TERRIBLE headaches turned out to be something much worse for an Abbeydale woman diagnosed with a rare condition.
Now Carla Rodgers wants to raise awareness of hemiplegic migraine syndrome, which gives her the symptoms of a mini-stroke and can paralyse people if left untreated.
The mother-of-two began experiencing a headache which would not go away near the end of 2011 but put it down to stress ahead of her brother’s wedding. She eventually went to her doctor and returned again when the tablets he gave her proved ineffective and she began experiencing weakness in her left side, pins and needles in her hand and one side of her face started drooping.
Eventually after an eight-day stay at the Alexandra Hospital where they could not diagnose her problem, she was referred to a neurologist at the Queen Elizabeth in Birmingham and diagnosed with HM.
Since then, she has been on tablets to stabilise the symptoms but can still experience an attack multiple times a week which can affect her speech, memory and cause blood vessels in her eyes to burst due to the pressure in her head.
Carla told the Standard: “HM releases a chemical which enters into the bloodstream and can cause paralysis so it is quite dangerous.
“People say it’s just a migraine but with a migraine it’s just your head, with a HM attack I can’t talk, I can’t remember it and I can’t move. I had one two weeks back which lasted 16 hours.
“I try to share as much information as I can to get people to understand a bit more but it’s hard to explain.”
She added it was hard to deal with the effects of the condition, especially when looking after her children as there was no warning an attack would happen and she did not have any family in the area.
“If I take the tablets I can’t do anything so when I have these attacks if the children are here and my husband is at work I just have to suffer it which in the long run does cause more damage.
“I want people to know it’s not safe for them to have had a headache for five days and not get it checked out. I am grateful my GP was so fantastic, he knew something was not right.”