Sunday, November 21, 2021

7

Today is the first day in seven days where I don't have:

Pain from the shunt valve

Pain on the side of my head 

Pain in the back of my head from the chiari malformation

Nausea from the distal catheter in my stomach

Pain behind both eyes and when blinking

Occasional eye misalignment 

TMJ issues with a side of knocking inside my head from my inner right ear to my left ear. 

The pain medication (Curamin, CBD or Advil) I use in my attempts to cope with chronic pain from my injuries in 2014 and from my programmable shunt valve.  Sometimes these things works, other times like the last week, did not do anything to alleviate my pain. 

It made me sad and angry. 

There is no way of knowing what the shunt is doing. I'm just one of many people who have a shunt in my brain and we just don't know when they will become obstructed again or become infected or fall apart. I suspect this week it was responding to the weather and barometric pressure such as the upcoming rain and there's some sort of storm approaching from the West coast. There was also a partial lunar eclipse this week.

Millions of children and adults with all types of medical devices including programmable shunts experience similar or the same symptoms when these these things occur in the atmosphere. 

Last night, the pain was bothering even after taking pain reliever and I was able to play some video games like Super Mario Brothers 2.  

The first thing that brought a smile to my face this week despite chronic pain issues was the early sight of brown Santa Claus.  It's wonderful to see different representations of Santa decorations. 

The second was music from Ghostbusters 2.

I have had one good day this week to enjoy before my shunt decides to become unruly again whenever that may be. 

Saturday, November 6, 2021

nor'easter 2021

 I had shunt issues during the Nor-easter last month. I all day I had dizziness, shunt and scalp pain. Medications didn't work again....

Like many people of all ages who have a cerebral shunt we are constantly worried about when the shunt will stop working again or become infected. 

I recently was watching two different documentaries, one was about wrestling and the other football and how the players have to deal and manage chronic pain from injuries they sustain from playing football or wrestling. 

Today, my shunt is behaving itself despite the weather being cold (32 degrees) outside. 


Monday, October 11, 2021

One week special

 For about a week, I've had pain on the shunt valve, pain along the distal catheter down into the side of my neck and some nausea from the distal catheter in my stomach. It seems the shunt was making some sort of adjustment, this time without beeping sounds. I also had elevated csf pressure in my forehead, pain behind both eyes and pain on the top left side of my scalp. I believe as I've mentioned in previous posts, that the nerve issues I have on the top left corner of my scalp could be 'phantom limb' issues from my injuries in 2014. 

I went to my local Brain Injury Awareness walk which was in person this year. Last year, because of the pandemic, it was virtual only.  It was wonderful to be around the many people impacted by brain injury.

Yesterday, I had chiari headaches in the back of my head and it's continued into today. There's also been the occasional ringing in my right ear that travels throughout the center of head. I took pain medication this morning which has helped  a little with the pain, although I feel dizzy in the back of my head.  Tomorrow will be better.

Monday, September 20, 2021

shifting eyes and walking

 My shunt's been behaving itself the last few days. No pain from the valve, distal catheter and no pain from different parts of my scalp and sides of my head. Today, my right eye misaligned a few times in the evening. Besides having minimal to no shunt pain this weekend, I enjoyed this song from The Lego Batman movie, the music and the video together just makes me smile. 

Saturday, September 4, 2021

buttons


Pain medication worked yesterday for my shunt pain. Today, I've been dizzy and I've had some double vision issues and pain on the left side of my scalp. 

The highlight of my day today was seeing a butterfly outside and getting to a new level on the Felix the cat video game for Nintendo. 

Since I have no plans today and I don't feel like going anywhere because of chronic pain issues, looks like it will be a day of reading and maybe a possible Batman The Animated Series marathon...

9/5/21 - woke up this morning with chiari malformation headache in the back of my head, forehead pain and distal catheter pain at the top of my head and some pain behind my eyes. Pain medication didn't alleviate all of discomfort....Looks like it's back to reading and watching animated tv shows...

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

In September...

It's September and that means is is Hydrocephalus Awareness month.   I made a film about my own brain injuries while having shunt revision surgery in March 2014. My story is just one of many people who live with hydrocephalus.  I started filming in 2013 because I knew something was wrong with my shunt and I figured making a short film about what I was going through would be a way to spread awareness about hydrocephalus. In 2014, after I had multiple brain injuries while having shunt revision surgery, I decided to keep filming while I was in rehab.

For the month of September My film, Shunt Chronicles, my brain, art and school can be viewed online:  Shunt Chronicles on Youtube



Saturday, August 21, 2021

3am on Wednesday

 

Millions of children, adults and families living with a cerebral shunt because of hydrocephalus spend a lot of time walking on egg shells because you never know when a shunt will become obstructed and stop working. Or in other cases become infected or fall apart inside the body.

Earlier this week, Wednesday morning around 3am, I found myself vomiting on my bedroom floor followed by sitting on the edge of my bed thinking about my symptoms and worried it might be my shunt failing.  

I realized later that it was an episode of what I now know was food poisoning.

During the early morning hours of August 18, I had to assess whether or not it was shunt failure.

I had vomiting….

I didn’t have any of the following:

Severe shunt pain,

My head wasn’t stuck in a downward position and my eyes weren’t sun setting… or turned downward

No gaited walk and my right eye wasn’t forced to close due to the buildup of cerebral spinal fluid inside my skull.

Around 4am, I sat on my bathroom floor waiting to vomit again. When that didn’t happen, I went back to bed.

It’s situations like this when I wish we had better technology to detect when a shunt will stop working.

I mean they have a device, the dexcom for people with diabetes that tells them what their glucose levels are. They can use their phone to read these levels.

We can do almost anything with our phones now.

Why can’t something be done that’s similar with these programmable shunt valves?! I mean I would think you’d be able to at least order takeout food or pick up on a few radio stations with this ‘advanced technology’ inside my brain.

They’ve used the same technology (with some improvements) since the invention of the shunt in 1956.

Not much has changed in terms of treatment.

At least I’m one of many who continue to be frustrated…

I know when my car needs an oil change every 3,000 miles.

I know when certain foods/beverages expire in my refrigerator or cabinet because they have expiration dates on them.

I don’t know when the programmable shunt valve in my brain will become obstructed and stop working.

CT scans and x Rays are used to determine whether shunts are working properly. Sometimes these things are accurate, other times, they are not.

My shunt in 2014 fell apart inside my body and was leaking out into my abdomen and all down the side of my neck internally.

Tests were done and nothing could be determined until I insisted on surgery because it was obvious to me something was wrong despite the technology saying otherwise.

We need to do better. We need Star Trek level technology NOW for individuals and families living with hydrocephalus this way we can all manage our symptoms better. 

The good news is my shunt behaved itself today and I was able to go out for a walk before the incoming hurricane….

And I heard this Journey song today which made me smile and brought back memories of when I was living in Mississippi while serving in AmeriCorps NCCC. We had a music contest and this song was one of the songs on our playlist.