Archive for the ‘Depression’ Category

How It Began: Part 1
January 20, 2011

From James:

It occurs to me that many people reading  this blog aren’t aware of what happened before the biopsy (when this blog began), so I have decided to record it here for those who are interested.

Some of what is written in this particular post may sound very personal, but please be aware that we write with a purpose in mind. We realize that many people are going through personal and emotional difficulties similar to we have gone through. We want you to know that you are not alone.

So Young was having vision problems for at least two months before she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The problem was that we assumed — and inadvertently convinced our doctor to assume — that it was a side effect of antidepressants and not anything more serious.

We had been having marital problems for over 5 years. We sought help from four counselors during those years, attended support groups, participated in a marriage conference, and received a great deal of help from our wonderful church family. But so many years passed, and justified hurts seemed to take on a new dimension, as if there was something else going on within So Young beyond our history and circumstances. In hindsight, we realize that the mood changes So Young was going through were at least partially a result of the brain tumor, but at that time everyone assumed it was depression. It may have been both.

On her counselor’s recommendation, So Young began (very reluctantly) taking the antidepressant Lexapro, and it made an enormous, positive difference in her life. She was always concerned about the side effects, however, and when her vision started to deteriorate, we soon became convinced that Lexapro was causing it. After an optomatrist and ophthalmologist confirmed that nothing was wrong with So Young’s eyes, her doctor recommended getting off the drug.

So Young’s counselor, Hailey, became our hero. She recognized So Young’s symptoms as being extreme and atypical for Lexapro, so she insisted that So Young’s doctor take action. The doctor conceded by providing a referral to a neurologist.

The neurologist, a very gentle and intelligent man, asked So Young a battery of questions to identify symptoms of a more serious problem with the brain — peripheral vision loss, loss of balance and motor function, etc. — several of which are indicative of brain tumors. So Young exhibited none of these symptoms. But her vision loss was obvious and acute.

“I don’t think it is anything having to do with the brain,” he said. He ordered an MRI as a precaution. “Severe vision loss” was what he wrote on the order. It was the first time I had seen those words associated to what was happening to her.

“Severe?” I thought. That was the doctor’s assessment. It was true that she couldn’t read pretty large letters close up. She wasn’t driving anymore. Also, she appeared to have lost some ability to identify colors. Had we been taking it seriously enough?

We scheduled an MRI for November 12, 2010.

Part 2 >>