does you should tell your parents and they will know what to do to help you.  You don't need to hide it or worry about it.