It was a sunny day in October and what we thought would be a simple, no worries kind of day. At 5:15pm Bria was booked for an eye exam. She was a little nervous but also a little excited. At 11 years old, you can get really fashionable with new glasses…or so we thought!
Bria has been complaining of the occasional mild headaches and saying her eyes were a little off at school. Some days she was having issues seeing the white board and some days were fine. Momma bear thought she might just need glasses! Both Kerry and I were very young when we both got glasses and I thought Bria was following in our footsteps.
We arrived at Clearview Optical, we were greeted with a smile, amazing service and waited for her name to be called. While we waited we tried out some amazing massage chairs and then Bria wanted to try on some glasses. She had a few pairs picked out because we knew she was going to be needing glasses, I mean what else could be wrong?
Dr. Epstein came out, introduced herself and off we go for the eye exam. We had more in common than we knew as all 3 of us were from Newfoundland. After the exam was complete, she said she had good news and bad news. The good news was that Bria’s vision was perfect (this was not so good for Bria because those nice glasses she had picked out were now staying on the shelf). The bad new was that she had developed a condition called Papilledema. I had no idea what this was but she explained to me that it is swelling of the optic nerves and is usually caused by intracranial pressure.
What just happen???
Here we thought Bria was getting glasses and now she has optical nerve swelling! Dr. Epstein recommended we see an Ophthalmologist right away and the referral was sent. The next morning I received a call from the Adult Eye Clinic at the hospital and they wanted to see Bria as soon as possible. Now, this was starting to worry me because things were happening fast. We booked the appointment for the very next morning at 8am!
Friday morning arrived, we are checked in and waiting for some answers as to why this is happening. Bria went in and they explained to her that they had to dilate her pupils to get a better look at the back of her eyes.
The doctor did her exam and wanted to go talk to another doctor to discuss. Here we are sitting, waiting, nervous and just want to know what is happening. They come back and the second doctor wanted to have a look as well, so he did another full exam. I’m not sure how Bria could sit there for so long with those bright lights shining in her eyes but she was a trooper.
After more discussion, they return with a diagnosis of Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension. If it wasn’t for my nursing background, these big words would have probably scared the life out of me. To break down the diagnosis in simple terms, it means that she has increased pressure around her brain and the cause is unknown! Now where do we go from here? This is getting to be pretty serious. Her doctor sent an emergency referral for an MRI and said we should get in next week. Off we go for bloodwork and quickly leave the hospital because Bria had a birthday party to attend. There was no school today but she still had a busy schedule.
Tuesday morning at 930am my phone rang with what I was hoping to be the hospital. Thankfully it was and she had an appointment for Bria’s MRI. Since it was an emergency, she had her booked in for October 31 at 930pm. At first, I thought it was a weird time for an appointment and then I realized it was Halloween. At least it was later in the night and we could swing this! As usual, things always happen around here when Dad is deployed to the other side of the world.
October 31st means one thing to most people…HALLOWEEN! For me, it was MRI day for Bria. I worried about it because I knew she was scared and we wondered how she was going to lay still for an hour in that machine.
It was time for Trick or Treating and she was excited and nervous. I really wish it wasn’t happening on Halloween because it kind of took the fun out of her day. Here she is ready to head out with her friends from school. Zombie Snow White is ready. She did her own make up, cuts and costume.
8pm and it’s time to pick Bria up to get her home and showered because I don’t know if zombie Snow White was an appropriate way to arrive for a late night MRI!
Off we go…
It was a dark and rainy night. The parkade was near empty and I’m beginning to think this is the perfect time for an appointment at the hospital.
We get inside and it was so quiet. We made our way over to the Imaging Department and waited to be called in.
The tech came and explained what was happening. We went in and she got her IV inserted and she was ready to roll. They got me prepped as I was allowed to go in with her for the whole procedure. She got situated and it began. MRI machines are so loud and scary for a child but Bria was handling it amazing and stayed as still as a statue. After 45 mins we were all done and on our way. It was a piece of cake and she said she was nervous over nothing!
We had an appointment booked for Friday to get the results so we didn’t have to wait too long!
As I was getting supper, my phone rang and it was the hospital. I wasn’t expecting a call from them but I quickly answered. To my surprise, it was the eye doctor who referred us for the MRI. “Hello, is this Bria’s mom? I’m calling with her MRI results.”
My heart sank! 5pm on a Thursday evening and the doctor is calling me at home with her results…this can’t be good!
Bria was immediately referred to CHEO (Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario) in Ottawa and we had to be there the next morning. She had a spot show up on her brain along with a diagnosis of unexplained Hydrocephalus. The Radiologist wanted her referred to a Neurosurgeon STAT!
We went for a simple eye exam a week ago and now we are going to see a Neurosurgeon! What?!?
How am I going to call Kerry and tell him what was happening? How am I going to explain to Bria that she has a spot show up on her brain? How am I going to make it through all of this as a Mom? This was just too much!
I have no choice now but to be strong. I made some calls and got things arranged for tomorrow morning as we are now heading to Ottawa!
CHEO here we come! (Click here)