Well It's Not A Brain Tumor....
Last night at about 5:30 the phone rang. I knew it was the doctor's office from the caller ID, but when I realized it was the doctor calling herself, my heart sunk a little bit.
It seems that my brain shows evidence of several strokes, one of which has damaged my cerebellum. The cerebellum is responsible for the integration of sensory perception, equilibrium, and motor functions. That would explain my dizziness, and my inability to balance on my right foot.
There are also multiple lesions in the white matter of my brain, which is consistent with a history of migraines. They are now beginning to realize that migraines affect the physical structures of the brain. But it could also mean multiple sclerosis or other neurodegenerative disease. I will have to have further evaluation to figure all that out.
During Diminutive One's delivery, I had an excruciating headache...easily the worst I've ever had. Nobody seemed to find this worrisome and I assumed it was just a normal symptom of the pre-eclampsia. When I was nearly fully dilated, my blood pressure suddenly shot through the roof. The OB warned me, gently, that if I didn't deliver him quickly, she would have to give me a c-section.
If you know anything about me you know that I have a morbid fear of medical procedures, particularly any kind of surgery. There was no way I was going to allow them to gut me like a fish. So I pushed through the rest of my cervix and delivered him in about three pushes. I tore from stem to stern because of his hasty exit from my lady parts. But by God I avoided a c-section!
Right after he was born, they made all non-medical personnel leave the room except for Husband. I didn't know it at the time, but I was on the verge of a major stroke. They quickly started pumping me full of magnesium sulfate and as far as I know...that did the trick. I was on that stuff for two days and it was horrible. But then I went home and that was the end of that.
My doctor tells me it's very possible that the damage occurred then, and nobody realized that I actually had experienced a cerebral vascular accident. But there's just no way to know for sure. It could have happened during one of my many migraine attacks, and I just wrote it off as part and parcel of my typical migraine symptoms. I recently had a particularly severe migraine, and it could have occurred then. Certain types of strokes mimic migraines. It's possible I was suffering a stroke while assuming I was just having another migraine. Or, it could have been both.
So now I have to see a neurologist and have another, more detailed scan of my brain called an MRA, which will allow them to see all the blood vessels in my brain, and deterimine if I am at any immediate risk for another stroke.
I have to start taking blood pressure medication immediately, because even though my blood pressure is only slightly elevated, even that can be dangerous if I have weakened or obstructed blood vessels in my brain.
And...my doctor feels that the neurologist will want to start treating my migraines much more aggressively. Which means working harder at finding something to prevent them, rather than just treating the symptoms.
I've tried a lot of drugs to prevent migraine, and they all had horrible side effects. The calcium channel blockers made me so lethargic I could scarcely move. The anti-seizure meds caused facial ticks and aphasia. The narcotics for pain made me nauseated and completely incapable of performing every day tasks.
So I gave up and decided just to live with them. I reasoned that it was better to be incapacitated for a couple of days a month, than to feel like death warmed over all the time. So I've just been suffering through them. Little did I know that every migraine I've ever had has been leaving it's mark on my poor brain. I really shouldn't Google, like...ever, but I can't seem to help myself. I did find this article which explains the theory behind migraines and brain damage.
It makes sense really. If you've ever experienced a migraine, it's hard to believe that there isn't something major going on inside your brain.
So anyway. It is what it is. For now, I'm going to believe that those strokes are old and the danger is long past. It's the only way I can keep from freaking completely out. And, on the bright side, even though I have to have another scan, which isn't exactly pleasant, at least I know what to expect this time, and I know I can handle it.
So, I really didn't mean this to be a "woe is me" type post, but more of a PSA. If you have migraines, don't pooh pooh them. Seek help. I've had them for nearly 30 years and have only treated them for a fraction of that time. Now I'm paying the price, it seems. And don't put off diagnostic tests, regardless of the cost, as I did. If I'd had the stupid MRI a year ago, would I be in this condition right now?? Maybe, maybe not. But I wish I had just gone.
I guess now when someone tells me that my brain is addled, I can't exactly argue...can I?