My husband and I have been working through some new health issues (mine, of course!). As our lives are about to get interesting again, medically, I thought I would share a quick update whilst I am able.
Late last year I was diagnosed with epilepsy as a result of scaring in my brain from the last aneurysm surgery and now experience what are called focal seizures. The damage to my brain is in the expressive speech centre so when I have a seizure I lose the ability to speak and write – I literally cannot express myself. I also get very sleepy and that combined with the medicine has meant they tend to wipe me out for the day.
Three weeks ago I finally had corrective eye muscle surgery to address the double vision I’ve had since my first brain surgery in 2014. The eye surgery appears, at this early stage to have been successful (yay!!) but unfortunately, something about the op/anaesthetic/eyes and brain getting used to a new world view, triggered my seizures so I have been having up to two per day since the op. Blah.
My Neurologist has now prescribed a daily anti-seizure medicine so we can get them under control again. Whilst this does indeed stop the seizures, it makes me super drowsy, dopey and easily confused. It does also mean that I am very easily entertained; a patient Jason had to gently escort me out of the Easter isle in the supermarket the other day as I excitedly moved from one cute bunny to another and another and ….
However, whilst the eye surgery recovery and seizure escalation has been evolving, we have been dealing with what we like to call the ‘biggie’. A long time ago (around 15 or so years), I suffered two spinal cord injuries each requiring emergency surgery, from which it took an awfully long time to rehabilitate; but I did it. As it turns out though, the damage caused by the initial injuries of a ruptured disk and compressed spinal nerves has led to the development of a new problem called arachnoiditis. Just call me Spider-Back!
In short, my spinal cord nerve roots have become clumped at the level of previous injury and can longer move freely. This can lead to damage to the nerves as they stretch rather than glide when I move and just being clumped can cause a wide range of neurological issues. This past year I have seen a worsening of the nerve pain in my legs, changes in my motor control (tripping, staggering) and bowel and bladder problems (over share, I know). With brain surgery being my priority last year, I didn’t notice all the changes until I was well recovered and off all the pain medicines. Once I realised things weren’t quite as they should be, I saw a couple of specialists and they were agreed that there is one treatment option – surgery. I go into hospital tomorrow.
A highly recommended neurosurgeon will cut into the sac containing the spinal cord and un-tether as many of the nerves as he can, whilst monitoring nerve function so as to try to avoid doing any damage. It sounds daunting but the surgeon was (as most surgeon’s tend to be) confident he could get the job done and done safely; making this my third surgery in nine months!
So, there it is, the next saga of my medical misadventures. After this is done, I’m never going to a doctor again!