Dec 4, 2009

A Horse of a Different Color

A little backstory:

Saturday the 14th of November, I was singing in a cabaret fundraiser. One measure, I was perfectly fine, the next, my head exploded in pain. The worst freakin' headache I have ever had. I quite literally saw stars. It scared the shit out of me. I was honestly wondering whether I was dying but I scarfed down two Advil courteously provided by another vocalist and made it through my two pieces (Everything's Coming Up Roses and Music That Makes Me Dance, for anyone who's interested). The Advil didn't even touch the pain.

I woke up the next morning with a remnant of the headache, which flared again into brutal life when I was singing a solo at church that evening.

Monday, it happened again (I wasn't singing this time).

Tuesday, I called the doctor.

It took nearly a week to recover from that series of headaches - because once the actual headpain was gone, my neck was killing me from holding my head as still as possible.

About a week and a half ago, I had a CT scan.

Tuesday, the doctor called me to say that the scan was "normal" but that I have a 5mm calcification in the frontal area of my brain. (Ok, I know it's not a tumor (she was quite clear on that) but, honestly, there's something slightly larger than a BB in my brain; how can that possibly be normal??!)

She can't tell me anything more. Google, however, kindly tells me there are any number of causes of brain calcification... and any number of effects. Interestingly, one of the effects can be Parkinson's-like tremors. I wonder if that's why my hands shake? I also wonder how long this thing has been there and whether or not it's likely to grow.

At any rate, now I go for an MRI on the 15th.

Not sure how to do this but, darn it, when the results come back, I want to see the pictures, I want someone to explain to me exactly what this thing is, how it got into my brain, and what the f*ck it's likely to do to me in the future. And I don't want my primary care physician to be doing this. She's a nice enough person, I suppose, but she's good with the brush off. I want a neurologist. I need to figure out how to put that to her so that she doesn't get offended and so that she does what I want. I'm Gen-X - I need more than just a "trust me, it's fine".

Fortunately, the headache has not come back. Unfortunately, it seriously weirds me out that there is something non-brain in my brain. A headache of a different nature, I suppose.


Blogger graymama said...

Oh, Honey. {{{{Big, Big Hugs}}}}

Don't worry about your doctor! Ask for a referral. I went to a specialist ENT doc for my vertigo, and although he was an arrogant asshole, he knew what he was talking about and made me feel better. Do what you need to do!

Love you <3

12:53 AM  
Blogger Brightdreamer said...

Yikes... been there, done that on the Unexpected Things That Scare The Stuffing Outta You department. Quite honestly, if your primary physician doesn't refer you to a neurologist, I'd think you'd be well within your rights to demand one anyway. This kind of thing sounds like it screams "specialist." In my personal experience, the specialist gave me much better news than the first doctor I went to. So I'm all for going to people who know what they're talking about.

(Did I ever tell you about my aunt, who for 10-odd years had nasty pain in her gall bladder area which her primary care physician brushed off as "you need to lose weight?" The same aunt who, a year ago on my b-day trip, finally had an attack so bad she wound up at another doctor - a doctor who, shortly thereafter, removed a golf-ball-sized gallstone from her long-since-defunct gall bladder? And, aside from the fact that she was probably mere days from the gall bladder going septic, gallstones take about ten years to reach golf ball size. Exactly as long as my aunt had complained of pain which the doctor didn't want to deal with. So there's a little lesson in ditching primary care physicians who give you the brush-off when you know you need help. Needless to say, my aunt no longer goes to the first physician...)

mierspa - a legendary spa at which all manner of stresses magically melt away.

1:30 AM  
Blogger LauraJ said...

big big hugs!!!!

11:31 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...

You're a trooper for making it through your numbers in that sort of situation... I understand how difficult it is to believe that "the show must go on" when you're in so much pain you can't even think.

You unquestionably have the right to see a neurologist instead of your GP for this. Going though medical school doesn't automatically qualify her to handle something this specific, and you have every reason to ask for a referral and receive one. Especially if your doctor is a fan of the brush-off... I know mine is. My primary care physician didn't think to investigate my constant, untouchable, and severe migraines - he only threw narcotics at me and bitched about my weight, which seems to be about the only medical issue he focuses on. If I hadn't seen an optometrist, been referred to a neuro-ophthalmologist, and if he hadn't sent me to get the MRI and the big stick, I would still be having the wicked weekly migraines.

Always put something important - yourself, specifically - in the hands of an expert in that field. I hope that the best neurologist around takes care of you!

It doesn't hurt to be informed, but don't freak yourself out by continuing to dig for more information on the internet. It ends up stressing you out more than anything else after a while, and staying up nights worrying will mean you won't be getting the rest you need.

I sincerely hope your MRI scan and your doctor (neurologist!) yield some answers for you - and preferably answers that don't point toward any severe problems. Take care of yourself as best you can right now, and I'll keep you in my thoughts.

9:13 PM  
Blogger Greta Adams said...

plain and simple..tell her you want to be referred out to a neurologist... PERIOD...

keep us updated...i am praying for you sista

2:39 PM  
Blogger graymama said...

Good Luck tomorrow! I will be thinking of you <3

9:48 PM  
Blogger Brightdreamer said...

Just dropping another line to wish you the best of luck tomorrow... and to remind you to beat your primary care physician over the head with a 2 x 4 until you get the frellin' referral you're entitled to!

(Hope the Box of Doom reached you by now... in one piece...)

11:22 PM  

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