Friday, January 08, 2010

MRI of the brain

My girl tells me that she is "dreaming" a few times a day, sometimes more than half a dozen times a day. I asked her what she means by "dreaming". She says she knows she is awake but she feels as if things are unreal, as if it is in a dream. She also complaints of headaches occassionally.

In the night, she sometimes complains of seeing "green clouds" in the dark. Once she said the naughty green clouds must be what is making her "dreaming" during the day.

This recurring "dreamlike state" during wakefullness worries me. With her history and a failed MRI behind us, we scheduled another visit to another neuro on Christmas eve.

The neuro asked us a long list of questions about our family history etc. Naturally she suggested another MRI. She said that my girl's "hallucinations" may suggest that she is either having a temporal lobe seizure or a complicated migraine. She said that the temporal lobe seizure may be from the back area of the brain (Occipital. This is the term she used if I am not mistaken) due to the sudden vomitting in the night previously which suggests it.

She also checked my girl's eyes. We also decided to take her to an optometrist to make sure or rule out the cause of headache caused by straining the eyes.

She suggested an MRI of the brain under general anaesthetics because she realises that my girl has an anxious personality and will not lie still for the procedure. She says the MRI under GA will cost 3 times more than a normal one. That would be around the region of RM3,000.00

We would have to make another appointment to come back to do the MRI. However, we were keen to get it out of the way. Another appointment meant more stress, worry and waiting for us. We asked for an alternative. She suggested a cocktail of 3 sedatives plus valium. It sounded very scary to us. We were worried about the safety.

We persuaded our girl to try to lie still. The technicians were very kind. They agreed to allow our girl to try to do the MRI without sedatives first. The MRI machine at this hospital is slightly different from the previous one. It is more open, less closed up or claustrophobic type.

When my girl lies down on the machine at it slides inside, I can still see her and she can see me as well. There is a mirror for her to look up which is placed in such a position that it reflects my face as I stand at the foot or side of the machine. I am allowed to hold her hand and stroke her legs and speak works of encouragement to her. The technicians also spoke to her encouragingly through a mike which she can hear through the headphones. The room was also not as cold as the previous one.

"You are doing very well. Only 7 minutes more. Now lie very still, don't move at all. Good girl."

At last, she did it. She managed to lie down very still for about 30 minutes listening to the loud droning of the MRI machine while the machine was recording the image of her brain. Lying perfectly still for 30 minutes is indeed a feat for any active, restless and anxious 7 year old. In fact, lying still anywhere and not only in a MRI machine. We did an MRI (to get an image or x-ray of the brain) and a MRA (to get an image of the blood vessels in the brain).

The MRI and MRA was normal. We were relieved. The neuro says at least that ensures that the "hardware" part is all right.

Our appointment was at 9am. After the MRI was done, we waited till after lunch to see the neuro again. The neuro says that even though the MRI is normal, her diagnosis based on what we have described to her is either a complicated migraine, a seizure or fit - Rolandic type benign (or BRE) and some other medical terms which she scribbled on a piece of paper to us but which I can't decipher now. Finally, if all else fails, she says she may send us to a psychologist. None of which sounds very pleasant or pretty to me. Still, I am glad the MRI is normal and we have managed to get it done at last.

The entire visit and procedure cost us about RM2,000.00 It would have cost a lot more if the MRI was done under GA. The doctor visit and procedure took us about half a day. Fortunately the girl was cooperative. She knew the implications of the cost and the time it will mean to all of us. So she tried her best. She really did.

I am happy that the MRI is normal. However since the diagnosis is unclear or there is no apparent diagnosis, we will wait and see. I am still afraid to hear noises in the night worried that my girl may be having another unexplainable incident. I still say my nightly prayers.

"God, please do not let any of my children have seizures or epilepsy. Please keep them safe from any harm, injury or ill health. Please let them have peaceful, restful slumbers and let them wake up fresh and ready for the next day. Thank you, God."

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  1. WOW! Going thru an MRI is no easy task and she did it! Congrats on the job well done. She's certainly one brave girl.. I pray that things will get better from now on..

  2. You must be really worried. Be strong and god will answer your prayer.

  3. I'm so relived that the MRI is normal. Pls tell ur daughter what a brave girl she is.

    Abj is off his meds since last month since he hasnt had an episode 2 yrs ago. Hope & pray that it will never happen again. WILL PRAY FOR UR PRINCESS TOO.

  4. Good to hear that the MRI came out normal. She certainly very mature to understand and cooperate throughout the procedure.

    Will pray that all is well.

  5. a&a'smom,
    I am very happy to hear about Abj's progress. :)

    Yes, I am glad she managed to do it and that it was normal.

  6. You must be so so worried. I don't mean to add to it, but can't help wondering:

    -Does she recognise when she's about to have an aura?

    -Is there a way to identify what the triggers are i.e unexpected and startling noise, temperature change, crowds, exertion in physical activity, or lack of sleep? I know someone whose auras are triggered by hot showers or saunas.

    -Is there anything she should avoid? I've heard that some drugs such as anti-histamines can be triggers. Also heard that if one is on anti-convulsant medication they should avoid Vit B supps esp Cod Liver Oil.

    And if it's down to plain ole stress abt school and high anxiety abt being a high achiever, you would really need to work on helping her to adopt a more relaxed and easy-going mindset. This might call for a rethink on her learning environment which no doubt has provides plenty of stress in her daily life.


  7. Anon,
    It's too early to tell if they are auras. None of the 3 neuros we have seen seem to think they are. So far she takes cod liver oil with no problems and in fact one of the neuros even prescribed vit b. There is a lot of info out there, some suggesting that it is good while others suggest otherwise. At the end of the day, we just have to listen to our own bodies. As for stress, well she is in a Chinese school.... still for the most part, she is a happy, playful little girl. We, as parents, take on the stress of making sure she gets enough sleep and can cope with the stress from school work while her job is to be a happy little girl even though she is by nature quite anxious in personality.


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