Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Just Nod and Smile.

A friend of mine recently said "Honestly, people should only get one stupid health thing and that's it." Appropriate response to my update to her and another dear friend after my last Doctor's appointment. Great idea, but I seem to be working on #2.  #1 of course is the random benign tumor that I have. At this moment #2 random freaky thing has not been completely diagnosed, but the guesses have been enough to throw me.

"When did this start?" Usually this is an answer I have to guess or estimate.  Seriously, I don't chart sore throats and headaches which is usually what they are asking about. This answer, however, was heavily lined with major changes in my life and actually mentioned in my blog. No problem dropping the bomb of an answer "Almost 2 years ago." It's fun to make professionals use every muscle in their face when they react. Her look was part "OMG" and part "DUMMY!" Regardless, I had finally let this 2 year old cat out of the bag and it turned into a lion.  Who ignores serious "brain farts" for 2 years? Where everyone sounds like they are speaking some alien language? *Raises Hand*

I had only sprinkled this information around to friends and family. Only when necessary because it makes me sound crazy. That's exactly what I thought it was, mental.  I was under a tremendous amount of stress when this started.  Carter had just been laid off and we were still waiting for the next job to swoop in.  Then we moved to Nashville.  Who wouldn't feel a little nuts? I blogged about being frozen and I was during that time.  I guess I figured all of that clenching and freezing busted something up there and it was getting out this way. In the last few months it was getting harder to cover.  It wasn't just happening while I was watching TV, or talking to Carter, or alone.

Answering all of those standard questions for a pediatric sick visit a few months ago, I felt it.  It hit and the nurse was looking at me because it was my turn to talk. I knew she was talking about Natalie's prescriptions.  Tried to talk... nothing. Tried again to gather what she she was asking... nothing. Great idea, let's go around and look at her computer and read what she is talking about... oh crap, I can't read either! Panic doesn't help these episodes.  These things last anywhere from 5-20 seconds.  When I finally came back around I had to tell her. Her response "You really need to get that checked out." I'm OK with being crazy on purpose, people expect that out of me.  I had no control over this and it was weird. At that moment it stopped being a quirky thing about me.  I could not process any form of communication.

A check-up for my blood pressure became my forum for finally asking for help.  After my Doctor got her face back to normal she asked more questions. One of them, "Do you ever bite your tongue or urinate on yourself when this happens?" Uhhhh NO! I think I would've panicked before now if I did that. Duh.  I gawked a little at the question and then realized I was the idiot that waited way too long to look into this. So here we go, she throws out strokes (TIA), arterial flow issues, seizures and migraines (OK I threw in migraines for her because I had done some "healthy googling" and that was my favorite).  The first thing we had to rule out was the more immediately serious of the bunch, stroke and blood flow issues.  A CT scan and a 30 minute carotid artery doppler later I got the all clear from those causes.  Oh yeah, and brain tumors  That was in the back of my mind but I am sooooooo glad she kept that to herself.  For some reason hearing her say these things has more weight than when they are just floating around in my malfunctioning skull. No brain tumors, not going to join Dad and Granny in the TBI/Stroke recovery program at 34.  Cool. Next appointment please!

"You need to tell people".  This was after her heavy list of warnings regarding seizures. Partial-Simple Seizures are the suspect at this point. Letting the neurologist diagnose it is her plan but she has her mind pretty much made up.  The other thing on the diagnosis table would be migraines. These brain farts turned into serious business. Warning me that I couldn't be put on medication until the tests the neurologist would want had been completed, I was told when to go to the ER and what to watch for. I think the longest I have gone without one was 3 weeks.  Right now I am getting 3 days at the most.  A month ago I was having 2-3 per day for 2 weeks. Nothing seems to trigger them. Can't say that a headache proceeds or follows them. I have started to be able to feel them coming on.  I give Carter warnings and then I play a fun game in which I repeat the jacked up stuff I hear. So far I have always been able to get out "Hold on" or something like that during them.  Beyond that, I am afraid that I will start saying crazy things and really freak people out.  What I see is out of focus.  I am completely conscious and I am aware of it all. I remember it all. Sometimes the room gets brighter. I just nod and smile.  Lasting from about 5 to 20 seconds (by the way, 20 seconds is an ETERNITY when you don't understand what people are saying to you!).  I even had one day that I felt on the edge of one the entire day.  No multi-tasking for me that day.  Walking and listening posed a problem.  I was advised that someone at the school needed to know just in case they became more physical.  All I could think about was ending up on the floor there.  I joked quite a bit about it. I told a few that I was going to stand on a tumbling mat in the gym. Feeling confident that even though they had increased in frequency recently, but not in severity, it was humorous. I try to make everything funny, duh. 

Enduring the "OK weirdo" (my interpretation not the actual feelings of the listener) looks, I started sharing.  Let's cover my self imposed job in this world here: I am passionate about encouraging everyone to share, talk, go to other people, speak up and finally, listen.  This is why I probably over-share.  No one should feel alone, ever.  If no one has experience with it, you will find someone who will listen and go through it with you.  I am incredibly blessed with family and friends that do just that.  Taking a chance on being annoying, I will normalize or help you with whatever I have to offer. If I don't know I will be googling it.  My family has experience with so much, every few years we hit something new. Yeah, this is a new one. Putting our heads together we almost become experts in these areas. Do we really want to add new things to the experience section of our life resume? No. What do you do with it? Lean on those that play on your team and stay open to be leaned on.

At this moment it is not serious and I never thought it was before.  Hearing the warnings and signs to watch for come out of my Doctor's mouth made this typically well composed woman crumble. I am super woman in almost ever other situation.  Lacking control...there is nothing I can do until I have my appointment with the neurologist.  The tumor thing I can take Motrin, wear the right clothing and avoid using my stomach muscles and frankly just suck it up.  Eventually we will have a solution to this, but it has been the few weeks in limbo after my last appointment that have been tough.  There is a chance I could walk in there and be told that this is just mental, in that case, I will take a purple straight jacket. That seems to be my best color. Migraines also could be to blame.  They don't seem to match as well but I'm not known for being "textbook". And there it is! Chances are, you won't experience one with me and even if you do I probably won't tell you ;) .  I've gotten pretty good at fudging through it. I should carry certificates for those who have seconds of their important rhetoric mutilated in my brain! Anxiously awaiting November 6 when I burst on to the Neurology scene. Until then I will keep laughing when my brain tells me "those aren't the lyrics to that song" and "you should rewind that Housewives episode because they are crazy but not that crazy" and "geez I hope I didn't just nod and smile and agree to something bad!" We will get this taken care of, and I will label myself an honorary specialist on this new subject soon. I just can't wait to stop worrying.