Sorry; I didn't see all your comments. I had a diagnosis of a brain tumor yrs ago, and it went away. I've had ongoing symptoms of MS for many yrs now. So i'm wondering if what they saw was really a lesion, and if partly what is wrong with me, is indeed MS.
Because they didn't see any lesions on last MRI, they just say that there are no lesions.
And don't really want to say if I have MS or not. I'm just so weak and in alot of pain, and tired of trying to find out what it all is. But I know I have to. So i'm curious about the difference in a lesion and a tumor.
If they had seen anything abnormal on your last MRI, the radiologist would have noted that and commented about it on his report.
Bear in mind here that I'm not a doctor and so cannot speak as though I were one. But here is my understanding of what these things are. A tumor is a growth of cells that is abnormal. It has a blood supply, just like any other part of the body. It can grow quite large, even if it is benign, or non-cancerous, but anytime there's a tumor, cancer is a possibility that has to be investigated. Although some benign tumors stay very small and don't interfere with any functioning of the body, they still have to be watched. Some do just disappear.
Lesion is a medical term for an abnormality. When the subject is a brain MRI, it means something is seen that's not supposed to be there. Depending on the location of the lesion, its size and shape, it becomes more or less likely to represent an MS lesion. Radiologists undergo many years of training to be able to say with any assurance what the lesion might be, and often will suggest a few possible explanations, that the neuro is to consider when making a diagnosis. The neuro is the one with the whole picture. He or she does the physical exam and orders other kinds of tests.
Please see our Health Pages, where Quix has provided lots of descriptions of MS lesions on MRIs. But bear in mind that a MS lesion, unlike a tumor, is not a growth. It is more like a scar. MS lesions can and do disappear, at least to the extent that they can no longer be see on MRI. That technology is great, but good neuros concede that it doesn't show everything.
A tumor will usually show what is called "mass effect" on an MRI because it is an mass having an effect. A lesion is an area of differential H20 saturation and shows up more brightly or less brightly (depending on the weight of the study) so that it stands out against normal tissue. A lesion usually indicates some kind of "gliosis" or tissue inflammation or scarring. Different processes can cause lesions, including vascular processes related to migraines and high blood pressure and demyelinating diseases (e.g, MS). A couple of other MS mimics can also result in brain lesions (e.g., Lyme).
If you had a brain tumor, MRI would have picked that up. Sounds like your previous tumor was on a cranial nerve; that wouldn't be expected to cause generalized weakness or "a lot of pain." What I don't understand is how your tumor "went away." Was it a cyst of some kind, like an arachnoid cyst that resolved somehow? What sort of a tumor was it? What did the doctors say about it?
Hi, DerbyDay! Welcome. You got a lot of good answers. I can only voice them in different words.
A "lesion" like ess said is another word for "abnormality." It is a pretty non-specific word. On an MRI one might say that a scar (area of gliosis), a tumor, a malformation of vessels, a cyst, and an MS plaque would all be "lesions" because they are all things that are abnormal. Whenever possible the radiologists and neurologist try to give a more specific name to any lesions they see. When they can identify it as a tumor, they say tumor. If the lesion has a cyst-like appearance they will say that and so forth.
If it is small a tumor might be mistaken for something else and vice versa. Some MS plaques can have a "tumor-like" effect if they are imaged at a time when there is a lot of swelling around them. If the MRI is done later that effect will disappear. And MS plaques can also heal and disappear.
A problem with the 6th cranial nerve would cause a problem with doublevision, usually.
Some tumors can stop growing, die and be re-absorbed so it is possible for tumors to go away.
Does all this help?
Who is helping to find out why you have so much pain and fatigue? There are many causes of these. MS is one of the less common ones. Why don't you tell us all about what has been going on with you?
Thanks to all. I appreciate all the replies!
During the time my so called "brain tumor" was visible on the MRI I did have alot of double vision. It was so bad that I couldn't walk most of the time. Terroble headaches. Severe dry eyes, which I still have. But the degree changes.
Wow, to tell all of my symptoms would take a while,because theres many things that the doctors at first thought was causing some of them.
I was in a bad motorcycle accident accident when I was a teen-ager. It left me in critical condition, and I was sort of having a difficult time walking at first. Having numbness from damaged nerves, and pain from the many jarred, broken, and pulled bones, muscles, and ligaments.
So at first we assumed it all was from that.
But in my twenties I developed hyperthyroid, with a tumor on the thyroid, and had the tumor along with the left side of the thyroid removed. And during my twenties I was having spells of numbness, dragging left foot and leg, weakness in arms etc. The dr. said I was having symptoms of mini strokes, and needed less stress in my life.
In my thirties, I developed hypothyroid, and bladder and gastrointernology problems. In late thirties, the thing they thought was a brain tumor. And keep in mind, during all these years, still having symptoms with what I called "spells" of chronic weakness in legs, arms, and now neck. And stiff and painful muscles, and sometimes a pain I find hard to describe, a sort of electrical pain in feet and fingers. And along with spells a cold feeling deep inside, that I could not get warm.
And i've noticed clumbsyness, dropping things, slow movements and even slow talking at times. Heaviness at times too. I've had chronic dizzyness all along too. And spells of severe motion sickness. I now have blurry vision also, that sometimes gets worse. Short term memory loss.
In thirties, I was told that I may have spinal stenosis.
So far I've been told I have arthritis symptoms, mini stroke symptoms, spinal stenosis symptoms.
Oh and I also have trouble breathing, and a weakness about breathing during the spells, and getting too warm, under stress, and over doing it physically can bring spells on.
I'm sure i'm leaving things out, because I can't go on and on.
I'm just confused. I went to hospital not long ago for chest pain, breathing difficulties, and bad motion sickness. And Dr. said if they didn't find anything that I was crazy. He was joking he said, but it still makes me not want to talk to dr.'s sometimes.
I have 2 neurologists now, and a arthritis dr. I also have eye specialists. They are doing tests, it is just frustrating that it has gone on so long now. And the tests are being scheduled months apart.
Just call me Humpty Dumpty! Lol. Thats what I call myself. At this point, I'm not sure if I can be fixed. Lol.
Thanks to all for taking the time to answere my questions, and for reading my long comments!
I also have stiff, and painful neck alot. What do you all think causes this? And different kinds of headaches, not always at the same time. I did mention weak neck, i'm sure. What do you think about this particular part of my problems?
It takes a long time for the King's men to get to the scene doesn't it? The time between tests and exams and more appointments can be so irritatingly long. Please find some ways to entertain yourself inbetween them to occupy your mind and keep your spirits up.
I'm not even partially qualified to start guessing at what the cause of your problems may be - I hope some one else here can be of help to you.
Please stay in touch and let us know how you get on with the doctors.
In another blog, a guy that took MRI's for a living explained MS lesions. He said they light up with contrast if they are active. If they are inactive they won't light up. If the affected nerve(s) catch a break they sometimes heal and that lesions will disappear. If the lesion does too much damage the affected (nerve(s) no longer signal) the area shows as white matter. I would talk to the doctor and see if that sounds right just in case I didn't understand correctly. One thing that is disappointing is not hearing a lot from the medical community about nerves being amazing at repairing themselves.
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