I had my appointment for a second opinion with a neurologist today at Yale New Haven Hospital. He specializes in brain cancer and tumors, yet he is the one the neurosurgeon thought best for me to see.
This was my first visit to Yale where I had the benefit of a teaching hospital. All of my files had been read before I got there.
After interviewing me for the history of my symptoms, general health, etc. and my assessment of the most troubling symptoms (balance, light headness and cognitive decline) a very targeted neuro exam was done. He did tell me that my cognitive decline was not normal for someone of my age, so I must have explained well and he listened well also.
He then went off with the underlings in tow and reviewed my films.
His assessment at this time is that are probably comorbid conditions contributing to my issues. He is most concerned about my balance problems; my current neuro had told me that she did not think they would resolve themselves, but I did not get a clear answer why. Today I did. My disks show that I have lost brain mass. There has never been any mention of this in MRI reports. He also did say that my MRI was abnormal in other respects.
I have 3 to 4 drinks a day and he said that this could be a contributing factor. Yup, time for honesty here…that is what this forum is all about. He explained how I might not feel the effects of the alcohol, but that it can and often does do damage. And yes, alcohol does like to effect cerebellar function. So while alcohol may be good for the cardiovascular system, it is not so good for the brain.
He has ordered an ultrasound of my carotid arteries as well as a repeat of blood tests. As he explained it, the blood tests can be run several times with normal results and then one test comes up with the abnormal results. This is consistent with what my neuro told me when she ordered that tests be run again, but she was very selective in those tests.
I have a follow up appointment next Monday, with the ultrasound scheduled beforehand.
So there you have it.
Guess I can't have that tequila from the "Happy IVGLDSW Day!" post.
I have been thinking about you throughout the day and was waiting for an update.
All in all it sounds like a great visit. I am in awe of the fact that they actually looked at your records before they saw you. That's a great sign. Of course hearing that your brain has shrunk is not good but you are getting closer. The 'co-morbidity' issue makes sense since there are so many things going on at the same time.
Oh my!! I didn't know you were drinking:-). Not a good idea probably.
And to have a follow up this soon----it's amazing. Hopefully he will reveal the other abnormalities that they have identified.
This sure sounds like an excellent next step for you, although the brain atrophy is not good.
It can be hard to hear all this type of news at once from the doctor, along with critical suggestions on how to better the odds in our favor. Been there, done that ... I quit smoking cold turkey and gave up daily drinking at the time of my heart attack. It was an event that forced me to step up and take responsbility for my health. It sounds like now it is your challenge.
How great that you are not having to wait months again to get back for additional testing. I'll continue to hope for the best for you.
Golly gosh Audrey, if i had 3 or 4 drinks i'd be under the table, i can already feel the affects of alcohol before i've even finished a glass and even then i've watered it down with soft drink. I think asking about alcohol consumption is pretty standard, i laughingly say I dont drink because i'm a one pot screamer and sometimes there is a look of disbelief, I then explain that my brother is an alcholic, which seems to be an acceptable answer. lol
My brother was open about his drinking (probably 3-4 bottles not glasses) but never thought he was different, he didn't ever walk like you expect from a heavy drinker, drunk or sober, he just didn't see alcohol as being a problem. It was only when he developed peripheral nerve damage in his feet, which was directly related to his drinking, did he stop drinking. More than once we've laughed about the irony of him being the alcoholic and i'm the tea-totler that actually looks like i've had a few to many lol.
It sounds like this appointment was beneficial but i feel rightly or wrongly, that unless you can start saying you've stopped drinking altogether or you only have a glass of wine with dinner, alcohol consumption is going to be in the forfront. Just like smoking, or migrain gets blamed for everything, so to can alcohol. Thinking about alcohol, i'm sure we had a long discussion on how MSers are more affected by alcohol than they use to be, i'll see if I can find it.
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