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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 7:08 pm 
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Discuss!


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:14 pm 
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Judge Hodgman's Justice Squad
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The brain surgery call was among the most momentous of occasions ever! I would like to know more about how they safely take a part of a person's brain out? Congratulations on surviving what must have been a scary experience!


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:00 pm 
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New Kid

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Hi Lydia_May_Crowe (and any others who may be wondering about my predicament), as a long time JJGO fan, it was a delight to hear my barely recognizable voice on the podcast this week! Jesse's trepanning analogy wasn't too far too off, but I'll try my best to succinctly explain what's been going on with my brain.

Back in late Decemeber, I was mugged on my way home from work. Yes, it was scary, painful, guy tackled me and threatened me with a knife, made off with a bunch of stuff and that was that. I had some car accident-esque back pain that faded away after about 2 weeks, which was about how long it took me to mentally recover as well.

A couple weeks later, back pain returned in full force, and an MRI showed multiple cysts in my spinal cord (aka syrinxes, pockets filled with fluid that restrict proper spinal cord fluid flow). To try to find the route of the cysts, the doctors took MRIs further up and discovered something called a Chiari Malformation Type 1. Basically, this means that a small piece of the brain (celebral tonsils) were not properly being contained by the base of the skull and there was about a 9mm herniation of this brain matter into the spinal column. This likely caused pressure which resulted in the creation of the syrinxes.

At first, I had some manageable back pain and headaches, but nothing serious, so surgery was scheduled for September so that I could enjoy my summer and hopefully have an easier time of having children which my husband and I would like to do in the next few years. The surgery (posterior fossa decompression for the search engine-inclined) involves making an incisions from the base of the skull down the neck, through the skin, muscles, tendons, and 1 or 2 vertebrae. Next, a small portion of the skull is removed/shaved down, and a small portion of (totally useless) brain matter is removed using cauterization. Finally, a piece of donated synthetic (cloned dead person) dura brain line is added as sort of an inverse dart, a pocket to give the brain some breathing room and protection.

So it's about March and I'm working on mentally processing myself for all this to happen in late September when my symtpoms start really ramping up. I've got loads of headaches and pressure in my head and neck which get more intense when I bend down, dizziness when I bend down or stand up, ringing in my ears, etc. Then on the syrinx front, I've got back pain that's becoming difficult to manage, making it very hard to focus at work or have a good time with family and friends. Then my right foot starts dragging while I walk and instead of taking lady like sips from drinking vessels, I'm sort of throwing beverages at my neck. At this point I'd had a check up appt with my neurosurgeon to talk about how to manage my increasing back pain but once we got to the motor skills issues he said it was time to move forward with the surgery rather than risk the syrinxes scarring the spinal cord and causing permanent damage.

Surgery happened Friday; I've been home since Sunday night and everything seems to be going well so far. Still definitely have a lot of pain management to get through as my neck repairs itself. I haven't really had any back symptoms yet which is crazy since improvement in that area technically may not occur as a result of the brain surgery. It's possible that down the line, the cysts will have to be manually drained. But I'm not going to think about that right now.

At the moment, I'm just taking recommendations for books, movies, tv shows and any sort of rain dances/prayers/crystal ceremonies for getting some poop happening. Thank you all so much to the entire MaxFun family for all the laugher and entertainment you've provided me not just over the past few years, but especially the past few crummy months. And thanks for listening to my weird medical stuff!

Here's some photos too: http://imgur.com/a/IqIz6#0. There's an MRI showing the cerebral tonsil herniation (Chiari Malformation Type 1) and another showing the syrinxes/cysts. Then there's one of me just a little while after the surgery. Since my Boston Terrier Spud couldn't visit, my husband doctored up a surrogate to keep me company. And finally, the staples. Recipients of the surgery affectionately refer to themselves/others as "zipperheads," which I hear is also some sort of Asian epithet, so maybe I'll shy away from that.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:35 am 
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My goodness, that's rough, but I'm glad you were in good enough spirits to call in to the show. I literally exclaimed "holy shit!" when you detailed your momentous occasion. I hope that very soon you are, indeed, MORE POWERFUL THAN EVER!


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 4:53 am 
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Friend of the Family
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I absolutely was in no shape to call someone 20 minutes after my brain surgery (supracellar tumor/cyst, believed to be largest on medical record). I'm also jealous that you got out of the hospital so quickly. I hope that you come out of it without any side effects. 7.5 years later, i still have a couple minor vision issues, but, on the other hand, i'm still alive. I see that you are, too, so congratulations.

I never went by "zipperhead," but an adorable six-year-old boy exclaimed, "Wow! You look like Frankenstein!" to the mortification of his mom. He wasn't entirely wrong, except that Frankenstein was the mad scientist's name.

Quote:
At the moment, I'm just taking recommendations for books, movies, tv shows and any sort of rain dances/prayers/crystal ceremonies for getting some poop happening.

Constipation plus head staples was one of the very most painful experiences of my life. The worst was constipation, plus head staples, plus a couple explosive farts.

From that, i learned that yelling "I NEED AN ENEMA, STAT!" down the hallway of a hospital is an excellent way to get nurses' immediate attention.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:07 am 
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Jesse's Golden Eagles
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Having your head opened up? Pretty momentous.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 5:05 pm 
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Thorn Family Blondie Brigade
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As a former hospice volunteer (along with other life experiences), it continues to baffle the living fuck out of me how it is that in our state of medical care we STILL don't have pain relievers that don't cause constipation. All of the opiates do, and it's frankly criminal. People who are in the kind of pain that requires prescription pain meds don't deserve the pain of constipation, too.

Colace helps, as does drinking a TON of water. Sometimes it helps to massage your abdomen. Sometimes it helps to bicycle your legs (we do this to babies who have gas, and I'm of the opinion that it's something we can all benefit from even as adults). Obviously, fresh fruits & vegetables help, and avoiding dairy helps. If you can drink coffee, that will help. Enemas aren't pleasant but they can be very effective.

Don't let it go too long. Without going into too much graphic detail, let me just say, don't let it go to a point that you're impacted. That's really not fun.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 6:43 pm 
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New Kid

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Sorry in advance for turning this show thread into Poop Time, but janey, how long would you say is too long? It's been since about 8m Friday 7/13. I wouldn't say it's causing any pain at this point, but discomfort, sure. I've been rocking fruits, berries, nuts, as well as stool softener and fiber supplements, but nothing but farts thus far. I'm certain my neck could not take the bicycling trick. I've read that popcorn is good which is pretty much my favorite food ever and I've been told to push salt, so I'll probably enjoy some of that later. I'm also going to increase my water intake now that I've been told I can drop Gatorade (some sort of sodium/bp issue that I barely understood during discharge).


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:24 pm 
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Thorn Family Blondie Brigade
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A lot depends on your discomfort level. You might give your doc a call and just inquire. You can also go to the drugstore and get a "bulb syringe", which allows you to gently squeeze warm water into your rectum and that can help get things rolling, so to speak.

http://www.enemasupply.com/9-ounce-bulb-syringe.html

For now, I would just use warm water. I would wait to use a laxative enema for a few more days. This is an unusual situation for you, but I'm not a big fan of using laxatives unless you really have to. Your doctor might prescribe a form of Lactulose for you -- I've seen that used a lot in hospice and also one of my cats used to take it because he had thick fur and hated to be brushed. You have to start with a low dose, and it builds up over time, so like with my poor cat, he took it for several days before it started to work and then all of the hair that had plugged him up started shooting out both ends like some kind of water feature in an amusement park.

Pop that colace, though.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:26 pm 
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Thorn Family Blondie Brigade
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oh and by the way, back to the episode, I was glad that one of you guys mentioned that the Arner-Way Others-Bray woman was probably a public radio listener, so that I didn't have to mention it -- Jesse, I think if you look back, you'll see that you *have* been nannered by people you've never met, all in the line of public radio duty. ;-)


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:32 pm 
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New Kid

Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:27 pm
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The description of Superman as "this really splendid man" has been making me laugh solidly for 2 days now.

I should point out that by "laugh solidly" I don't mean throw up, although I may have to use it like this in future.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:35 pm 
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Diamond Friendship Circle
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A "wicked awesome" costume means going as Ted Williams?

VERY well played, Mr. Ker.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 5:57 pm 
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Humphrey Ker was delightful.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:22 am 
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Friend of the Family
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I was the other momentous occasion. Way to outshine me transplant lady! Only talking about love here! NO BIG DEAL.

But at least I managed to be The Notebook in 20 seconds. An achievement.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 3:41 pm 
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New Kid

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While the first time you say it is certainly momentous, you will hopefully express love many many times during your life. Hopefully, I will only have my brain cauterized once. Truce? Also, you should totally make your lady a card that says "I love you so much that I defended our love on a podcast internet message board forum to someone recovering from brain surgery!"


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