Hi Catherine,

I was just diagnosed as having an arachnoid cyst.  I have to go back for another scan, because the doctor wants to make sure this is what I have.  I am 41 years old and have been getting all kinds of weird things happening to me that I couldn't tie together.  I almost had a nervous breakdown, I am sure, in trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with me, and I'm not even sure if everything I have is due to this. 

First, I have been getting pain in my upper right quadrant for a few years and I have had cat scans and nothing shows up, except for a fatty liver, which they tell me causes no symptoms.

Then I am diagnosed with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, Hiateal Hernia, Esophagitis, Gastritis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  In addition to this, I keep getting pain in my chest and severe tightening in my chest.  I ran to the hospital thinking I was having a heart attack and after a few tests, my heart is okay.  They cannot explain what is wrong with me. 

Since then, I get this chest tightening almost every other day and my fingers tingle and turn blue. My feet go dead if I sit in one place for too long.  Since I still cannot understand what is wrong with me and nothing seems to fit together, I go to a top endocrinologist and get a blood test.

Well, my thyroid antibody count is very high, and I am diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, only I don't need any medication, because there is enough thyroid hormone in my system.  Now I thought the other things were strange, but this takes the cake.  Then about 6 months ago, I start waking up with severe headaches, so I go to a neurologist and have an MRI and find out that the diagnosis is a possible arachnoid cyst. 

The weird part about it is that I had a cat scan of my head about 15 years ago, and nothing showed up at that time.  All of these symptoms are causing me to have a near nervous breakdown. 

I also get panic attacks and anxiety attacks because I keep thinking I am having a stroke or heart attack when I get these things.  It turns out that I always get these attacks of whatever they are when I am at work, since I work full time, most of them happen here.  Sometimes I will come into work and feel dizzy and my legs and arms get weak and I feel like I'm going to pass out, then my fingers get blue. 

Then just as mysteriously as it came, it disappears.

I guess I will never know if this is being caused by my cyst, but if not, then I guess something drastic wouldhave tohappen inorder forme to find out what the hell is wrong with me, because whatever these things are, they aren't being picked up on standard tests. 

I just thought I would share this with you, and maybe you can get back to me and let me know if you have heard ofany similar cases.

* * *

Thank you for your phone call Catherine, I never expected that. 

Since my desk is out in the open, I couldn't talk about all of the things I wanted to.  After I got off the phone with you, I was thinking about some of the things you said. 

Some of my symptoms may not be cyst related, but I definitely know that most are.  The meniere's disease thing is definitely related and so is my vertigo.  I remember being very small and not wanting to be around other children.  My mother put me into nursery school and I had to go outside and play in the sand box and I remember not wanting to be around the other kids because I felt uncomfortable so I told my mother never to bring me there again, and she didn't.  I was 4 years old. 

Since then I have always hated being around people, except for the few true friends that I have.  This is somewhat difficult living in NY, so I started to get stressed out at a very early age. 

I have also suffered with a very bad memory from as far back as I can remember, which leads me to believe that I was born with this.  I always remember my mother yelling at me from a very young age because I couldn't remember things.  She would always tell me " you have to train your brain to remember."  During my years growing up and even up until very recently, I would forget things and people would tell me "you're crazy." 

I started to think that maybe I was crazy and maybe they were right.  I also remember always feeling light headed since I was about 13 years old.  I remember my mother taking me to the doctor for dizziness, but he said everything was fine. 

Everyone thought it was all in my head.   I used to walk around feeling like I was asleep all the time.  I also always had constant post nasal drip and my ear canals are always inflamated. 

My mother always called me a hypochondriac.  I guess because of this, I never had a normal childhood.  I always wondered if everyone got this but just didn't say anything or it just didn't bother them. 

Can you believe that I went 41 years without knowing the cause of my forgetfulness?  I just thoughtI had a bad memory and since alzheimers runs on my mother'sside, I just figured that when I got older, I would get it. 

I cannot believe that I went almost my whole entire life thinking that I had some case of paranoia and that something was mentally wrong with me, because I was so different from everyone else.  I can't believe that I denied myself the privilege of living a normal life, but I just didn't know that this thing ever existed. 

I knew there was something wrong with my brain, but I just thought I was mentally ill or something.  I am sure that because of this, I have caused myself lots of mental anguish that in some way has had an effect on my mental health.  In fact, I am positive of it.  If only I had known.

When my daughter was 10 years old, I wanted another child, but I could not get pregnant.  I kept going to my ob/gyn and she kept telling me that I couldn't get pregnant because of my weight and that my weight screwed up my hormones, meanwhile I had a friend who was about 300 pounds and on her fifth child. 

She told me that because of my weight, I wasn't ovulating.  Meanwhile, my cycle was normal.  I refused to believe her, because I never had that kind of problem before and I know my body.  Nobody in my family ever had anything like this.  I was devastated over this.  I would cry and pray to god every day.  I couldn't understand why this was happening to me and I was already 34 years old, my time was running out.  Finally, after 15 months, I did get pregnant but I was throwing up for six months and was hospitalized for a month because of a rip in my sack and my son was born one month early.  Healthy, thank god.  

It was not until about 2 years ago that I started having more serious symptoms like feeling weak and feeling like I would pass out, especially after eating, but that might also be my hiateal hernia, which in turn is tied to all of this. 

Also, the pain and tightness in my chest.  I started to get anxiety attacks each time this happened and so I started to think I was going mental.  I knew I was different from other people, but I didn't know what the hell was wrong with me. 

People I knew at work started to think I was crazy and were telling me to get therapy, because I would get these weird symptoms and the doctors couldn't find anything wrong with me.  I started to think I had a chemical imbalance. I thought that eventually, I was just going to die and nobody would know what I died from. 

Still, I never put two and two together. 

I forgot to mention that I also get heart palpitations, but the doctors said that could be from my thyroid (the disease I have that doesn't really exist), so you can imagine how confused I was. I am so happy I found out about your site.  My sister actually found it for me.  I called her up when I found out what I had and she did some research on the internet for me.  She was a biology major in college and whenever I have someting difficult to tackle, I call her. 

Do you know what she told me?  She said that she read on your site that children who have arachnoid cysts usually have temper tantrums and I took the cake when it came to tantrums.  My mother said I gave her an ulcer. 

So yes, I do believe that if this is what I have, I was born with it.  The blow I suffered to my head probably aggravated it and made it larger which could explain my list of new symptoms.    

I hope to hear from you this weekend.  If not, I will try to call you.

Thank you,

Sally