[personal profile] gullinbursti

I got a call from my doctor this afternoon. He told me that I definitely have a brain in my skull, and it doesn't have any tumors in it. This is good news.

A couple years back, I had my regular visit to the optometrist so I could get my new contact lens prescription and that awful glaucoma puff test and get my eyes dilated and bright lights shined in them, and all that exciting stuff. Well, my optometrist was a little worried and referred me to a specialist because the edges of my optic nerve discs weren't a nice smooth curve like they should be, but were a little fuzzy. Well, I hadn't noticed any vision difficulties and between the cost of a specialist co-pay and one thing and another, I never went to see the specialist.

When I went back this year she scolded me for not having seen him, and said my optic nerve discs were still making her worry. This time she pulled out the "chance of brain tumors" card, so I manned up and made an appointment with the neuro-ophthalmologist like she told me to, for mid-October.

At that appointment, he had me take a visual field test, where they flash lights all around your field of vision and you have to click a button every time you see a light. I was definitely missing the lights on the very far edge of my left eye's peripheral vision, which was the eye she was particularly worried about, so he sent me downstairs for an ultrasound. I wasn't sure how this would work, but basically it was exactly like how they do an ultrasound for pregnant women, except on my EYEBALLS. The tech put numbing drops in my eyes, and then gooped up a probe with some thick artificial tears and then rubbed them on my eyeballs. Fortunately I've been putting contacts in and taking them out for close to twenty years so I'm used to touching my eyes, and the numbing drops made it feel just bizarre instead of painful.

Well, the ultrasound ruled out the easy answer, which was something having to do with calcium deposits in the optic nerve. When that's the easy answer, I guess it's time to worry.

The ultrasound did show that my optic nerve tube thingies were swollen with extra fluid, which isn't a good thing. Basically it came down to a diagnosis of "papilledema": my optic nerves are being squished slightly into the back of my eyeballs because the pressure in my skull is higher than usual. There's a few things that can cause this, and the most worrisome of those things is that there's something taking up extra room in there -- namely, a big old tumor. Or a big old blood clot in the brain veins. Neither of which is a particularly pleasant thing to think about.

So he got me set up for an MRI and MRA (a regular MRI to take pictures of my brain, to look for tumors, and a Magnetic Resonance Angiography to check for clots.) That happened last night. I took out my earring for the first time since I was 18. I got to put on a fashionable pair of hospital gowns and those socky thingies. I confirmed that I'm shrapnel- and bullet-free. No plates in my head or metal fragments in my eyes. They took me in, past a radiology tech who'd be doing the MRI, and who was far too distracting: big, burly and redheaded. *sigh* I laid down on the table and they put a frame around my head to help me hold it still; they gave me earplugs and a buzzer button and then stuck me in the Machine.

The hardest part was just keeping my head still for that long; it took about 45 minutes all told. By the time I was mostly through my back was aching, so they gave me another pillow under my legs, which helped; at that point they had to inject me with the gadolinium solution that would help them see my brain veins. Fortunately the tech was a very good stick and I barely felt it.

Another ten minutes or so of the Machine thumping and buzzing and whacking in my ears, and then they pulled me out and unceremoniously kicked me out to get dressed and leave.

I left a message for my doctor this morning and by this afternoon he called me back with the report. No tumors, no thromboses. So pretty much the diagnosis currently is "high head pressure for no discernable reason". I could go get a lumbar puncture to finalize the diagnosis (idiopathic cranial hypertension) but unless it affects my vision I don't see much reason to let them poke a hole in my spine, so we're planning to keep an eye on my vision with somewhat regular field of vision tests, and worry about it if it should start to deteriorate.

I'd told a few people: Ron, my mom, my boss, but I didn't really want to say anything because I was pretty sure it wasn't going to turn out to be a big deal. I wasn't too worried about the results, since I hadn't been experiencing any migraines or vision problems in the two years since this first got noticed, but I gotta say it's relieving to know for sure.

Date: 2010-11-17 03:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hickbear.livejournal.com
*Whew*. And - {{{Hugs}}}, sweetie.

Date: 2010-11-17 02:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gullinbursti.livejournal.com
Thank you! *hugs*

Date: 2010-11-17 04:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] markgarciachris.livejournal.com
Congrats on the positive prognosis!

Date: 2010-11-17 02:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gullinbursti.livejournal.com
Thank you! I'm glad it was all a false-ish alarm. :)

Date: 2010-11-17 04:41 am (UTC)
libitina: snake across an open book (Default)
From: [personal profile] libitina
So you're saying you have a swollen head? No more compliments for you.

I am glad it's not a tumor. :)

Date: 2010-11-17 02:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gullinbursti.livejournal.com
Yeah, but we all knew that. ;) Thank you!

Date: 2010-11-17 05:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nazrynn.livejournal.com
So, so glad it's not a tumor.
Dude, I've had enough of people I know with cancer this year, I wish the disease would take a long vacation.


Date: 2010-11-17 07:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nightfallcub.livejournal.com
oh, Chris, I'm so glad you're okay. *HUG*

Date: 2010-11-17 02:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gullinbursti.livejournal.com
Thanks mister! *HUGE HUGS*

Date: 2010-11-17 08:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] redmoonriver.livejournal.com
*HUGS* Yay for no non-brain growths in the brain area!

Date: 2010-11-17 02:41 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-11-17 11:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ghislainedel.livejournal.com
Whew! When I hear something about extra fluid in the brain, I think fluid filled cyst. My mom had brain surgery for one a few years ago so I was a little worried for you. I'm glad you gave us the full story!


Date: 2010-11-17 02:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gullinbursti.livejournal.com
Thank you! Yeah, I'm very glad they don't have to do surgery. *HUG*

Date: 2010-11-17 01:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] suba-al-hadid.livejournal.com
Hooray for nothing! Erm... that didn't come out right. Doh! :D

Date: 2010-11-17 02:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gullinbursti.livejournal.com
Heheheh.. Agreed! *HUGS*

Date: 2010-11-17 02:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] randomcub.livejournal.com
braaaaaaaaains. *lurch* *shuffle*

Date: 2010-11-17 02:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gullinbursti.livejournal.com
I wonder if tumors make a brain tastier or less attractive to zombies. I guess I'm glad I don't have to find out. ;)

Date: 2010-11-17 02:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] randomcub.livejournal.com
One does wonder!

Congrats on being entirely ordinary. ;-)

Date: 2010-11-17 03:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sfopanda.livejournal.com
I am glad to hear things checked out ok... Hugs!

Date: 2010-11-17 04:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] auntiero.livejournal.com


May it continue to be nothing!

Date: 2010-11-17 05:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] djmadadam.livejournal.com
I'm glad it's not the more severe diagnoses they were suspecting.

To use your own words, definitely keep an eye on your vision.

Date: 2010-11-17 06:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] detailbear.livejournal.com
Yay! Good news indeed.

Gadolinium? Does this make you a gadfly or just a gadabout now?


Date: 2010-11-17 09:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] talvinm.livejournal.com
Oh my! Definitely glad it is not a tumor, a bit concerned about what it really is.

Date: 2010-11-19 02:25 am (UTC)
ext_99415: (Default)
From: [identity profile] woodwindy.livejournal.com
Phew!!! That's a huge relief...

Hey, are you coming to Yule?

Date: 2010-11-19 03:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gullinbursti.livejournal.com
Unfortunately we'll be missing Yule again this year; we're going to be out of town again, and despite hoping against hope that the weekends wouldn't coincide again this year, they did. :(

Date: 2010-11-19 04:24 am (UTC)
ext_99415: (Default)
From: [identity profile] woodwindy.livejournal.com
Ah, phooey. Have a good trip, anyway. :)

Date: 2010-11-22 07:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] midwestlineman.livejournal.com
Hey Chris, glad its not a tumor and you are okay, Big Hugs Pete



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