Friday, September 7, 2012


So, here we are in Korea.  Tomorrow we head back to our sweet daughter-oh how I miss her!

Our time here was quite different than I expected.  By the time we flew in, picked up our rented phone, found the bus, sat on the bus FOREVER because of the rainstorm and traffic, missed our stop and walked back from the next one, it was 8:30 at night.  Add finding our place, dropping our stuff, and eating dinner it was quite late by the time we crashed.

The next day, Wednesday, we headed out about 10:00, wandered around, found a Dunkin Donuts for breakfast and began navigating the subway to find the hospital--suddenly we were nearly late!

We met with the neurologist and he was very knowledgeable.  He felt due to the combination of migraines and the brain "lesion", as they kept referring to it, there is quite likely a hole in the heart allowing blood to pass from one side to the other where it really wasn't supposed to...and allowing tiny blood clots to head to the brain.  In order to get all the testing done quickly, he opted to admit me...and I've spent the past 2 1/2 days in the hospital now!  So much for seeing Korea between appointments! (And thank goodness for good insurance!)

Well, after all the testing, they have found that indeed I do have some blood going where it shouldn't, but they can not find the hole.  Further testing would require an invasive procedure and at this point the risks outweigh the benefits.  Therefore, for now, I am to do my best to prevent headaches through lifestyle changes (avoiding dehydration and migraine triggers, and making sure to exercise regularly).  After I am done nursing Matthew, I will go on some type of blood thinner, probably a small amount of Aspirin a day, to prevent clots.  Then in a year or so we will redo some testing to make sure nothing has gotten worse.

How do I feel?  Relieved that it is not something scary such as cancer or MS.  A little bummed that all I can do is treat the headaches.  So glad to be headed back to Lizbeth.  Relieved that we're not dealing with surgery right now with two little ones!  In some ways it feels like this was an expensive way to find out very little, but in other ways it is such a relief.  Thank you for all of your prayers!  We have been blessed in so many ways through this time!

Monday, September 3, 2012

And More Doctors...

 A few weeks ago our family was battling an awful virus that's main symptoms were a high fever (103 and above) and feeling terrible.  Really terrible.  It also seemed to hang around for a couple days, then go away for a day, then come back again for a day before passing on to the next person.  Lizbeth got it first, then passed it on to Matthew and me, finally Nathan came down with it :-(

However, for me, this seems to have triggered what I thought was the world's worst migraine.  Turns out it was worse than the world's worst migraine.  After a nearly sleepless night of feeling as though my head was going to explode, I decided to go to our international clinic and hope for an opening since they were all booked up.  Long story short, four blood tests and a urine test later everything came back normal.  Too normal, since for how sick we've all been something should show up in my blood.  The doctor doesn't really have an answer for that.  As for my headache, it continued on until about 5:00 PM.  They rushed a CT scan (which in Qingdao means it takes two hours instead of two days to a week) which cleared up concerns of an aneurysm (thank God), but did have a couple anomalies.

Last year I went to this same doctor about some visual auras I had during both pregnancies.  They ran an MRI (in January) that didn't really explain the auras but did show that the right side of my brain has a section that shows a strange ab-normality.  The MRI can't really show us WHAT is wrong, just that SOMETHING is wrong.  It looks like it is either a problem with the lining of the nerves or a lack of blood flow to the area.  He was concerned about it but I saw two neurologists here in China that suggested I follow up with an MRA (it looks at your brain blood vessels instead of tissue).  This came back normal which ruled out the number one concern, a brain aneurism, so no one was overly worried.  He ruled the auras as painless migraines.

Well, this CT scan showed that the ab-normality may have worsened, possibly causing the increase in moderate headaches I've had and the massive one I had after getting sick.  They ran another MRI so that they could compare apples to apples which still showed the same problem, but does not appear to have progressed a considerable amount.  Regardless, he recommended I see a western trained neurologist to see what is going on.

He is not giving any suggestions as to what this might mean, and I have no idea.  Everyone seems very confused as we've never heard of such a thing, especially since the MRA doesn't show any blockages or anything.  He really doesn't seem to have any idea, though he's not mentioning any possibilities if there are any.

So...tomorrow we head to Korea to see a neurologist.  Lizbeth will stay here with some good friends of ours that live two floors below us.  Matthew, of course, will go with us.  Hopefully we will get some answers.  Please pray for our family as we are about to be apart for the longest we have been.  Lizbeth is very excited to stay with our friends but is also scared about us leaving.  She cried a lot as she went to sleep this evening.  I am very emotional about leaving her, but trying not to show it so she isn't more scared.  I'm also nervous about the trip.  As of this morning, our flights were booked under the wrong names and the Guarantee of Payment from our insurance had not even been started...both seem to have been cleared up but I will feel better once we are there and see the doctor.  

Thank you for your Thoughts and concern!