Several weeks ago I began noticing, for want of a better term, a bit of pressure in my forehead, no pain, just a kind of pressure. I also noticed that along with the pressure came fleeting bouts of a kind of dizziness. If I turned my head quickly, it was like the scene before me kept moving a split second or so after my head stopped. I found that not just a little disconcerting.
These bouts have persisted and become somewhat more pronounced over the past few weeks. The pressure comes and goes, but often lasting a couple of hours or more, usually early in the day. These bouts make me tired, and all I want to do is lie down. Needless to say, this has been really disturbing. I kept my own council about this as the family - my wife, Jo and both of our kids - have enough problems to deal with without worrying about the old man.
About ten days ago I finally got in to see my doctor at the VA, and I apprised her of what had been happening. I'll take this moment to give kudos to both the VA and my primary care doctor out there, Dr. Rashida Shah. Dr. Shah didn't hem and haw, didn't hesitate. My visit with her was on a Friday. I had an MRI done the following Tuesday morning. Not bad.
I hadn't heard anything for a couple of days after the MRI, so I called the VA last Thursday and was first told that they didn't have the results. (The MRI had been outsourced.) However, within an hour, Dr. Shah called me back with the news that the MRI results indicated a "spot" on my frontal lobe. Not the news I was hoping to hear. The written report did say that it was not definitive and could in fact be an anomaly. Maybe I belched at the wrong moment, or, uh, something.
Nevertheless, Dr. Shah ordered yet another MRI, only this time using "contrast." Friday afternoon I was back getting my head examined magnetically once again. Last week-end was one of the longer ones I have ever spent. I didn't actually get the results until yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon when, again, I called the VA. I got the same song and dance that the results were not back yet, but again, Dr. Shah called me soon after, and in her words "you have absolutely nothing going on in your head."
Well, that's been suggested to me on many occasions - more than I would like to admit - but this was one time that I was glad to hear it. There are no masses, no lesions, no aneurysms, no "spots." The first reading was apparently a hiccup. Woohoo! Relief was just a phone call away. Of course, that still leaves me with this pressure, the dizziness, and the tiredness. What now?
Dr. Shah thinks that it might be a sinus problem. She has prescribed some kind of steriod nasal spray. She has also ordered an appointment for me with an opthalmologist to see if it could be something with my eyes. I hope to figure out what the hell is going on soon.
As the title of this piece suggests, I have been feeling quite mortal over the past few weeks. Brain thingys are not to be sneezed at; just ask the surviving Kennedys. My wife, Jo's oldest cousin succumbed to a brain tumor in about 6 months from diagnosis. She was in her mid 40s. So, too, did a fellow about my age who lived down the street from us a couple of years ago.
Of course, when I had been set up with the first MRI, I told Jo all about it. As of this writing, all my kids know is that I haven't been feeling well, and I'd been to the doctor. I know I'm not out of the woods yet. I suppose that the MRIs could have missed something. But, at least the reported results made feel less like I have one foot in the grave. I had about convinced myself that I did.