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Hemiplegic Migraines vs MS

I am a 42 year old female.

Has anyone come across a hemiplegic migraine diagnosis in your search for answers? In early September after spending a few days in 40+ degree working as a photographer (Celsius) I became very ill. I have been heat intolerant for a few years but in the past three my body shuts down. I become weak, dizzy, fatigued to the point of narcolepsy and very uncoordinated. (I am even when I am not in heat) The next day I started to have numbness and tingling in my right arm and hand. The next day the front of my thigh around to the back and down my leg. There is a history of things like this happening and a few with me losing consciousness. No answer was ever given. I cannot take warm showers or I get weak, dizzy and nauseated immediately.

I went to the ER (I am a procrastinator because of years of chronic treatment resistant migraines, I fear being labelled as a pill seeker or hypochondriac. (so I foolishly wait to see if something goes away on its own) I was admitted for testing to make sure I was clear of a brain tumour (my Dad passed from glioblastima) or stroke. I was given a Cat Scan and MRI without contrast. Both were negative. I was sent home with suspicion that I had hemiplegic migraines or was "crazy"

While I do get migraines, they are without Aura and were always without nausea or vomitting and certainly never numbness and tingling. My migraines are on my left side and my symptoms of numbness etc were on my right.

I had about a month of no symptoms (other than my migraines 5x's a week) for just over a month and then the numbness returned with severe vertigo, eye issues (decreased vision, blurred, double, loss of contrast, spots) crawling sensations on my legs, incontinence, severe speech disturbances, memory issues, attention deficits, crashing fatigue, throat tightening, some difficulty swallowing and my favourite, the rib pain, something I have dealt with for years now and nobody has ever figured it out.

This all got better after another three weeks and then after another 5 weeks hit again, but worse yet again. I will be standing and have the feeling of my leg being electrocuted and when attending to my children helping them get dressed I have a similar pain go down my neck when bending over.

I am seeing my family doctor next week (I keep putting it off because I know I will sound like a hypochondriac) and I am worried that because I have a history of migraine and anemia my symptoms may be passed off instead of investigated. Any suggestions on how to approach would be appreciated. This has consumed my life over the past few months and I have been hiding it from family (we recently lost another person) and my children. My children are beginning to refer to me as "always sick" and I am concerned.

Thanks so much everyone x

3 Responses
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667078 tn?1316000935
Ask the doctor to do a neurological exam reflexes, following the finger, pushing and pulling on limbs, and such. That is the fastest way to find out if it is neurological. Ask the doctor if there was anything abnormal in the exam. They might have done one at the ER.

I have atypical migraine and MS. The difference is if it a migraine when I take migraine medicine the symptoms go away. MS symptoms do not change with migraine medicine
Helpful - 0
5265383 tn?1669040108
My initial diagnosis was hemiplegic silent migraine.  It's no longer on the table, although I am still without a diagnosis.  It didn't make a lot of sense at the time, since my "auras"/symptoms lasted 3-6 weeks ...  The migraine issue might muddy the dx waters, for sure.  Honestly though, ms or not, you do need a referral to a specialist in my opinion -- even if this was some sort of migraine, a sudden upswing in migraine severity is also a reason to be seen.  Advocate for yourself and don't worry about feeling silly or wasting people's time -- I do the same thing and it's not helpful ...
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5112396 tn?1378017983
I'd be up front with your family. Children observe. If the truth doesn't fill the details vacuum, they'll fill it with fears.

I'm surprised with the amount of migraines you've had, that nothing showed up on your MRI. They usually leave evidence in the imaging as well.

Don't get too bogged down with presuming what others are thinking ("I'm crazy", "I'm a hypochondriac", etc). This just wastes your mental energy. Put together a timeline of the top issues your having and how they impact your life. Too much detail will get lost in the shuffle. Keep it simple, but truthful.

I'm not sure how much your GP can do, other than refer you to a neurologist. You don't mention the results of a clinical neurological exam, so I assume you haven't yet been seen by a neurologist. This is a good next step.
Helpful - 0

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