Oct 2, 2014

2014 In A Nutshell

On the eve of a very important appointment with a very important neurosurgeon, I find myself brimming with anxiety over the occasion. You'd think that after seven years of health drama, doctor's appointments wouldn't even phase me anymore. But the reality is, sometimes they still do. Especially the important ones. So I figured what better way to spend my evening than to engage in a little blogtherapy and update you on what's been happening in my life so far this year and also explain why I haven't updated this blog in ten months!

Let's start off with some happy news! In February I got engaged! The proposal was magical and perhaps I should save that story for a separate post! We were both so thrilled that we started wedding planning almost immediately but then we both took a step back and realized that planning a huge wedding was starting to get really overwhelming (and really expensive!) really quickly. The more I thought about it the more I realized that a wedding is merely one day and that the marriage itself is what really matters. So we went from wanting a huge outdoor wedding and reception to now wanting a very small, private, low-stress ceremony and will probably skip having a formal reception altogether. It just doesn't make sense to exhaust all of our physical and financial resources on one single day when the time, money and energy expended could be better invested in creating our home together. I've basically stopped wedding planning for now and I'm so much more at ease. We've agreed upon the perfect small venue and I am going to wear a gorgeous gown. I also want a cool, Cake-Boss style cake. But other than that our wedding will be no-frills, no fuss.

In April we started fixing up my fiance's house to put on the market. Boy was that a job! It really tested our patience as things just kept going wrong and the house proved to be a lot more work than any of us expected! Several weekend work parties, one dead cat (long story!) and countless hours of manual labor later, the house is finally listed on the real estate market and being shown! Cross your fingers for us that it sells soon so we can move forward with the next chapter of our lives.

In June I finally had an upright MRI of my brain and cervical spine as ordered by my primary care doctor for the wonky discs in my neck that kept going out. The MRI results confirmed my biggest fears: that I do indeed have a Type 1 Chiari malformation as well as cervical instability secondary to Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. I always knew Chiari was a distinct possibility because of my EDS, but I figured since my POTS has gotten so much better over time that I surely I didn't have any more comorbid conditions to worry about. Well, I was wrong. My Chiari measures a mere 5mm but I am symptomatic with headaches, balance issues and tingling extremities and have been for over a year now. So far I have seen a local neurosurgeon, had a Skype consult with Dr. Rekate of The Chiari Institute (who was wonderful and a wealth of information!) and have one more consult with the head of neurosurgery at the local University tomorrow. Dr. Rekate told me he trusts this surgeon's skill so I feel a bit better in knowing that he's highly regarded by his peers. However my cervical instability is perhaps more of an issue than the Chiari itself so I need to make sure my local doctors take it seriously and address it accordingly.

In July and August, I ended up getting sent for several additional tests: an MRI of my thoracic spine, an MRI of my lumbar spine, cervical x-rays in flexion and extension, a 3D CT scan of my cervical spine, and a cine MRI of my brain/c-spine. Am I ever sick and tired of MRI's! The good news is that my MRI's showed NO evidence of a syrinx or a tethered cord. Tomorrow I will receive the results of the cine MRI from the neurosurgeon and boy am I nervous. The cine MRI is a specialized MRI that assesses the cerebral spinal fluid flow or extent of the obstruction from the Chiari. I am hoping he tells me I don't need surgery, or at least not urgently. The prospect of brain/spine surgery scares the bejeezus out of me. And I would really like to focus on things like getting married and finding our new home. A surgery would certainly disrupt my plans. But will have to see what he says tomorrow and take everything one step at a time.

Can't believe it's already October which also happens to be dysautonomia awareness month! This month I look forward to getting 3 teeth crowned (ugh!) and watching copious amounts of Gilmore Girls on Netflix. It's also my mom's 60th birthday which is kind of a big deal. Not quite sure how to commemorate the occasion but she has been a huge support to me my whole life and especially these past few months as I have suffered some pretty rough days health-wise and dealt with yet another life-altering diagnosis. Wish I could buy her a really cool, expensive gift! Or send her on a vacation somewhere tropical and relaxing!

As for November and December, we are hoping my fiance's house will finally sell so we won't have to maintain it over the winter and I am really really hoping to avoid neurosurgery. I should know more about that tomorrow. Until then, thanks for reading! I have really missed blogging and missed hearing from my lovely readers as well! Hope you are all doing well and enjoying improved health and wellness!

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