Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Through The Looking Glass

And for my next trick, let me pull out yet another weird, who'd-a-thunk-it, MS symptom out of my err......OK, let's say HAT.
We're driving down the road (thankfully I was a passenger) when I notice what appears to be a large wet spot of the windshield in front of the drivers side. The sun must be hitting it strangely, it's so bright. It's not raining. Did a large seabird just pee on us? As my glance turns, so does the shimmery spot. So it's not some unidentified sparking water on the windshield, it's me. ??
I rub my eyes...still there. I close my eyes...still there. Did I eat strange mushrooms at lunch? Now I feel dizzy. I get home and head for bed. Open my eyes....still there. Go to sleep and the next day I'm ...ahhh, normal.
Headaches have been a normal part of my existence lately. I'm never surprised by them, but this was strange. Since then the bright shimmery looking glass has been in my field of vision off and on, along with what looks like heat waves coming up from hot asphalt on a summer day. When walking into a dark room, I sometimes see tiny spots of lights that trail through the dark abyss. My childish imagination calls them little Tinkerbell's or fairy lights. Cool...nothing to be alarmed about. But, hey...I do take a lot of drugs and who knows. I made a note to tell my neuro when I saw him.
Since I already blurted out all of the above weird symptoms to the doc and he didn't look like he was preparing to send me to an asylum, I decided to let another secret out when he asked if I had noticed any other "perceptual" problems.
( Now I just knew my reservation was going to be sealed for the 12th floor psych ward.)
"Well, now that you mention it, sometimes I feel very tall." I paused and then added, "Expansive", like THAT was going to make it sound better...
( I swear to you, I don't do mushrooms)
He didn't seem to be alarmed, only curious. Hmmmm. He said that it is more common in people with certain types of epilepsy.
Yes....curiouser and curiouser.
I had just recently completed a bout with steroids, so he decided to let this ride. He knew I needed to see my neuro-opthomologist in a few weeks, and he would let her check on all things visual.
See you in 6 weeks....
Headaches and weird visuals began again and right on time for my visit with my neuro-opthomologist yesterday. After her very thorough exam of my visual field, she had me look again at the flip book that has pages of mosaics with numbers hidden in them. Well, the numbers aren't really hidden, it's just that you can't find them if you have lost the ability to differentiate between the colored globules. The findings were that my left eye was worse at this then it was six months ago.
Then came the blinding light of the slit lamp. She took her time examining my extremely dilated eyes (it did look like I was trippin') and then explained to me that I was having "ocular migraines". She could call my neuro and decide if I should have another round of Solu or maybe I could let it slide if some steroid type eye drops would help. It was the look on my contorted face when she mentioned another round of Solu that led her to let me off the hook with drops. I had to promise to be back in two weeks or to call if things worsened.
Well, I have the eye drops, and I have pain meds, and I have my dark glasses, so no need to change my plans for the rest of the month. I'm going to visit my daughter, son in law and grand baby for the last two weeks of November. (*insert sound of Bubbie making "raspberries" to all things and person's neuro)
A little Google search brought me to some interesting websites concerning Ocular migraines and what some call the "ALICE IN WONDERLAND SYNDROME". No, I'm not making this up. Cleveland Clinic neurologist Mary Ann Mays says, "Many of the descriptions conjured for Lewis Carroll’s stories were based on classic migraine experiences. Only a person who had experienced these phenomena would be able to describe them."
Auras typically last 5 to 20 minutes and involve symptoms such as
vertigo (motion sickness or dizziness), imbalance, confusion or numbness;
but most auras consist of visual disturbances such as partial vision loss, the appearance of "special effects" and distortion of objects. Sometimes the visual effects can be dramatic, says Dr. Mays—flashing lights, complex color patterns and shapes (e.g., triangles and dots), and floaters (the perception that some tiny foreign object is floating across the eye). An individual might also
see shimmering or zig zag lines in the peripheral vision and blurriness in central vision.Ocular migraine can produce various degrees of vision loss or obstruction.
Some patients, says Dr. Mays, report blind spots or "holes," referring to
missing sections in the normal visual field, or they may experience a shade of
black or gray over the visual field. Some people compare the visual phenomena of ocular migraine to the patterns produced by an old television with faulty reception, says Dr. Mays.
"Others say it’s like looking through watery glass."
Yup, that's it...a watery sparkling looking glass!

Charles S. Yanofsky,
wrote: "As
an aside, visual auras have been a topic of fascination for
neurologists for
a very long time. Visual episodes were noted in antiquity. More
recently the
famous neurologist-author Oliver Sacks has written extensively
about them.
Lewis Carroll, author of ALICE IN WONDERLAND, suffered from migraine
unusual visual distortions, heralding his headaches still known today as the
"Alice in Wonderland syndrome". Undoubtedly these visions were employed in
writings. He might never have been the creative person he was if not for
migrainous visions. Undoubtedly migrainous visual phenomena are behind
miraculous apparitions in Macbeth, and Ezekiel’s brilliant visions in
the Bible,
and, very likely a good number of other religious hallucinations.
We owe it all
to migraine. To be fair, some of these visionaries had good
imaginations, some
had other disorders causing visual distortions and
such as
schizophrenia, but some undoubtedly were migraneurs."

And Here I thought they were just all on drugs.



Dude, I feel stoned just READING this post! So sorry you are experiencing this latest crap. I really do feel for you...unless of course, you can turn the bizarre into something creative in your artwork like Carroll did! Then rock on...

Linda D. in Seattle

harkoo said...

If you have managed to be doing your artwork, have you been noticing this phenomenon as you paint?

Bubbie said...

Ms.Cheese and Harkoo: Bubbie's hubby says that some people pay good money to get like this...enjoy the ride .lol
The visual weirdness that pops up isn't so bad..it's the headache that never seems to leave. And as far as painting goes...I try..colors are off I know, I tend to use too much contrast because I can't see the subtle color changes. And well, I'm not doing much of anything with this headache. I'm not convinced that this is not at least in part a side effect of the Rebiff.

Have myelin? said...

I have this- or something similiar. I see things move when they're not moving. Or I'll see a painting's corner turn inward (alright, I'm NOT on mushrooms either!) or I'm suddenly a different height than I thought I was. Or the floor is in a diffent place (?) than I realized.

I haven't had a migraine since Christmas 2006 when I was treated with steroids.

'Roids. Ugh. No.

Mandy Crest said...

I'm so glad I stopped by to visit your site. Alice in Wonderland syndrome is what I call it and it is exactly what I imagine a drug trip to be. Never had this before MS, but they call it ocular migraine. Even when you close your eyes you can't escape the madness! Though I wouldn't wish this on anyone, I'm happy to have found that I'm not alone in the looking glass!