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Life has Wrinkles (and sometimes they get ironed out)

10:35 AM

 
 


Photo taken while visiting Riverbanks Zoo-Columbia, SC


Wrinkles are an inevitable part of life. They are rarely welcomed. Sometimes they get smoothed out and sometimes we just make peace with them. I wrestled with whether or not to share this bit of personal information, but I'm going for a personal best in the TMI Blogging Award category.
 
Three weeks ago I stood up to go to bed and fainted. Moonpie was upstairs working so he didn't see the fall. I'm sure it was a graceful slide to the floor worthy of the most refined Southern Belle with a case of the vapors.
 
Just kidding. I think it more closely resembled a fainting goat.
 

 
It must have been a pretty good smack down because I hit hard enough that I had a swollen bruised cheek, and my glasses had produced a cut in my eyebrow that was bleeding like a stuck pig.
 
So Moonpie hears the fall, races downstairs, and finds me knocked out in the floor with my white terry bathrobe covered in blood. He calls an ambulance and off we go to the ER with me still clothed in my favorite Christmas reindeer pajamas and bloody bathrobe. (I would like to state for the record that I still looked more fashionable than those I saw in Walmart last night.)
 
A little glue was put on my cut, a little ice on a bruised cheek, a little bandage on a scraped hand, and a CT scan of my head was done to rule out a concussion. I was released around 3 AM with the info that my blood pressure was very low (90/40), my body temperature was corpse temperature (96.9), I had fainted (duh), and I had a benign cyst in my brain. Please follow up with my doctor in a week.
 
WAIT...What? Here's a little patching up and, oh by the way, you have a brain tumor??? Moonpie told me to go have my will updated.
 

 
After Googling this particular kind of brain anomaly I found that it is very rare, almost always benign, slow growing, and although removal is typically recommended, it is optional unless symptoms are present. Rupturing is possible, but extremely unlikely. I determined there was no immediate reason to do anything (if ever) since it had nothing to do with my fainting episode. I also watched a surgery to remove one and it involved removing the top of the person's head to get to it.

Umm...not happening.

I decided not to mention its existence to anyone until after my follow-up and hoped my doctor agreed with my course of non-action. I called and made an appointment for the following week and began preparing my case for taking the "do nothing" path.
 
My doctor came into the room carrying a folder under his arm. He looked tense. He wasn't accompanied by a nurse. He closed the door and didn't enter into his usual pleasant small talk. I hoped maybe he was just busy, but I could intuitively tell he was preparing to deliver some bad news.
 
I mentally reviewed my closing arguments as to why brain surgery was not going to happen.
 

 
He tells me about the brain cyst and informs me that he feels the fainting was due to the drop in blood pressure and is unrelated. He asked if I had ever fainted before. (I have always been a fainter. I even fainted once when a man flicked a spider on me.) He asked about other symptoms. (I have none.) He tells me that depending on the exact size and location the cyst may or may not be a problem. So far so good...

Then he drops a bomb.
 
He tells me that the CT scan also showed the possibility of a brain aneurysm. An aneurysm would be life threatening and he was setting up an appointment for a brain MRI and an MRA because the CT scan I had isn't as accurate. (The MRI looks at the structure of the brain and the MRA checks out the arteries and the blood flow). It can't be put off until later. Depending on results he would determine if I needed an immediate referral to a neurosurgeon.

My entire course of action was suddenly up in the air. I discarded my closing arguments. 

I had just left his office when they called to say I was set up for MRI/MRA the next day. I knew if they were getting me in that fast they felt it was indeed an emergency situation. A search on PubMed confirmed that a brain aneurysm would definitely have to be dealt with...and as quickly as possible. I had no clue how it would be corrected, but none of the procedures I read about sounded very pleasant.

Moonpie reminded me that I need to update my will.
 
The next day Moonpie took the afternoon off to take me for my brain imaging. I could have driven myself, but was stressed to the max because I figured I would need an IV and they had already blown out all my veins during the ER visit. It tells a lot about me to know that I wasn't stressing over a brain tumor or the possibility of dropping dead with an aneurysm. In that moment I was only stressing about having an IV inserted which could potentially create another fainting episode. (Turned out they didn't need an IV for contrast dye so I could have safely driven myself.)
 
I actually found the MRI/MRA somewhat enjoyable. I got to lie down totally guilt-free in the middle of the afternoon covered in a heated blanket. In the meantime, Moonpie had the afternoon off and watched old episodes of Bonanza in the waiting room also entirely guilt-free. When I rejoined him he was reluctant to leave until the episode was over.
 


 
Both of us obviously suffer from some serious work-ethic guilt. But I digress... 
 
The next morning the results were already in. It is evident that a possible brain aneurysm moves you to the top of the physician's imaging review queue. And the results were normal! No aneurysm was found. I have normal blood flow in the brain and no signs of an imminent stroke. The brain cyst is there (and always will be), but it isn't encroaching on territory that affects functions or impedes the basilar artery that it hovers over. It is small enough not to affect the pituitary gland (which was a concern) and is such a slow grower that, given my age, it probably never will.

Recommendations are to do nothing unless symptoms appear.

I had kept the entire Brain Saga a secret so it was a little weird sharing the good news with my children without having ever told them there was possible bad news. We are right at the end of Daughter #1's blessed and miraculous pregnancy. Bad news would have sucked the joy right out of her. (Now she's still as joyous as one can be when entering the last month of pregnancy.) I also didn't want to add anything to Daughter #2's plate who is currently juggling the schedules of three children under the age of six while teaching full-time and completing her Masters degree. Bad news would have pushed her completely off the stress cliff and onto the crazy train. (Now she remains firmly on the cliff.)

Am I now the Queen of Blogging TMI?

Meanwhile I'm back to happily waiting to meet my newest (and probably last) grandchild, thinking about all the things I could say to a few annoying people and blame it on a brain tumor, wondering if I'm still allowed to ride roller coasters, and getting my drama from watching reality television.



Moonpie told me he still wants me to get that will updated...and get new pajamas. 
 

 
 
 

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2 comments

  1. OMG... thank the Lord you are okay. What a scary few days for you! So happy that you are going to be okay and I have many years ahead enjoying your humor. Have a great weekend.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! It was a bit tense around here for a bit. Moonpie is still pressing me to go look for new pajamas. My other two favorite PJs have sock monkeys on them. (Obviously Victoria's Secret doesn't get any of my income.;))

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