- Talked to the pediatrician last week. Miss Attitude’s VEP test was normal. I asked the doc if – since the MRI of her brain and the VEP test were both normal – we had officially ruled out MS. He said, “No. It just means she doesn’t have any symptoms of MS right now.” We see the neurologist May 1st.
- I continue to be a nervous wreck, in a perpetual state of high-anxiety. My doc put me on Buspar for anxiety a few weeks ago. I can’t really tell that it’s helping, but that may be because I’m supposed to take it three times a day and I almost NEVER remember all three doses…which, of course, causes even more anxiety as I fret about missing my medication.
- I’ve been a terrible blog friend lately, and I apologize for that. If it’s any consolation at all, I’ve been a terrible Real Life friend, too. I’ve just been too stressed out and exhausted lately to be much of a friend to anyone. But my blog friends are never far from my mind and heart. Love and hugs to you all.
I’ve been absent (not blogging much) or semi-absent (reading blogs, but not commenting much) from the blogworld quite a bit lately. For those of you who don’t know what’s been going on, here’s an excerpt from an email I sent recently (this will also help you “catch up,” if you missed the last few entries):
Miss Attitude started having headaches a few weeks ago. I knew she’d mentioned them a few times, but I didn’t think too much of it – thought it might be allergies or something – until I ended up having to pick her up from school because her head was hurting so badly. We saw the pediatrician the next day. He gave her a very thorough exam, checked her vision, and paid close attention to her eyes. He then referred us to an ophthalmologist, who found some swelling of her optic nerves. The ophthalmologist sent Miss A for an MRI of her brain, which came back normal (except for showing a sinus infection, for which she’s on antibiotics now). The ophthalmologist and the pediatrician were thinking she probably had pseudotumor cerebri, which occurs when the body either produces too much cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) or doesn’t absorb the CSF quickly enough; the excess fluid puts pressure on the brain which causes the headaches, optic nerve swelling, and can lead to loss of vision if left untreated.
Unfortunately, the next step in the diagnosis was a lumbar puncture (spinal tap), wherein they would determine the amount of pressure in the CSF. Miss A had that done in [larger town an hour away, where we go for doctor appointments and shopping] on Thursday, February, 8th. Her pressure turned out to be in the normal range, and the pediatrician said it was entirely likely the pseudotumor had resolved itself; apparently, that’s not uncommon. At that point, we were just kind of keeping an eye on things until we returned to the ophthalmologist in a couple of weeks and he could check to see if her optic nerve was still swollen. Then we’d figure out where to go from there.
So we thought we had pretty good news, and thought everything was getting better…well, except for the fact that Miss A was having severe headaches – even worse than before we started all this, but those headaches were likely due to the spinal tap itself. Then the pediatrician called Thursday afternoon (2/15) and said one of the tests the lab had done on Miss A’s spinal fluid had come back abnormal. They found a “protein band” in the CSF that shouldn’t have been there. The pediatrician said it’s uncommon to find that protein band in the CSF of a child. It’s usually found in adults, and when they do find it, it’s usually an indicator of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Since MS is a disorder of the nervous system, the next steps for Miss A are nerve tests, another MRI, and an appointment with a neurologist.
She’ll have an MRI of her spine this coming Thursday (2/22) at 9:00 AM in [larger town].
No one in [larger town] does the nerve tests, so we’ll have to go to [Big City, even further away] for that. Miss A will have an EEG and a VEP (Visually Evoked Potential) test on Tuesday, March 13th at 8:00AM.
The neurologist appointment is tentatively scheduled for May 1st, but the pediatrician’s office is planning to call and reschedule that as soon as Miss A’s tests are done. Her pediatrician wants her seen within a month.
I won’t lie to you. I’m scared. I’m totally freaked out. I’m trying to hide that from the kids, but I’m a nervous wreck. I’m eating everything within a 10 foot radius (15 if it’s chocolate), which may not be as bad as binge drinking or doing drugs to handle the stress, but it’s destructive nevertheless. My depression’s getting worse – I can feel it trying to take over. All I want to do anymore is curl up in the dark and sleep. And I’ve developed nervous twitches in my eyes. Lovely.
And here I am going on and on about me, but it’s my sweet baby girl I’m asking you to pray for and/or send good thoughts/vibes to. I’m so worried about her. We didn’t want to scare her, so all we told her was that one of the tests on her spinal fluid came back abnormal, that there was “something” there that wasn’t supposed to be there, and she has to have more tests to find out what’s going on in her body. I’m just so damned angry that she’s having to go through this. She’s been through so much already. I just want to scream to the heavens, “JUST GIVE HER A FUCKING BREAK ALREADY!” (Please forgive my anxiety-ridden use of the f-word, there.)
Okay, now that you’re caught up, here are a couple of updates:
- Miss A’s MRI yesterday went well, but it took OVER. TWO. HOURS. Geez. Deputy Dad took her for that one (SuperBoy had speech therapy yesterday morning. I took Miss A for the last MRI, so she decided to let Dad take her this time so she could “show him how it works.”)
- Miss A’s headaches lasted for about a week after she had the spinal tap. Then she finally got some relief, and hasn’t had much trouble with headaches at all in the last week.
- I was surprised to hear from the pediatrician yesterday afternoon at 4:00. The MRI wasn’t finished until after 11:00 AM, but he already had the results:
The MRI was NORMAL. I repeat, NORMAL. (YIPPEE!)
- Since the MRI was normal (Normal! YAY!), the pediatrician says we’ll just keep the May 1st appointment with the neurologist. We’ll still go March 13th for the nerve tests.
Deputy Dad and I breathed a huge sigh of relief after the pediatrician’s call yesterday. We’re still a bit worried about what the nerve tests will or won’t show, and where we go from there, but at least we’ve gotten one worry out of the way with one simple word: Normal!
The stress from all of this is definitely taking its toll…mentally, physically, emotionally, psychologically…and with all the doctor appointments, tests, missed work, and the gas for all the trips back and forth to [larger town] – not to mention whatever snacks/drinks/meals are necessary during the course of each trip – this situation is definitely taking a financial toll on us, as well. So imagine my delight when a Mr. Samba Ibrahim emailed me from the African Development Bank and asked for my assistance in “a legitimate arrangement” concerning 25.6 million dollars in unclaimed funds! He didn’t specify what sort of “personal information” he needs, but he did express a sense of urgency, so I figure I’ll just send him my name, address, phone number, social security number, and a copy of my credit report, complete with credit card and bank account numbers. That should give him enough info to get me well on my way to my financial windfall, shouldn’t it?
Even the smallest light permeates the darkness.
Last week, in the midst of my stressing and worrying, The Drama Queen and Miss Attitude unexpectedly surprised me with this keychain, purchased with their own money, and without my knowledge:
They called it an “early Thanksgiving present.” I called it a flicker of light.
Maybe it’s the depression, threatening to capsize my little lifeboat as it roars and swells in angry waves.
Maybe it’s the stress, recently reaching near-record levels and jeopardizing the precarious state of my anxious mind.
Whatever the cause, the effects are cropping up in some rather unconventional ways.
You remember I told you about my odd need for physical even-ness? (If you’re just tuning in, please see #90 on my 140 Things About Me page. As if that weren’t idiosyncratic enough in and of itself, I’ve recently developed a few other peculiarities…
I am, apparently, physically incapable of taking the top cup off of a stack of disposable cups. Each workday morning, I arrive at the office and get a cup of coffee. I reach for a styrofoam cup, and…
I pick up at least four or five cups off the top of the stack, so that I can take a cup from the middle. I do this at fast-food joints and convenience stores, too. I think it stems from being neurotically worried about putting my mouth on a cup someone else has touched. Because I know that not everyone washes their hands as obsessively as I do. Which brings me to the next manifestation of my mental meltdown…
I am constantly aware of everything I touch, who might have touched it before me, and what germs I might be unknowingly acquiring. So I wash my hands eleventy thousand times a day, until they’re dry and chapped and raw. (But hey, I don’t use a new bar of soap for each hand-washing, like Jack Nicholson’s OCD character in As Good As It Gets. I’m not that bad … … yet.)
I think I had more to post about, but as I was perusing that IMDB link (that movie’s one of my favorites), I came across this quote:
Sell crazy someplace else, we’re all stocked up here.
And on that note, I think I’ll go curl up in the corner and cry.
If I could only bottle Super Boy’s* giggle…it would be the most powerful anti-depressant known to man.
*Due to his recent obsession with Superman, Spiderman, The Incredibles, and any other super-hero type characters, The Toddler Formerly Known as Big Boy shall now be known as Super Boy.
…so dark, sometimes, that I cannot imagine there ever was a light. I cannot feel its warmth, cannot see even the faintest glow, cannot close my eyes and see the shadow of what is before me.
…sometimes I look at my son, breathe in his scent, listen to his sweet voice, his new words…sometimes I watch my daughters in awe, marvelling at how they are transforming from little girls to young ladies, before my very eyes, holding on to them…SO tightly, now, not wanting to let go of the little girls, but also so proud they are becoming such remarkable people, such individuals, and then…
…and then the light. So bright, so warm…surrounding me, embracing me, giving me strength to JUST. HOLD. ON.
And so I am. Holding on.
…What I mean is, “Please accept my acknowledgement of your existence and let me be on my way,” which is what everyone means when they say, “hi, how are you” to an acquaintance.
She answers. “Fine.” Or “hot.” I’m not sure which, not that it matters. We’re all hot. Even with the cooler temperatures – highs in the high 80s to low 90s, rather than the high 90s to 100+ – we’re all still fighting off the stifling humidity.
I transfer everything from the shopping cart to the minivan, stopping briefly to realize I have a horrible headache. As I turn around to return the shopping cart, an elderly gentleman appears, wearing a name tag and gathering carts. I give him my cart, thank him, and am saddened at the thought of so many senior citizens working for a huge retail giant, greeting customers at the door, scanning an endless array of bar codes and collecting shopping carts.
I fasten my seat belt and look up in time to see an elderly woman pushing her cart to her car. Knowing I am already running behind and will be late to work, I hesitate a moment before I unfasten my seat belt and get out of the car. I go to her and offer to help her unload her shopping cart, but she declines, and I know why. She’s fiercely independent, taking pride in her self-sufficiency. As I turn to leave, I secretly hope that when I’m her age – her great-grandchildren go to school with my children – I’ll be as spunky and spirited as she.
Driving down the main street, I fight back tears when I see his work truck at the Mexican restaurant. He had invited me to lunch, but I had errands to run, things to do, mundane matters to mind. If I don’t take care of things, who will? No one, that’s who. And suddenly I am completely overwhelmed again, lost in the lists of things to do, drowning in the details.
A quick stop at the grocery store finds me jockeying with a senior citizen for a view of the grocery shelf. My “excuse me” sounds surprisingly flat, and I worry I’ve hurt her feelings, this woman I don’t even know, this woman who is someone’s wife, mother, grandmother. And I fight back tears, realizing how ridiculous I would look, crying in the grocery store, birthday cake decorations in one hand and a tub of Country Crock in the other.
Driving home, my thoughts are flooded with to-do lists and schedules. I turn off the music; the noise in my head is more than I can bear. I acknowledge the headache again, briefly rubbing my neck with my left hand, trying in vain to relieve the pressure. The pain in my gut returns, and I find myself hoping premenstrual cramps are to blame. PMS is so much more welcome than that old, familiar darkness.