Needing some help

I’m writing because I’ve hit another rough patch and need some input from anyone who feels like offering it. (Scott - I’ll still plan to e-mail you. This topic is separate from what we were going to talk about.)

In the last week and a half or two, two family members came down with some bacterial or viral illness – maybe bronchitis, or the cold, etc – not sure what.

On Thursday I realized I’VE got it. Sore throat, low-grade fever, hurts to cough, etc. The doctor Dx’d “pharyngitis.” Lots of viruses, etc, can cause it.

If I’m not mistaken, catching an illness while MAV is “on” can cause migraine symptoms to go through the roof.

Here’s where I’m confused. The “regular” cold-like symptoms just came yesterday. But ever since last Saturday, vertigo has hit new heights. More out of control than ever. At times I’ll just go to bed for hours on end – just having my eyes open is pretty much enough to make my head come off.

Now, I’ve been on nortriptyline. At 40 mg for just under a month. Is it possible that I’ve had the virus for a few days – hence the ramped-up dizziness – but that its (the virus’s) “regular” symptoms had a delayed onset?

Or instead am I possibly having a bad response to the nortrip.? I know it increases norepinephrine, which is stimulating – but can a med. like that suddenly “turn bad,” after being on the same dose for weeks?

In any case, the whole new scenario is pretty scary. I just hope that if the “new” vertigo is illness- or drug-related, it’ll ease up once I’ve gotten rid of whatever caused it to change.

Hey George –

I chatted to Kelley about where you’re at and I know she’ll chime in here too. Kelley has been to the Mayo Clinic as your parents suggested and they hadn’t even heard of MAV – or at least didn’t seem to “get” that migraine can be the root cause of this crap as Baloh told Todd yesterday (see Todd’s Baloh post).

Considering you’ve been through every test under the sun now (a good thing to make sure you are otherwise OK), I cannot fathom how it could be anything else but a migraine condition that just continues to play hard ball and that you are possibly “locked in” as Baloh put it.

Kelley mentioned a really smart doctor she’s been seeing in Cali who is a brain guy, seems to understand brain chemistry as best as anyone possibly could and might be worth you chasing up. I’d hate for you to go to the Mayo and have them sending you on another wild goose chase. Kelley’s brain guy thinks that viral activity could be behind this. IMO, I think if that’s true, the virus is likely the migraine trigger. An interesting article appeared in New Scientist last week about viral infections screwing around with our moods. Have a read of this:

Have your parents ever read the Survival Guide? Would that be worth showing them to help them understand what migraine is capable of doing? Everything in that write-up is evidence-based as you know …

Re the virus you have. What a nightmare; they suck. But the delayed reaction you are having is exactly the way it happens to me as well with colds. The last cold I had caused things to ramp up a bit initially but by day 5 after blowing my nose like crazy for 3 days, the symptoms went nuclear. Very bad for about 3-4 days and then I moved back to baseline. It’ll settle.

Let’s wait for Kelley to tell you about the doc in California and see what you think.

Best … Scott :slight_smile:

Hey George,

Sorry you’re having such a rotten time.

In my opinion, YES your ramped up migraine symptoms CAN be from the virus. Let me give you my own example.

In 2002 I had my first major Big Bang long term migraine event. First symptom was a blurry sensation in my right eye, progressing to loss of vision and pain in and behind the eye. Other than feeling a little tired and ‘off’ I had no other symptoms. Fast forward a few days. I start to feel like shit. It gets worse and worse every day. Each of my senses became progressively affected to the point I couldn’t hear properly, lost my sense of touch, balance, depth perception etc. I was tested for everything under the sun. One very switched on physician (with a specialisation in neurology) kept saying he thought it was migraine. I was later definitively diagnosed with optic neuritis. But NOT MS. The only other known cause of optic neuritis is viral. So the thinking now (as agreed by Halmagyi) is that all three were at play (ON, migraine, virus). BUT the ‘viral’ symptoms didn’t kick in straight away, but several days after the visual problems started. Doesn’t seem to make sense does it? But there you are. As one of my doctors back then said “viruses are weird”. Sounds flippant, but it’s true.

I can also confirm that at various other times if I’ve been sick with a bug, a virus, a cold etc I’ve had migraine symptoms ramp up. Before, during and after.


George, I had a viral panel done with blood work and found I had extraordinary antibodies to CMV virus. This doctor I found in Southern California thinks it highly likely it triggered my Bell’s Palsy, and has since wreaked havoc with my migraine condition. He looked at my MRI page by page and found what looked like “viral” activity in my brain. He was surprised other neuro’s and docs called it a “normal” reading. He even said there was areas that if it were more pronounced, it would look like I have schizophrenia…I guess similar brain scans.
Interestingly, this CMV virus doesn’t like antipsychotic meds…when schizo patients were put on their meds, their viral levels dropped way down. His advice is to take a low dose med that lowers dopamine a bit…which is what AP meds do. I don’t know if you read my post on Promethazine, but it actually does do a little lowering of dopamine…and it has helped me a LOT. Coincidence? IDK…
My point is I think this stuff can be viral…or virally induced…maybe stress lets the virus start to get stronger, and then when the body is compromised, it can all start to unravel…you can PM me if you have any questions. I do think a lot of us got MAV after a viral episode…so it would make sense that it could exacerbate symptoms. Treat yourself well…eat healthy, sleep, take supplements and let your body defend itself. I even recommend taking probiotics…having a strong immune is really important.