Back to the Neurosurgeon

January 4, 2017

Dear Friend,

Some time has past since the last real update. Since I visited the neurosurgeon for the second time post-surgery today, this looked like a good time to do so.

Before Christmas, I saw an ophthalmologist for my vision issues, including double vision and other focusing issues. He verified it resulted from the tumor, creating substantial pressure inside my brain. Therefore this was a nerve / cerebellum issue, and not from aging weak eye muscles. (Yes! I am still young!) I must wait to see if the damage will heal on its own. If not, I will probably be too stubborn to give in to wearing eye glasses with prisms, since I still have 20/15 vision in the other unaffected regions of my sight. In six months, I will have the ophthalmologist check my vision once more.

Also before Christmas, I was on a heavy-duty steroid that seemed to do the trick on the pain I kept experiencing. I used it exclusively and I was able to get by with one dose of ibuprofen for the day afterwards. However, after around five days, I noticed this was short lived and I had to start slowly ramping up the dosages once more, though not to the previous level.

During that blissful time, other nerve sensors started “waking up” so to speak. Studies came out that the brain can only process a certain amount of moderate pain. Once the largest pain was resolved, then the brain begins sensing the lesser of the pain issues. So these hidden pain issues were now being felt throughout the rest of me.

During the stressors of the Christmas season, the headaches substantially increased. This just about quarantined me to a bed for most almost a week straight. Feeling I was “bunny hopping” backwards on this recovery road, I visited my neurosurgeon for the second time. I prepared myself for the potential news of a leak in my skull membrane (dura), as I knew I was exhibiting half of the symptoms. Fortunately my probable “internet diagnosis” was wrong. The news was different from what I expected.

Once again the doctor came in smiling. He had seen my newest set of MR images and reassured me all was coming along quite nice. Everything was healing well from the stitches to my brain structure. But what about my symptoms that fell short of knocking me out again?

He explained I most likely had aseptic, or chemical, meningitis. “MENINGITIS?” I thought. The doctor explained it is very common in the epidermoid tumor resection to have this due to some of the epidermoid cells being left behind. When these cells are injured, they release chemicals. The chemicals in turn irritate the lining of the skull, causing the inflammation, or meningitis. It is quite normal for this to occur post-surgery for a duration ranging from two weeks all the way to three months. This type of meningitis that will resolve itself without antibiotics and is not contagious. I guess I could hope it is a sign for more cells to be dying off? Perhaps it is a sign of a longer duration before the surgery would need to be repeated. Only God knows.

I was thankful nothing very serious was going on and a treatment for this was possible. Where I took the first Methylprednisolone pack for the inflammation in my neck, this time I am repeating the same treatment for the inflammation of the skull tissue. I felt great after the first round and am optimistic this may do the trick. It was close last time.

During the whole recovery time one of the most common questions I get asked is “How much longer before you can resume your travels?” In fact, I think I ask that of myself about every day. Every day I come up with a different answer ranging from next week to three months from now. Ultimately, I wish I knew. But God knows. I must be content in trusting there is a reason for us to be in Minnesota in the winter. I think He knew it had to be big, or it would have been shoved aside for later. He knows our family. In the meantime this is stretching our planner-type personalities and teaching us spontaneity and patience. What is He teaching you?

Until we meet again,
Regina

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