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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About Strix Varia

Seeking the strange creatures of the Internet while staving off the boredom of being unemployed and far from old friends. Follow the blog if you need something with which to pass the time away.

Posted on May 22, 2012, in anatomy, health, On the Nature of..., personal issues and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I would definitely ask your neurologist about it. I mean I wouldn’t come in and say “OMG, I have Thrombosis!” but as soon as you see him (or her), I would say “Doctor, I saw my images and I was curious as to what you think could be causing the weird veins that seem to only be on one side of my head and if that could be the cause of my epilepsy?”

    • Yeah. And that’s what my dad said. I’m anxious to have the doc reach me asap because if I wait to finally set an appointment I may end up waiting 3 months. If it is serious he’ll make time for me, but this is going to put me on edge until I have contact.

      Also, since there are so many studies I feel unsure about whether it is considered all that serious. They mainly just repeat that it is “rare” and “some death” may occur. Maybe some anti-coagulants are all I need…

    • I wish more doctors had an e-mail program. Tired of waiting on their goddamn cust service line everytime i call.

  2. I work in a medical library. I may as well spend time reading about this. If any neurologists happen to walk by, I’ll see if I can show them your doom brain.

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