Thursday, November 14, 2013

Many, many straws piling upon my back

About two weeks ago, I was sitting in my office talking to one of my coworkers when all of a sudden I realized I was speaking in fits and starts because for the life of me, I could not retrieve the words I wanted to say.  I stopped to gather my thoughts and then tried to speak again, but again tried to say a word, but again it was the wrong word and I stopped again.  At the same time, I had this sort of tingly feeling in my head and my upper body -- kind of like the cold flush you get when you start to feel panicky.  I kept trying to find the words, kept failing, kept stopping.  Finally, much to my (and my coworker's relief), after about 25 seconds the fog cleared and my brain started to work again.  I was a little freaked out, but otherwise felt normal.

I assumed it was dehydration or something similar.  I drank a bunch of water, and started keeping a big pitcher on my desk, so that I would be better at making sure I was having enough.  It's dry in these parts, and I often feel like I don't remember to drink as much water as I should.

Then last weekend it happened again.  It was Saturday night, and we some friends were over to eat, watch a movie, and most importantly, coordinate the purchase of our plane tickets to Nicaragua, where we're going for the kids' spring break. I was in the middle of a conversation when I felt my brain fog up, my body start to tingle, and I couldn't find the words to continue the conversation for about 25 seconds.

I worried that I was having little mini strokes.  I googled the symptoms, but I haven't had any numbness or vision issues, so I figured that was unlikely.  Then I thought about my cousin Simon, who was arguing a case in court one day and suddenly found himself unable to speak or continue making his argument.  He was dead two years later of a brain tumor.

Also, these episodes have come during a time when I constantly feel exhausted, constantly have a low grade (at least) headache, constantly feel like I can't focus or stay on task the way I'm usually able to. I had been chalked it up to a bout of depression that has been going on for almost two months -- it hasn't been severe, but it's been enough that I've felt extremely disrupted by it, particularly because it's lasted much longer than usual.

I went to the doctor on Wednesday, first to see my GP.  She gave me a neurological exam and asked me a bunch of question, and also ordered a series of blood tests, looking at everything from my folate levels to my thyroid to my blood sugar and cholesterol. 

When I got home, I developed a crushing headache, about as painful a headache as I've ever had (I've never been one to get bad headaches).  I took a bunch of ibuprofen, and while I was waiting for it to work, suddenly noticed this fuzzy cloud of grey in my peripheral vision on my right side.  I kept glancing over to my right because I had a sense that something was moving over there, but it was the grey fuzzy cloud. 

Then at one point, I went into the kitchen and put both hands on the counter in front of me, with my forearms parallel to each other.  I then focused on a midpoint about 8 inches in front of my hands.  I could see my left hand in my peripheral vision, but I couldn't see my right hand at all (I could see it if I looked directly at it, but not when I looked at the focal point).  Once it passed a line about 20 degrees off the midpoint, it just disappeared. 

a crude rendition, looking down at the top of my head,
 of how I was standing, where my hands were, and where I was looking
The fuzziness/peripheral vision weirdness continued yesterday morning.  I noticed it as I was getting the kids ready for school, and then when I was walking from the bus to my office building.  There was a man walking in front of my and slightly to my right, and when he passed the 20 degree point, he disappeared.

To top it off, my blood work came back.  Everything was fine except for my blood sugar, which was high, especially considering my lifestyle.  I have been described as "prediabetic," and told I need to go in to talk about treatment options, which is probably going to be similar to what I had to do when I was pregnant with Josie -- regular testing of my blood sugar, and a highly restrictive diet.

 I have to go in for a fasting blood draw tomorrow so they can test my cholesterol, which I fully anticipate will come back high, since it runs in my family. 

I've also had my info reviewed by the neurology department at Kaiser.  They want me to do an MRI and an EEG.

Needless to say, I'm a little freaked.


  1. I wish I could be there to give you a big hug. Hang in there. I'm thinking about you and praying it's nothing serious. Love you, friend.

  2. That sounds terrible, sending good thoughts your way to get well soon!

  3. A lot of those symptoms are part of my migraines. Hope you figure it out. I know how hard it is to have scary unexplained symptoms.