Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Blog 21 - All the Lesions in Rome...


I was in one of many far less pretty buildings.


1/10/2012

To truly appreciate the momentum of the last two days spent in Baltimore MD, one must understand that I’m currently updating my blog from the milky-white expanse surrounding my Southwest Airlines flight back to Texas. There is simply no way to accurately portray the madness I am attempting to break down and repackage for the people that care if or when I live or die.

This trip cannot be summed up in what was said, it is summed up by what was not. The real reasons I was brought up here to the birthplace of The Wire and the final resting place of Edgar Allen Poe – drenched in his own lunch against a gutter – are not easily regurgitated (unlike Poe,) because unlike most medical procedures, the brain does not appear on an MRI like a broken bone, it appears like the unfathomably complex organ that it is. An organ where treatment is based on identifying as many symptoms as possible before pharmaceutical darts are launched towards the other half of whatever pharmaceutical metaphor I was attempting there.

In short:

I believe I was brought to Johns Hopkins to be told that I have Multiple Sclerosis.

Once such exchange went something akin to the following:

My doctor began, clearing his throat, “it is my belief that the lingering Neurological symptoms are most understandably explained with a mild case of Multiple Sclerosis.”

“What, like Singular Sclerosis?”

An uncomfortable silence.

My doctor did go on to admit that he did not find my joke all that funny because it was a joke he had made a few years back and we had found ourselves in that uncomfortable arena that Louis C.K. and Dane Cook did their sparing in a few years back. I Dane Cook’d my own doctor.

Oh, you guys probably didn’t want to hear about the joke aspects of this trip so much as the data that suggests why I came up here in the first place. Well then, I guess that makes you all Carlos Mencia.

So, I have a battery of Neurological symptoms. To this day, I am still more-than-a-little paralyzed on the left side of my body with a noticeable blindness in my right eye. It is the professional opinion of the doctors of Johns Hopkins that these two issues are in no way related and only one of which can be explained by the stroke. Furthermore, I have numerous lesions on my brain, and only one of them (a large one towards the base, I noticed) is explained by a stroke, especially by a stroke in someone 29-years-of-age who, by all accounts, is perfectly healthy.  Furthermore, quothe the Raven, the strikingly high amount of white blood cells in my spinal fluid was never fully accounted for, and is not generally in league with a stroke either.

This is one of the issues that made the diagnosis as drawn-out and difficult as it has been: no one has put forth any theory that can adequately explain all of the issues in a single disease. Per Johns Hopkins: that’s because it isn’t a single disease, it’s two.

Shit, might as tell me I have to eat at Arby’s for dinner and leave the gun ammo next to the Scotch (to clarify, I’m not joking that I’m suicidal, I’m saying anyone forced to eat the roasted garbage they serve at Arby’s will probably shoot themselves in the FACE after getting loaded on Scotch. Good. Glad I cleared that up.) It’s a lot to take in, and it’s even more difficult to take in based on the theoretical nature of such a dual-diagnosis. Before anyone jumps to conclusions and starts the prayer-train for no MS, understand exactly what the situation actually is and what is being represented. At this point, I actually want to confirm that I have a mild form of MS for two reasons 1) it’s treatable and 2) I get to talk about MS like Pace talks about picante sauce – and I love picante sauce. If MS does not account for what is happening to my body (and currently, I want to make it clear that every doctor believes this is exactly what is happening,) then something else will have to account for it. It’s a disease either way, and I’d quite like the one that had the most recent medical breakthroughs and place the word “mild” in front of it. Thank you, I’ll take that one.

So why don’t they know for sure? This is the question of any rational human within breathing distance of the situation. Well, it takes about six months to measure appropriately. The signs of MS are right there on my MRI, which is reflected in all the goofy crap my body likes to call “living” as of late. To pull the trigger 100%, we have to wait another three months (brining us to 6 months since the last one) to accurately measure exactly what is happening in my brain, and how fast that is occurring.

This isn’t even going into the reasons to not close the PFO in my chest that I talked to the “Stroke Prevention Doctor” about. Apparently, there is a new study done that shows that closing a PFO can be somewhat effective in preventing further stroke, especially in young people. It’s not super-invasive, so just do it right? Well, hold off guy-who-asks-questions-in-the-middle-of-a-blog -- guy, because the same study showed that blood-thinners (even ones as low as 81mg of aspiring) are EQUALLY effective in preventing strokes. Equal. The same. Additionally, the PFO closure can simply not work and you’ll be out the cost of surgery but have to go on blood thinners anyway.

So did they give me any good news?

Yes.

They seemed really excited about the Ravens playing the Houston Texans this weekend.

So, now we wait three months.

You know, I called this blog Diagnosis MIA when I started it, and I can’t believe how accurate that has ended up being in the long run. Twenty-one blogs in, and we still don’t know anything 100%.

I never do anything the easy way.

3 comments:

  1. I really feel for you with this one dude; my aunt was in a very similar situation, at an age not much older than yourself. She went through 3 years of test after test, in pain and confused the whole time. It wasn't until after the birth of my cousin that things really got bad. That was when they first noticed the serious signs of MS in her brain scan.

    It's a horrible thing, not something to ever be wished on anyone. Like your's, they said hers was mild, and manageable on tablets, so she gets by.

    Obviously none of this is actually of any help to you, it's just another smuck from the internet telling you that they have a vague idea of what's going through your head.

    All I can say is take care of yourself, and like you've said it's going to be a disease either way, hopefully they'll find a diagnosis for you.

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  2. First of all, I laughed at the jokes in the beginning. Very well done.

    Secondly, at the same time that you were dealing with these diagnoses, I was getting similar news myself. I had a lump on my thyroid biopsied before New Years, and I got my results yesterday: they can't determine the result, aside from the fact that it is a tumor. So it looks like I'll be having half of my thyroid removed (hopefully the bad half), and then they can check to see if the tumor is benign or malignant.

    Yay.

    So basically, in February I get to have my neck cut open, have a lump removed, get stitched back up, and then wait a week to find out if I have to get it cut open again to remove the other half.

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  3. I can't imagine what it's like to go through something like this at an age when most people think they're invincible and won't have anything of the sort until they're too old to care.

    To put it lightly, it must be the most sobering thing conceivable — and it's made me think about life a little differently, because I'm guilty of the above too.

    I hope you get back to full strength so you can continue kicking ass in the world.

    Thrik

    ReplyDelete