Because just when you think you’ve had enough and the drama’s all over, it really isn’t.
The clinical trial I was in for my cancer treatment requires that all participants take a hearing test to see if the chemo’s done any hearing damage. I’ve known for years that my left ear’s a bit wonky. I’ve had tinnitus for ages and it’s always felt a bit “full” and “muffled”. The test they did after the surgery and before my treatment showed that yeah, I’m not hearing a lot of midrange tones and I’m a great candidate for a little hearing aid in the future (what did you say?). As it turned out, the “arm” of the study I randomized into didn’t have the chemo that causes hearing loss (speak up!), but the study protocol says everyone still has to get tested after the chemo is done, so I went off to the audiologist and otolaryngologist a few weeks back for their post-treatment poke and prod.
My hearing hasn’t changed (which is good), but it’s only on one side, which isn’t so good. That’s a sign of something called an acoustic neuroma, which is worse than it sounds. They’re “mostly harmless”, but she wanted to get a better look so I skipped off to have an MRI.
By the way, any normal human being would have been screaming uncontrollably by now, but I am not a normal human being, which is something you’ve probably suspected for a long, long time.
So I get the MRI (the person who invents a silent MRI will make a fortune) and they send the results to the otolaryng…the ear, nose and throat lady and my primary care physician, who calls me a few days later with the results.
I have an aneurysm. An unruptured, berry aneurysm somewhere in my brain.
I don’t have any symptoms. No nausea, sentinel headaches, blurred vision, weakness, nothing. I don’t know how large it is, but there’s a real good possibility I’ve had this for ages. Decades, maybe. Who knows?
So, I called the neurosurgeon my primary recommended and I have an appointment with him on the 21st. There are a couple of things they can do. If it’s really tiny, they can just watch it. If it needs to be dealt with, they can either do a little brain surgery (no kidding) and put a clip around it or they can do something similar to an angioplasty and put a spring in it. Either procedure isn’t all that awful (compared to what I’ve been through, nothing really is) and is much preferable to the alternative.
In the meantime, there’s not much I can do. I could scream and cry and wail “Why me?”, but that’s not going to be very helpful. And neither is constantly Googling “berry aneurysm” since most of the clinical descriptions and treatments are the same. So I’ll get up in the morning and plan my life with P and get ready to take my class in September and work and knit and teach until I hear otherwise.
And I hope the Phillies start playing better, or they’re going to give me an aneurysm.