I have a confession to make, I am notorious for NOT opening snail mail when I get it. That has been a cause for problems through out my life, and I have missed many opportunities over the years. Wedding invites, party announcements, bills, bank statements, etc may sit, sealed in their little envelopes for days or weeks before I get around to opening and reading them. I know it is a bad habit, I blame my mother for this – she was notorious for leaving mail lying in a pile on her table without ever having been opened.
The upside of not opening letters is that I have missed some weddings and other assorted soirees, thereby not having to make small talk with people that I either do not know, or care not to be with. The down side is that I have missed out on important communications with loved ones and doctors.
The doctor part is where I have made my biggest mistake. I suppose when I get a letter from the doctor’s office I should take the time to read it. I say all this because I recently went through a stack of unopened letters and found one from my interim primary physician, Dr. Sidle. It was regarding the test results from the MRI I had done on August 12th. It seems that, “There is some increased enhancement in the brain tissue within the thalamus on the left that might be demyelination.” He suggested that I not miss my appointment with the neurologist in September, and that I needed to follow-up with neurology regarding this.
Now this is where it gets aggravating. I did follow-up with neurology in September, but was told that I had a couple of lesions on the left side of the brain, but that they were probably nothing to worry about. So here is my question: How can one doctor, an internist, see that there is something wrong within the region of the thalamus, and the doctor that is SUPPOSED to be an expert on the brain can say that there are simply lesions and not even mention the issues with the thalamus?
I did some reading on this little part of the brain. It is located atop the brain stem, and acts basically like a switchboard for a lot of the signals that the brain sends out. Demyelination is when the covering of the nerves, the myelin sheath, starts to die off or is in some fashion damaged. Since the myelin sheath ensures that the signals going to and from the brain get there in a speedy and correct fashion, any loss of their covering allows for the signal to get scrambled. The thalamus helps the brain to interpret visual and auditory signals, as well as controlling motor coordination. Since the brain operates in reverse order, the left side controls the right side of the body and visa versa, an issue on the left side of the thalamus would cause problems predominately on the right side of the body, with minor spill over to the left side.
I have explained to the neurologist that my issues are hemispheric in nature, with the right side being impacted more than the left, and that I have been having increased auditory (hearing) issues, sometimes things are so loud that I can’t stand it, and other times I can hardly hear. I also have had increased vision problems, one eye going out of focus or seeming like I am looking through a cloud. There have even been times where my eyes will involuntarily cross, and I have to close one eye to be able to see. Yet she seems to ignore these issues.
I know that some doctors get a certain idea or diagnosis in mind, and then can’t see the forest for the trees, and I think that is the situation I am in now.
If my problem is related to the thalamus, I don’t know what can be done. It’s not like you can live without it, it plays too important a role in the functioning of the brain. If the myelin sheath is disappearing from the nerves that service the thalamus, it would be like having exposed wires in a house. You run the risk of damaging something or having serious issues because the wiring isn’t right. If you have ever done electrical work, you know that you do not want wiring to be exposed. Demyelinated nerves are nothing more than exposed wires in the house that is your body.
Now I just need to find an electrician that will listen, versus one that thinks they know what the problem is. If there is something wrong within the thalamus wiring, it explains a lot of my problems. So perhaps I am getting closer to an answer. I hope so!