KEEPING THE WATCH – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Watch

Lately, I’ve been convinced there’s a brain tumor in my head, so I was glad to get to the neurologist. Finally.

We always laugh at how gorgeous TV doctors are. This one could go directly to her own TV series, no problem. She is beautiful and Garry paid very strict attention to every word she said. I don’t think he ever paid better attention to any doctor in his entire life.

Mostly what she was doing was asking a lot of questions. This can be confusing because a lot of stuff happened a long time ago and frankly, I simply don’t remember. Did I ever fall on my head?

Probably but who knows? Did I ever have meningitis? Well, actually, yes, I did. In Jerusalem. It got into the water and pretty much everyone in the city picked up viral meningitis. Viral (as opposed to the bacterial kind which may kill you) just makes you wish you were dead by giving you a raging high fever, a headache which is like every headache you’ve ever had in your entire life packed into one huge pounding head … and a full body rash. This is what makes it unique. The rash. Otherwise, it could as easily be Typhoid or Tick Fever or any of a number of insect or water-borne diseases.

We all watched me try to walk toe-to-toe (a lot of weaving — I’d never pass the drunk/sober test) and I took a computer test to see if I’m getting Alzheimer’s (probably not yet, but the future remains bright), and whether or not I can remember and recognize random patterns on a screen without a damned mouse to manipulate.

The controls on the machine were really aggravating. But I still came out pretty much cognitively “all there” minus whatever I’ve lost due to hanging around the computer too much and getting old.

The results? No results.

I need an EEG and then, maybe, a heavily and carefully supervised MRI to keep me from exploding (literally) and ruining their expensive machinery. Not merely ending my life, but ending half a million dollars worth of really pricey electronics.

The suspicions?

Complicated migraines (my best guess) or … epilepsy.

I just learned a lot about epilepsy. It is the most common neurological disease in the world and one out of every 26 people have it, had it, or will get it.

You can get it for no reason, fall on your head, get a disease (encephalitis or meningitis) … develop it from too much stress. Which means that everyone holding particularly stressful jobs has probably got it. There a version of it called “Sunflower Syndrome” which is photosensitive epilepsy triggered by lighting. Avoid dance clubs with flashing lights, watch TV in a well-lit room, wear sunglasses, don’t stare at the sun, etc. I love the name, though. “Please turn down the lights. I suffer from Sunflower Syndrome.”

Frozen rocks in March

All of this is made much more complicated because I have heart disease, had cancer, had meningitis, and probably fell on my head, but who can remember? Also, you can just pick it up for no known reason at all. It can be genetic — or not. It can be caused by wrong vitamins, not enough of some mineral, changing medications, stopping a medication you were taking, or not taking something you should be taking.

Driving isn’t a really good idea, although not illegal. Usually.

I don’t know what it is, but it isn’t M.S. and it’s probably not a brain tumor. Those are two good reasons to celebrate.

I’m making pizza for dinner.

26 thoughts on “KEEPING THE WATCH – Marilyn Armstrong

  1. I join all the others in sighing in thankfulness that it isn’t (even) worse than that. I also can personally vouch for Magnesium WITH Citrate. The body digests it far easier. I take magnesium to suffer less from cramps in my legs. It’s an important and (can be) powerful mineral. I was a migraine sufferer for many years and I shall pay great attention to those other ‘possibilities’ you ment. – I do wish you well, you deserve it!


  2. Happy to hear it’s not a brain tumor. I’ve learned a lot about epilepsy while caring for someone who has it. We typically think of the big grand mal seizures when someone mentions epilepsy but the more common small blank out ones seldom get mentioned. I hope the vitamins help. Be careful when choosing your magnesium. We have learned that the ones that have citrate in the name can trigger severe diarrhea.


  3. My wife gets visual auras often (3-4 times a week). She takes an Advil, closes her eyes, and sits quietly for about 30 minutes and they usually disappear. I’ve told her to see a neurologist about them, but she doesn’t want to. She’s convinced they’ll find a tumor or MS or some other malady and doesn’t want to deal with that.


    • That’s exactly what I thought. But mainly, right now, they are trying to find a way to reduce the migraine preliminaries so I don’t have to take so much Tylenol. I can’t take any of the NSAIDs, including Advil and aspirin. And these visual auras have gotten bad enough that half the time I can only see out of part of my left eye and now I’m losing the left side of my right eye. You sort of get used to the auras, but they do seem to be getting worse. They are probably “silent migraines,” but there’s stuff you can take that helps. Magnesium is the chicken way out, but I really don’t like the side effects of Topomax.

      She can try taking magnesium. You could look up “magnesium as cure for migraine” on Google. After that, there are drug stores or Amazon, take your pick. But the auras apparently do NOT suggest either MS or a tumor. That’s really exactly what I was afraid of. Tell her nope, not that. One of the thousand kinds of epilepsy or complex migraine.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I had no idea epilepsy was so common either. It sounds like it is a wonder we don’t all have it. I suppose that we tend to think of epileptics as the people who have full-blown seizures. I do know a lady who has it and she was eventually allowed to have a driving licence again after so many years without a seizure.
    Of course, it is so much more complicated for you given all your other health problems. You have to have medications that agree with each other. I hope it isn’t that but at least you are getting some answers.


    • Truly, I had no idea. Nor did I have any idea that most people with epileptics do NOT have grand mal seizures or only have one and never have another. Yes, it IS more complicated for older people. There are so many drugs I can’t take.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Um, pizza is high in salt, and salt can cause neurological problems, too, like dizziness. Just ask my husband – he learned all about it after an ambulance ride to the ER for vertigo. Me, I learned the same way that a B-12 deficiency can also cause vertigo. So can many other things. And of course, neurological problems can be due to just about anything, as you’re finding out. Hopefully, your problems will turn out to be something that can be corrected simply, like salt overload or vitamin deficiency (which is why I relayed my story here). At least it’s not a brain tumor, for which we’re all very grateful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m already taking iron and now I’ll be adding magnesium. The medication other choice was Topomax which has too many side effects for my taste. If the whole thing is migraines, magnesium might fix it. But I was astonished at how many people have epilepsy … which leads me to wonder how many more have never been diagnosed.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Migraines and epilepsy are often related. The bright light thing can set off a migraine for me. It happened at the car dealership the other day, light reflected from a windshield and coming through the blinds.


        • Apparently, as we age, one thing can sort of slips into being the other. It starts out as migraines and becomes a form of epilepsy sometime during your 60s, It is rarely dangerous. The primary danger for we oldies is falling … and worries about driving. Right now, I’m not driving. And that’s why I’m not driving.

          I was astounded at how many kinds of epilepsy there are and how many millions of people have it, had it, or will have it … and how many more have it and have never been diagnosed. It’s a slippery diagnosis, too … but this lady knew what she was looking for. And Garry REALLY listened to her. He was mesmerized.

          She was stunning. You know, one of the people we never looked like even on our absolutely best day ever? And so NICE, too.

          Liked by 1 person

    • I should mention that salt isn’t my issue. I am lacking in sufficient blood sodium and I’m actually supposed to eat it. That’s also why I can’t drink water or almost anything but stuff packed with electrolytes.

      Liked by 1 person

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