Thursday, February 03, 2011

Blog Jam

Thanks to all of you who commented on my story. Writers are working in a void unless they have feedback. This was one of the stories my editor, no longer my editor, wanted to chop, change and strip. My workshop colleagues disagreed with her and judging from the kind feedback here, you all are in agreement with the workshop so the case is closed and I will move on and find another publisher. And yes, I will put more stories up from time to time.

I entertained the delightful Conor and his equally delightful partner to a loooong lunch here (a long lunch is 5 hours, ne'st pas?) in my paradise-on-the-bay on Tuesday, where we covered many topics and solved all world issues and wondered why we were not in charge of planet earth. Blogmeets are amazing. I am hooked. People who would never normally meet get to do so through their writing on the interwebz. At my age, I can take the two steps back from that and just shake my head in awe.

For many, many years I had an unidentified condition which I kept to myself it was so terrifying. I mentioned it to a doctor once, about 30 years ago, he did some tests and said it all had to be in my head. And how often do us women hear about all that stuff in our heads? It was a wonder our poor old heads don't explode with all the mad internalized ravings and fantasies projected onto us by Demz Wot Knowz Better. (Post Partum Depression? In your head. Get a grip. You're a mother now. Stop being so selfish. Give your head a shake. Grow up. Classics from my ObGyn back in the day.)

Anyway my symptoms were a sudden onset of tiny flashing stars in front of my eyes which gradually expanded and then faded off into the periphery of my sight into nothingness. The episode was random and would last about fifteen minutes. I have a weird other worldly sensation in my head before an event starts. Nothing I did or ate would trigger an episode. I had years where they never happened. And years like this one where I've had three episodes already.

My dear friend Mary, now deceased, broached the topic of 'silent migraines' one night over dinner about twenty years ago. I asked her to describe them. And was astonished that they were exactly like mine. Silent migraines. No pain. And I can't imagine them with pain. It must be horrific.

So after these latest episodes, I did some research on the web, and lo and behold, found an actual website dedicated to this phenomenon, stars being just one manifestation of the condition. And they have nothing to do with the eyes, interestingly enough. Just a vein/artery in the head spasming.

It's always a relief to realize one is no longer alone.


  1. Comments from a doctor "back then" brings back memories. Oh my if I could tell you some of the things my obgyn told me back when I had my first children in the early '70's, but maybe that was before the days of lawsuits and malpractice worries. Sorry things didn't work out with your editor, you should try WiDo!

  2. Thanks for the link,can't seem to get the site to load at the moment. I used to get full blown painful migraine but now I just get the flashing lights & occasional tunnel vision. Quite scary isn't it?
    As for your editor - pah, I really enjoyed the story just as it was. More please.

  3. I call 'em "dazzles". I think my version is fiarly mild compared to that some people experience though.

    It stops me from reading/typing for 10 minutes or so, occasionally a headache develops later, and once or twice it has signalled the onset of a head cold or flu-like illness.

    Thanks for the link to the explanatory website, WWW.

    I was told by someone at work (back in the day) that the "dazzles" were migraine-related, and not uncommon, so wasn't unduly worried about them.

  4. Aye, you're a lucky one not having the pain and all. As a life-long migraine sufferer, I've had my share of stars and more stars along with auras and the whole nine-yards including the pain life a knife stabbing your brain. Not fun! In the meantime, Don McLean came to mind ... :-)

    Starry, starry night.
    Paint your palette blue and grey,
    Look out on a summer's day,
    With eyes that know the darkness in my soul.
    Shadows on the hills,
    Sketch the trees and the daffodils,
    Catch the breeze and the winter chills,
    In colors on the snowy linen land.

  5. Karen:
    thanks for the referral, I will check them out!
    thanks for the support, the site is excellent as it explained other types of phenomena I've experienced also.
    Amazing when we put something out there how others relate! You were lucky to find a fellow sufferer as I was.
    One of my favourite pieces, have you seen the slideshow of Van Gogh's works accompanying the song, I often play it and everytime I do the effect is the same.
    It is down the page a little.

  6. Sorry VP:
    In my eagerness to link the slide show to you I neglected to offer you sympathy on what can only be far, far worse symptoms than mine, espec. with the pain. :-(

  7. Migraines come in all sorts of weird shapes and forms. Luckily I've never experienced them. I just get regular bouts of insomnia instead. Why does my brain decide that 4am is an excellent time to wake up?

  8. oh dear - we didn't give you a silent migraine did we? :-)

  9. Poor you. Better late than never to get a diagnosis though. Anything you can do to improve situation - such as ditching coffee? Any trigger situations or warning beforehand?

    I loathe any male medic who puts things down to hysteria rather than admitting they are just not a very good doctor and can't be arsed to find out what the real problem is.

    Mind you, it never sounded like a gynaeocological problem, so what on earth he was doing commenting is anyone's guess if that's all he knew about.

  10. Nick:
    Insomnia is awful. I've experienced it rarely but when I did the night horrors visited. I actually wrote a poem about the "threeayem horrors" one time. I think I prefer my silent migraines.
    Oh gawd no!!! Last one so far this year was the Wednesday before last!
    Oh you dear sweet thing you! (BTW -where do I send the cheque?)
    They would have to pry the coffee from my cold dead hands, my dear.
    I'm not aware of any triggers and I do believe that medics take "female complaints" a little more seriously today. No? We need more females doctors.

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  12. WWW, I've seen that slide show before but had lost track of it. Tks for pointing me in the right direction. Sympathy appreciated, but haven't had a full blown one in awhile now - keeping fingers crossed that those old blood vessels have learned how to behave themselves.

    BTW, interesting statistic I saw the other day about women doctors ... about 75% of the first year medical students this year at MUN are women. Good indicator for women, but I wonder why more men are not applying/getting in? Foregone conclusion they won't be accepted?

  13. The silent migraines sound very scary, and anyone who has them or full blown migraines has my full sympathy.

    I wish that doctors would be a little bit more sympathetic - I went for four years (not long in the grand scheme of things, I know, but long enough!) being told that my often severe chest pains were all in my head (one doctor took me seriously enough to get a chest x-ray, but when that didn't show anything, she just gave me painkillers; the first doctor told me outright it was all in my head, and the third one gave me antidepressants. After that I stopped mentioning it). It turned out, when I went to see a physiotherapist for a bad back, that I had a twisted rib which was pulling my diaphragm up into my lungs...

  14. It's a pleasure when you post your own writings, but I especially like your poetry. I think you excel at that. I could read them over and over again. Would you consider a compilation of them?

  15. Oh my Jo:
    A twisted rib undiagnosed, awful! I wonder how many people are on anti-depressants because of fixable problems?
    Doesn't bear thinking about.

  16. Nora:
    I am completely flattered you like my little word bytes, I've never considered them good enough for official publication!
    Thank you!


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