Monday, February 20, 2017

Menopause? Stress? Brain Tumor? My recent health scare...

For the past three or four months, I have been getting light headed and dizzy.  I originally thought allergies or stress.  I took anxiety medication (Xanax) and motion sickness meds (like Dramamine or Bonine) to help on these “off” days.  In November, my doctor performed the “epley maneuver” thinking it was vertigo.  I felt better for a few days, I think. I wasn’t really sure if it helped or not.

Another weird symptom I have been having is odd tingling.  I remember one night telling my hubby that I felt like a human voodoo doll.  I felt as if someone was pricking me all over with a needle.  It didn’t hurt but was uncomfortable.  The prick would hit my head, then my arm, then my foot then my back…and it lasted all day long.  I also noticed my hips and legs would “go to sleep” often, but chalked it up to the (uncomfortable) chair I use at my desk.

I also noticed “brain fog”.  I have had lots of trouble concentrating on my work as well as making stupid little mistakes.  Also, my husband was getting annoyed with me as he said I was forgetting things often (conversations we had or where I put things).

I also have been making little speech mistakes.  I go to say a word but something different comes out. (For example, I told my son to go “flush” his teeth one night instead of “floss” his teeth.  Another morning, I told my daughter to “go brush your makeup” instead of “go brush your hair”).  

Another off moment was at the kids’ school.  I went into the school office to deliver something.  I then returned to my van, sat down in the driver’s seat, and I then realized I was not in my own van! I had sat down in someone else’s min van -- oops! (My van is dark green and the van I sat in was navy blue.)  I laughed all this off to peri-menopause or stress. 

One incident in early February scared me most.  While approaching a traffic light, I felt very dizzy, and was sure I was going to faint.  Fortunately, the light turned red. I was able to put my vehicle into “park” and gain composure before the light turned green.  I immediately pulled into a Walgreens parking lot to recover.  For the next 20 minutes, my feet tingled and itched (and by tingling, I mean painful.  It felt like someone was poking my feet with needles.)   I immediately called my primary care doctor’s office and made an appointment to see him the next day.

At that appointment, my primary care doctor and I discussed my symptoms and debated if I should see an ENT or a Neurologist.  The next day, I met with the Neurologist, and two days later I had a Brain MRI and a blood test to check for B-12 deficiencies.

I talked to a handful of people about this.  A close friend figured it was my allergies; another said it was side effects from medication; and a third was thinking anxiety & stress.  But I confided in my dad that I was afraid I had a brain tumor.

Well, I am happy to say my brain scan was normal.  However, the real shocker is that my B-12 levels are low! All these weird symptoms are due to a vitamin deficiency! I feel so relieved that there is an easy fix.  I can take B-12 supplements or injections.  I’m sharing this personal story with you all in hopes that it may help someone else down the road.