“and you just thought that was normal?”

No, I didn’t.  But it was slow and insidious, and one of those things I figure I’d sound like a hypochondriac if I mention in the doctor’s office. I’d mentioned it to other doctors in the past but it was entirely dismissed.  So assuming it wasn’t important or a big deal, I stopped bringing it up.

It being arm weakness.

See, I just saw the neurologist – mostly to get help with managing the drugs for my migraines.  My chronic ugly migraines.  They come with a whole lot of nausea now and I had about 5 zofran left from a period of nausea (caused, funnily enough, I thought by a migraine drug I was on last Fall).  And I wanted to know how to time the migraine medication.

Here’s what he said:

  • First symptom, eat about “this” much chocolate, dark chocolate is best.  Or have coffee.  These should work fast.
  • If it’s still going in 20 minutes, take 1 fioricet.
  • If it’s still going or coming on fast, take two fioricet at a time.

And here’s a script for zofran.

Now, the neck pain.  The neck pain with migraines is a symptom I either developed or started noticing last summer when I was keeping a headache diary.  I also was making images of the pain, because I wanted to see how the pain tracked.  And I noticed that my leading symptom tended to be neck pain.  Back of the neck mostly, coming around a little to the side.  Never further forward than the outer/posterior line from my ear down.  But this April brought the big nausea migraines, and with it some god awful pain on the right side of my neck which was very far forward.  It hurt like hell.  Even the shower water hitting it hurt.  So I mentioned this, in my “how my migraines have changed” narrative. I didn’t do so well with some hand strength tests for the left side also.  “Do you notice that there is any weakness in your hands or arms?” he asked after successfully pushing my left fingers down over and over despite what I thought was my best effort to keep ’em up and push back.  “Yeah, but that’s been going on for a while, like years.   I remember I started noticing it when I was trying to put my hair up and my arms got so tired and achy I had to stop.  I adapted.  But I have noticed it seems like it’s progressing.  It’s gotten to the point where when I’m showering now they start acting up half way through washing my hair.  So I wash it in stages.  Sometimes I just skip it.”

“And you thought this was normal?” he asked me.

Golly, I didn’t even mention the totally degraded hand writing, the year of hand lacerations (I no longer am allowed to do the knife work of food prep in my house – one too many trips to the ER), or the fact that I used to be the person who got the tops off the difficult to open jars and now I can’t even twist the top off little water bottle from the vending machine at work.

Did I think this was normal?  Not really, but I plead iatrogenic amnesia/agnosia.

So it’s off to be MRI’ed I go.  At some point.  Not right now.

Previous Post
Leave a comment


  1. R. G. Maines

     /  May 23, 2011

    wow! I’ve been living with chronic severe migraines for nearly 25 years now. I’ve always had the severe neck pain with them, usually in the region you described, but over the course of the last two years or so it’s migrated to in front of my ears, particularly on the right side, right under the back of my jaw. The pain is horrific, as I can’t sit up and hold my head up, I can’t put it on a pillow, I can’t find any way to rest my head that my neck doesn’t scream with pain.

    I’ve experienced the nausea with some of my migraines. That symptom more or less comes and goes, it’s not something that appears with every migraine. Knock on wood, I haven’t had that at all recently.

    Lately though, my migraines are lasting four or five days without relief. I just finally found a little relief after a migraine that dominated last week, keeping me from doing some things that I really needed to take care of.

    I’ve also had the onset of weakness and discomfort in my arms when I exert myself. Washing my hair is something I try to do as quickly as possible because of this weakness. I have trouble even lifting things out of the refrigerator, prepping for dinner and need help.

    I hope you are able to get some answers, as my neurologist threw his hands up many years ago, after trying some 20 different medications, injections and combinations of medications, with no favorable responses. (one cautionary word….. the use of ‘caffeine’ in treating migraines (chocolate, coffee, etc.) can be ‘overdone’, as I was prescribed ‘caffergot’ early in my migraine treatment and had terrible side effects, as it was determined they were ‘overdosing’ me on caffeine. The least of my symptoms, as a result, was that I developed insomnia.


    • Wow, yup that sounds about right. I had been counting the many days of migraines as separate ones but was told that when they come so close together, I should just consider it one big migraine. So essentially, last summer was one big migraine.

      I doubt this will turn up anything significant or, more importantly, treatable. But I’ll give it a shot. What the hell, you know?

  2. Oh wow! I hope the MRI provides some answers.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: