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Author Topic: Negative Brain CT - help me think logically!  (Read 222 times)

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Offline fhestia

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Negative Brain CT - help me think logically!
« on: April 30, 2014, 07:33:51 PM »
Background:  Woke up on April 6th with the right side of my body (face, arm, trunk, leg) numb and tingling.  I had no other problems like weakness or facial drooping, etc. so I chalked it up to just one of those things and tried not to worry about it.  When it persisted a few days, I made an appointment with my doctor.  He did a limited neuro exam, checked my reflexes, checked my eyes, then ordered a truckload of blood tests (ANA, inflammatory markers, rheumatology markers, thyroid, vitamin levels, etc.) and a CT without contrast of my brain.  I was feeling calm until he said "brain CT" and my mind immediately jumped to brain tumor, stroke, MS, etc. 

I sweated it out until my CT appointment, which took all of 5 minutes.  In the meantime, my blood tests all came back 100% normal.  Then I waited almost a week for the CT results (turns out the imaging center sent them to the wrong doc, but stuff happens) and it was a 100% normal exam, no clinical correlation or followup studies required.  So you'd think I'd breathe a sigh of relief and go back to life as usual, right?  Nope. 

My HA kicked into high gear.  I was still having the numbness.  So of course the CT scan was wrong.  Because CT with contrast is more sensitive for picking up tumors!  And of course neurologists always recommend MRI instead of CT!  So here I am, a week after receiving the all clear on my tests, convinced that I have a tumor that the CT scan missed and I have been a WRECK.  I can't eat, I've lost five pounds, I'm not sleeping, I'm not all there for my husband or son, etc.

It doesn't help that on Sunday I developed a headache.  No big deal, right?  Except I never, ever get headaches.  I have seriously only taken OTC painkillers maybe twice in the past year.  And the headache I have now is the typical brain tumor headache:  doesn't start until I lie down and disappears immediately when I'm on my feet.  It's been lingering for four days now.  It's scaring me to death.

I'm usually a pretty logical person but I can't get past the fear long enough to think rationally about this.   I mean yeah, I'm pretty sure that a tumor large enough to cause a headache would have shown up on a CT scan, and it's probably sinus-related because I've been crying my eyes out every day, or it's tension related, but I could really use some objective opinions here.

Thanks for reading the wall of text if you got this far!
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Offline greend

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Re: Negative Brain CT - help me think logically!
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2014, 08:30:15 PM »
Yes you should listen to your doctor - the ct scan was fine and the chance of it being incorrect is really low. This is your anxiety talking. But believe me I can relate. I have had neurological symptoms on and off for 9 years (on for 3) and have had a lot of testing including MRI's, nerve tests etc with no cause being found. It is exasperating and scary. I recently went to another neurologist and have to wait for a month for the results.  I think acceptance is our answer.

You will be okay.
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Online Lindsay2427

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Re: Negative Brain CT - help me think logically!
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2014, 09:13:25 PM »
I know exactly how you feel. I was given the awesome news on Friday that a small polyp removed during my colposcopy last Tuesday was a completely benign growth that would ever become C. I was relieved for about 2 days and now I'm right back into spiraling out of control with my HA. I'm fearing another type of C. It's aweful.
About your CR scan. It was most defiantly right. I had a CT scan of my brain in 2011 because of a bad dizzy spell I had. I went to the ER who ordered the scan. They told me about an hour later it was perfectly normal. Well, a month later I found out at a regular GP check up that the CT showed a 1cm brain cyst. Yes that's right a cyst on my brain. I lost it. Went into panic and asked why the ER dr told me it was normal a month before. Well because it was. The cyst was unrelated to my dizzy spell as was found by accident. Most likely it's been there since birth. The are commonly found while scanning for other things and cause no harm. So long story short if my tiny cyst showed up something on yours would have also Showed up. I know hard how it is to except. I still think about the pathology report being wrong about my polyp. It was a hyperplastic polyp which could remain in the colon for 50 years and never change but I'm worried thy was someone else's polyp they accidentally mixed up with mine. I doubted my blood work 2 weeks ago when it came back perfect. I'm a true HA disaster. Please do not allow your self to become that. You could have a pinched nerve somewhere. Did they check your B12 levels? Low levels can cause numbness and tingling. Now that you are so focuse on your symptoms thy will continue. I tend to get really bad headaches while stressing. The week before my colonoscopy I had pounding headaches and I like you do not get headaches.
Why did your dr day about the tingling?
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Offline mollyfin

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Re: Negative Brain CT - help me think logically!
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2014, 02:07:49 AM »
Quote
So you'd think I'd breathe a sigh of relief and go back to life as usual, right? 

Hey, remember your audience here ;)  How many of us here do that?  ;)

Seriously, though, like everyone else is saying, a clean brain CT means no tumor.  I had headaches that got worse when I lay down - turned out to be a strained muscle causing spasms in my neck.   

Your doctor is clearly on top of things and if they thought you needed any further testing you'd get it. 

But you clearly have all this stuff in your logical brain, it's just the anxiety-fueled part of you refusing to hear it.  We've all been there!  Keep reminding yourself of it, and you'll start to believe it. 
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Offline fhestia

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Re: Negative Brain CT - help me think logically!
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2014, 03:00:42 PM »
Thank you so much, everyone!  The headaches are ongoing but I'm almost certain it is a combination of stress/sinus/allergies/weather instead of surprise brain tumor that popped up between now and the negative CT scan.  :laugh3:  I've been on high alert for the past month and now that I'm starting to calm down, I just feel completely exhausted.  I know that will pass too.  Thanks to everyone who answered me; it helped so much, especially knowing that a 1-cm cyst was picked up on a CT scan.  It would be nearly impossible for a big, symptom-causing mass to be missed even with a CT.   I still need to see my neurologist at the end of the month, but I'm expecting that visit to be completely routine.
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