Was It a Brain Tumor, Causing My Migraines?

About 30 years ago, my occasional one day migraine headaches, became worse, gradually, turning into up to 3 day migraines. It was becoming increasingly difficult to do well, in my high pressure, management job. I was referred to a neurologist, by my General Practitioner. The highly respected neurologist admitted me to the hospital, planning for a week of tests, of all kinds. Cat scan of my brain, found, what looked like a possible mass, pressing against my cerebellum, causing mild symptoms, like numbness, with nerve root involvement. So, I was referred to an experienced, well-known neurosurgeon, one of the best experts, trained at Harvard, who had a great record of successful operations. When I went to see this neurosurgeon, he informed me, that it looked like a mass, perhaps attached to a blood vessel, was pressing in, on my brain, at the Cerebellar/Pontine angle, and causing pressure on cranial nerves, thus causing my various, mild symptoms. That struck fear, in me, and my wife, who was with me, for the meeting, with the neurosurgeon. The Doctor stated that he may have to operate; however, because of the delicate nature of that area of the brain, usually operations are ruled out, because there is no guarantee of success. An operation could go perfectly, to remove a tumor, and then the patient may not wake up, because of the location of the consciousness center, deep in the center of the brain. The neurosurgeon said that he had stayed awake, most of the previous night, going over and over, on how to facilitate the operation, in a safe manner, and felt that he was ready. He showed my wife and I the x-ray image, of the result of the cat scan, showing what looked like a tumor, next to a blood vessel, pressing in on my cerebellum! I’ll never forget that image!

Coming to terms with the image

Then the neurosurgeon said that there was one more test, that they wanted to do, that would give them, a better picture of exactly what the supposed tumor, looked like. The hospital had just got a new, experimental, MRI machine. So, I was one of the first patients, to benefit from the MRI. After taking the MRI, which was frightening, with the clanking sounds, and close insertion of my body into the MRI machine, causing claustrophobia, I was unnerved! When the time came for the neurosurgeon, to give my wife and I the results of the MRI, we were apprehensive!

How an enlarged bloodvessel changed everything

The neurosurgeon showed us the image, from the MRI, and explained to us, that what they, originally, thought was a brain tumor, was actually an enlarged blood vessel, that had somehow, attached itself to my brain stem, and was pressing down on my cerebellum, putting pressure on the cranial nerves, going into the cerebellum/pontine area of the brain. The neurosurgeon didn’t feel it was operable, and prescribed several blood pressure medicine combinations, to lower my blood pressure, and keep it lowered, to ease pressure on the blood vessel, that was attached to my mid/brain.This, of course, was probably a big cause of my migraines. The Doctor also prescribed Emperin, with codeine, for my painful headaches.

25 years later

For the next 25 or so years, I have had migraines, occasionally, some lasting a couple of days, at a time. It’s only been recently, within the last couple years, that I have finally gotten great relief from painful migraines, where they are infrequent now, and usually last only a few hours, with headache pain relief medicine. It was a few years ago, that I was referred to a headache and movement disorders neurologist, specialist. He prescribed a beta-blocker, that regulates my heartbeats, and keeping my blood pressure low! Finally, I have relief from debilitating migraines, and they happen infrequently, now, and only last a few hours! An unexpected result, from my visits, with the migraine/movement disorders specialist, is that I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, and am under carbo/levodopa treatment, for that! My story, in my journey, with migraines, is unique, and has had many twists and turns, but, the good thing, is that I have lived a long life ( I am 73 years old ), now, and still manage to get around, fairly well! Keeping a positive attitude is my mantra!

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