Saturday, September 9, 2017

Keep On Swinging

     So, yeah. I've been MIA from this blog for literally months, which is the longest I've ever gone between posts. Not only am I not over that weird self-consciousness that I talked about in my previous post, (remember that?) so much shit has gone down, health-wise, in the time since then that I'm not really sure where to begin.

     The biggest life change right now is that my husband is currently on medical leave from his job, and has been for the past month, due to the discovery of a cyst in the left lobe of his brain and the multitude of issues that have sprung up around it. To be clear - it's a cyst, NOT a tumor, and the cyst in and of itself isn't dangerous. The problems are seemingly stemming from the stupid thing putting pressure on things it shouldn't be pressing on. I say "seemingly" because we're working with extremely limited information at the moment, though I'm hoping that's going to change beginning this Wednesday, when the first round of neurologist appointments kicks off.

     We realized there was a problem about a month ago, when he had an exceptionally bad day at work, and hadn't had any significant improvement by the next night. At that point, we both thought it was just his spine acting up, because he has dural ectasia, and that shit can do some weird things to your head. I told him I'd feel better if we could run him by the urgent care to be checked out, just to make sure it wasn't some new and improved manifestation of his Marfan's. He agreed, probably because he was feeling like death warmed over, and off we went.

      I need to just pause for a moment to give a quick shout out to the urgent care, because they took care of us in a fraction of the time it takes to get through the ER, and when you spend as much time getting medical treatment as my husband does, you notice things like that. I'm not saying the urgent care is a substitute for the emergency room, but in an instance like this, where what was happening needed to be addressed by a doctor, but not something that was obviously life-threatening, it was great. So, again, thank you urgent care. You rock.

     The issues that had brought us in included vertigo so bad my husband was throwing up, major loss of balance, confusion, and a whole host of other cognitive issues. Of course, the first thing they tested him for was a stroke, but that wasn't the problem. My husband has previously had a TIA, and I knew what symptoms to look for. If either of us had thought that's what was going on, I assure you we'd have been on the way to BJC without hesitation. I know some might condemn him/me/both of us for not immediately going to the ER, but when you're sick 24/7 and life seems to consist of a neverending parade of random, multifaceted medical issues, you learn real quick how to sort out the super-bad from the we-can-just-keep-an-eye-on-this. To get deeper into that is a whole separate post, though, so we'll leave it at that.

     The doctor in the urgent care did the stroke test, and then did that thing with the pen light in his eyes, the one which I assume tests the reactivity of the eye to the light source. He decided that my husband needed a CT, which was fine, because every doctor ever sends him for a CT. Swear to God, my husband's bones probably glow in the dark from all the radiation they've absorbed over the years. So, off he goes to radiology. We still figured it was his spine acting up at this point, that maybe there was a pinched nerve, or that the Tarlov cysts at the base were really wreaking havoc. Nope, turns out it was something completely new and different - a 4.5cm by 2cm cyst under the left side of his brain, just hanging out, causing problems. Maybe. Probably.

     The lovely urgent care doctor couldn't tell us how long it had been there, but not one of my husband's doctors had ever mentioned such a thing before, nor had he ever had problems like this before. What he did tell us was that my husband needed to see a neuro, like, yesterday. Needless to say, this was not what we'd been expecting to hear when we walked in that night. To try and keep his symptoms as controlled as possible until he got to the neuro, they gave him meds to help with the dizziness and nausea, so that was something.

     We've moved past the shell-shocked at this point, and we're onto the gearing up for the many appointments to come phase. Seriously, he's got four different appointments with four different doctors just in the next two weeks, and that doesn't even include the order he just got from his spine doctor to start a new therapy for an entirely different set of issues. I feel like we're both gearing up for something in the coming months, but I'm not sure what it is. Not quite a battle, but maybe one of those choreographed fight scenes. You know, those ones where if you don't get your timing and placement just right, you end up with a black eye or a busted lip. It feels like that, as if we have a very exact sequence of events to execute, and we have to do it perfectly, because if we don't, we're going to be hurting.