This is Merl from the Modsupport Team. I’ve had a couple of members ask how my health is going and @DickD suggested I start a new topic.
As I’m sure others have seen over the years, I’ve been on a bit of a rollercoaster and although not AVM related it is neuro related. My last major neurosurgical procedure was in '13, that year I had 3 operations and although the procedures did deal with/manage a situation, each has left me that little bit further behind where I started from. I get some weird and wonderful symptoms every day, some I can ignore and carry on, some simply knock me off my feet. I use medication to manage it all and usually I can function, well, somewhat anyway.
Recently my normal symptoms have changed and increased, but still within the realm of manageable. I’ve been having annual MRI’s with nothing being noted. Recently had another scan and again the radiologist’s report was OK. I thought nothing of it. The images and report also get forwarded on to the treating Dr’s and surgeons. I had my annual neurosurgical follow up a few weeks later thinking it would be a case of “Nothing new. See you next year…” same as last time and the time before that. Only that’s not what he said. They saw something in the images.
“you’re not a ‘normal’ case…” he says “…you’re special…” I don’t like your kind of special, I want to be a plan old normal case. Simple/Easy that’s what I want. Then he says “And you need a craniotomy”
Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather. This was nowhere on my horizon. I have a VP shunt to drain the fluid from my skull and I thought “Worst case scenario could be a shunt revision”. That would be bad enough, but a full craniotomy OMG. Then the surgeon says to me “Yes or No?” and I told him I needed time. To which he agreed. 2weeks later and I get a phone call from his ofiice, wanting an answer. I’d done a lot of yes, no, yes, no… but one thing he said kept rattling through my mind “…if we leave it, it’s only going to get worse…” Worse? That’s not an option. So, I made the consult appointment for yesterday afternoon.
I’d previously told him that I wanted a couple of scans done prior and a shuntogram to see any changes in fluid flow post-op and he’s agreed to that. Here we have a system where the surgeons, neurologists and the surgical team all get together to discuss individual cases, then come to some sort of consensus on a course of action. When he came at me with the “Yes/No” question I thought he’d already had the team conference, seems he had not. This thing is growing deep in the brain, it may, in the consultation, be deemed too risky and if I’m REALLY honest, I’m actually hoping it is too risky because I don’t want another craniotomy. My recovery from the last one was a long arduous journey, I was a bit younger then, not sure I could do that again. He did however say it was my choice, but he couldn’t give any guarantees of success either. Tsk. But then, what sort of a choice do I really have??? Pain or even more pain That’s not the sort of choice I want to be making.
So, again I wait. Let’s see what the ‘Team’ comes up with.
Merl from the Modsupport Team