Stress, stress, stress
I’m trying my best to keep the stress as minimal as possible. I don’t want another outbreak, I don’t want to have a seizure and I’ve had one steady headache for the last three days; I don’t want it to become a migraine.
It’s so funny how my head has changed since that little explosive device known as an AVM decided to blow up in there. I started getting headaches at a really young age but the thing is, I didn’t know they were headaches. I don’t recall feeling anything debilitating but my head would get this feeling of [what I now know is] pressure [I didn’t know how to describe it as a kid]. I don’t remember complaining about it; I would climb on the couch and *sit* on my head with my legs over the back of the couch. After ten minutes or so I’d lower myself and revel in the relief that came with the blood being sent back into the rest of my body. I have no idea if this was bad for the AVM but at the time it was relief that I needed.
Sophomore year I had a bad acid trip that resulted in a 7-day migraine. I loved dropping acid…until that incident. That migraine was the worst. It felt like I had a flourescent bulb inside my head. I couldn’t hear, see or think anything. I barely remember that week. What I remember most is the first day it reared it’s ugly head. It was a Monday and I felt fine when I woke up. I chugged an orange juice (we thought orange juice would restart your trip– it never worked for me). I rode the city bus to school; I went through homeroom just fine but by the time I got to my first period class, art, I was totally gone. My head felt like someone strapped a belt around it and was squeezing the shit out of it while someone poked at the swollen skull bulging out from the top. It was awful. I remember slamming my head on the table, putting my backpack over my head and sleeping from class to class. That’s about all I remember, not that I remember much of high school…
Since then, headaches were fairly common but they never really bothered me too much; I think I thought it was my eyes because it was worse when I read and anytime I wasn’t painting, drawing or writing, I was reading (I was a big loner [remember introvert wasn’t a word back then?]). When I got pregnant with Skas at 23, I met my first glitter spot. They are temporary floating shiny spots in my vision; they look kind of squirmy. They come and go with or without other symptoms. I guess it’s possible I’ve always seen them and just never noticed but during that pregnancy they were really fat like gluttonous ghost sperm so I really noticed them. I told el Jefe about the headaches, neck cramps and ghost sperm and he said these are typical symptoms of tension so I blew it off along with him. He’s the doc, right?
The ghost sperm didn’t go away postpartum so I simply accepted them as a symptom of stress; added them to the book Signs My Life Is In Constant Danger that I won’t read until after the stroke. Frightening read with some comedy…
With JJ the ghost sperm got fat again and they had friends. These friends were little black dots and boy do they linger. After the ghost sperm faded away, those dots would still be hanging around, blipping in and out of my vision for a couple more minutes. These things were just present, at first, so I didn’t mention them to my doctor. Then I started to get sick, throwing up an unusual amount of clear fluid for “morning” sickness. This fluid started to turn smokey-colored after a week or so and with that those little lingering dots turned into hovering globs that obstructed my vision entirely for the quick seconds they were present. I told my doctor and once again this is “tension.”
Obviously the big black globs are gone but the ghost sperm isn’t. I’ve brought it up in multiple discussions and support groups and I’ve read threads in those same areas. Everyone calls them the same, “floating sperm looking things.” We’re all told the same, that it’s stress and tension but from what I’ve gathered, none of us really noticed them until our first episode related to our AVM/stroke; I can’t even say for certain that I’ve had this conversation with brain injury survivors. I knew two former brain surgery patients personally but I don’t recall asking them if they’ve seen ghost sperm. It feels like too much time passed so it might be creepy to get a random, “hey do you see ghost sperm?” message from me. Might be a bit too much of the wrong kind of random.
The ghost sperm haven’t been around much but if they are, I probably can’t see them behind these little floating black dots in my vision lately. I don’t know what’s up with them, it’s kind of scary considering my history with things floating in my vision, neck cramps and headaches. I’m fairly certain I’m not pregnant, everything’s on schedule this month, so I can only assume it really is stress. I am worried that the black dots might be a signal of something else but I’ll keep that worry silent until they turn to globs or if the dizziness breaks from what is now my norm.