I once had a pretend brain tumor

I wasn't pretending it was a brain tumor. IT was pretending it was a brain tumor.

Way back during my first surgery blogging I mentioned this crazy phenomenon. When I was asked by the nurse if I was allergic to anything I mentioned tetracycline which is a common drug prescribed for acne. You can read the rest of that story if you follow the link (it's blissfully short and is the fourth paragraph under the first photo of me).

Both subsequent times I've had surgery I am also asked about drug allergies and both times I have told them about the tetracycline. Why this popped into my head today to discuss I don't really know. I mean I was looking at possibly side effects of long term Vicodin use (I know I've only been on it for like 4.5 days - I'm paranoid okay?) and then for some reason I threw tetracycline into the search engine.
(click HERE for more information)

Nothing came up. Hmmm. I mean well stuff came up (headache, nausea, vomiting, etc) but nothing about severe debilitating headaches that were associated with tumor like symptoms.

Although, if you type in pseudo tumor cerebri and read anything involving causes, tetracycline is listed. Interesting again. I suppose it is because it causes such a SMALL number of cases they don't want to freak anyone out, but let me tell you who was freaked out when no one knew what was going on - ME!

When I was 14 I had really bad acne. Actually I had it at 12 and 13 too, but 14 was when I made up my mind to DO something about it. After lots of creams, treatments, etc I was put tetracycline to try to dial down the massive large red breakouts all over my face.

Now my EXACT details on this whole escapade are fuzzy. It was almost 14 years ago and I was an overly dramatic, hormonal 14 year old. Suffice to say I started the tetracycline. My acne started clearing up. I also started getting debilitating migraines to the point I was super light sensitive and throwing up. This was attributed to "hormones" and "growing" and "girl problems." Then one day I passed out in gym class while running the track. And I mean face first plant directly into the cinders with no hands out to catch me.

It looked like I had acne all over again! Ha! Ok, I shouldn't joke, but what else is there to say? I looked a mess. Saw my doctor again. More "hormones, growing, stress, etc." and I was sent on my way.

Then that winter I was walking home from school. I lived 1/2 block from the high school, so not far at all. I did however, in that 1/2 block distance, have to cross the one "major" street in my hometown (yes, there was only one, MAYBE two major streets). I was midway across that street when I collapsed. I have no memory of feeling weak. Just walking and then someone carrying me home (a school friend who saw it happen).

The speed limit wasn't high, but had I passed out in front a car, it still could have run me over. Ugh. Bad thoughts.

That was when the neurologist got involved. Several MRI's, tests and scans and low and behold they found my pretend tumor! I had a large increase of fluid that was pushing on my brain just like a tumor would.

I was told to stop all medications I was taking and present a list to my doctors. List was presented, medications were stopped and miraculously the REALLY bad headaches and the passing out stopped (temporarily).

After about 4 months I was called back to the doctor's office to get my official diagnosis. I had an allergic reaction to the tetracycline that cause a pseudo tumor cerebri. It is most common in women of child bearing age and even more common in obese women. Now I fit the first criteria, but at that point in my life, I was still really skinny. This issue causes problems in less than 1% of the population and the fact that stopping the tetracycline cured the swelling in my brain I was officially diagnosed and told to NEVER take it AGAIN.

Apparently the less than 1% diagnosis still prevents LOTS of medical professionals from knowing about it, which makes sense to me. Could you imagine having to know EVERY potential issue with EVERY potential person?? It's why we have the internet people!!

So that is my fun story for today. It only took me almost a year to explain it. Lol.

However it doesn't explain why I wrote that my last post was #150 when really I only have #148 (well this one will make #149) published. I'm sneaking this in HERE way down at the bottom because I feel dumb. I didn't realize I had two unfinished posts lurking around that I gave up on. Oops. My bad. Ignore my mistake. I'll make up for it with MORE POSTS!!

Check back later this week for some Q&A from emails I've gotten (and I will respond to those emails shortly as well - I promise!!), and maybe another discussion on my weirdness including my predisposition to passing out and WHY am I allergic to the alternatives to things?

Always a fun time around here!!

*hugs and kisses*

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