I got the report of my recent MRI.
I had thought there were 2 possibilities to consider. I was wrong. An unexpected 3rd came barreling at me out of nowhere, and I'm still reeling from it.
My pituitary gland showed no abnormalities. In other words, no pituitary tumor. Looks like I'm living with an adrenal problem for life.
I admit to being disappointed about that. I was hoping there was something that could be taken out, fixed, eliminated. Some way of going back to . . . well, not normal, but being able to function rather dependably would have been pretty awesome.
The report went on to say that they did find something, however. I found this interesting, and went home to pull up the weird medical terms on the internet and research what it all meant.
I researched and that's when I started reeling.
Do I have a brain tumor? Technically, no. Or maybe not. Do I have something in my brain that doesn't belong there and might have to be removed? Yes.
I have a 1/2 inch x nearly 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch cyst in my pineal gland. (Sound like something I shouldn't be talking about in public!) I looked it up, hoping that maybe it was pushing on my pituitary and causing my problems, only to find, to my dismay, that it isn't anywhere near the pituitary gland--in fact it's smack in the middle of my head. Some sites listed it as "deep within the brain," but as far as I can tell it's not actually inside the brain, it's a gland right under the brain, nestled deep inside all that other stuff that is in your head under the actual brain part.
This is important, because if it needs to be surgically removed, it's not cutting in my actual brain--though it's close enough to brain surgery to have me feeling . . . well, I was trying to think of intelligent-sounding words like unnerved or disconcerted, but the truth is I'm feeling rather freaked out at the moment.
I mean, really, there's a thing in my head that isn't supposed to be there. And somebody might want to stick a sharp object into my head to get it out!
That's not something you can say every day. Sheesh, for being a stay-at-home mom, my life sure is interesting.
Speaking of interesting, continuing my research I found some fascinating facts. Though a lot of doctors don't know much about the pineal gland, it's recently become knowledge that it is in charge of releasing melatonin--the natural component that regulates your sleeping and waking cycles and helps you sleep. People get jet lag because their natural melatonin cycles get off.
I've told people that I feel like I've been jet-lagged for years! Like tonight, there are many nights when I am physically exhausted but I just can't sleep. My body refuses. This is good for getting writing done, but not good for being a responsible adult with two young children, or being someone trying to control an adrenal problem where change and lack or rest make it worse.
People with pineal gland cysts often have other symptoms including bad headaches (check), nausea (big check), vomiting (check), vision problems (don't have that one), possibly pituitary problems (how very interesting), and other interesting things that I can't remember.
So as I was getting very discouraged about the idea of not getting the result I was hoping for and instead finding out about yet another problem (Oh, did I mention that I have asthma, too? And some kind of stomach issue? Just so you know everything that's stirring in this pot of soup.), my mom mentioned that maybe having it removed would actually help the adrenal problem some.
Ding, ding, ding. Bells started ringing, mentally that is. Maybe this was the missing problem that no one seemed to be able to find. Maybe because of the stress on my system caused by this cyst, as well as the stress caused by the symptoms, as well as not getting the sleep or the schedule my body needs, maybe that is why being on a normal dose of adrenal meds never seemed enough for me.
Oh my. So maybe I should thank the Lord that they started looking for a pituitary tumor, so they would find this cyst. And maybe I should thank the Lord that it isn't some huge tumor in the middle of my brain, too.
For those of you who are wondering, most pineal gland cysts are benign, but there's no way to know for sure until part or all of it is removed and checked.
So now it's time for more waiting. All of the above is just my own thoughts from my own research in response to the report. The adrenal specialist (Dr. Ioachimescu--say that 5 times fast) has arranged for me to see a neurosurgeon at Emory (Dr. Oyesiku--think they're competing on who can have the most impossible-to-pronounce name) on November 1st, when I will find out what he thinks about all this and if I should have surgery or not.
Neurosurgery. Just the word feels really . . . I don't know. . . big dealish.
So here I am, sitting at the computer when I should be sleeping, thinking about the fact that there is a blob in my head right at this moment that is possibly the reason I am often miserable. There aren't many eloquent words coming to mind at present about that. What keeps coming to mind is that's just weird.
(And just for the record, it helps me getting to talk to ya'll about it. Thanks for listening!)
Life is a strange thing. It is such a gift, and even the limitations God allows within it are a gift. I'll talk about the gift part tomorrow. In the meantime, I'll just quote some verses I've been memorizing from Psalm 71, "But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more . . . I will go in the strength of the Lord God."
Go where? To Atlanta, to Emory, to find out what steps to take about this body I'm in. But that's not the only going God would have me do. He wants me to go toward peace and joy, toward faith and confidence that He will do what is best.
And so, because He is good, and because He has promised not to leave me or forsake me, I will go. And I will go with hope.