Updated: Oct 20, 2020
The week of September 6th, 2020 started out the same as any other. Monday was Labor Day and I was involved in helping my youngest, Samuel, move into his 2nd story apartment. This was a big day since Greg & I were excited at the prospects of being "empty nesters" after 32 years of child rearing. Looking back, I had been having headaches consistently for several months and I attributed them to allergies or dehydration. That Monday I woke up with a 10/10 "doozy" - the pressure in the back of my head was debilitating but it was nothing that I hadn't already trained myself to power through and I commenced lugging furniture upstairs.
We got Sam moved in and, as the week progressed, so did my headaches. By Wednesday I was having a difficult time putting a sentence together, could not complete an email, lost my balance and fell in the bathroom, kept forgetting to call people back, was dropping things from my right hand and experiencing bouts of nausea and severe abdominal pain - it was becoming quite apparent that something was drastically wrong. I called my primary care physician that Wednesday afternoon and was told to "get some rest, you're probably fighting off a virus - there's nothing to be concerned about". Given this guidance, I did just that - I rested. By Thursday my speech had suffered major decline, I was losing blocks of time and the headache had become constant. My children, friends and clients had noticed these outward changes and urged me to go to the ER immediately since they were concerned I might have had a stroke. Truth be told, a part of me was scared to go because I didn't want to hear the diagnosis. After multiple conversations with my closest friend combined with my daughter "threatening" me, I finally agreed and Greg drove me to the ER around 8:30 on Thursday evening.
Upon arriving at Baylor, Scott & White Grapevine's ER, I was fast tracked through admissions [they don't take cognitive issues lightly] and assigned a room where they began a battery of tests and examinations. One of the first things ordered was a CT scan since they wanted immediate visibility into what was causing the symptons I've just described. As I lay in the machine at 10:30 with nothing but my thoughts and the soft whirring of the machine, I couldn't help but think " How did I end up here?" After all, my going to the emergency room was more of a "formality", a way to diffuse any fear, and have someone tell me definitively " Christie, you're just stressed, take it easy the next few days, drink more water and you'll be fine." After all, I had a MRI of my brain done in 2019 and everything was normal - "I couldn't have an issue with my brain could I?" Several hours later, the attending physician came by and assured me that I had done the right thing by coming to the ER, that "something doesn't look quite right" with the scan and that they had found a "grey matter anomaly" in the left frontal lobe of my brain.. The "formality" of going to the ER had become an actual emergency in a matter of hours.....