Jul 25, 2008
My MRI results weren't so normal after all; I guess I was right to be sarcastic in my journal entry yesterday when I said they called and told me everything was "normal". Hah...far from it. A 1.3cm pineal tumor was observed by the radiologist, and I suppose that means it's sitting on my pineal gland. According to some information I researched about these, most of them are < 1cm and asymptomatic. It's rare to have a symptomatic tumor and if you do have one, surgery is the first way to treat it since there's no easy way of knowing whether or not it's malignant:
Pineal Cell Tumors
Unlike germ cell tumors, which arise in the pineal region despite being unrelated to the pineal gland itself, pineal cells tumors arise directly from the functional cells of the gland, called pineal parenchymal cells. These cells are unrelated to the neurons and glial cells (supporting cells) in the brain. However, there are glial cells present in the gland, and these cells may give rise to tumors called gliomas.
Tumors that arise from pineal parenchymal cells are categorized according to their malignancy. Pineocytomas are the more benign version, while pineoblastomas are malignant. Even more rare than germ cell tumors, they make up just 0.4 to 1.0 percent of intracranial tumors. Approximately 50 percent of these are the malignant pineoblastomas, 30 percent are pineocytomas, and 20 percent are mixed. These tumors tend to occur from adolescence through middle age.
As with other brain tumors, imaging tests and surgical biopsy are used to provide diagnosis and assess the malignancy of these tumors.
Surgery usually is the initial treatment. Complete surgical resection of discrete benign pineocytomas is associated with an excellent prognosis and perhaps a cure. For the more malignant pineoblastomas, surgical removal of as much of the tumor as possible may improve the response to other forms of therapy. Radiation therapy has shown some efficacy in treating pineoblastomas, but the role of chemotherapy is unclear because it has not been studied extensively.
(taken from: http://columbianeurosurgery.org/ct/prt.html)
So I guess there's a 50/50 chance that it's malignant. I'm a bit worried because I was reading about how "papilledema" is dangerous, and this begins with a terrible headache (and intracranial pressure) then proceeds to nausea, followed by throwing up. This happened to me in April, 2 - 3 weeks after the thyroid symptoms started cropping up, and I also had dizziness and visual problems at the time. I've had headaches all my life and slowly deteriorating eyesight, but in the past few months these have both gotten much worse.
Well, I still don't know what my thyroid problems are a result of, but at least now I know my headaches and sleep apnea actually have an explanation.