Headaches and other symptoms - should I be worried?
Hello, I'm an 18 year old female and I've been getting headaches since around mid-March. They are unilateral and localized, always in the same spot on the left side of my head, a little behind and about halfway between the top of my ear and the top of my head. They have been steadily increasing in intensity and frequency, now coming around 10-20 times a day and staying for an average of one or two minutes. They are quite painful; the pain is steady and dull and is sometimes interspersed with short stabs of very intense pain. During the headaches I don't experience any nausea or vomiting, but they have recently started getting so bad that they sometimes wake me up at night. I have absolutely no history of headaches.
I have been having increasingly worse problems with my memory (which used to be excellent), especially short-term things and remembering names. I am having trouble finding words and have been switching words in sentences without even realizing it (for example "I need to store to the go"). I am forgetting people's names that I've known my entire life.
I have also started getting a lot of these "episodes" again that I used to get when I was younger, starting around 9 or 10 and stopping for the most part around 16 or 17. I never thought much of them because they didn't really interfere with my daily activities and I didn't get them all that often, no more than a few to several times a week, so I never mentioned them to anyone and just figured they were normal. Now I'm worried that they may be some type of seizure. I typically have these episodes when I'm tired, and they happen a lot during reading. I suddenly feel myself starting to lose consciousness, it almost feels like my brain is overloading and it needs to reset itself. My thoughts get cloudy, my vision rapidly blacks out and I will lose consciousness for a few seconds, but I can then quickly shake it off and move on with whatever I was doing beforehand. I will sometimes have a couple of these in a row but not often. I also started smelling things that aren’t there about the time the headaches started. It’s usually a food smell, but sometimes I smell feces. This only lasts for about ten seconds and then it goes away.
I brought these symptoms to the attention of my regular doctor. I am otherwise in good health except for a slightly enlarged thyroid (Hashimoto’s runs in my family but the bloodwork was normal). Since visiting him I have on two occasions experienced tingling sensations on my right leg. During the exam my doctor was unable to find an ankle jerk reflex in my right foot but did not seem especially concerned about it. He referred me to a neurologist, whom I am seeing in two weeks. I am very anxious and don’t know what to expect. I know that in all probability there is nothing wrong with me, but I do have two great aunts who died of brain tumors, one at sixteen and one at twenty. I don’t know if that constitutes a family history or not. I just want to know if I should be worried that it's serious or if it's more likely something benign.
I understand your worry. My dad died of a brain tumor and then on my mom's side, my uncle died and I have a cousin battling now. I have my own tumors as well.
That being said, you have to get an evaluation for what is going on for you. Since they are persistent, it is good that you are seeing a neurologist, but until scans are run and tests are done, there is not much that I can say. There is a doctor forum here, but you do not have any test results to give him.
Hang in there, get testing - make sure you get copies and understand everything, ask questions. Let us know how the appointment goes and what tests are ordered.
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