< dogscatskidslife, TJ Morgan, veterinary technician, veterinary medicine, consumer, activist, day to day real life events, writer, stories, photographs, photographer, CafePress.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Like I Need Another Hole in My Head...

I know that it has been quite some time since my last post.

Once again, I find myself apologizing for the the lack of communication. However, for those of you who know me best, I'm sure that you aren't surprised.

I tend to be the type of person to go into hiding and lick my wounds in relative quiet and privacy.

The shunt was placed in my head and it appears that everything is going okay at this point in time. It is a ventriculoperitoneal shunt. Also known as a VP shunt. It has a valve to regulate the cerebral spinal fluid as well as a port where samples of fluid can be taken directly from the shunt. (*whew* - hopefully I'll never to have to go through another spinal tap again) The line runs down my neck and my chest and then enters my abdomen where the CSF empties.

And yes...

This thing is designed, and is intended, to stay in my head and body for the rest of my life.

This Thursday I will see the doctor for my two week check-up.

These pictures were taken shortly after I got home from the hospital.

I couldn't "see" my wounds, so I got the kids to take a picture of it all so that I could see what it looked like.

I have to say that that stray gray hair in the picture is really bothering me by quite a bit.

So far I haven't experienced any CSF leaking out of my head (rhinorrhea) since the VP shunt has been in place. Which means that the shunt is doing its job. Hopefully this will be the fix that I need and avoids a surgery that would entail going into the original acoustic neuroma brain tumor site.

The doctors all wanted to go and try to fix the leak at its source, but I just couldn't bear the thought of it at all. The first tumor surgery nearly cost me 100% of my facial nerve. The thought that I could lose what facial nerve function I have now is just unbearable to me.

The doctors said that we couldn't leave things the way they were with CSF washing over bacteria in my sinuses and throat and then providing a tract back to my brain. They said that I would eventually die of meningitis if nothing were done.

I've had meningitis once already and I've been on antibiotics going on three months now because of the risk. Plus, there was a colony of psuedomonas cultured near my eustachian tube as well.

The antibiotics have been very problematic for me too. I have experienced all manner of problems from the long-term use of these various high-powered drugs. Especially since there are only a few drugs that can cross the blood-brain barrier and effectively treat meningitis. Thank goodness, though, I haven't suffered from a secondary yeast infection.

Sometimes I wonder if long-term antibiotic use wears your body down and makes you feel tired. I would think that it is possible since organs such as your liver and kidneys are closely monitored for any long-term side affects from the drugs.

The Levaquin caused me to have a very severe case of tendonitis. It is my understanding that about only 1% of patients taking this antibiotic have this kind of problem which can lead to ruptured Achilles' tendons and the like. Thank goodness I didn't have that happen and only suffered from about one week of extremely severe joint pain.

All in all, things seem to have settled down by quite a bit for the time being.

I have been blessed to still be alive and well, and I'm thankful that the shunt appears to be fixing my problem.

Hopefully, I will get the okay soon to D/C (discontinue) the antibiotics and be able to get some normal bacterial flora back into my body.

And some semblance of normality in my life as well.


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Blogger Sicilian said...

TJ. . . I have never known someone who hasn't worked in a hospital talk the lingo. . . do you know how many patients in the ICU I've done orders on that had VP shunts. Because I am not a nurse, I had never seen one until now. I also had never really understood how they worked. . . You just educated me a bunch. . .
I do hope that you will use the blog to update the world. . . . praying for you to continue to heal and grow strong.

September 05, 2008 4:46 PM  
Blogger It's me, T.J. said...

Thanks for the prayers Sicilian!

They're cherished.


September 05, 2008 5:24 PM  
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September 22, 2008 5:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saying a prayer for you! It's me Squirrel, I moved and changed my name. :)

September 22, 2008 9:51 PM  
Blogger Connie said...

Hi T.J.--I dropped by to see how you are doing, and see you are facing some challenges (what an understatement)!

Good for you for staying positive, and for sharing your story. Don't feel guilty about frequency/infrequency of posting. Your health and family are the most important thing, and all else will wait.

Take care--I will be thinking about you!


September 29, 2008 10:01 PM  
Blogger The Domesticator said...


Wow, you've been through a lot!!! Would it be shallow of me to say your hair color is fabulous?! *LOL* It is! Seriously, take good care of yourself. I am so happy to hear you are recovering and the shunt is doing it's job. I've missed you ;-)

September 30, 2008 6:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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October 06, 2008 6:31 PM  
Blogger Irene said...

Hi, TJ! It's been a while since I checked in on you.... hope everything's well by now and you're fully recovered! Take care! ;p

November 09, 2008 9:36 AM  
Anonymous Moof said...

TJ! After seeing your thoughtful comment on my blog, I just had to come over to see how you're doing ... and omg! I had no idea you were going through all of this! :o(

I've been mostly off the blogging circuit for a long time myself - as I'm prone to doing the same thing you are (lick my wounds in private) ... but I'm just now starting to come back to it a bit.

You know, I've really missed you! I'm so sorry you're going through all of this horrible stuff. Dear friend, you're in my heart and on my mind.

Please let us know how you're doing, ok?

February 01, 2009 7:52 AM  
Blogger Connie Crosby said...

Yes, I'm thinking about you, too, and hoping you are okay.


February 01, 2009 8:26 AM  
Anonymous wolfbaby said...

I have been a way a bit myself due to some issues though nothing like what you have been dealing with. I will keep you in my prayers... take care of yourself my friend!!

April 27, 2009 8:16 PM  
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