Last week I had an appointment with a neurologist. He did some testing on me, looked at the CT, and said my large arachnoid cyst on my brain wasn’t causing any problems. That most of my symptoms were from migraines and he didn’t know what was causing the other symptoms. So he put me on a migraine preventative medication and also scheduled an MRI to get more info.

I didn’t believe the cyst wasn’t causing problems, but was willing to try the medication. I unfortunately had a bad reaction to the medication–it was not only supposed to prevent migraines, but to also lower blood pressure. It did the opposite for me. Several hours after I took it, I had such a bad headache, I had to go to bed. When I got up, it wasn’t better. It was so bad, I wondered if I should go to the emergency room–I was worried that something really bad was happening and I might die in my sleep.

Luckily my regular doctor was open in the evening. So after waiting for over an hour in the waiting room, and another in an exam room, I was able to see my doctor.'s office wait

(I took the above photo in the exam room, trying to take my mind off of how terrible I felt. I took it in the reflection of the goose-necked exam lamp.)

My blood pressure was extremely high–185/115. He put me on a different medication, and told me to take it as soon as I got home and to take my pain medication. He also said I should probably get a second opinion on my cyst (which I had already decided I wanted to do). - journal page 021313-500px

I got a copy of the MRI on disk, and used one of the images in my journal page above. The MRI showed that not only was the arachnoid cyst larger than the CT showed, it also showed it was pushing on my left eye. The neurologist said I should get my eyes checked to make sure everything was okay with my left eye. Luckily I was able to get in to see my eye doctor right away.

He thought everything was okay, but wanted to do another test later to check my peripheral vision. The next day, my left eye was still dilated, but my right one wasn’t. So I went back. He had said any visual disturbances (like I had before my art opening) or differences in pupils, would be caused from the cyst pressing on my eye. And if that happened, he wanted to check my eyes again. He was out, but his wife (also an eye doctor), checked me and thought I was okay. But she said they’d refer me to a neuro-ophthalmologist in Kansas City to be on the safe side.

I had my peripheral vision checked this past Tuesday and am still waiting for the results on that, and to find out about being referred to the neuro-ophthalmologist. It sounded like it could take several months before I could get an appointment. Now I know that the pressure I’ve been feeling off and on for oh-so-long on my left eye and left side of my face isn’t from sinuses like I thought. It’s from the cyst. And I think the daily migraine medication might be helping some with overall headachiness, because that is better I would say–I’m not waking up with a headache every morning like I used to. But, now I’m more aware of the pressure on my eye, that maybe was masked by the other pain. And the last few days it has been hurting (and it’s hurting right now). I’ve been very low energy, and am having to sleep a lot. That’s been making it pretty impossible for me to get very much work done, which then of course adds more stress to my situation.

Tomorrow I’m going to call the eye doctor to find out what the results are. I think tomorrow is his day off though. If that’s the case, I’ll put a call in to my regular doctor to have him refer me to the neuro-opthalmologist because I don’t want to have to wait any longer to get that process started. And, I’ll ask if he can refer me to another neurologist for a second opinion. Part of the problem I face is that this type of cyst isn’t very common, so not many neurologists or doctors have experience with it, or understand it. And, the only treatment is brain surgery–to have a hole drilled into my skull, and then pierce the cyst to drain it. From what I’ve read, that procedure often has to be repeated because the fluid recollects. I’m also going to find a naturopath so I can find out what I can do to keep my body, brain, and eye as healthy as possible.

P.S. I really appreciate all of the e-mails and messages I have gotten about my health. Please understand that even though I try and want to answer each one, I just can’t. Right now, I’m kind of having trouble just taking care of myself, and that really needs to be my focus. So please don’t take it personally if I’m not able to reply. Your comment or e-mail is still greatly appreciated. Thanks for your understanding.


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  1. I thought your fingers were arms and you were wearing a red puffy vest in that photo….
    I’m sending you good thoughts and energy as you navigate the health care system.

  2. Good for you for being so proactive with your health. Not everyone is and it is so important to take care of you. Glad you are trusting your instincts and getting a second opinion, which is never a bad idea. Thinking of you often and sending healing love and support your way!

  3. Dear traci. You are a very brave woman. Don’t give up, go on fighting. I know about a specialist in Zurich who does unbelievable things with laser beams. I friend of mine was one of his patients. She was very happy not to have to undergo brain surgery. If you want me to I can find out his name. There must be specialists in the USA who are working the same way. I wish you all the best. Regula

  4. Alright. What’s up? I am sure you have blogged something since Feb. 14. I thought I’d read something about headaches and the cyst that the dr said not to worry about. I have been away from technology for a few days and am trying to catch up with you. I wish I could beam you to Texas. I could help you heal and you could kick my butt into some sort of creative endeavor….I do so hope all is well in your world.

  5. Traci, I am so sorry that you are dealing with all of this! I know exactly how you feel…and when I say that I’m not saying it lightly. I have MS so I know that when things are going on with your brain how frustrating it is to not have answers. It’s both scary and frustrating. I hope and pray that you get the medical help you need and the right doctors to diagnose (I know that this isn’t the correct spelling but can’t figure out how to spell it). My art is one of the things that is getting me through this rough time. Hope it does for you as well. I have and love your book The Art Journal Workshop. Unfortunately my English Bulldog decided to sit on it and she broke the DVD. Do you know if I could buy a replacement DVD? Don’t worry about answering any time soon. Sending you loving thoughts and prayers!!!!!

  6. Dear Traci,

    You just hang in there! I hate it when the doctors don’t realize how much of a challenge it is to go day in and day out in pain. Of course they need breaks from work but I wish they would leave detailed contingency instructions. You are a wonderful human being and you bring light and fun and creative ideas to all of us and for that I’m very grateful. Please hang on, listen to your intuition and take care of yourself.

    your fan and student,

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