Monday, November 19, 2007

Quick, before I forget ...

Okay, so I spent a long week and a half, waiting for my next appointment. I faithfully took my aspirin and tried not to think of the fact that my cerebral artery was slumping over. Decreasing blood flow to my brain. Causing brain damage. Irreversible brain damage.

Well, I didn't do so well, as you can probably guess. I worried that if I bent my neck the wrong way that my head would explode.

It didn't. And, yes, I know that this not the right "exploding head" image, but I love Heroes.

The good thing is that my husband took me away for a weekend for my birthday and got me a camera. I will put up some of my favorite shots on SA in a couple of days.

The bad thing is that I was a bit tired and woozy. And, let me just say, the whole "keep your heart rate down" thing is putting an extreme crimp in my style, man. A romantic weekend is certainly difficult when you are worried about your pulse.

But we had a lovely time. Except for Sunday morning when I could not speak. That was a bit unpleasant and I think I lost it a little. Good thing that I am weak, because hitting the door was more sound and fury than actual damage. As we left the hotel, I noticed that my leg and arm were swollen, and I was feeling distinctly uncomfortable, because edema is generally a bad thing.

I deleted this blog, because I could not have a blog called MS Behavering if I did not have MS. I enlisted all of my friends and family to help me rename it but they were a sad disappointment, I have to say. Not a funny name in the bunch, but I admit that "lesion" is difficult to pun.

As we are driving, I tell my husband that I think that I have a wrist watch that measures you heart rate, back from the time when I thought I was going to do interval training. Actually, I want to tell him that I have a wrist watch, but I can't get the word out. I can't say wristwatch.

Intrigued, my husband tries to see if he can get me to say the word in another way. He points to his wrist and asks what that is called. I say arm. He asks me "what do you do when with a television?" I say, "you look at it." I can't say the words wrist or watch.

That was the day that I could feel the numbness going all around my entire left side. My ear went numb, my lips, forehead, back of the neck, my whole side. It was weird. Having a numb eyelid is weird. My eye felt sticky. I ended up taking a valium because I was getting anxious and I did not want to have something like a stroke. My husband was already threatening to take me to the emergency room.

So, when I went to Neurologist number two, on Monday I was a bit discouraged. I sat in the office, surrounded by people who were pretty impaired. I supposed that I never really thought about it, but neurologists' offices are filled with people with strokes and traumatic brain injuries and advanced Parkinson's and Altzheimers.

There were a lot of pamphlets on MS, and I thought a little wistfully of the good old days when I thought that I had MS.

When I got weighed, I fell off the scale. Now, that was actually funny and made me feel better, for whatever reason. Neurologist number two, Dr. H, was younger and shorter than I expected. He took the CDs of my MRI and my MRA and left for about 15 minutes, as he could not upload them on the computer in the exam room.

When he came in, I went over the whole story, concluding with what Dr. P said about my cerebral artery and how she did not think that I have MS. At first, he did not seem to really get what I was saying, as he asked questions that I had already answered, but we persevered and seemed to get to the present.

So, I asked him. Did you see the MRA? Did you see the artery and how it is kinked?
Well, he said, I looked and it looked normal to me.
I stop and consider this information.
Did you look at all of the images?
I saw all five.
Did you click on them??
Well, you have to click on them because the images are stacked and you will get different views.
Oh, he said. However, he said that he thought that it was more likely that I had MS, as the lesions were exactly where he would expect them to be if I had MS.

What about lupus? Well, he said, it doesn't look like the test for lupus was done.

Nine vials of blood? No lupus test? Are you sure?

So, he examines me and says that I definitely have expressive aphasia. Which means that I have trouble speaking. I knew that, but it is nice that he can see it. I am having some memory problems, which I also knew.

It is funny, but Dr. H is completely the opposite of Dr. P in terms of his approach. She said that the tests were pretty invasive and wanted to wait and see.

Dr. H says that he is going to pretty much test me for everything. He says that it will be a shame for me to have something that they can fix because they were not aggressive enough in looking for it.

So I will be getting more blood tests, for lupus, for Lyme's disease, and a host of obscure diseases. I am pretty sure that we don't have deer ticks, here, but I am not going to quibble. He wants an MRI of my brain and an MRA of my head and neck. And a chest x-ray.

Oh, and a lumbar puncture.

That's a spinal tap. That is how you know if you really have MS.

He schedules a lumbar puncture for me for the next week. I must have looked funny, because he reassured me, saying that it should be pretty easy. I am .... not obese (gee, thanks), in good health.

I am not reassured. I gave birth to an almost ten pound baby because I was scared of the epidural.

There is something seriously wrong with people sticking needles in your back and drawing out your cerebral-spinal fluid.

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