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Monday, January 07, 2008

Further (and Good) Updates about my Brain

For those who have expressed their kindness and support over the holidays, some good news to begin the new year, now that we have everything (Christmas, New Year's, Epiphany, etc.) behind us:

When we last checked in, the main issue was remaining calm until we could get a more definitive report on the abnormality which the MRI seemed to show on my brain. Now we've finally been able to sit down with a neurosurgeon who has looked the whole thing over, as well as given me an examination, and his diagnosis is...don't worry about it. Apparently this particular abnormality follows the path of a blood vessel in my brain almost too exactly to be anything except a "vascular malformation"--or in other words, a blood vessel which has gone bad or which went bad years ago. If the former, then it could be the result of some viral condition, the great majority of which are temporary; if that latter, than we could be looking at a blood vessel that burst or otherwise left some scar tissue following any number of possible events--head trauma, an undetected stroke, or even something which just started leaking at birth before healing itself (the doctor said it really isn't that uncommon for brains to have "birthmarks" of this sort, the same way your skin can have). He's not absolutely 100% certain of his diagnosis; another MRI has been scheduled for me in a few months, and if at that time the area of concern has grown or changed shape, then it'll be clear he missed something. But he doesn't expect that; his guess, looking at the shape this malformation has now, is that the odds a very much in favor of it either being completely gone by the spring, or being in exactly the same shape and in the same place. Either of which means, as he supposes, that this is a distraction; it poses no threat to my health, and has nothing to do with my longstanding ear trouble.

To say the least, we were overjoyed. We had little reason to freak out in the first place--just some random, just-in-case speculations by our family practitioner was all--and I think we both held our calm over the holidays pretty well. But our complete relief and excitement once we'd met with the neurologist shows that we'd been hiding our fears from ourselves and each other, at least a little bit. Anyway, great news all around. We couldn't wait to call the folks once we found out.

And now? Well, if my symptoms return (I've felt fine for the last month or so), then maybe we'll insist on seeing an ear/nose/throat specialist, and look back in the direction of some viral cause for the ringing ears and headache and lack of balance (Meniere's Disease, perhaps?). But for now, I'm just happy to be able to move into 2008, confident that my brain isn't about to betray me. To all of you who helps us along to this point, my thanks--here's wishing you a healthy start to 2008 as well.


Mary Ellen said...

That's great news, Russell. I'm glad that things have turned out so well and that they're keeping an eye on your noggin to make sure everything continues to be OK.

Mary Ellen

Anonymous said...

Good news to start the year with!


Anonymous said...

Wonderful news!

Amira said...

I'm glad things went well- and I know the feeling of waiting to find out if an iffy MRI means something awful or something not to worry about.

I am sorry though that you don't have any answers about what's been causing your symptoms. Hopefully you'll continue to feel better!

And I'm sorry I didn't respond to your first post about the MRI since I'm sure there was some worry for both of you, but I was a little busy having a baby that day. :)

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Thank God.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful, Russell. I'm very glad to hear it. I hope the other symptoms will stay clear or can be treated, too.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant. What a relief.