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Caring Bridge – Long Overdue Update – Head Pressure Edition


I will focus the second chapter on the ongoing issues I have been having with pressure in my head. When I originally wrote about this several months ago, it was still pretty minor, but as time went on the pressure became very difficult to live with. The best way I can describe it us the feeling you get when you have hung upside down for a long time and all the blood has rushed to your head. It became a constant presence. It was particularly intense when I bent over, had a hot flash, took a shower or exerted myself. When I bent over and then stood back up, it would feel so light headed I would need to hold onto something until it passed or risk fainting. So…I have been through a series of tests and exams to determine what the problem is. I also went off one of the drugs I was on…Tamoxifen to see if the symptoms improved. First off…the symptoms did improve, but didn’t go away completely. I went back on Tamoxifen to see if the symptoms came back and they did with a vengeance. So…I went off Tamoxifen permanently. In the meantime, I had two different MRIs, both of which came back normal. I also had a eye exam all of which was normal. The eye doctor referred me to the neurology department for a lumbar puncture….the new PC term for a spinal tap. This procedure would allow them to measure the pressure of my cerebral spinal fluid and draw a sample to run some tests on. I had this procedure on Monday and let me tell you…it was not pleasant. If I ever have to do it again, they will need to sedate me. But they did measure elevated pressure which explains the symptoms I am having. Now they will run their tests and the fluid to determine the cause. I suspect, however that they won’t find a cause and we will have to treat the symptoms. The diagnosis is pseudotumor cerebri…a condition that gives you some of the symptoms of a tumor without a tumor actually being present. Tamoxifen is one of the drugs that can increase your risk of developing this condition. Treatment will involve use of diuretics and weight loss. Anyway…still waiting on the results if the analysis of the fluid they are testing. Should know more by the end of the week.

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