Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Parasomnia, Insomnia & Migraines

Well - I went to my neurology appointment a few weeks ago. It only took me 2 1/2 mos to get it. Good thing it wasn't urgent. Anyway - here are the updates. Feel free to skip today's post as some of you might find this boring...

#1) I suffer from Parasomnia. Parasomnia, from what the Dr. explained, is when one talks, walks, or engages in other behavior while sleeping. The talking can be clear and enunciated, or it can be slurred or even sound like moaning and grunts. This behavior usually occurs when one is extremely exhausted or under a lot of stress. It can also be a side effect of other medications. I have never walked in my sleep, but I have been told that I occasionally talk in my sleep, sometimes even giggle out loud, and once last week, I woke my daughter up because I was yelling at someone. Anyway - makes sense. I do feel stressed a lot and I am always exhausted as I do not sleep very well.

When I explained my sleeping problems to the neurologist, she asked,

"How long have you been dealing with the insomnia?"

Me: Well, I wouldn't call it insomnia.
Dr: What would you call it?
Me: Well, I just have problems falling asleep, and then when I do, I can't manage to stay asleep.
Dr: On average, how many nights per week would you say you have trouble falling asleep?
Me: Five or six nights per week.
Dr: And what time would you say you tend to finally fall asleep
Me: Anytime between 2 am and 4 am.
Dr. And how often do you wake up during the night?
Me: Usually about once per hour.
Dr: What time do you usually go to bed, to attempt to go to sleep.
Me: I am usually in bed by midnight.
Dr: And you toss and turn and can't go to sleep until sometime between 2 and 4?
Me: Yes.
Dr: And what time do you get up in the morning?
Me: Between 6 and 7.
Dr: So on average you *might* get 2, maybe 4 hours of sleep, and then it is not restful sleep at that.
Me: Correct.
Dr: Yep. You have insomnia.
Me: Oh. I guess I thought insomnia is when you never sleep.
Dr: Hon - you're NOT sleeping. You have insomnia.

#2) I have Insomnia (they say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, right?)

Anyway I did a sleep test for sleep apnea... it's not back yet. Don't know what those results will be.

#3) I suffer from Migraines. The neurologist ran some tests and as it turns out what I thought were daily headaches are actually migraines. I did not think I had migraines other than occasionally. However, the Dr. said that people have migraines more than they even realize they do.

We tend to think of migraines as a splitting headache, making us nauseous and sensitive to light, etc. While those are definitely signs of a migraine, there is such a thing as a mild migraine which is not debilitating. Who knew?

Anyway, she told me that the migraine tends to be one-sided, and will manifest itself by pain in the temple or behind an eye, where as a regular headache could be across the entire forehead or a tension headache in the base of the neck and/or shoulders. A Migraine can also cause that dizzy "elevator" feeling, which is different than vertigo (room-spinning) feeling. This explained why I was having frequent "dizzy spells".

Her best diagnosis as the culprit for the migraines was a lack of sleep... ya think? So, for now, we are doing the following treatments and then I go back next month. If this doesn't work, we do more work-ups and more tests.

I take topomax each night before bed. This will prevent migraines the next day. The problem is that there are side-effects. The biggest two that seem to affect me are numbness and lack of focus. I get numbness and tingling in the tips of my fingers and occasionally in my lips and/or face. And During the day, I don't have the headaches, but I feel like I can't concentrate. She did warn me that it sort of induces like an ADHD effect. I have seen this to be true. I have a hard time focusing at work, and often can't remember what I was doing from one minute to the next, getting easily distracted, etc.

I take an Ambien before bed. The ambien helps me fall asleep. The problem is it doesn't KEEP me asleep. So, on the days I feel especially anxious, I take my Xanax, instead of the Ambien. But I can't take that every day as it is addicting.

So - there you have it... My recent medical adventure. Sorry, no horror stories on prodding or poking this time. Oh, and for those who are wondering, I have tried the "herbal remedies" such as the melatonin and chamomile, etc. They just don't work for me. Other people swear by herbs. For some reason, they have never really done anything except make me have to pee more frequently.

The exercising has helped in the sense that I get tired sooner and therefore try to get to bed before 11pm.

So, just don't be surprised if you come for a visit and you hear me laughing, screaming or crying in my sleep. My kids think it is funny, because when I am in my parasomnia stage, they can actually carry on a conversation and ask questions, to which I will answer. Ha ha... very funny!

oh...and I am in the clear for any type of tumors that they were looking for... whew! ;)


RhondaLue said...

Well I coulda taken your copay and told you that you were an insomniac! I didn't know you were questioning it. lol

It's good to have a plan and that has to be somewhat reassuring. I have heard exercising helps so you're already doing that.

migraines stink. I don't have mild ones often but I have the occasional one with aura, and stroke-like symptoms. I really thought I was having a stroke with the last one. Half my body was all noodley and my speech was slurred because that half of my mouth wouldn't work. It was WICKED wierd. But apparently not all stroke-like symptoms=strokes. lol

I hope this regimen helps you. And don't worry..I will NOT videotape your nightly discussions and giggles if I'm ever a houseguest. And I will NOT post it to my blog. ;)

Ruthykins said...

so years ago i was supposed to be cleaning my room. sarah and i went downstairs to talk to mom. this is how it went...

sarah: mom, can we have lunch?
mom: do statues move?
sarah: no...
sarah: ok...

yeah, we ran back upstairs and finished our room. later we asked mom what she meant. turns out she was talking in her sleep and didn't remember any of it. i guess you come by it honestly. oh, and sarah also talks in her sleep. so does samuel.

EmmaP said...

yes - i forgot to mention that the Dr. did mention that Parasomnia is usually hereditary. All of my kids had night terrors, but LittleDuckling was the only one who would actually get up out of bed and run up and down the stairs practically giving me a heart attack, not to mention the need for clean sheets! oh - and Dad talks in his sleep too. mom used to tell him to at speak English so she could understand him (he apparently used to dream in Pennsylvania Dutch.)

greenolive said...

I do not think I talk in my sleep.

Cindy said...

I took topamax for a short time. I decided I didn't like the way I felt.
Sleep and migraine problems, ain't in grand to be an adult!

Tamie said...

my goodness...what a diagnosis and a list of symptoms--though i must tell you that you have helped me a bit by helping ME to know the different ways a migraine will attest itself....i now know that i get migraines ALL.THE.TIME.
i rarely get the nauseating type...but always the centralized type...i'm seriously NOT happy about this....but thank you emma :)
i sure hope that you get more sleep and get to figure out a better use of the medication....that really sucks...but i'm sure that your kids live it up when you're *high* and get a good laugh out of it (better make sure that they don't record you and post it on youtube...now wouldn't *that* be fun?)

Kaye Butler said...

I agree with RhondaLue migraines stink.

I have all those side effects without the meds. I think the root of the problem are the teens in my house.

Seriously...since I've started the blood pressure meds I've only had 1 headache since December. I was having 3 to 4 a week that made me vomit, etc.

Hope you can get it under control.

okeydokeyifine said...

And I am sure you have had a priesthood blessing for this, right?

If not, you know what to do. Ask the most faithful man you can think of and ask him for a blessing.

My personal gift is the gift of being healed. So when I teamed that up with Bro. Barlow, who has the gift of healing I had full faith that things would always work out. And see, it has.

This time around Dad and Tim gave me a blessing and I definitely have seen the results. I tried to "fix" things on my own and finally asked for a blessing. I shoula done that first.

If you have had a blessing, ask for one anyway, since now you know what you are dealing with and what your needs are.

Off of soap box now.

Vickie said...

I get migraines too. I get the ugly ones. But from what you said I also get the little ones too! I thought those were just a sinus/regular headache.

I also get the dizzys. Now I don't know what it is, I thought I had vertigo. My Mom and Grandpa both have it. So I thought that was my problem. If I back up or move my head to fast I aggravate it. I get a whoozy feeling and my vision starts to get blurry. I have to close my eyes and stop what I am doing. Then I get this sick feeling. Sometimes it last just a couple minutes, but sometimes it can last longer. Somedays nothing will happen. Somedays it will happen everyday for weeks. When those days it happens I have a hard time watching TV or reading.

Sorry for the long post, you just got me thinking about some things.

Betty said...

I´m sorry your going through this! And so young! I often have trouble sleeping as well and know what it means. You get soooo frustrated! Good thing your doctor is taking you seriously. I hope they find a cure!

Can I ask you a question about that blog on the sidebar, about the secret Amish blog. Is it a new blog you found or are you writing this blog?

Susie said...

What a load of junk to deal with! I am just glad they weren't tumors!! That sounds way more serious!

Ashley said...

Wow, girl... you need some sleep!

dorneys said...

I can't imagine why you are stressed:) You have to love the side effects. The commercials make me laugh. We can solc\ve this problem, but while doing that give you 15 others. Not sure what is better the first problem or the side effects. Good luck. Hope some sleep helps. I am sure it can't harm you :)

Dianne said...

I ake motion sickness pills to sleep. Cheap, no side effect.

Blog Stalker said...

It is always good to have answers. And yes you have to admit you are an insomniac! I have no problem sleeping....ever......i just never have time to sleep....not trying to rub it in....really. I get up early...hate the afternoons(call it the afternoon blahs) but wake right up when the sun goes down....hmmmm, maybe I am a ......na, couldn't be. lol

So glad no tumors were found!

Have a great day!

Paige said...

During a recent horribly stressful period in my life, my doc told me to take Xanax as soon as I felt a panic simmering...on three occasions, I took a Xanax around lunch time.

Those nights, I SLEPT like a baby.

I felt like a completely different person after sleeping--I guess I did not realize how bad my sleep was until I got some real sleep.

I don't want to get addicted to it, but I am no longer scared of taking them when they are called for

Good luck

Tinabean said...

Well it sucks that you have insomnia but at least no tumors.
I have insomnia to and it sucks especially when your pregnant & have to chase two 2 year olds around all day.
The ambien does the same thing for me I always wake up at some point during the night.
I hope you get it all figured out so you can have a restful nights sleep again.

Anna said...

Congratualtions on the diagnosis... Now you can treat the problem right :) j/k Tyler's Brother has major problems sleeping and he can't take any perscribed meds for it because of the side effects. He dosen't function well witht the hangover/ADHD combination... so, he takes a combination of Valerian Root, Tryptophan, and melatonin from the health food store. He said it works wonders and helps him a lot and he never has the day after junk. So, if your regimen dosen't seem to be effective you might talk to your doctor about using a homeopathic route... No, I'm not a natural nut, but I do think some of it works... But, sometimes you do need the good ol' perscribe meds. Hope something helps!

Kandyland said...

Hi! I know you don't know me and all, but I was googling stuff about migraines and insomnia and found your blog. While reading your post, it was as though the words were coming straight from my own mind. I have had the same exact issues with parasomnia, insomnia, and migraines. It's nice to know that there is another person out there who understands what I'm going through with it. Anyway, sorry to bother you. I just wanted to say thank you for your post. It made me feel a little better ^_^