Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Morning folks. Thanks to some well-meaning inquiries about Timmy, my cutesy name for the brain tumor I have, I'll endeavor to explain to you, as best I can, what I've learned from the doctors, and online. Keep in mind that other than living with it, I'm certainly no expert.
This tumor came from my body producing too much of the growth hormone, prolactin. So far it's benign, but in rare cases it can become malignant. I don't want to even consider that.
At the time of diagnosis, July/02, it was estimated that it had been growing for 10-12 years. That made sense to me later because that was when I started losing skin pigmentation, a condition known as Vitiligo, a side-effect of hyperthyroidism, which in turn is a side-effect of a pituitary tumor. I say later because I didn't learn of that until I researched it online. I do remember going to the doctor when I first noticed a whitish patch of skin on my hand, but nothing was done, not even a blood test. I may be wrong, but I feel that if my elevated prolactin count had been found way back then I would not be in the position I am now. Thanks doc!
The pituitary gland sends out hormonal signals to the thyroid, adrenal, testes, and other glands, to keep your system balanced. In my case, with the tumor being twice the size of the gland, it is unable to function properly, hence the sickness and pain.
The vision problems come from the tumor touching the optic nerve. I can handle blurriness occasionally, especially after being told that I'm lucky to be able to see at all. My field of vision is deteriorating, and will continue to do so unless we can shrink the tumor. So far, no luck.
As for the operation, with the tumor being against, and around, the carotid artery it was decided that they would not be able to stop the bleeding. They were going to go up through the roof of my mouth (oh joy) but after studying the CT scans, ruled that out. Also they would not be able to get it all, and I'd lose part of the pituitary gland which would bring more problems. So unless or until an extreme emergency like a severe stroke, it's just keep on keepin' on, which I'm handling fine.
I hope that this convoluted layman's explanation makes sense to you. To be fair, it's not all bad when you consider the alternative. In fact, with some effort, my life is okay, thanks in no small part to family and friends like you guys. It's amazing how much strength can be gained from simply knowing that people care about you. As for that last part, I'm not sure of where I'd be if I hadn't bought this computer and become part of this blogging community. In fact it was you that gave me the incentive to make the trip, DVs and all. For that, and other things, I thank you!
Trucker Bob blogged at 3:43 AM