Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Themes

Last month in January, I had the following:

Pain behind my right eye (where I had strabismus surgery) I was told the pain I feel behind one eye or both is not from the surgery I had in 2015. Rather, it's from the internal injuries I had. I also had pain in front of my eye. Felt like a needle was being pushed into it. This is the same pain I've experienced at the top of my head sometimes.

My shunt making self adjustments with a side of nausea.  This is better than when it was beeping in 2015 and 2016...I haven't heard any sounds from my shunt since then.

Scissoring issue with my right leg crossing over my left. I didn't fall - I was able to catch myself in time. This is random, as I've mentioned before and happened this morning when I went to turn on a lamp. 

Hearing sounds from behind my right eye. I was told this wasn't from my surgery, it's from in the injuries I had. 

Right eye drifting issues.

Sometimes pain reliever it helps, other times it doesn't. Depends on where the pain is coming from. 

One thing which makes me smile  with all this chronic pain nonsense is the soundtrack to Ducktales which encompasses music from both the television series and the nes game Ducktales (1990).

Let's not forget how awesome the music is from Chrono Trigger (1995) 

Nintendo therapy with Starfox (1993) was unsuccessful last week - I was having drifting eye and eye focusing issues. You have the point of view of the pilot in this game and there are times when objects are flying towards you quickly plus you have to save your teammates while being attacked by enemies. I was having visual sensory overload - Doesn't usually happen for me with Starfox and I blame atmospheric pressure and brain damage.

I did make a second attempt the following week and only had one game over and was successful in finishing the game on level 1.  Of course, this second attempt made me think of a song by Aaliyah.

I'm just one of many people with a shunt, I have my own coping mechanisms.  Many children, adults and their families live with chronic pain and chronic illness. Everyone has their own way of coping with this and dealing with pain management. 





Monday, January 9, 2023

10

 This yea  marks 10 years since I started this blog and began documenting my cerebral shunt's daily activities. At the time, I wasn't aware my shunt was on the wrong side of my brain.  I would figure this out on my own while in the neurosurgeon's office in 2014. 

More on that later...

My shunt has been behaving itself today. Last week, I had shunt valve and head pain in different parts of my head.  Upon taking curamin, the pain on my scalp went away after a few hours. The shunt pain still remained. 

No pain behind my eyes over the weekend, which meant I had a little time for the Nintendo game, Snow Bros. Appropriate for the cold weather and the music can get stuck in your head.

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Several hours and a santa

I had chiari malformation headache in the back of my head (by my cerebellum) starting at 5am this morning. This was followed by pain on the shunt valve and nausea. My shunt was adjusting itself. I haven't heard it beep since 2015 and 2016 which is a good thing. I'm even more thrilled that it's still working.

I took pain reliever early this morning  and mid morning (both times with food) pain was reduced by 60% still lingering in the background. This went on for 6 hours. Pain wasn't completely gone until 4pm.  

Today I had double vision issues, where my right eye was drifting and then snapped back to where it was supposed to be. It's disorienting because it's random ( like my balance and walking issues ) 

Again, it makes me nervous about the thought of having eye surgery again. My eye surgeon told me at the time, there was a chance that I may need surgery again. I'm grateful I haven't needed this yet. 

I've been having balance issues the last few days.  For example, getting up to stand and tipping backwards. Many people living with a chronic illness, chronic pain and medical devices deal with their own challenges and have different experiences from mine.

Others things I found helpful to get me through my chronic pain and unruly medical device nonsense has been listening to the soundtrack to Spirited Away

The holiday Santa (to the left) makes me smile especially on days when I have pain and walking issues.


Saturday, November 5, 2022

4 hours and a soundtrack

 I was having right eye pain and nausea from the shunt today starting in the morning around 6:30am. I also had pain from the shunt valve all the way down the back of my head following the distal catheter. There was also pain behind my right ear, which I was told is from the fragments of my old shunt.   

I took pain reliever, curamin at 11am.  Four hours later, I had less pain. It wasn't completely gone, still lingering, just made it more tolerable. This will help with some of the pain (not shunt pain), it will not alleviate the following: TMJ, walking and balance issues.

 I still decided to stay home.

I saw my neurologist recently and she told me my shunt looks good and doesn't appear to be broken anyway ( like in 2014 ) 

It was suggested I try Botox injections to my forehead and in different parts of my head ( not near by shunt ) to prevent migraines. According to the doctor, what I am experiencing are migraines. 

I don't believe this. 

I've known since my shunt revision in 2014 that the pain I experience is from the multiple injuries I had during surgery. 

In 2009, when my shunt was placed on the wrong side of my brain, I acquired a chiari malformation.  Sometimes I get headaches in the back of my head, more so if I put pressure on that area. Like if I'm laying on my back ( which I avoid ) or leaning the back of my head against something. Because it was on the wrong side of my brain for 5 years, I also have slit ventricle syndrome.

For now, the curamin is working to reduce the pain in my head by 60%. It doesn't work on pain issues from the shunt valve or distal catheter. It also doesn't alleviate nausea from the shunt making adjustments or whatever it feels like doing that day.   I'm not alone dealing with chronic pain, an unruly medical device and a chronic illness. People of all ages have their own ways of managing their illness and or pain issues. I'm just one of many.

I resumed nintendo therapy yesterday and enjoyed time with Chrono Trigger. A fun way to escape lingering chronic pain issues. The soundtrack is great too and nice to put on as background music.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

HAM 2022

I've been up since 4:30am with:

Pain and pressure in my forehead

Headache in the back of my head from the chiari malformation.

Pain on the shunt valve

Pain behind my eyes from injuries in 2014.

Pain on the top of my scalp on both the left and the right side. 

Some nausea in my stomach.

Medication reduced the pain a little, still have pain behind my eyes and in my head. We'll see how this improves throughout the day.

 I had three pain free days this week. 

 It was a letdown this morning because I made the effort to sleep on my left side to avoid head pain issues. Sleeping on the right side is risky as it can irritate the fragments of my old shunt that stuck inside my neck from my injuries in 2014.

Also the right side is where my shunt is and if I turn my head the wrong way on the right side, causes issues with the distal catheter. 

September is hydrocephalus awareness month

I'm just one of many people young and old who has a shunt in their brain and has to deal with all the drama that comes with it.

I made a film about my brain injuries in 2014. It can be viewed here. I am not famous, just a starving artist with a chronic illness.

Because of the pain behind my eyes no Nintendo therapy today. 

Maybe in the late afternoon, I'll attempt to color.  

It took four hours for my head pain to go away. By 11am I still had pain behind my right ear and some shunt pain.

 

 

 


Thursday, August 4, 2022

side

For about a week now, I've experienced the following:

Pain from the chiari malformation by my cerebellum

Pain on the top of my head on the left and right side.

Pain in the distal catheter and down the side of my neck. I suspect over the last 8 years this is because of the brain damage I have from my shunt being on the wrong side of my brain for 5 years. I now have a condition called slit ventricle syndrome

Dizziness and right leg crossing over the left leg while walking. If I'm not aware of this as it happens, I will fall. When I was in rehab in 2014 after my injuries, my physical therapist had called it scissoring because I had multiple injuries on my brain which caused my legs to cross over each other like scissors. 

Nausea from the distal catheter in my stomach which meant that my shunt was readjusting itself.

I've had pain behind both of my eyes.

8/2 - Ringing in my ears from the left to the right side

Today 8/3 - TMJ issues in my jaw - it locked randomly while I was talking - There are exercises I do when this happens. It doesn't take away the TMJ completely just makes it more tolerable. Today some pain behind my right ear from the catheter. 

Many things such as the weather, satellites, the moon, barometric pressure, thunderstorms contribute to my shunt issues. 

At least I know that it's working and that I'm not alone in my chronic pain issues. 

What I've had in the last week makes me nervous sometimes as anyone with a shunt will tell you - There's no way of knowing when it's going to stop working. 

And we know medical technology is not that reliable in detecting these things.

Unless you're on Star Trek where they'd be able to tell you within 5 minutes what was going on and when the expiration date was. 

The pain I've had behind my right ear is from both the distal catheter and from the fragments of my shunt that fell apart inside my body in 2014 that are still in the side of my neck and in my stomach. 

When the pain is bad like it's been in the past and this week, it makes me sad and angry. 

And when this happens, I engage in health coping mechanisms like reading, coloring, and the occasional Nintendo therapy. 

No Nintendo therapy recently because of chronic pain issues. 

Today 8/4 - I had head and shunt pain issues for a few hours. By the afternoon, I was feeling better. I hope this continues through the weekend....

Pain issues continues off and on throughout the weekend on 8/6 thru 8/8. It's time to listen the theme song from Darkwing Duck.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

friends, movies and books

This week in the world of chronic pain with my cerebral shunt:

TMJ issues in my jaw.

Pain and pressure behind both of my eyes.

Dizziness

Pain on the shunt valve and distal catheter in my head and neck.

Fell up the stairs after loosing balance because legs just got confused again. 

Knocking in my head from the left ear to the right ear. 

Chronic pain issues from my injuries and medical device sometimes makes me sad and angry. So as a distraction today, I turned to movies like Iron Man and reading.  I got to enjoy the film with some furry friends:

In this photo, the dragon is from Plush in a Rush, he was a souvenir from an escape adventure room like 5 Wits. The sock monkey was made from a sock monkey kit, the flamingo is from Build a Bear Workshop and Iron Man is from Ty Store.

Today, (7/16/22) I have pain behind both eyes, dizziness and walking issues, a headache in the back of my head from the chiari malformation. Pain on the top of my head on both the left and right side. Occasionally today, I've had double vision where my right eye (surgery eye) drifts and then snaps back into place. It's not that I can't take medication for this, I can. I try to me mindful of how much I take as some things like advil can harm the liver. 

I like having a liver.

When my neurologist has prescribed medication for me in the past, I have side effects like numbness in my legs that I didn't like. I've taken natural pain reliever with no weird side effects, there are days when they work and other times when they don't. 

The changes in the weather and barometric pressure effect my shunt and chronic pain from my injuries. I know I am not alone when I talk about this. Many people both children and adults who have cerebral shunts and/or other medical conditions also experience discomfort when the weather changes and anything else that's in the atmosphere. 

I'm convinced that satellites also impact medical devices and chronic pain. 

I just wish there was more to help us. On bad pain days, I get nervous and worry about when my shunt will need another revision. I hope to never have to experience that again. As I've mentioned in previous posts, I wish we had a way to we could predict when our shunts needed revisions. I mean people with diabetes can monitor their glucose levels with dexcom devices. People living with hydrocephalus can't do this with their shunts. Will the madness ever change?