Saturday, 20 February 2016

illness, fatigue, depression

So those are the headlines! They're particularly annoying because when I last wrote I was at a three-day residential seminar on organisational development.

Which was, despite appearances, BRILLIANT.

This is due to four facts:
  • The women leading the course, and all the other attendees, were amazingly knowledgeable and inspiring.
  • The food was frankly ASTOUNDING.
  • Working in the cultural sector is excellent.
  • I'm actually *sotto voce* pretty good at my job.
I came back feeling totally inspired and re-energised (so much so that my dad asked if I was on drugs).
So it was particularly annoying that since then we got well and truly into the intra-family lurgy relay. Which led into the next two items on that list.

To cheer myself up I read a book my brother bought for me, Do No Harm by Henry Marsh.

Henry Marsh is a neurosurgeon, and the book is a collection of various stories from his career. Some of it is fairly graphic - his day job is spent slicing the tops off of people's heads, rummaging around inside and cutting out bits which are life-threatening, hopefully but not always without doing any lasting damage.

Mr Marsh has spent much of his career at the very top of his game but there are stories of patients who have been wrecked by surgery, sometimes at his hand. Even then he writes with a real sense of wonder at the magic which is the human brain:
I look down my operating microscope, feeling my way downwards through the soft white substance of the brain, feeling for the tumour. The idea that my sucker is moving through thought itself, through emotion and reason, that memories, dreams and reflections should consist of jelly, is simply too strange to understand.
I've always been the sort of person who can watch operation footage of pretty much any kind (I really can't stomach anything to do with the eyes, however) so the more graphic aspects didn't bother me.

It's a great book (although on a couple of occasions, he and his fellow doctors refer to MS in a way which made it sound like they thought it was a fate worse than a brain tumour, which was surprising to me. I know it's not a walk in the park but, y'know, I'm trying to keep my morale up over here).

Anyway, long story short - it made me realise that I've never seen the images from either of my two MRIs. Part of me REALLY wants to see them, although I hope it wouldn't kick in my latent hypochondria and make even more symptoms rise up.

So my question to you - have you seen your scans? How did it make you feel? Would you recommend it?

I don't know what I'd hope to acheive by seeing them, if anything. But knowing that somebody else has seen them is kind of weird. It's MY brain, after all.

TOP FACT I learned: the brain feels no pain. It's the engine which processes and translates feelings of pain from around the body but it actually contains no nerve endings. Which is why many brain operations can be done under a local anaesthetic.


Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

I have a copy of mine from a few years ago. Thought it was really interesting to see and did help explain why I am having the problem I have. You can see where any lesions are and its easy enough to look up what areas of the brain those lesions are called and what that area controls. Explained why my walking was so bad, big lesions on the area that controls movement.

and I thought it was so cool seeing all the different sections of my head lol

Ms. CrankyPants said...

My neuro FORCES me to look at them. In fact, he reviews them *for the first time* while I am sitting there sweating disgustingly, hands clenched, imagination going wild. You know, "Hmmm, Cranky, yes, this looks about rig...WAIT. What's THIS? Oh, dear. No, that's not good at all. Pretty bad, actually. Yeah. Not MS at all. Oops. It appears you have [insert horrifying disease here]."

Of course, I suspect his office is faxed a report, so if there truly were something godawful, he'd know about it in advance. But still. It's slightly terrifying.

Each time he clicks on a new view of my glorious, glistening, and brimming-with-important-information brain, I hold my breath a little and wait for his murmured "Oh dear." So far, hasn't happened.

It is rather interesting to see the old lesions (and maybe new) and realize how disgusting your eyeballs look. Yeah, all in all, it's weird. I'd recommend it at least once. If you aren't a total nutjob like I am, you might find it educational.

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

its the eyeball images i found the neatest to look at lol

Ms. CrankyPants said...

oh, they creeped me out! But you are an artist, so your mind is open to the unusual!

stevedomino said...

thanks for the comments! i'm very intrigued...