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  • Please help me. Please! (about brain tumor possibility)

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    Old 03-01-2004, 01:41 PM   #1
    RM205
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    Please help me. Please! (about brain tumor possibility)

    Hello, thanks for reading. First, I should tell you my symptoms: Almost every single day, I have what is best described as a very, very mild, numbing headache...hardly noticable, but there. an uncomfortable pressure in my head, not really in one particular spot, kind of just all over. Sometimes I will go to bed at night feeling fine, and wake up with a pounding headache the next day, and it will last all day regardless of what meds I take (the meds will kill the pain but the pressure feeling inside my head is ever present). This same pressure I allways feel in my head sometimes intensifies when I stand up suddenly...and will throb like a heartbeat. My doctor said that I should get a scan to make sure, but I don't have insurance and have put it off for over a year now. If I lived in Canada i would have allready had a scan. So does this sound like I might have a tumor?? Also can someone suggest a way for a low-income person to get a scan? it feels humiliating to ask this, but its important. Will my local public hospital be able to get me one at a compassionate price? Do I REALLY need to get one anyway? Thanks for your help.

    PS- i also forgot to mention that every now and then I will become very dizzy when I lie down on my back or side (any horizontal position). this isn't too often, but will last anywhere from 24-72 hours.

    Last edited by RM205; 03-01-2004 at 01:46 PM.

     
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    Old 03-01-2004, 02:09 PM   #2
    butterflytrans
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    Re: Please help me. Please! (about brain tumor possibility)

    There is one thing in your history that makes it VERY VERY unlikely that you have a brain tumour. I hope this makes you feel better. First of all, though brain tumours can be asymptomatic, a vast majority of them have some type of symptom. If it's a headache, it's a low grumbling headache which slowly gets worse and worse. There are other symptoms too, none of which you've mentioned. However, the most important part of your story is the fact that you said that it has been over a year. The most common malignant brain tumour (which also happens to be the most aggressive one) is glioblastoma multiforme and it is very fast growing and can kill within months. The fact that you're still alive and kicking today is a good indication that it's unlikely that you have a brain tumour.

    PLUS, if it was, say, a more slow growing tumour that has been there for over a year, by now, there would be more symptoms than just those that you describe. (I won't name what the other symptoms are so as not to bias you or cause anxiety).

    I think what you DO need to do is get your headaches characterized and get those treated.

     
    Old 03-01-2004, 06:25 PM   #3
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    Re: Please help me. Please! (about brain tumor possibility)

    The fact that you mentioned sometimes going to bed feeling fine, but waking with a headache, leads me to wonder...do you drink much caffeine (coffee, tea or cola)? Do you take meds for headaches that include caffeine (such as caffergot or fiorinal)? The reason I ask is that it's possible you've developed something called "rebound headache." This occurs when you ingest caffeine constantly. Caffeine shrinks the small blood vessels in the brain. Then, when you go for a while without it (such as during a night's sleep), the blood vessels swell up again to even more than normal size, and they press on nerves, which causes the headache.

    The way to stop this cycle is to not have any caffeine, NONE, for a week or two. You might need to take acetominophen to help deal with the headache for that period of time, but eventually the headache will go away and will not come back! Then, you just have to be very careful to limit your caffeine intake in the future...no more than 1 cup a day, if that. If you've got rebound headaches, this will get rid of them for good.

    Ruth

    Last edited by SamQKitty; 03-01-2004 at 06:27 PM.

     
    Old 03-01-2004, 06:51 PM   #4
    RM205
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    Re: Please help me. Please! (about brain tumor possibility)

    thank you two for your replies. SamQKitty: it is funny you should mention the Caffeine, because I am quite the coca cola drinker, usually 2 or 3 cans per day. wow i didn't realize it but this could be it. i am not drinking any more Coke for 3 weeks and i'm going to see what happens. I'm still quite worried though, especially I've drank caffeine all my life and only recently this has started. One thing I'd like to mention is that, about a year ago, I did go to the doctor and he got me x-rays where i was standing up and i believe they targeted my chest area because I was initially complaining of a tight chest along with my headaches...he also suggested a scan, I believe an MRI, but I could not do it because of the cost. Do you know if those x-rays would have checked my head as well as my chest? He said the x-rays showed no cancer. I would still like to get that scan to err on the side of caution, and would like to find a way that I could get one without paying hundreds or thousands of dollars which me or my family simply do not have. My grandfather is currently dying of lung/heart cancer and I would not like to join him anytime soon being only 27 years old. One final thing, I know that I probably sound like a 'hypochondriac (sp?)' with my post, but I assure you I've allways been the type to avoid the doc. Thanks again for the replies. and God Bless.

    Last edited by RM205; 03-01-2004 at 06:55 PM.

     
    Old 03-01-2004, 07:48 PM   #5
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    Re: Please help me. Please! (about brain tumor possibility)

    An "all over " headache can be a blockage in the eustachian tubes from the throat to the inner ear. They regulate and equalize the pressure on the inside of the ear drum. Infection can cause a swelling that blocks them. This causes headache and sometimes dizziness since the inner ear is the location of our sense of balance organs.

    I had this the last time I had influenza and what you describe is very similar.

    I would agree that after a year, if it were a tumour then your symtoms would have gotten worse.

    A chest X-ray would not show any part of your head. X-rays are not completely harmless and therefore are targeted at the area the doctor wants to examine.

    An MRI might be what the doctor was talking about or it might have been a CAT scan.

    You might try a free clinic and simply ask about eustachian tube infections just to get that out of the way.

    Also, my wife gets a headache if she doesn't have a cup of coffee by 9:00am. With any luck stopping the intake of caffeine will cure you. My wife doesn't want to give up on her coffee.

     
    Old 03-02-2004, 05:50 PM   #6
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    Re: Please help me. Please! (about brain tumor possibility)

    I agree that this doesn't sound like cancer...after a year, you'd be having a lot more symptoms. My suggestions would be to first try the caffeine-free diet (read ingredients, too...anything made with coffee flavoring contains some caffeine, and so does chocolate)...if this works, then you'll know that was the cause. Give it about 2-3 weeks; it shouldn't take longer than that if it is caffeine-related.

    Next, follow up on jaydees' suggestion. Find a free clinic near you and have your ears checked out.

    Third...call around to any hospitals near you and see if they have a free care fund and if you'd qualify. If so, then you could get the MRI, although by that time your headaches may be gone and you might not need the scan!

    Ruth

     
    Old 03-07-2004, 10:11 AM   #7
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    Re: Please help me. Please! (about brain tumor possibility)

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by RM205
    Hello, thanks for reading. First, I should tell you my symptoms: Almost every single day, I have what is best described as a very, very mild, numbing headache...hardly noticable, but there. an uncomfortable pressure in my head, not really in one particular spot, kind of just all over. Sometimes I will go to bed at night feeling fine, and wake up with a pounding headache the next day, and it will last all day regardless of what meds I take (the meds will kill the pain but the pressure feeling inside my head is ever present). This same pressure I allways feel in my head sometimes intensifies when I stand up suddenly...and will throb like a heartbeat. My doctor said that I should get a scan to make sure, but I don't have insurance and have put it off for over a year now. If I lived in Canada i would have allready had a scan. So does this sound like I might have a tumor?? Also can someone suggest a way for a low-income person to get a scan? it feels humiliating to ask this, but its important. Will my local public hospital be able to get me one at a compassionate price? Do I REALLY need to get one anyway? Thanks for your help.

    PS- i also forgot to mention that every now and then I will become very dizzy when I lie down on my back or side (any horizontal position). this isn't too often, but will last anywhere from 24-72 hours.
    If you are really concerned about the price of the scan, you might call the radiology department that would be doing the scan and ask what the cash price is. I know that the last scan I had was $400.00 for migraine. It was an MRI and was done back in September. Another cause of headache that you have described is either low blood pressure or high blood pressure. Either one of those will cause your symptoms as well and although low blood pressure is just annoying, high blood pressure left untreated can eventually kill some one.

     
    Old 03-07-2004, 10:52 AM   #8
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    Re: Please help me. Please! (about brain tumor possibility)

    I feel so bad for people in this situation and then have to worry about the price of scans and what not. I guess it's so much different in Canada that we don't even think about it. Sure, there are problems with our health care system as well, but the best part about it is, you go in to the ER if you're hurt and the doctors treat you--you don't have to worry about the cost.

    All too often I hear on the boards, people coming here looking for advice because they don't want to go to the ER due to cost. That must be so distressing.

     
    Old 03-07-2004, 11:38 AM   #9
    Marimac
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    Re: Please help me. Please! (about brain tumor possibility)

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by butterflytrans
    I feel so bad for people in this situation and then have to worry about the price of scans and what not. I guess it's so much different in Canada that we don't even think about it. Sure, there are problems with our health care system as well, but the best part about it is, you go in to the ER if you're hurt and the doctors treat you--you don't have to worry about the cost.

    All too often I hear on the boards, people coming here looking for advice because they don't want to go to the ER due to cost. That must be so distressing.
    It is very distressing here in the states and quite a political battle is forming because of it. If one has private insurance it is a little better. But then the government aid helps those who have nothing at all. But the ones in the middle who are not on their last dime, but have no private insurance are really in for a hard time. Last March I had a broken wrist, I had fallen from a clumsy misstep. I went into the ER to have it treated and I have very good insurance thanks to my job and my spouse's job. I was seen in about 20 minutes. There were those that were obviously in more pain and immediate distress who had been there for six hours or more because they either had government funding or were going to be seen for free. They were likely to sit there for more than 10 hours because the money would not be as much from them. The law here states that a hospital that accepts government funds like Medicaid must see a patient whether they can pay or not but does not stipulate that the care has to be immediate or good.

     
    Old 03-07-2004, 10:14 PM   #10
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    Re: Please help me. Please! (about brain tumor possibility)

    While I agree that health care coverage in the United State is not what it should be, it is absolutely not true that emergency rooms treat patients with health insurance before they treat others. What happens in an emergency room is something called "triage", where a highly trained nurse assesses both the severity and the immediacy of the emergency. A heart attack patient will always be taken before a broken bone, for example. But a broken bone will usually be taken before a flu/virus patient. The triage nurse does not even know who has or doesn't have insurance.

    Ruth

     
    Old 03-07-2004, 10:14 PM   #11
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    Re: Please help me. Please! (about brain tumor possibility)

    While I agree that health care coverage in the United State is not what it should be, it is absolutely not true that emergency rooms treat patients with health insurance before they treat others. What happens in an emergency room is something called "triage", where a highly trained nurse assesses both the severity and the immediacy of the emergency. A heart attack patient will always be taken before a broken bone, for example. But a broken bone will usually be taken before a flu/virus patient. The triage nurse does not even know who has or doesn't have insurance. That information is not transmitted to the nursing staff.

    Ruth

     
    Old 03-11-2004, 02:21 AM   #12
    RM205
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    Re: Please help me. Please! (about brain tumor possibility)

    hello everyone--i have decided to write down my thoughts in another way, i'm hoping maybe it will give a more clear description than my first post:

    i have this pressure in my head that almost never goes away...its allways on the upper front sides, kind of around the temples, but really a little behind them-it isn't necessarily severe, but it is certainly there, like something is pressing outward from the inside against my skull both on the left and right side.. i also wake up with headaches in the morning semi-frequently and occasionally get the 'spins' when i'm laying horizontal-not often, but just occasionally. Also sometimes the pressure in my head sometimes goes up dramatically when i stand up for a half minute or so--sometimes during this, my vision "greys out" somewhat.. also i should probably add that i DO have drowsiness that i didn't ever have before all of this started. after i have been awake during the day for about 6-8 hours, it hits me that im just out of it and sleepy...even though i may have slept 8-10 hours the night before.


    About the MRI scan- one of you mentioned that they only cost around $400? I could probably swing that for peace of mind, i was thinking they were well over $1,000, what is the truth to this?

    Also...I probably SHOULD mention that my mom now pays for me limited insurance--the way she described it is, i am covered only if it is a 'devastating emergency', and not in non-emergency situations. I don't know alot about these types of things, but I know insurance companies are in it for the money and not me, so my guess is they won't want to cover me. Especially since they didn't cover me when I went for the flu last year.

    thanks again for all the kind responses.

    Last edited by RM205; 03-11-2004 at 02:27 AM.

     
    Old 03-16-2004, 01:06 AM   #13
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    Re: Please help me. Please! (about brain tumor possibility)

    anyone????

     
    Old 04-08-2005, 09:46 PM   #14
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    Re: Please help me. Please! (about brain tumor possibility)

    In my opinion, take the brain scan to be sure and borrow money from friends or relatives and make arangements to pay them back like any loan. Also, it may be possible to make an arrangement to pay the place that does it in installments. Although it is unlikely to be a brain tumor, whatever it is--it is better to find out than suffer and worry. ALso, web sites are good but not for diagnosis. It may not be a brain tumor but it could be something that needs to be treated.

     
    Old 04-21-2005, 05:57 PM   #15
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    Re: Please help me. Please! (about brain tumor possibility)

    i've had headaches and migraines since i was 7. i've been to several neurologists and no one seems to know the cause. i am now 31. in june 2004, i had my first seizure. i've had EEG's done before (testing for seizures) and in the past, have been negative. now, i DO have epilepsy and with progressive brain damage.
    still, no one knows why i have such bad headaches and migraines. after all of the mri's, cat scans, and tests. all i know is all the damage they have caused. the most recent damage my headaches have caused, and this is disturbing...before my epilepsy was discovered, i gave up on all doctors and just treated my headaches with over-the-counter medication. Excedrin Migraine. it was cheap, and it was the only thing that offered the slightest bit of relief. the only thing was, that i took too many. maybe 1 and 1/2 to 2 bottles every 2 weeks. this was over several years period.
    2 months ago, what i thought was my first passing of a kidney stone, became a trip to the emergency room. only to find out i have kidney cancer. this is cancer that is EXTREMELY RARE for someone my age, white, female, non smoker, otherwise, i fit NONE of the criteria.
    i began doing extensive research as to why I had renal cell carcinoma, when this is a cancer for 70 year old african american smoking men. one of the first things i looked up, was Excedrin Migraine. If taken for a long time and excessively, can cause kidney damage and / or kidney cancer.
    see all the problems headaches can cause. i have no brain tumor. i don't have brain cancer. but look what all has happened to me. if you suffer, you'll get epilepsy with brain damage. if you try to stop it on your own, you'll destroy one of your organs with cancer.
    regardless what you chose, BE CAREFUL!
    let me know if you have any questions. good luck.

     
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