Thursday, December 23, 2004

12.23.2004 - Dealing With Bureaucracy

We had some problems with the referral to Stanford. The usual bureaucratic stuff. I wasn't going to settle for anything less than referral to Stanford.

I had been feeling more anxiety recently and can't attribute it to any one thing. I am frustrated about the brain tumor, being out of work and getting paid for doing nothing, being frustrated about how slow things are progressing with regard to consultations, treatment, and getting this whole thing taken care of.

My primary care physician is now working diligently on the Stanford referral. Interestingly enough, they were unsuccessful. I asked for the contact information for Blue Shield and then called the appropriate person directly. I received nearly instant authorization to consult with a neurosurgeon at Stanford for a second opinion as to my situation. I then called that neurosurgeon's office at Stanford and arranged for a consultation and it was all arranged.

I went to Stanford, met with the neurosurgeon (who was also a professor of neurosurgery) and consulted with him about my situation. I described my symptoms, my history, and showed him the MRI films that I had brought with me. He believed that he knew exactly what kind of tumor I had and believed it to be a low grade tumor based on all the information I presented. He believed that all the sweating and anxiety incidents were auras. Auras are pre-seizure activity that are cues to indicate that a seizure may occur.

The neurosurgeon did not favor radiation and felt that he could surgically resect the vast majority of the tumor. He didn't see any point in performing a separate biopsy, since the tumor tissue obviously needed to be resected and they could biopsy it all they wanted after they removed as much as they could. He didn't think that I would experience much of a deficit as a result of the surgery.

As a result of the surgery, I may lose some peripheral vision on my left side. He thought I may be out of work for a month or so and then could return to a desk job for a few months and then go back to a full-duty assignment.

The bureaucratic process was breaking down in my favor now. Authorizations were underway and surgery was tentatively scheduled for January 2005.

On 12.02.2004, I had some more unusual anxiety, but brushed it off. It went away after about 30 seconds or so. On 12.04.2004, I was laying down on the couch watching a movie and felt pretty tired. I had some more anxiety and sweat a bit and then just fell asleep.

On 12.23.2004, my neurologist cleared me to return to full-duty, but work thought I should probably stay modified duty until the surgery with all that was going on.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

11.15.2004 - MRI Revealed Mass

On 11.15.2004, I had my first MRI scan. The neurologist called me not long after to inform me that they needed to do a more in-depth scan because a mass was found in my brain.

On 11.18.2004, I met with the neurologist and she advised that there was a six centimeter mass in my right temporal lobe. I arranged to have a consultation with a neurosurgeon in my medical group for the following week to discuss options for dealing with it. I was started on some anti-seizure medication because the right temporal lobe is one prone to seizing when there is something disturbing it.

On 11.19.2004, I missed work because of the new revelation and received a lot of support from co-workers, friends, and family.

I had a consultation with a neurosurgeon and he wasn't what my wife and I wanted. He didn't seem to take the situation very seriously and didn't think it posed any immediate threat. He didn't want to operate, but leaned towards radiation. He just wanted to biopsy the mass. We were very unimpressed.

After reconsulting with the neurologist, we decided that I should be referred to Stanford University Medical Center for consultation with more advanced specialists. Initially, the request for consultation at Stanford was denied, but we learned that the law requires that a second opinion be granted just about anywhere.

On 11.24.2004, 11.25.2004, and 11.30.2004, I had a few of the same sort of incidents - unprovoked anxiety accompanied by sweating when I wasn't doing something that was physically exhausting. I would usually lie down after the experience and they were of brief duration. I wanted to ignore them all together and just act like they never happened. I was tired of this.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

09.07.2004 - More Strange Things

On 09.07.2004, we had EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operations Course) training at a local naval air station and I started feeling some anxiety prior to starting the training for the day. I attributed it to just general stage anxiety over others who would view my driving for the day and hoped that I would drive well during the exercises. I started sweating again. I checked my blood glucose levels and they were acceptable. Later that day, it was quite warm and I was sweating again.

On 09.16.2004, I was doing some traffic control in the shade during a hazardous materials incident. I started feeling lightheaded and sweaty. I had some anxiety too. It was odd because there was no anxiety provoking experience to cause it. The whole thing lasted a couple minutes and I was rather tired.

On 09.17.2004, I felt anxiety again with no anxiety provoking event. Feeling anxiety without anything to provoke it felt awkward. On 09.25.2004, I had another such experience.

Late this month, I had my first consultation with a neurologist. I told her my symptoms and was referred for EEG and MRI scans at a later time.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

08.22.2004 - Further Symptoms

On 08.22.2004, I was eating dinner with my family and some friends of ours and having a pleasant time. I started feeling lightheaded and was sweating. It seemed weird to start sweating when I wasn't exerting myself physically in any way. It lasted a couple minutes. I wanted to just brush the incident off as something weird.

On 08.23.2004, I was at work writing a citation and had a brief daydream. I also felt lightheaded and started sweating again. I finished the citation and sat down in the patrol vehicle for a moment with the air conditioning on and felt a bit better. I was feeling tired that day.

On 08.29.2004, I was watching a movie at home and again felt lightheaded and started sweating again. It lasted for about a minute. Again, I brushed it off to something weird, but didn't know what it could be. I told my doctor about these incidents and he was wondering if perhaps I was having blood sugar problems. I got a glucose tester to analyze my blood sugar when the incidents happened.

On 08.31.2004, I was at work driving my patrol vehicle and had a daydream with some lightheadedness and sweating again. I pulled over and took my blood sugar level. It was normal. Eating never changed my symptoms, so it did not seem likely that this was a blood sugar issue.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

02.22.2004 - First Sign Of A Problem

On 02.22.2004, I was on-duty as a police officer and took a report of a domestic violence call at my department's headquarters. I went to interview a possible witness to the incident. I went to the house where the witness lived and felt light headed while at the door, but brushed it off as no big deal. I made voice contact with the person inside the residence and the next thing I knew I was picking myself up off the threshold of the doorway for the residence and wondering how I ended up on the ground. The occupant of the residence was on the phone with dispatch informing them that an officer was down at their residence. I realized that I must have lost consciousness. Dispatch called me over the air and was confused when I responded despite the information that they had an officer down. I got on the phone with dispatch and told them I guess I must have passed out or something. I felt fine afterwards and did not feel the need for any additional units to respond to my location, but my supervisor insisted that units respond to see what was going on. I was probably out for a minute or so total. An ambulance took me to the hospital and they didn't find any problems with me. They discharged me that evening with restrictions on my driving abilities until further follow-up was performed. One of my friends from work drove me home that night. Later, I saw my physician and he presumed that it was a heart related problem since most loss of consciousness incidents are related to heart related problems. I wore a heart monitor for 24 hours with no unusual results and then was later referred to a cardiologist for just about every follow-up test related to the heart and my heart checked out just fine.