I’m really scared. Saw the neurologist today, and it was the waste of time I feared it would be.
He gave me the old, “Your brain aneurysm is not big enough to cause the symptoms you’re having,” even though the aneurysm in the artery, ectasia in the vein and tortuosity in the carotid artery all explain my symptoms. Said he didn’t think it was big enough to require surgery (yet, again, that’s from a year-old angiogram).
Confirmed that there’s no known medication to prevent growth of a brain aneurysm, focused on a few scattered items (such as my fatigue) and insisted I was just depressed, and insisted on giving me a bipolar drug (though it’s a drug also used to treat migraines and seizures). But my big thing is wanting something that’s *not* going to leave me dead tired. My new BP my cardiologit prescribed takes away a lot of my symptoms but leaves me exhausted.
It’s hard enough dealing with an aortic aneurysm where you’re talking about centimeters, and even millimeters. Heck, I’ve always worried that those precious millimeters were too small.
Now, I’ve got this tiny little, difficult to detect, 80% diagnosed-only-after-they rupture thing in my head, and not to mention this tortuous carotid artery that can also cause the headaches and numbness I’ve been experiencing, and the fact that carotid artery dissection is more likely to happen in men in their thirties. . . . .
I’m just scared.
I’ve been having these TIA-like spells since 2003 or 2004. At first, I was taking the “maybe it’s just stress” or “maybe it’s just fatigue” view myself. I tried different things while occasionally mentioning them to doctors. Went to Hopkins in 04 to see what they had to say.
Had some tests done in 05 and 06. Found the spells more likely in the evenings, when tired, when stressed or when I’d just eaten a big meal. Thus, the correlating factor was blood pressure. Blood pressure too high? Migraines, chest pain, TIAs. Blood pressure too low? Fatigue, fluttery feeling in chest, migraine. Blood pressure in between? OK.
Moved back to SC. Got into see Dr. Stavrou, my cardiologist since 1989 save 4 years in VA, and he concurred with my self-diagnosis but was going on the “hard to detect by test anyway,” so we’d just work with BP medicine and coumadin.
Angiogram in February found the brain aneurysm and, in a way, gave me piece of mind that I wasn’t “just nuts.” Stavrou’s learned over the years not to question my judgement.
Even the primary care were concurring with me on it, and referred me to the neurologist just to find out about treatments. And then he comes in with the whole, “You’re just nuts” thing.
Mary suggested, “Maybe he just figures there’s nothing they can do, so he might as well put you on happy pills till you die?”
So, through all of this, I’ve been fairly stoic about it, or tried to see the positive side, taken the humorous side, or just matter-of-fact.
Now I’m just scared.
Nothing more guaranteed to make me depressed than a doctor telling me I’m depressed.
I was really hoping I’d have an option other than brain surgery, that there was some drug that could prevent the aneurysm from bursting and actually make me feel better.
Yes, I trust God. I try to, at least. Yes, I offer it up.
And I darn well know He’s in control of the situation: I know fully well God can take me whenever He wants to. But He also guided me to this vocation and this family, and now I have responsibility over them.
And I know if I die I’ll be more powerful and more able to watch over them than ever.
But God wouldn’t send us these challenges if they didn’t challenge us, and this is a challenge.
So, Johns Hopkins it is.
In the meantime, I’m scared.