Artistic Interpretation of Vacillating Crystalline Arc Shapes of the Migraine Phenomenon

by Kevin J. Cox
(Springfield, Illinois U.S.A.)

Migraine Aura

Migraine Aura

I never had Migraine aura until perhaps two years ago. I was worried about it at first. Now I know they'll go away in just a couple minutes or so.
After I got used to that fact, and being an artist, I thought about how I would Draw or Paint what I saw as a Colorful Vacillating Crystalline Arc or even a Complete Circle within my vision and sometimes across the center of the visual field.
After some thought, I applied myself through my Photoshop expertise at depicting it. Of course, I'm not actually in the picture as I am (on the left) in this depiction.
My niece, just today verified that hers look very much like this. (She said "right on".)
In recent weeks, I've also had vertigo and a (frightening) temporary blindness in one eye that lasted for a minute or two.
I'm glad I've never had the Pain that my mother, sister, daughter and niece all get that incapacitates them for whole days or several days at a time.
I was sent for brain scans this past week. Apparently neither of the doctors I have seen knew about Basilar Migraines which have the blindness thing too. Both doctors were blowing my dizziness off as related to my blood pressure meds and freaked about the blindness. If they had read about Basilars, they may have been less concerned and saved my insurance company some money.
Thanks for operating this site. K.J. Bob Katt Cox

Comments for Artistic Interpretation of Vacillating Crystalline Arc Shapes of the Migraine Phenomenon

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Jan 06, 2015
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Thanks
by: hugh

I do have migraine and my experience is totally different from this. To me it is pretty white and which gradually trips into a black one. At this point, I actually breaks down. Well, the interpretation is not that convincing for me to digest.

Jul 09, 2014
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Exactly!
by: Sandra

This happened to me for the first time 4 weeks ago while on vacation. It just started happening again and I phoned my sister in law who is an optometrist. She said it was probably a harmless ocular migraine but that it wouldn't hurt to go and have my optometrist dilate my eyes and have a look. Just to be on the safe side. I googled ocular migraine and found many images - yours is indeed spot on! Now I can show my optometrist what I am seeing. Thank you!

May 13, 2013
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On Target
by: Anonymous

This is exactly what happened to me. I've had a couple of variations of ocular migraine, but this is on point.

Feb 29, 2012
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right on the money
by: Anonymous

Hi. thanks for this. Yours is the closest depiction I've come across to what I have experienced maybe a half dozen times in ten years. It generally starts when I'm reading. I have trouble seeing the type, as if an insect has passed between my line of sight and the page, but then I realize the spot is growing. If you look at the illustration and picture the colored zigzags collapsed into a small circle, then expanding out to the point shown, that's the progression. It's as if it is growing larger because it's moving closer to me, and eventually the circle expands until it goes past my eyes and my head and I can't see it any longer.

I am so grateful it's not accompanied by pain and feel great compassion for those who do suffer from the full headache. Best wishes to all.

Jul 17, 2011
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Just like mine, only more colourful
by: Anonymous

This is the best representation I've seen of the auras I've had. The only difference is that mine is not a fully closed circle (it's strongest at top left), and is mainly monochrome. I see a few colours only at the very end, just before the circle peters out beyond my peripheral vision. Yours is more perfect, but I don't get the headache to with it!

Jan 08, 2011
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Migraine Aura Depiction
by: Anonymous

Gosh, Mike Mullan,
I never saw your comment wanting to use my picture of the migraine aura.
Please do use it.

Sep 03, 2010
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That is IT!
by: Flower Power

Oh my gosh! That is IT! I have tried to describe this migraine, and this is IT exactly! Thank you so much for creating this. Scary huh? I just had a biggie this week - 2-day migraine? Even the second day my head was 'sore' and I felt beat up.

I worked 2 days on the yard 2 days before - wonder if there's a connection.
barbarastanley1@yahoo.com

Apr 13, 2010
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migraines
by: Anonymous

Well I don't know what to say I have been suffering with this Aura very similar to what was depicted , but I have notice that if I am Tense aggravated nervous anxiety well not in well being for some reason or another the Auras comes and then boy do I get a headache, I;ve had brain MRI's have spoken to Doctors , Neurologist and Eye Specialist and when I ask about that strange vision they go on to telling about the blood pressure checking blood etc. Basilar Migraines HUMMMM I need to check on that and if it is that at least I know now that I am not going crazy.

Thanx

Apr 12, 2010
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Request to use image in an on line article
by: Mike Mullan

Dear Kevin Knox

I am a food scientist and owner of the Dairy Science and Food Technology website (www.dairyscience.info). I intend to write a brief article on the involvement of foods in migraine headaches. I would appreciate your permission to use your aura picture as an illustration of what some headache sufferers experience. I will attribute your image correctly and reference you and your site.

Best wishes

Mike

Dr Mike Mullan

Dec 05, 2008
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Good job!
by: Jessica

It's comforting to know that there are others out there going through the same thing. People I work with and even some family members think I'm crazy when I try to explain what my auras look like. Your picture is so close to what I see that it really helps explain it to them!

Sep 10, 2008
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Reply to Sharon
by: Kevin Cox

Hi Sharon,
Your sufferings are beyond what anybody should have to deal with. I really empathize, even tho my migraines don't measure up to yours in intensity. What gives me insight into your sufferings is that I have a terrible spine and have been on pain medication for 23 years to quell the constant screaming of my extruded discs and stenoses. I've not been called a slacker, but I often feel like one. I wish I could do more than I do. I have recently applied for Soc. Sec. Disability Payments and am afraid they might not give it to me because I CAN ACTUALLY WORK, only for just about a half hour to an hour at a time. I'm a musician, which requires loading and unloading the truck, setting up and tearing down heavy musical equipment and then stand on stage for 4 hours holding up a 13 pound saxophone out in front of myself. Like a pregnant woman, the load exacerbates the pain. I can no longer tolerate a 4 hour job. I now have to sit on a stool half the gig instead of dancing about and being a "performer" as I used to be. I try to book only two and three hour gigs, so instead of working 5 nights a week, I'm down to about four nights a month.
Anyway...about that Photoshop program... I have a one year old iMac with Creative Suite (which sells for $1500 for the software alone) PS is one of 3 programs that it uses. It also has Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign (the new QuarkXPress-type thingie. That pic I did of the aura was done by the line tool, zig-zagging around in a rough circle on first one layer, then adding a couple more layers, one at a time, doing another then another zig-zag line crossing the previous. Then I united those layers (but didn't flatten the image with the main photo) and filled the spaces with different colors. THEN I increased the transparency of that layer until it look right, THEN flattened the image. If you have layers, you could do it with one of the older PSes.

Sep 10, 2008
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Mr Cox-
by: Sharon

I've had two Cat scans done of my brain. Both came out negative. I have gone blind in one or both eyes many times, gotten horrible dizzy, got ticketed for driving drunk once (yes, I went to court and got out of it. The officer learned a lesson,) have vomited more times than I can remember, have fallen and couldn't move or had to crawl like a baby to get across a room, have slept in my car because I didn't feel safe to drive home, have cried like a baby begging fate to please stop the torture, have tried suicide several times. Twice now the doctors came back with the same diagnosis- a typical migraine sufferer- nothing wrong with my brain that they can find. And yes, I was deathly afraid they'd find a lesion or bleeding or God only knows. My migraines started when I was about 21 just out of frigging no where. I'm now 55. Still got the damned things. I wanted a career as a graphic artist. Hell I wanted a career as anything- to be successful and serve. I got a life of misery and suffering. Its not fun or funny. I've been called a fake, lazy, cry baby, sissy. People who don't know can be extremely cruel.

All I'm trying to convey to you is not to worry so much. Yes a migraine can set off a stroke so throughout your life watch your diet, exercise, take care of yourself. You've been genetically chosen to be a sucker for punishment. Well, welcome to a rather exclusive club of people. WE are a bit elite- we survive pain the REAL sissies can't imagine. How many people do you know that would've enjoyed medieval stretching racks as a source of pain relief?

Hugs.

Sep 10, 2008
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Excellent Interpretation
by: Sharon

Wonder what version PS you're using and what kind of computer?

Mine have never been round like that. Always a jagged line just like you show (including the colors) but that line was always distorted more like a the shape of a snake.


Sep 09, 2008
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Thanks for the nice critiques.
by: Kevin Cox

thanks, guys and gals. I love it when people like my art.
The bad news is... I'm also having almost daily headaches this last week. I know some people outgrow migraines. I wonder (and hope it's not true) that I'm growing [into] them. I've gone decades without headaches until this week.
I remember having an unbelieveably harsh headache one day when playing neighborhood football back when I was about 8 years old. I have never had one that bad since. I'm prayin' I won't start having bad headaches this late in life. My mom, sister, daughter, neice get sick with theirs.
Because I've been having other symptoms, I'm a little worried about it.

Sep 09, 2008
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YES!
by: Connie

I can actually see the movement here. Your depiction seems so accurate if I look at it long enough I will have a migraine. Great work!

Sep 09, 2008
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Great representation!
by: James

This is really well done! There are various types of migraine aura, but they do tend to have similar patterns that many people share in common. I think you'll find more people saying "right on"!

Sep 09, 2008
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Educating Doctors about it
by: Kevin Cox

I got a call from my doctor's office today saying the brain scans were normal and to just be sure to take an aspirin every day.
I told them to have the doctor read about Basilar Migraines.
I'm a little incredulous that a doctor in that specialty wouldn't have already known about them.

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