Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pinwheel, Pinwheel, Spinning Around.

What's that saying? You don't know what you've got 'til it makes you run for hibernation and a fistful of Aleve?

I'm new to these "migraine" things. So new, in fact, that I've only ever had one before today and didn't quite have the warning signals down yet.

It started after I had gone for a brief walk outside my office building. My CGM showed a down arrow, which I managed to reroute thanks to a banana and some coffee. I was trying to catch up on some blog reading (specifically, I was trying to read this one) before my break was over, but I was experiencing a very noticeable distortion in my vision. It had a bunch of colors, and it was almost like the way colors "wave" around in a mirage. Except this one was moving in a pinwheel-like manner, and only on one side.

I looked through my pinwheel, and found that I couldn't see my right side worth a darn. For instance, if I was trying to read the page you're reading now, those glimmers of color would have been all over the "Blog Archive" list and anything east of it. But if I moved my eyes right to look directly at that list, I'd be able to see it and not what's to the right. And so on.

I was a little freaked out by it, but since I had been (and might still have been) dropping, I thought maybe it was my body's reaction to a low. A new symptom, but it could be related. Right?


Shortly after, the headache started creeping in like a painful fog, and I got a hint of Eau de Nauseous as well - the two things that had happened the last time I experienced what I could only assume was a migraine. The light sensitivity wasn't as pronounced this time, but I did have to leave work for the day and go crash for a few hours with the blinds shut.

Is this a new thing I'm going to keep having? Am I doing something to cause these? I may not have answers yet, but at least I'm now feeling well enough to start pursuing them.

Do any of you guys get migraines, too? Can you provide any insight for me, other than what I'm finding on the Mayo Clinic website?


  1. Hopefully this isn't something you have to deal with on a regular basis. I'm to the point where I have to take a med 2x/day for mine. Usually they're caused by hormones, specific foods (intolerance), and/or weather. Good luck!

  2. I went to the ER the first time I had one because I thought I was having a stroke. I'd been trying to put makeup on, and realized I couldn't see my face. Forty-five minutes later, I got it all: nausea, pain, everything.

    I did follow-up with my PCP (after I found out that I wasn't going to die), and he gave me a prescription in case any more migraines attack. It's basically just an anti-nausea make-you-sleep pill, which is fine with me.

    I don't have any words of advice, except "Yeah, it's scary." I'm lucky that I haven't gotten another one.

  3. I've only had a few migraines in my life, thankfully.

    Instead of the pinwheel of color, I get a pinwheel of "no-color".

    My first one was in high school in yearbook class. I was putting a design on graph paper and I noticed that I couldn't see any of the lines out of my right eye. About an hour later, I had a migraine.

    The pinwheel is going to be your sign. When you see it, take some meds and get in a dark room. You'll still get the migraine but it won't be quite as miserable.

  4. Yep, I've had a few. My first "pinwheel" was like a pulsing clear strobe light in the corner of my line of sight, which freaked me out so bad I walked right down to my opthamologist's office, even though I could barely see. (Luckily he was just a few blocks away at the time.) He told me I was having an "ocular migraine," and that it could be a precursor to the whole headache migraine kablammy. Several hours later, there it was. I have never gotten any specific Rx for it, just take ibuprofin w/ some caffeine (just like Excedrin) and wait it out. And I always test to make sure, but it's not BG-related for me. I hope you don't get any/many more!

  5. Always a good idea to see the doctor if you've been having migraines. They could be a sign of something worse.

  6. I hear you! Mine just ended last night, after two days and nights' worth of pulsating pain in the left side of my head. No pinwheel warning whatsoever, but a slight decrease in vision. And light and noise sensitivity. Ibuprofen only made it bearable. I also heard they have something to do with genetics, my grandmother used to have a lot of these. Hope you won't get another one.

  7. You're talking to the queen of migraines right here. I get them fairly regularly but most prominent in the fall. RIGHT NOW I'm on day 9 of Migraine hell. I don't get aura migraines (the kind you get).Aura migraines are the ones where it effects your vision. I get the aches, pain and nausea migraines. If you CAN get to a dark room, put a cold compress on your head and lay down. I like a sleep mask and earplugs also.
    I take a mix of Ibuprophen and Acetominophen on a regular 3-4hour schedule. If I am late, the pain gets unmanageable.
    email me if you want to talk about it more. I'm stuck in the migraine hole right now as we speak so it's pretty awful.

  8. ugh yes i had an ocular migraine a few days ago (but mine was more of a blind spot in the shape of that crack in time from dr. who, and it just kept getting bigger). no fun, for sure. you've gotten a lot of good advice, and i hope some of it helps if you have any similar episodes in the future.

  9. I have super weird migraines / auras that might be migraine or maybe I have a hidden brain tumor. I sometimes have the wavy lines thing (but in both eyes), but it is not followed by a headache. I have awful headache+nausea+photophonophobia sometimes. And I often have my face go numb. Like, pins and needles, asleep, numb, on both sides. Once it went down past my shoulders. Again, no relation to headache or BG, just weirdness. Or tumor.

    My sister gets auras before migraines and if she has coffee or a coke immediately she doesn't get the headache.

  10. I get migraines too, and like Scully mine last up to 9 days. I recommend her advice as it's pretty much what I do, except I get aura too. Sometimes I just get aura and no pain, then I can usually keep working and just monitor myself to make sure it's not getting worse. I definitely have food triggers: chocolate, coke, coffee, anything rich or spicy or too sweet. My GP gave me the advice to watch for symptoms and treat it as soon as you can, don't be tempted to wait for the pain as that will be too late and meds won't work as good.

  11. I get migraines like that. I always have a low beforehand. Always. Then the aura starts...sometimes I see these weird kaleidoscope like lights. Usually my hands seem to disappear or refract (it's hard to explain), and if I'm typing, you can tell that something isn't right when you read my message. I remember posting on a forum before any of the flashing lights, etc. had started and having the hardest time getting the words typed out. My first migraine like that was during pregnancy, and I don't know that I've had too many since delivering Abby 4 years ago. Sometimes I wonder if the combination of hormonal issues (pregnancy, period, etc.) and a low is what kicks off my migraines. I haven't had one in a long time, but hopefully if i do I can remember to test my theory.

  12. I notice that my headaches occur when I am not drinking enough fluids, these headaches can potentially turn into migraines if I dont' start chugging water and take a few Advil. My first migraine was about 8-10 years ago. At that time I was very adamant about not taking pain medication so I sat in my bedroom for two days in the dark and did nothing. Talking hurt, two days of silence was torture! I did not see a pinewheel but I did notice that the migraine appeared a few days before my menstrual cycle.


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