Almost six months since the shunt. I’ve been living on the edge of intracranial pressures that are too low since mid-June. My shunt is adjusted to it’s max of 200mm; my assist/antisiphon is rated for 250mm, giving me a max system pressure of 450mm – as long as I’m upright. If I lay down, the assist opens up, and I loose half of my system pressure and become severely overdrained. This landed me in the hospital in June.
I’ve been managing until I can have a revision, but lately it’s been getting harder. I’ve become so brittle that eating the wrong food or too much at one time diverts enough blood to my GI system to cause or aggravate my low pressure symptoms. Had pizza last night, big mistake, cheese is a killer. Only two small slices, but I ended up barely able to walk, approach the Zombie Zone of consciousness. I managed by using medications I’ve been prescribed and by giving myself a liter of IV fluids (the perks of being a dentist).
Dr. Liu moved mountains in early August to revise my shunt, but I declined it for three reasons. First, I was completely exhausted from dealing with the effects of the shunt and just could not screw up the energy to undergo a surgery right at that time, as gracious as Dr. Liu’s offer was. Second, my wife has untreated IIH; she suffers daily migraines. If I had a complication from the surgery, I didn’t feel like she was in any condition to help. The third reason was related to the design of the available shunt; weighing its potential benefits against the risks of surgery I decided to wait it out and hope a newer design shunt valve came available.
Wide swings in the barometer that accompany this season are wreaking havoc again, but not as bad as when I did not have a shunt. I have come to one conclusion: optimum results and quality of life are only going to be realized with some sort of self-management of my shunt valve based on the understanding of what makes my system tick, an understanding I hope to share as I develop this site.
Off to take care of life while I can.