Could my mom's head symptoms possibly be anxiety related? - AgingCare.com

Could my mom's head symptoms possibly be anxiety related?

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My mom (86) has been diagnosed with a penny sized benign meningioma ( tumor) in the back of her neck pushing on the spine. It had started to cause symptoms such as numbness in her left arm and hand. Her head is also being affected with a little dizziness and her eyes get blurry and she feels like her head is full like it's going to pop .I went to a neurologist and neurosurgeon with her the neurologist said no operation and the Nero surgeon wasn't crazy about the idea either but said if her symptoms get worse over time that's the only option but wasn't sure about outcome or the recovery it could go either way either great or she could have complications he just didn't know .My family and I decided not to put her through it operation and so far she can get around with a walker she is complaining of the fullness feeling in her head which the Nero surgeon was confused because he said The head symptoms sounded like something else he was more concerned about numbness in the arms and legs . she had an MRI so there is nothing else detected in her head and had several CAT scans at the ER before she was diagnosed we brought her three times and they thought she was having a stroke so they did a CAT scan on her brain and showed nothing . The question is could this possibly be anxiety related ? It comes and goes but when it comes she gets pretty panicky and feels like she's going to pass out but she never does it just sort of goes away after 20 minutes or so . I just don't know what type of doctor to send her to for this problem because I don't really know what It is. She Is a depressed lady her husband my dad passed away a few years back so I'm thinking her depression has gotten worse and she refuses to take antidepressants because she says she's not crazy , she is old school and thinks only crazy people take them.

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I know personally how that full-head feeling feels, as I get that just before a storm.   Any time the barometric pressure changes, so does my head.

jdfamilyinc, keep track of when your Mom has this full-head feeling and what is the weather report for the next day.   If you see a pattern, then BINGO you have something to follow up upon.

For me, antihistamines help big time.   I only need a tiny dosage for it to work. But check with your Mom's doctor before giving her this medicine, so it doesn't interfere with other meds she is taking.   The only side-effect I get is I get sleepy.... I found the anti-sleepy ones don't work that well on me.
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It sounds like surgery is not a viable option, based on what the doctors told you, and that sounds wise considering the circumstances. I would suggest to you that your mom's symptoms sound VERY similar to what my dad had several years ago. After many tests, including MRI"s, cardiology tests, neurological tests, ENT tests, etc. he was diagnosed with Conversion Disorder. Of course, it takes multiple tests to rule out everything else, before they concluded it was Conversion Disorder. It's caused by stress and anxiety. He actually saw a Psychiatrist about it. Medication cleared it up. Of course, your mom's condition could be something else, but, regardless, she would need to see other doctors to sort it out.

It seems to me that there would be something to make your mom more comfortable if she is not going to have surgery. I might speak with her primary or call the Neurologist back and explain what's happening and what your goal is at this time.

I do wonder if there is something that can ease her symptoms.
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This may sound a bit woo-wooey, but have you tried acupuncture? Perhaps the practitioner can come to the house. I know that I *always* feel better after acupuncture, no matter what the problem. Just a suggestion, but the needles are quite tiny -- I've even had them on my face -- it bristled with needles. Your mom may need to keep her eyes shut.
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I think opting for no treatment is only a valid choice if you have heard and understand all the options.
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The surgeons have said they don't want to treat it and Mom has said she does not want to mess with it, no more doctors because she has no energy for it. She's saying she's done with it. That is a valid choice!! That sounds like she's ready for an Advance Directive so that the family won't over treat her at the end of life. She's saying no here and the family still pushing for treatment - I wonder if there are other places she wants to say no.

When we are young, we are full of vim and vigor and it's hard to accept that someone else does not share your will to live. But I believe it is important to recognize when a patient declines treatment and not to make them feel bad or like they owe the family more time/suffering. As the say on college campuses, "No means NO!"
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Second what willie has said to go forward.
It is doubtful that it is anxiety related because it is causing significant physical problems.
The anxiety and depression is a separate issue and she has refused treatment for that which naturally she is entitled to do. Many people share her views on taking antidepressants. They feel it is a weakness on their part.
Does she understand that if the symtoms are allowed to progress she is likely to become totally paralyzed and completely incontinent, probably unable to eat and need someone with her all the time. Is this something you and your family are able and prepared to cope with?
What other health problems does your Mom have? All of this needs to be taken into account.
There is always a reluctance on the part of surgeons to operate on the very elderly because of the risks involved from the actual surgery and the anesthetic.
How does she feel about being a DNR?
She has the right to refuse any and all treatment so if she has not been diagnosed as incompetent what she says goes, but make very sure she understands what the progression of this problem will mean as well as the risks of treatment.
Let us know how things go.
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I think C willie has great advice about seeing an oncologist!

I would try giving mom an otc antihistamine, a very low dose, to see if that helps. Wondering if it might be allergy related. You might also get some placebo effect out of that.

Does your mother have dementia? I ask, because if she does, reasoning with her won't work. If she doesn't, you might try telling her that folks with chronic health issues often end up with chemical imbalances that cause depressive symptoms. And although she's not " depressed" (which equals crazy to her), she's got the symptoms, which the meds will improve.
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Gosh, this is really tough.

If your mother weren't experiencing symptoms, the no surgery would be a no brainer. But she is, and they will only get worse.

So you've seen a neurologist and a neurosurgeon, and they've said what they've said, and as far as that goes they've been reasonable enough - but the question remains: now what?

If it were me, and I still had the same excellent GP my mother had before, then I'd talk this through with him. It's having someone to discuss the holistic approach with, is the point; someone with the ability to interpret the possible risks and benefits, but still keep the patient's overall wellbeing in mind. Have you got a good GP?

Your mother may also be depressed, but I doubt if addressing her mood will do anything about this well-identified physical problem (though it might be worth doing for its own sake). Having said that, I've got some sort of bell ringing about amitriptyline, which is an antidepressant but is also prescribed for arthritic pain...

Don't listen to me. Better to talk this through with a qualified practitioner and see if there are options worth exploring. Best of luck, please let us know how you get on.
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Thank you, I. Was told that if she got radiation sometimes the tumor before it shrinks will swell up and being that it is pressing on her spine may cause worse symptoms maybe even paralysis but he did tell me to go to the cancer center and talk to a doctor Who does radiation just to be 100% sure. Most likely I will end up doing that and see what he has to say . On the flipside my mother doesn't want to go back to any more doctors because she just doesn't have the energy for it so it's just been getting difficult but that's probably what I'm going to have to do
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You have seen a surgeon, but have you seen an oncologist? I can remember when my brother was diagnosed with cancer the surgeon bluntly told him he wasn't a candidate for surgery and walked out, leaving them confused and devastated. The oncologist they saw later arranged radiation and chemo and bought some comfort and time.
I know it is supposed to be benign, but that just means it doesn't grow aggressively, there may be ways to shrink it.
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