Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Procedure and hiatus delayed

I can't remember if I have even laid out what has been going on with my brain or not. But in any case a routine C-scan last Sept picked up a brain anomaly, which has been with me since birth. It was unknown before this scan and without symptoms. They did a second scan, which confirmed it, and than an MRI. I saw a neurologist but eventually ended up in the hands of an interventional radiologist. 

Now this anomaly is probably a DVA, which is basically harmless. But it could be an AVM (Arterio-venous malformation) which can cause bleeds in the brain. This only happens in 2-4% of people with them but fixing them if if they need fixing varies in technique. 

So my doctor scheduled a cerebral angiogram for yesterday but an emergency called him away. So now I will have to reschedule it. He assured me in a very nice email last night that the angiogram is not dangerous and the information they cull from it will hopefully never need to be used. But they will have it ready if the thing does start to bleed. 

So even if it is the AVM and not the DVA, my chances of it killing me are less than 1 percent and I will probably die from something else entirely. But being alone now and having to go into these procedures alone (because of COVID) has been taking up a lot of my energy. Also it is so helpful to have someone with you to understand what the doctor is telling you and asking the questions your blank mind doesn't ask.
Anyway my hiatus is over for now. Have a good holiday.


32 comments:

J. Kingston Pierce said...

I wish you all the best, Patti.

Cheers,
Jeff

Todd Mason said...

Indeed. Those nagging small percentages do also weigh more heavily than they probably should...may all of this be reasonably easy to endure and not too stressful. (And, indeed, you've mentioned a good chunk of this before.)(It wasn't till I had an ultrasound a decade+ back to determine if I had kidney stones [no, but a plug--fun!--which had apparently just broken or fell out just before the scoping] that I learned I had a healthy but enormous liver.)

Make it as pleasant for yourself as circumstances allow! (Do you read or listen to music or spoken word while awaiting procedures/doctors and techs to show up?)

JJ Stickney said...

Only good thoughts.

Jerry House said...

Better to be safe than sorry, although I'm sure your eventual angiogram will deliver only good news. We need you around for a long, long time, Patti!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Thanks, guys. It has taken a long time to get my head (literally) around this.

TracyK said...

I can imagine how unsettling and confusing all the tests have been, even if the results are mostly good. Two years ago I had an ovarian tumor discovered via an xray for back pain, and after many tests they said it was most likely benign but should be removed. I tried not to worry about it all, but there was always some amount of tension in the background. (That is a term I never heard of, interventional radiologist.)

I also know exactly what you mean about having someone around when the doctor is talking to you. I went to every one of my husband's doctor's visits when he had cataract surgery, which resulted in complications which led to retinal surgery, which is much worse. He was so stressed out by it all, many times he did not remember all the doctor said, so it was good that I had been there.

Steve A Oerkfitz said...

With those low percentages I would think the odds are on your side. My thoughts are with you.

Margot Kinberg said...

Oh, Patti, what a thing to do through! Thinking of you.... Please know we're all on your side.

pattinase (abbott) said...

When I went into his office (January), I expected him to tell me that they would keep an eye on it, which was what the MRI report suggested. So when he started talking about a cerebral angiogram, my mind went blank. And of course with the Internet when you begin to look into it you see some pretty scary things about whether you should leave AVMs alone or try to operate on them. (If I even have an AVM). The hospital this was to be in has the highest amount of Covid patients in the state and Michigan has the highest amount of COVID, so I didn't like that either.
The doctor is a very nice man and he explained to me via a letter that this angiogram would function as a road map should it be an AVM and should it begin to bleed. It was not meant to signal immediate action. I feel better about it now but I am still going to delay until Covid is better and until I take a mini vacation in May. I am too worn out to gear up for this again right away.
That sounds pretty scary, Tracy. GLad it was benign and that your husband had you with him.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Bummer on the scare, but it does sound like it is most likely harmless. After all, you've had it all these years. The doctors scared Jackie with a "growth" on her right hip and she freaked out that it was a tumor. But it was also something she has always had. Only occasionally it bothers her if she is sleeping and turns to that side. I get it that the brain is a different level and they have to be sure, but then, doctors love doing "tests" and "procedures" and don't always think of how it affects the patient. Jackie also had to walk around with a heart monitor for 24 hours - twice! - before totally unrelated medical procedures because they "saw something" and it could have been an old heart attack! It wasn't.

George said...

This all sounds very stressful! Hope you and your doctor can resolve this issue so you can relax.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Because doctors deal with these issues (and far worse ones) every day, they see them as ordinary events. If I had had Phil with me, it would have made a difference in the last year. For this and for everything, of course. And access to the Internet is a good and bad thing.

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