Wednesday, December 17, 2008

When I say I'm a little messed up in the head, I totally mean it.

So, I don't know why I haven't blogged about this, but I've been having some medical issues. A couple of months ago, I found out that I had a nerve-fiber layer infarct in my eye. The usual causes are diabetes, HIV and hypertension; three things I am 99% sure I don't have. Since mine was an unusual case (most people have multiple infarcts and are unhealthy), the doctor figured that it was idiopathic, but he left me the option of having any tests done that I felt I needed done.

I have a family history of mother had one in her brain stem that ruptured when I was 15, nearly killing her. My grandfather had some as well. In the week before the follow-up with the eye doctor, I had been having headaches; not big headaches...just sinus-y headaches. So, when the doc offered to refer me for any tests, I told him I wanted an MRA. He managed to get my insurance company to cover it! 100%! Here are the results:

That arrow? It's pointing at one of my aneurysms. I guess I have two; two tiny aneurysms.

I'm not really nervous, at least not consciously. They're small enough that they're not really in any danger of rupturing and hell, it's better to know they're there. But still, sometimes when I get a headache or bend over to pick something up, I worry just a little bit.

I had a CT angiogram yesterday. They injected me with an iodine-based dye which will act as a contrast. They had to put an IV in my arm and that was horrible. I'm TERRIFIED of needles. When I was six, I had ITP (basically all of my platelets disappeared) and I had to have blood drawn for months. The nurses and doctors threatened to tie me down often, because I would kick and scream and cry. I've gotten a bit better since then, but the whole time that the IV was in my arm, I was really tense. I could feel the dye entering my blood stream and as soon as it did, I could tasted metal in my mouth. Then, my eyes and head got really hot and as the dye traveled through the rest of me, I felt like I peed myself. Very very strange...

So, I'll learn more when the CT scan results come back (and I'll totally post those pictures, too, because I'm sure they'll be awesome!!!). I have an appointment with a neurosurgeon in the beginning of January. I don't think they'll recommend surgery of any kind, but it'll be interesting to see what they want to do about it all.

Me, I'm just going to wait to freak out until I know there's something to freak out about.


ReBecca Foster said...

I am the same way with needles and have to resist the urge to run when they come at me with one! I still cry like a baby though ;)

Jerry D. Harris said...

Ye gods...yeah, that family history is going to be exceedingly important! Me, everyone on my mother's side of my family except my grandmother and one uncle (both of whom are still alive) -- including my mother -- died of metastatic colon cancer; my mom died of it very early (49). So now I have to get colonoscopies every 4 years, and in a couple more (when I hit 40), it'll become yearly. But...small price to pay if they can nail polyps early before they transform into incurable cancer...! So although I understand your worry, it really can be better to catch things early when they're more treatable! You go!

So although they haven't said there's much they can do, have they contemplated blood thinners or anything that might make it less likely for your blood to put pressure on even a small aneurysm and make it worse? (Would that even help? I don't know!) If they did something like that, would the aneurysms heal (reverse)? Or are they permanent kinds of things?

ScottE said...

Hear you on the needles. Needles are a deep and abiding fear for me.

I recall once when I had to have an X-ray. I had to lie on a cold table and they jabbed the dye into my arm.

Then they said, "here, hold this." and they gave me the syringe.

I had to hold the syringe they used to pump me full of dye while they took their pictures. I definitely shook while I was on the table--and it wasn't because I was cold.

JJ said...

Eek. Despite the fact I've been following your posts and updates on Facebook, eek.

I'm a lot better with needles now than I used to be. It's amazing how one good experience with the phlebotomist can erase all the memories of the vampiric bad phlebotomists.

Zach said...

I get jabbed left and freakin' right because of the CF, but needles never get any easier. It really sucks when the vein either "sneaks away" or the needle just goes right through the vein. GREAT FEELING.

But kid, I'm a little worried about you. Aneurysms are no laughing matter. Jerry is right--blood thinners help. One of my co-workers has a terrible blood clot in her leg that just won't go away, but she takes blood thinners and they help the pain.

But dang. I'm pulling for you, kiddo. I hope it never comes to surgery, and I hope it doesn't get any worse. Please keep us up to date on your situation!

Patty R. said...

Hey Girl! Don't get too stressed about this. I was having some vision issues and headaches last year and have been diagnosed with intracranial hypertension. My neurologist says that many women have it and they don't know why. I had a CT scan with the contrast dye and felt the exact same way that you did. Luckily the attendant warned me about the peeing feeling, so I wasn't too surprised by it. It didn't last very long. Anyway, they're not really sure what to do for me. I've had to start wearing reading glasses to keep my eye strain down and will go in for a follow-up in January (it's been a little over a year now since my diagnosis) to see if anything has changed. My vision issues have cleared up, but I still have some headaches, although nothing like they were. I'll be curious to see what they tell you. But don't be surprised if they can't tell you what's going on because they probably won't know. I know what you're going through and if you need to talk or compare notes, just let me know. XOXO