How It All Began

Doctor Who QuoteSeveral people have asked me how my adventure began, what symptoms I had and what made me decide to follow up with my physician. So here’s the story. About 3 months ago I was driving home from work and a very vivid memory came to my mind. I did not lose consciousness or awareness, but I thought it was weird for a memory to just “pop up” uninvited like that. I honestly cannot remember what the memory was. The best way to describe it is that it seemed like a scene from my favorite TV show, Dr. Who. The memory kept coming daily, and then disappeared for a week, then came back daily again. I thought it must be a brain tumor but I was not scared. It seemed so vague I didn’t want to go to my physician with it. Then one night I was doing the dishes and the memory returned but was accompanied by the feeling that I was going to faint so I sat on the kitchen floor and felt OK in about 45 seconds, although some nausea persisted. Then a couple days later I could not remember what freeway entrance to take to get to work, even though I have taken the same entrance for months. That was uncomfortable, so I visited my family physician and he wanted to rule out mini-strokes. I was still pretty sure it was a brain tumor. He ordered a heart test that revealed a mild Patent Foramen Ovale –  a hole in my heart – but it was not serious enough to cause my symptoms. Then on Father’s Day my husband Steve and I took a walk and I “had an episode” and sat down on the sidewalk. I asked Steve to ask me some questions and he asked me the name of my grandson, our dog, and another grandchild’s name and I could not answer any of his questions. It was like a file holding names in my brain had been deleted. Pretty weird. After about 60 seconds I was fine and could remember names again. So I figured it was time to visit my physician again. He immediately order a CT scan for the next day.
About a half hour after I returned from the CT scan, a physician called me and said I needed to go to the Emergency Department because the CT scan showed some brain swelling. I was not surprised because, like I said, I was pretty sure I had a brain tumor. I went to the Emergency Department and had an MRI, which showed more detail than the CT scan, revealing a meningioma behind my left eye. I must say that the next 24 hours were lost to me because I have claustrophobia related to the MRI and was given so much Ativan that I was pretty zonked out. Apparently I had a few long phone conversations with people that I have no memory of. What fun!
The Emergency Department referred me to a neurosurgeon the next day who told me all about the meningioma and his plans for surgery. He said I would come out of surgery with deficits. Like a personality change, and the necessity to learn to read and/or write again. He also suggested a second opinion. I had to wait 2 weeks to get the second opinion but I am happy to say that my current neurosurgeon will approach the surgery differently, resulting in less deficits. He said I have a 50% chance of having a droopy left eyelid and a wandering left eye, and double vision. But those should go away in 6-12 months. That doesn’t sound so bad now does it? He said the episodes I have are pre-seizure events and the medication he prescribed is to prevent me from having convulsive seizures.  The medication makes me very drowsy, dizzy, and I still have an event about every 4 days or so. Not bad. He said the tumor is slow growing and I could have the surgery anytime in August but I said the sooner the better. So August 4th was set. And that is how this great adventure began.

2 thoughts on “How It All Began

  1. Pingback: The Peaceful Pelican | Glenda The Good Nurse

  2. I like this story and I’m glad you wrote it down because the details will fade over time. This is actually such an exciting time in your life–soooo much to look forward to.
    I may have to come visit you when you get home–I don’t want to go thru Glenda withdrawls. 🙂

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