on brain defects and apple torture

This weekend has been good. Clementine scored her first goal in soccer, Linette and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary, and I heard definitively from a neurologist that the tiny grape seed-like spots in my brain aren’t tumors. Lots of other good stuff is going on too, but those were the highlights. I don’t mention it here nearly enough, but I’m an extremely fortunate man.

This isn’t really related, but instead of “apple orchard,” Clementine says, “apple torture.” She says things like, “Daddy, I want to go to the apple torture tomorrow.” I know it doesn’t come across as that incredibly funny here, but it’s hilarious when she says it. There’s nothing funnier than kids talking about torture… She said something else funny last night. It was about 9:30 and we were driving home from a party. About 10 minutes into the trip, she asked us if she could, when we got home, take a few minutes to “look at” her candy. She assured us that she didn’t want to eat any of it. She just wanted to spread it out on a table and bask in its beauty. She’s like I was as a kid. She’d rather collect and squirrel away candy than eat it. Hopefully she doesn’t grow up to have full blown OCD like her father.

About the brain tumors… It’s a long story. It started on December 1 of 2007. I had one of my typical migraines, but, instead of starting with a visual aura, like it usually does, it began with crippling vertigo. I was walking across the room and I just kind of toppled over. Then, as I regained my ability to sit upright, I fell into the familiar pattern of auras, jumbled vision, confusion and searing pain. The latter didn’t bother me so much, as I’d been experiencing them for years, but the vertigo was new, and led me to make an appointment with a doctor. He said that migraines can evolve and change over time, and that the vertigo could be related, but, to rule out a brain tumor, he wanted to stuff me into an MRI tube.

As I had an inept primary care physician at the time, I wouldn’t hear about the results until several months later, but the scan revealed tiny spots in my brain. And that’s when it was suggested that I see a neurologist. I made an appointment and waited several more months — all the while somewhat convinced that I had malignant growths of some type taking root. And Friday was they day that I finally got to meet with the man who could tell me. I was half expecting the worst, but, as it turns out, the spots don’t seem to indicate cancer. According to the doctor, severe migraines can leave artifacts — tiny white spots in the brain that, I believe he said, were filled with liquid.

He assured me, however, that I shouldn’t worry. He said there isn’t any evidence that such areas turn cancerous, precede Alzheimer’s, etc. So, that, I guess, is that. I just have to reconcile myself to the fact that I’ve got these tiny little micro-pockets of nectar inside my brain.

The Neurologist also indicated that it wasn’t that unusual that I suffered from migraines, seeing as how I enjoy the companionship of both OCD and depression. He didn’t cite any specific study, but he said that there’s strong evidence suggesting that all three follow a similar neural pathway.

The way he described migraines was interesting. He said they were like waves of electrical current washing over the brain. He said they started at the back and slowly worked their way up and over the brain, triggering different events as they went. He mentioned that, for the most part, the areas affected all reside on the surface of the brain. He took each symptom, from the numbness in my hands to the visual auras, and explained exactly what was happening and why.

So, yeah, it was a pretty good weekend, and, best of all, it culminated in a trip to witness “apple torture” with Clementine.

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10 Comments

  1. egpenet
    Posted October 5, 2008 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    Little “seeds” in your brain?

    Perhaps what is in your head is your prostate, and what is in your pelvic area is your brain.

    That fits the description for most of us guys.

    So … don’t worry.

    Proof is that most of us guys are turned on by our own ideas … so that confirms it. And you see why “head” has so many sexual connotations for men.

    Just another “Ahaha” moment on the MarkMaynard blog.

  2. Brackache
    Posted October 5, 2008 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful post.

    It seems like brain nectar seeds and kidney stones should be really valuable. Know what I mean?

  3. Chelsea
    Posted October 6, 2008 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Glad you’re OK.

  4. Brackache
    Posted October 6, 2008 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    This is just a great post.

  5. Ol' E Cross
    Posted October 6, 2008 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    I’m sincerely glad to hear the good news about your brain.

  6. mark
    Posted October 6, 2008 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad that all three of you, out of the 600 to 800 who read this site each day, are glad that my brain isn’t full of tumors. It’s good to know that almost one half of one percent of you out there give a damn.

  7. Jack
    Posted October 7, 2008 at 2:19 am | Permalink

    Oh, great. Now it just sounds like I’m jumping on the “Glad it’s not a tumor” bandwagon.

  8. mark
    Posted October 7, 2008 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Well, for what it’s worth, Jack, I take back my prayers that you evolve into a giant, walking mass of tumors.

  9. Paw
    Posted October 7, 2008 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Apple torture.

    http://flickr.com/photos/82992742@N00/2054482077/

  10. Brackache
    Posted October 7, 2008 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Actually I was just voicing my approval of a very well-crafted post.

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