Doctors & Hospitals

My Cerebral Vascular Ultrasound

When I was diagnosed with Lupus, I had no idea of some of the types of medical tests I’d be faced with. I assumed there would be many trips to the lab for blood work, and maybe a few CT scans of my chest (due to weakened lungs from my pulmonary embolism). But, I never thought I would be facing tests on my brain, like today’s cerebral vascular ultrasound….  **



One word to describe my Lupus body today:  Shaky

Which habits and rituals did I practice to soothe my Lupus body?

  • Breathed Fresh Air
  • Smiled and Laughed
  • Moved and Stretched
  • Stayed Hydrated

More details about my physical symptoms:
After not sleeping much last night, I woke up exhausted and facing the cerebral vascular ultrasound (of my brain). This is the follow-up test that the new neurologist scheduled after our first appointment two weeks ago. The combination of fatigue and nervousness as well as the essential tremor led to a bit of uncontrollable physical shakiness. So strange. Thankfully, we scheduled the drive to the beach right after the appointment. That definitely helped to relax me and take the edge off the shakiness.



One word to describe my Lupus mind today: Overwhelmed

Which habits and rituals did I practice to strengthen my Lupus mind?

  • Connected with my Doctor
  • Learned about Lupus
  • Focused on the Positive

More details and thoughts about how I’m feeling emotionally today:
I woke up feeling incredibly overwhelmed about what I was facing today: my brain ultrasound and our trip to the California coast. First, the ultrasound scared me because it was an unknown. I knew that he goal was to find out if there were any active areas of blockage or clots by measuring the flow of blood in my brain. (My brain MRI indicated that there could have been vascular damage, which is common in Lupus patients.) But what I didn’t know was: How do they actually do the test? Would I have to take off my wig? Would they get that gel all over my head? What if they find that Lupus has now affected my brain? All these questions bombarded my thoughts. Second, I worried about how I would be feeling once the test was over. We planned to go the coast of California–first, staying overnight at a nice resort in the sand dunes of Marina, CA; then onto our ultimate destination of Santa Barbara, CA for a few days. I didn’t want to feel so bad that I ruined the whole trip.

Well, the cerebral vascular ultrasound turned out not to be as scary as I had imagined. It was strange though. The test took about an hour and a half, and like all ultrasounds, involved the gel and a machine. He put gel on my temples, my eyelids, and the base of my head. I listened to the blood flow, which sounds like the ultrasounds of your baby’s heartbeat when you’re pregnant. Just not as fast. Anyway, as he finished up, he said I did well and that the Coumadin that I take to prevent another pulmonary embolism was likely helping to keep blockages away in my brain as well.  He also explained that the white matter changes on my MRI were likely caused by previous mini-strokes. What?! It just came out of his in a mouth matter-of-fact fashion. What?! I was stunned, but quickly let it go…. I just focused on the fact that at least I didn’t have to take off my wig!



One word to describe my spirit today: Acceptance

Which habits and rituals did I practice to nurture my Lupus spirit?

  • Meditated, Prayed, Visualized
  • Embraced Uncertainty
  • Enjoyed Sacred Space

Thoughts about my spiritual connection and spiritual lessons learned today:
Once we arrived at the beach, it was easier to accept all that happened earlier in the day. After dinner, we sat outside at the bonfire that he resort sets up every night on the beach. The meditative sounds of the waves and the warmth of the fire washed and melted away all the fearful thoughts of the unknown–past, present, and future.



Today my meals were:

  • Breakfast: Fresh omelet with tomatoes, mushrooms, avocado, potatoes
  • Lunch: None
  • Dinner: Terrible “homemade” chicken soup at the beach resort.
  • Snacks: Hot peach herbal tea



At least one thing that I’m grateful for today:

  • Bonfire on the beach


**(This post is based on the format of the Lupus Diary that I developed for keeping track of how Lupus affects my body, mind, and spirit, I check-in here once a week to let you know about the more interesting days of my Lupus journey. To learn more about the Lupus Diary, how I developed it, and why I use it, click here.)

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