01 The Journey Begins - 15th May 2020
On Friday 15th May, my GP referred me to A&E with a suspected left side stroke, concerning I guess but I knew it wasn't a stroke. I'd been thru around six weeks of deteriorating head issues which started with a series of intense night migraines, possibly the worst I have ever had, then they stopped to be replaced by dizzy spells, issues with my left side - walking into doorways as I went through them, walking into tables, anything, but always on my left side and then losing coordination typing on my left hand and then disappointingly losing coordination playing guitars and mandolin. I hadn't driven for a while due to lockdown but we had to go grocery shopping, on the way I hit the kerb twice, I never even realised I was that close. Pulled up and gave the keys to my wife Annette, no more driving for a while then. The pains in my head were nothing new, I have been a long term migraine sufferer since around 2003 with no end or solution in sight. To be honest these were even beginning to worry me, you know when something is not right.
Annette finally gave up on me acting on it and she rang our GP for an appointment. Bizarrely I had a telephone consultation with my GP walking around a supermarket thanks to Covid. After a series of calls he advised me to visit A&E immediately.
So Friday 15th May at 15:00 I walked in to A&E in the middle of Covid lockdown. I was triaged through the system, tested and cleared of a stroke but referred for a CT Scan on my head. This was carried out at around 17.30 and I was told they would be back to see me shortly to discuss the results. At 20.30 the Consultant and Junior Doctor came to see me and the look on their faces told me all I needed to know. They took me to a private room to explain that they had found two lesions but both areas were too inflamed to make a precise diagnosis. What are lesions? Are these Tumours? I'm told they are lesions??? This is all new to me so I'm unsure. As I had previously been diagnosed with Melanoma in 2008 they were concerned that it may be a follow on from that, so essentially secondary cancer. I was prescribed steroids to reduce the inflammation and would need a full MRI in a week once the swelling was reduced. In addition I had to have another CT scan on my body to ensure there are no signs of Melanoma reappearing anywhere else.
My initial feeling was of relief; the migraines had impacted my life for way too long, they wear you down, you have intense periods where they seem to ambush you all the time then they have a rest, only to come back and find other ways to annoy you. I had been through many tests, scans and referrals all with no solutions. Painkillers never worked, they never even touched the sides. One GP I saw who took an interest prescribed Maxalt Melt 10mg, it is a wafer that you put on the roof of your mouth. This worked but only if you captured the migraine at the start, If I woke with a full on migraine it was too late. No matter, at least it was some form of help.
If they had told me that they had found nothing of concern I would have been devastated as I really have had enough of migraines. The initial day is bad enough but I also suffered the day after when my head virtually switched off, I'd feel tired and just float through the day with a foggy non productive head. I called this my Purple Haze day, sometimes it was even worse than the migraine. I needed a way out and finally, from my point of view light at the end of the tunnel, maybe.
They left, I was alone with a head exploding with thoughts, plans, questions anything. I rang Annette, 'they have found two lesions' but what does that tell us. We need to wait...are we concerned?...well, there is something there...what next?....scans...when...
I guess that they knew then that the lesions were tumours and maybe it is there way of dealing with this.
A Junior Doctor on the night shift came to visit me later and discuss the results, I asked her if these were in fact Tumours, she confirmed that they were but explained the lesions approach. Until the inflammation is under control and the MRI can fully identify the issue, they are lesions. I get it now thanks.
Focus on the positives
There are too many negatives in life
Negatives drag you under
Positives raise you up