Monthly Archives: May 2012

Brain-a-chondriac

I remembered last minute yesterday that I had to schedule an MRV. An MRV is like an MRI, but for the brain veins. Thankfully it only took a few minutes (as opposed to previous hellish experiences). I managed to get one today, which was excellent since my “authorization letter” expires Saturday and the rest of my week is sort of booked.

The reason I really needed this test (on top of everything they’ve been checking for) is that the neurologists have no f**king clue as to what is causing the epilepsy. I’ve had this since I was 15 and it has done nothing but get progressively worse and require more and more meds (as covered by several posts). The MRI & MRA helped none. The 3-day stay at the hospital only confirmed that I have mini seizures, which also confuse the doctors. My neurologist finally said the MRI kinda sorta showed some swelling that could be caused by veins.

I am always excited to look at images of my internal bits. That might sound narcissistic or just plain weird, but I know I’m not alone. I got a CD of what had been scanned and immediately viewed it when I got home. I’ve captured some images so you can see what the cold, loud machine came up with:

So you may notice something that pops out right away. I am not a brain expert, but that doesn’t look quite right. I then did a shit-ton of research. No, I did not go to WebMD or Wikipedia as a first stop. I started Googling images of brain veins and asked about blood flow for certain veins – the problem seems to be in the sinus (or transversal?) veins. I know veins aren’t symmetrical and I wasn’t expecting that, but damn if it doesn’t look like I have no matching vein on the right side and a bit of a bloated left side. Finally I came up with several hints and an eventual diagnosis: Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis.

Okay. Uh. What does that mean? I finally hit the wiki and saw this: CVST is a rare form of stroke caused by blood clot. I haven’t had a stroke. I’m not aware that I’m prone to blood clots. Both Wikipedia and several Neurological Journal/data sites confirmed that a sign of Thrombosis is seizures (and bad headaches which I sometimes get, but blame on the computer). So does that mean I’m going to have a stroke? Not necessarily, but the concern is there. Am I going to die?!? Maybe not.

This is what a normal brain’s veins are supposed to look like:

This is what a CVST brain looks like:

(Source is the Radiology Assistant which depicts a couple of examples of the ones that look like mine and have the same diagnosis of Thrombosis.)

I am known as a semi-hypochondriac. I will take things to extremes only when I have a major query (like, I don’t assume I have pneumonia as soon as I get a cold).

My neuro buddies: tell me if I’m over-reacting. I talked to my dad and said I was a little depressed since there is a, albeit low, death rate. I got the “if it was that bad, we’d be hearing about it on the news. Don’t tell your mom, she’ll freak out. And don’t worry until the doctor tells you to worry” speech. I’m not *dreadfully* worried, just concerned that it is a serious thing, as everything related to my epilepsy is. And maybe there will be a hopeful outcome, but I’m kind of perturbed by both the research and my father’s shitty reaction. Updates when available (which may not be for a few more weeks).

(Still hesitating on the next Disney post because it is villain related and that decision requires much contemplation.)

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30 Day Disney Challenge: Day Seven

Day Seven: Your favorite sidekick

Dr. Delbert Doppler has to be one of my favorite side characters. I don’t find him annoying as with other characters like “Flounder” or “Dory”. Wait… those are both fish. Do I really hate fish that much? Anyway, Dr. Doppler is a dog. A talking, humanoid dog with a doctorate in astrophysics. He’s also voiced by the very awesome David Hyde Pierce.

So if you are familiar with the Treasure Island story, Jim is accompanied by a “Doctor” of some sort (depending on the medium) on his quest. Dr. Doppler is clumsy and perhaps not socially gifted, but he’s smart and kind-hearted. He starts off a little pompous, but it is obvious that he isn’t used to much interaction beyond the academic world. He’s like a lot of friends I know.

He develops through the story from Astronomy nerd to a cunning, heroic… nerd. Well, at least he stops trying to be a know-it-all and handles himself pretty well in rough situations. For a nerd.

A lot of the fandom out there revolves around the relationship with Captain Amelia. (If you are not a furry, for the love of Zeus do not Google “Dr Doppler and Captain Amelia”.) It’s a cute side story: there are conflicting egos, slow-growing mutual respect, and sexual tension finally overcome. So the sidekick gets the girl! It was a nice deviation from the norm.


(I like this little video, but I don’t know if Disney is going to make the owner take it down. Just an FYI.)

Best quote: “Dang it, Jim, I’m an astronomer, not a doctor! I mean, I am a doctor, but I’m not that kind of doctor. I have a doctorate, it’s not the same thing. You can’t help people with a doctorate, you just sit there, and you’re useless!”

I just want to add that Treasure Planet (a link from a decade ago) is an underrated Disney film. When I saw it with friends several years ago we all had the general impression that it was one of the better recent Disney cartoons. It had a better delivery of adult humor and amazing visuals. I saw it right after college, so that’s probably why I loved it (being, you know, an “adult”), but unfortunately it was a box office bomb.

Rocks Friends

I’m in the process of a life “adjustment”. I’m still anxious, I’m still unemployed, I’m still stuck at home with parents. BUT, I am getting out to the city. I am battling my anxiety so I can spend a few days with my sister (who is currently a ball of angst). Through a dab of nepotism I have procured an Internship at the museum. She’s leaving the department and they needed someone to help with revamping coursework. Revamping what? The Geology Masters programs*. I am so close that I can smell the textbooks. Literally, I had to help mail a bunch out and some of them are still on my desk. Sniiiffff Yeah.

Before the nepotism is decried, this is an unpaid Internship. I kept getting asked “what I was expecting to get out of this” and there are a dozen answers, which are hard to put into words. I need experience. I mean I need REAL experience. I spent 4&1/2 years sitting at a desk working with one program on out-dated computers. Not to mention the focus was to hear complaints and work with people like this:

My current office has snazzy new Macs (I’m a quick-learner and want them to see I can learn the bizarre ins-and-outs of software I’m unfamiliar with). I’m working with HTML updates, Word & Excel, as well as getting to help map the Hall of Planet Earth so the Geo-Science majors know where they are going.

I was extremely exhausted the last two days which is why my “Disney Challenge” has been a little spastic. I want to finish it, but flooding my FB and G+ accounts with only those updates seems a little ass-a-holic. I’m taking today off because I’m posting a life-update. I feel things are going better. Part of it is the new anxiety meds (I changed from Prozac 3 months ago). My counselling sessions have never been better. My counselor wants me to focus on silence and meditation since most of my anxiety comes from quick freak outs like I’m going to get lost or say the wrong thing that I’ll regret for several weeks. With my therapy I am improving.

Now if only I could get my brain problems in order. My sister has been watching me closely out of fear of my seizing on the subway. That would be interesting. I’ve had seizures on public transportation before, but nothing like the NYC systems.

I guess the next thing is to connect with people who are not my sister’s friends. I am a minimalist fangirl and like the same things they do, but not love with all my loins the same things they do. I just saw The Avengers with my sister and realized how deep the obsessiveness goes. I liked the movie, but I have to say, as per usual, the villain stood out. I don’t want to join “Loki’s Army” (as I mentioned in the last post), but I can appreciate a hot Brit with a beautiful smile.

*For those who don’t know, I had plans on getting a Masters in science, but it has been hard going since I don’t have a sufficient background in science. Being involved in the education program gives me an opportunity to join a class or two for future applications.

30 Day Disney Challenge: Day Six

Day Six: Your favorite animal

Dug. Who can’t love Dug? I mean… I just… it’s too much. I am just going to put lots of Dug love:


Also, because I’m now a part of “Loki’s army” or what have you here’s an extra:

(I hesitate to join fandoms. Loki is awesome, but his followers are full of too many feels.)

30 Day Disney Challenge: Day Five

Day Five: Your favorite hero

I am torn on this one. I feel I *should* say Aladdin since it was another of those “I grew up with” movies and I also watched the animated series regularly. Unfortunately, the movie paints him as a compulsive liar and despite the “diamond in the rough” description, his motives seemed questionable. He really wants the girl and wants money, ergo he is driven by lust and greed to do stupid things. I’m not saying heroes should be without fault, but Disney seems to have a difficult time in getting a good man right:

I think Robin Hood wins out over Aladdin. Yes, he’s another thief. Maybe that’s my thing about Disney: I don’t like the rich guys. Robin and Aladdin have a lot in common, except Robin Hood was much more generous and while he yearned for the hand of Maid Marian (someone higher than his socio-economical status), his motives were driven by socialism. Mmmm… tasty socialism:

And I think he kind of brought the furry out in all of us.

30 Day Disney Challenge: Day Four

Day Four: Your Favorite Prince

In the same way I dislike princesses, I’m not overly fond of princes. So to answer this question I have broadened it to royalty in general. That means I can choose Emperor Kuzco from The Emperor’s New Groove. He starts out as an easily dislike-able character, but the movie is about his development into a more likeable, humble human. Llama. Human-llama. Great villain, great comic relief, great foil to Kuzco: I love all of the characters and cast. So despite my annoyance with David Spade, Kuzco is my favorite “prince”.


30 Day Disney Challenge: Day Three

Day Three: Your favorite heroine

Miss Price. Angela Lansbury played an amateur witch who saves England from the Nazis. How awesome is that? And she did it all while dealing with three orphan brats, David Tomlinson wanting to put her in showbiz, and Roddy McDowall trying to get into her pants (trufax).

Unlike other Disney female heroes she was fiercely independent and self-assured. (Until Mulan came along it seemed like the primary function of the heroine was to deal with her private love life). Also ”witch heroines” aren’t common to begin with, but I found it has been rarer in Disney movies. As a proper, intelligent woman, Miss Eglentine Price gets my respect.



“I don’t believe in giving animals ridiculous names. I call him Cosmic Creepers, because that’s the name he came with.”
“You must face the age of not believing, doubting everything you ever knew. Until at last, you start believing there’s something wonderful in you!”

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