Glynn Parry, 36, can’t stand the smell of his wife Carrie Jones’ Chanel No. 5, but not because he thinks it’s an unpleasant odor. The resident of North Wales is rendered unconscious whenever he smells his wife’s perfume due to a rare genetic condition that triggers familial hemiplegic migraines. Parry and Jones are both worried that his condition could take a turn for the worst in the future.
“The worry is this could be life-threatening or he might not quite recover from an attack,” Jones told the Daily Express. In hopes of stopping her husband’s condition from progressing, Carrie has done away with her perfume in favor of a lightly scented shampoo.
Parry, a father of three, remembers getting his first debilitating migraine at the age of 14. Now, he says attacks are so intense that he loses his ability to move his extremities and sometime is left unable to speak. His condition has forced him to give up his job in the financial industry, and he is even worried about low-level brain damage that could be a result of his migraines.
“Some people react to chocolate, cheese, alcohol and caffeine. I’ve cut all of these out just to be safe,” Parry told the Daily Express. “But one of my strangest and strongest triggers is smells. I’m very sensitive to them. My wife Carrie wore some Chanel No 5 and I just dropped.”
According to The Migraine Trust, a hemiplegic migraine, also known as a “migraine variant,” is a migraine attack that causes temporary weakness on one side of the body. Familial hemiplegic migraines (FHM) occur in two or more people within the same family. Children born to parents who suffer from FHM face a 50 percent chance of developing the disorder.
"A burning pain occurs in the right side of my brain followed by gradual paralysis and I have to be rolled into the recovery position," Parry told BBC Radio. "I have two to three attacks a week. It's a difficult thing to live with and it impacts on every aspect of my life."