This Is Spinal Tap

Several posts ago I mentioned the migraine headaches I’ve been getting for the last three months and my hope that this was just another one of those annoying symptoms of “menopause”. After a number of tests and two MRI’s I found out a week ago that I had three lesions in my brain of 5 cm’s each. When my neurologist first suggested an MRI, neither of us expected anything to show up. She had already done an exam to make sure I didn’t have Alzheimer’s, MS or other neurological disorders. So it was a huge surprise to both of us to get this abnormal MRI.

So starting a week ago Monday, I had a more extensive exam for MS as well as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I also had another MRI to make sure I didn’t have any lesions in my upper spine. The good news  was that the lesions weren’t in my spine and I don’t have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. The scary thing about this though was that I had to have a lumbar puncture.  In other words…a Spinal Tap. Now there’s a word that inspires fear; or laughter, depending on what side of the fence you’re on. I’ve chosen to look on the mockumentary side of the issue.

First, a few words about the actual spinal tap procedure. I made the appointment for the spinal tap a week ago along with tests for hearing and balance.  All of these tests required a few days of prep which included drinking 3 quarts of water, avoiding pain killers, allergy meds, sleeping pills and Xanax. Needless to say the weekend was not a lot of fun. Between the itchy eyes and two days of sleeplessness, I finally had the spinal tap today. And you know what? It wasn’t that bad. In fact, the worst part is for the next 24 hours where I have to lie at a 45 degree angle and sit still as much as possible. I’m bored already. I have to do this to equalize the pressure in my spine. If  I don’t do this then I run the risk of excruciating migraines; which is kind of funny since that’s the reason I was sent to the neurologist in the first place.

Tomorrow is my last test and I hope to have a diagnosis by Friday. In the meantime, I like to count my blessings. My family is healthy and my guess is that any issues with my brain are purely mental. Let’s turn life up to ELEVEN!

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Easter Schmeaster

As many women in my age group may know, menopause is a bitch. Someone once asked me what it was like and I likened it to puberty with responsibility. Sad, but true. And one of the worst things about menopause is your inability to eat what you want in large, massive quantities. And I’m not talking about weight gain here. I’m talking about true and lasting pain. The kind of pain you had as a youngster when you drank  6 too many shots on a Saturday when your limit was only 10 to begin with.

That being said, I’ve recently been diagnosed with migraine headaches. Another unpleasant side effect of what I like to call “Menopause’s Last Stand”. Last week I was instructed to keep a migraine diary by documenting everything I ate and how I was feeling when the migraine hit. Really? I don’t think so. The last time I chronicled everything I ate was 5 years ago when I joined Weight Watchers and lost 30 pounds (which I have kept off plus or minus 2-3 pounds). And the last time I wrote down how I was feeling was…NEVER! I suppose as a teenager I wrote the occasional diary entry, but really? The whole thing seems so self-indulgent. And since I’ve been seeing a therapist every Wednesday since October, I couldn’t see where this would help.

Bottom line…I’ve done neither. What I can say I did was eat a lot of sugar in the form of cake and cola the entire Easter weekend. I also cooked for Easter which entailed a great deal of tasting and sampling. I also had coffee and cheese. Anyone who’s ever been treated for migraines knows that all of these things are on the “Not Allowed” list of foods. So on Monday I woke up with the worst migraine I’ve had in weeks. And the worst part is I went “cold turkey” on all banned foods. I’ve actually been very good at eating my yogurt, fruits, vegetables and lean proteins. I had hoped to feel better by Tuesday, but this morning I woke up again with a miserable migraine.

But not to be too negative, I have also been unable to watch television or spend much time in front of my computer (except for work) which I supposed has been a benefit of these constant migraines. I’ve been forced to claw my way through the stack of magazines in my bedroom and I’ve had time to reflect. Reflection. Now there’s a word that should be on everyone’s to-do list. Reflect on the joys you’ve been given. Reflect on your abundance of loved-ones. Reflect on what you want to be when you grow up. Reflect. Isn’t that what Easter is really about? And Chocolate Bunnies!