Monday, February 16, 2015

4 years!!!!

I was lucky enough to spend Saturday celebrating my 4 year brain birthday with friends photographing the dawn at Wellington Point. I also have some very cool lithops which look like brains, on their way to me so I can plant them somewhere!

Four years ago today I was heading into and then out of surgery under the skillful hands of Dr Charles Teo aka Charlie aka the Wizard of Oz. My brain was pretty unhappy. It had been abused by the tumour sitting in the middle of it. The pressure in my brain would increase and drop off as it blocked and unblocked the flow of CSF through my brain. Consequently one half of my brain had slowly began going for a wander to meet the other half of my brain rather firmly at the front while increasing the divide at the back (that isn’t a good thing) and had as a matter of course bent the great dividing line. I was sick.

Now for some information and diagrams that you probably aren’t that interested in.

My tumour was surrounded by some of the most critical structures in the brain. Because of its location and relationship to surrounding structures, abnormal pressure caused memory issues, brain fog, insomnia, heat intolerance and more. As soon as the temperature hit 29 I would be in ridiculous amount of pain and generally unable to function.

The tumour was surrounded by the CPU or motherboard of my brain.  It connects and coordinates the lobes of the brain, the brainstem, cerebellum and spinal cord. It has four brain regions which are: the thalamus, hypothalamus, pineal gland and pituitary gland. (Highlighted in green)

It was located in the middle of some of the most fundamental and critical parts of the brain and brainstem. Atrophy of the thalamus can occur from the increased CSF pressure. The hippocampus is also affected as it forms the ‘roof’ of the ventricle and connects to the hypothalamus. The hippocampus plays an important role in memory as does the hypothalamus. (Pink)

The walls are formed by the inner structures of the thalamus. The front wall is formed by the anterior commissure which connects the left and right thalamus, and the optic chiasma. That is where the optic nerves for the left and right eye come together, as well as cross over to opposite sides before going into the thalamus and occipital lobe in the back of the brain where vision is interpreted. The posterior wall is formed by the pineal gland a structure that connects the right and left thalamus. (Blue)

The floor of the third ventricle is formed by the mammillary bodies are closely related to the hypothalamus and memories, especially memories related to smells, also connected to the hippocampus .tuber cinereum, hypothalamus, subthalamus, infundibulum, posterior perforated substance and the upper part of the midbrain called the tectum, which means roof. Remembering smells is important to all animals that forage for food. (Yellow)

The subthalamus forms a portion of the floor. The subthalamus is closely related to the hypothalamus. It also contains nerves that connect it to and allow for communication with other parts of the brain. It also communicates with the part of the brain that produces dopamine. CSF is produced from blood that has been pushed or pulled through an extra fine filter in the wall of the ventricles called the blood-brain and CSF barrier. (Purple)

This is a diagram of all the parts of my brain that were affected either by pressure from intermittent hydrocephalus pressure from the tumour itself or surgery. I had a septum pellucidotomy which is putting a window through the septum pellucidium to allow CSF pressure to equalise between ventricles.

Chances are you haven't made it this far. If you have congratulations. I hope you a happy and well!