Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension a.k.a. Pseudo-tumor Cerebri - One year later

As a passionate photographer most pictures interest me, but when I see images of the inside of my own eyes (taken by my wonderful Optometrist Dr. John Gallagher), I'm especially interested!

A year ago I went to Dr. John Gallagher in Suwanee, GA to have him check my eyes because I had a very strange blue spot in the vision of my left eye. I was diagnosed with bilateral Papilledema, which is optic disk swelling that is caused by increased intracranial pressure. After hearing the words possible brain tumor, MRI and lumbar puncture during my check-up I was shattered. 

Then I went through some interesting (to say the least) tests which brought us to the diagnosis of Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension a.k.a. Pseudo-tumor Cerebri. I was put on medication to treat the "oversupply" of CSF fluid surrounding my brain and spine.

I managed to lose 30lbs and quite quickly improve my condition significantly. Since February I am completely off medication and in remission. I am still being monitored by my Neuro-Ophthalmologist on a regular basis and probably will be for the foreseeable future.

On Monday I went back to my Optometrist for my yearly check up. He took another picture of my retinas (you may have seen the pictures I posted last year) and I thought I'd now show you the difference.

Top: June 23,2011 - Bottom: June 18,2012

The image on the top is the one taken last year. The light colored circle to the right is the optic nerve and it is very blurry and enlarged. It does not have a clear and distinct edge. You may also be able to see two small red hemorrhages near the edge of the optic nerve (at 11 and 2 o'clock of the circle).

The image at the bottom is the one taken on Monday June 18, 2012, with me in remission and off medication. The optic nerve (circle to the right) is much more distinct and not as blurry, it is also much smaller indicating that the pressure on the back of the eye is normal (i.e. the eye is not being pushed in). Also there are no more hemorrhages to be seen.

Isn't that absolutely amazing? It certainly makes me very happy as a person with IIH and also as a photographer! Before and after, old and new, bad and good - what an improvement!

A picture is truly worth a thousand words. 

Without the first picture my condition could have led to severe vision loss and even blindness. I thank the good Lord each day that I listened to my body, sought help and managed to beat it.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mexico 2012! {Cancun, Riviera Maya}

My last post was about a trip down South, well this is about a trip even further South to Mexico just over 2 weeks ago! (Like I said, we sure do get around.)

It was the first time we used the new International Terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. I took a few pictures of this sparkling new terminal, it is bright and shiny and rather pleasant. I thought I'd share some interesting facts on "our" airport that I thought were quite interesting:
  • Since 1998, Hartsfield-Jackson has been the busiest passenger airport in the world.
  • Since 2005, Hartsfield-Jackson has been the busiest operations airport in the world.
  • Hartsfield-Jackson serves 150 U.S. destinations and more than 75 international destinations in 50 countries.
  • Hartsfield-Jackson has the tallest air traffic control tower in North America (398 feet or 121 meters) and is the fourth tallest in the world.
  • Hartsfield-Jackson averages more than 250,000 passengers a day.
  • On average, there are almost 2,500 arrivals and departures daily.
  • Atlanta is within a two-hour flight of 80 percent of the United States population.

We celebrated Alex's 5th Birthday the day after we arrived in Mexico and of course we took a few small presents for him to open on the day (while his main present waited for him at home, it has training wheels!). As it turned out it Star Wars all the way - he is currently besotted with that stuff! I'm in love with the picture of him with his Star Wars Encyclopedia!! Wink-wink!

We had some rainy weather during our stay, so I didn't get to take my camera out and about that much - for fear of being surprised by a sudden downpour. The rain didn't stop us from enjoying the pool or the beach. One day we were taking a dip in the sea when suddenly the rain came down - it was actually quite nice! (I was relieved that I hadn't taken my camera with me to the beach.)

You'll see a picture of Ben's purple toe - that was not a drunken accident but rather the result of his foot meeting a rock in the ocean. Ouch! At first we thought it was broken, so that night we had a few tequilas (each) to make it feel better. But it improved very quickly, so it must "just" be a very bad sprain!

I love the picture of Ben in my Papa's leather hat - it was like having Opa with us on our holiday! We all miss him so much.

The resort has a lovely garden and some very interesting sculptures in it - I had fun taking a few photos of those. And of course Alex wanted a picture or two of the coconuts!!

As usual we had a lovely family time in Mexico and we took home many wonderful memories. I'm surprised Alex didn't develop webbed toes and fingers - he was in the water constantly and totally in his element.

Enjoy the pictures!

Brand new International Terminal

Star Wars Birthday Boy

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Florida, Kennedy Space Center & Bahamas Cruise - another one of our happy family trips

In January my family and I went on a little trip further South to Florida (we sure do get around). There we visited the Kennedy Space Center (a long-standing dream for my husband). We also boarded a 3 night cruise to the Bahamas from Port Canaveral. I can't believe that I've not posted any pictures, somehow they got forgotten in the craziness of life.

Since it was a dream come true for Ben and a wonderful opportunity to show my son the miracle that is space travel, we splurged and went for the KSC Up-Close Tour. The KSC Up-Close Tour features an inside view of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) - they had Shuttle Endevour there in at the time of our tour, which was heaven for my boys!

We also got to walk along the Transfer Aisle, used to move elements of rockets among the building's four High Bays. This building is humongous!  Other sites on the KSC Up-Close Tour included the NASA Causeway and the amazing Apollo/Saturn V Center.

And I even touched the MOON - well at least a triangular piece of it! Alex squealed with delight at the sight of the astronaut, what joy! Now when you ask Alex what he wants to be when he grows up you'll hear: "A space guy!!"

After a fabulous time at the Kennedy Space Center we made our way to Port Canaveral where our cruise ship, the Monarch of the Seas was waiting for us. The cruise was fun despite finding out that both my boys get sea sick, something to consider when booking a cruise. We enjoyed the sun and the beach in the Bahamas in the middle of our winter and it was good to have a dip in the ocean.

We had fun! Enjoy the pictures!

Touching the Moon!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

My little soccer man - Lil' Kickers Suwanee, GA

With the UEFA European Championship, one of the world's biggest sporting events, having just kicked off, I thought I'd share a few pictures of my little guy at his soccer classes.

This was a real test for my new gear. All I could do was crank up the ISO setting and see what happens, but the picture quality is quite unbelievable at ISO 4000.

During yesterdays class Alex played his first little "match", unfortunately I couldn't be there but I was told that he did really well and let's just say "stood his ground"!