Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Finally, I Get Some Answers on My MRI

Brain MRI Vector representationMRI of the Brain.  Image via Wikipedia
If you remember my previous post about my brain getting its picture taken (ie an MRI):

"Normal examination of the brain.  There is relatively low signal intensity of the clival marrow".

What the heck  is the clival marrow?  The clival  is the marrow of the bone in the back of the skull near the brain stem.  The report indicates that it could be associated with some underlying hematological disorder or the aftermath of chemotherapy.  Well, I've never had chemotherapy.

So I went off to see Dr. Ford, a hematologist.  Nice, pleasant lady.  I gave her a brief synopsis of my neurological problems with organization, time management, motor skills, vision, hearing, and balance and my family history:  my mother died of glalioblastoma multiforme (a very agressive, malignant brain tumor.  The same one Senator Kennedy died from.) and an aunt with a benign brain tumor.  I dragged out copies of my previous blood work and the MRI report and gave her the options of traipsing through all my therapeutic updates.  She complimented me on being so well organized and that she would not have to repeat a number of tests.

Based on the tests she's seen so far and my history and after poking my neck for the lymph nodes, Dr. Ford doesn't think there's anything wrong.  As far as the low intensity signals on the MRI are concerned, apparently your blood marrow is more active or less active during day; so, without corroborating evidence, there's nothing remarkable about that.  She feels that given my family history and neurological problems, it was good to do the due dilligence and come in to see her.  She's taking a blood sample just to dot the i and cross the t but doesn't really expect to find anything.  I'm just happy to have a baseline MRI done just in case I get any brain tumors later on in life.

Since she's taking blood anyhow, I had her do the liver enzyme panel (for my toe fungus) and a Vitamin D and B12 screen since those tests are coming up.

So, I am coming to the end of my doctor visits.  I will see one more doctor about IBS and get a second opinion about my tummy (otherwise, I just will live with wheat, gluten intolerances and  eat a low fat diet), go to a smell clinic and get my nose checked out (I don't have much of a sense of smell).  When I finish all my physical therapies, I'd like to get another neuropsychiatric work up.  And as Bugs Bunny would say, that's all, folks (at least, for doctors)!!

I still have some more Vision therapy, Interactive Metronome, and Hearing Therapies to do and possibly Neurofeedback.  Finally, I need to address Executive Function (some of which I am beginning to work on by myself with my iPhone.  More on that later).  But, I am definitely over the hump of therapy.

In terms of the MRI findings of a normal brain, I am not sure what the implications will be for the diagnosis of non-verbal learning disorder.  I know many folks on the autistic spectrum have very abnormal findings on their MRI.  But I am not sure if the opposite is also true: that you can have a non-verbal learning disorder with a normal brain.  Or, having a normal brain definitely rules out Non-Verbal Learning Disorder.  So maybe a question for the neuropsychiatrist.

How do I feel about all this?  Really a lot happier, more secure, more rooted, more in control.  I feel a lot more connected to the earth and to my body.  I also am starting to understand what kinds of situations my nervous system with its sensory integration problems  is very uncomfortable in:  office cubicle dwelling and what those effects are on me in terms of stress.  I also am beginning to see what the effects of my physical limitations have been on myself and on other people.  I feel a bit guilty that I haven't done more with my life and been a bit of a drain on my very understanding husband, at times.   I feel a bit anxious about the road I have travelled and the road ahead in life.  Like a lot of Americans these days, I am a bit stressed out by where we as a nation are all going and what that means in my daily life. But, all in all,  I am a lot more optimistic and confident about my abilities to tackle whatever the future may bring.

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