Not sure if this is the place to post this, but I couldn't find another place that seemed better.
Here's my story:
Went to primary care doc in May with a collection of issues: severe fatigue, severe double vision, left-side weakness, shortness of breath, etc. -- some neurological, some not, some had been going on for awhile, some were relatively new. Was referred to a neuro, who tentatively diagnosed multiple sclerosis based on symptoms plus two existing MRIs (I have a small non-functioning pituitary adenoma and a small meningioma that are being watched). She ordered another MRI, but results were inconclusive. Still, she was "95% sure" that my problem was MS.
In September, my insurance dropped her, so I had to get another referral. Saw the new guy in late October. As convinced as the first neuro was that I have MS, he was equally convinced that I did not. His take on the MRIs: I've had a series of TIAs. Also, I have a severely pinched nerve in my neck (that I knew already). Basically, all the issues are caused by 2 or 3 different things, NOT MS. He ordered MRAngiograms: brain, neck, and eyes/orbits, which were done on Friday, Nov. 11.
Last Friday, we went over the results of those MRAs. They did, indeed, show evidence of TIAs, and I'm on low-dose aspirin regimen now for that. But, as he put it, "I saw something I did NOT expect to see": a fairly large cerebral aneurysm. (Still not sure what "fairly large" means - test results and notes haven't been posted online yet.) The position is consistent with my double vision problem -- it appears to be very close to the 6th and 7th cranial nerves, in a spot that he said would probably preclude "clipping" as a solution (too risky). And while coiling will likely help prevent a rupture, it won't solve the vision problem, as it will still be resting against the nerve. Much to consider.
I'm now waiting for referrals to a neurosurgeon to deal with the compressed disk and wonky C5 vertebra in my neck that are causing a boat-load of issues, and another to a cerebrovascular surgeon to deal with the aneurysm. I live in a small town in northern WA state, so for sure I'll be heading to the "big city" (Seattle) for the cerebrovascular surgeon consult. The neck thing can probably be done locally, as we have an excellent neuro / ortho / spine / joint surgery team here.
Soooooo … it's been 52 hours since I first heard the words "cerebral aneurysm," and I find myself swinging between two primary emotions: 1) abject terror ("OMG! This thing could BLOW at ANY MINUTE!!!!!!!" and 2) calm acceptance ("OK, so now we know what's going on. There really is something there. It's NOT all in your head! - Well, technically it is, but … "). The good news is that my blood pressure is consistently very good (115-125 / 65-75), and I quit smoking in 1992, There is no family history of aneurysm, either -- I'm the first as far as I know. Oh yeah -- and I'm 60 yrs old, retired in 2003 after 32 yrs in software development, last 6 years of that as principal database designer with Amazon.com; since then, I completed my undergraduate degree in music (2006), and nearly completed a M.Mus. in Music History and Lit, until I ran out of steam writing the thesis.
I'm not planning to change my holiday travel plans: I'm taking the train on 12/18 to St. Louis to visit my brother and family for Christmas and New Year's -- unless someone tells me that's not a good idea. I'll be in a bedroom car (private bath, full-sized bed, very comfortable - I just did the same trip last August), and it's usually very relaxing.
So that's my story -- not sure what to ask at this point, as I still feel vaguely in shock.