Hi,

I am so relieved to come across your site.  My husband is an organic farmer who is an underweight, chemically sensitive, 54 yr old workaholic out of control who's cyst has returned and these symptoms are driving me nuts. 

I'm wondering if there is anyway anyone could answer a question for me regarding my husband's arachnoid cyst.  It is golf ball sized, located between the 3rd and 4th ventricles. 

He had a craniotomy in June of '98 which resulted in compilications (a rejection of the bovine grafting material as well as a staph infection.) 

What should have been 1 surgery ended up being 3 with 6 different hospitalizations for infections,etc over a 4 month period. 

So, 6 years later, at the age of 54, the symptoms have returned fiercely and an MRI shows the cyst to be bigger than it was during the original diagnosis. We have 8 kids between us.  The youngest is 4.   

We live 25 miles from Rochester, MN--the health care capital of the universe...MAYO....he has been operated on by the best..$90,000 in medical bills back in ''98 all covered by our fine liberal state of Minnesota and the low income insurance they provide...MNCARE--how fortunate we are!  

Some of our customers who buy our veggies at the Rochester Farmer's Market who happen to be his neurologists and neurosurgens and even the retired head of nerurology for 30 years who all swear their problem-child diagnosis above and beyond even malignant tumors is the ARACHNOID CYST! 

And they seek me out during the market to find out how the symptoms are going and to see if he has changed his mind about a shunt. 

He won't ever change his mind about a shunt and is convinced he will live with the symptoms and self-treat while we all have to put up with intense behavior changes including anger and yelling and the aforementioned.  Yuck. 

I try so hard to find compassion and some days are easier than others.  He isn't just a Type A personality...he is a TRIPLE A out of control, working without eating or drinking water for hours on end in the hot sun.  He may be 54 but he looks 64.

Steven, my husband,  is experiencing almost daily any or all of the following symptoms:  headaches, intense pressure in the back of his head where the cyst is located, dizziness, lack of balance especially in the dark, short term memory loss which is getting progressively worse weekly, extreme irritability, swhooshing sounds between the ears, joint stiffness, neck stiffness, forgetfulness and paranoia.  There are probably more but I can't think of them right now.

He refuses to get the recommended shunt because of all the complications from the original surgery in '98.  He believes he can control it with a macrobiotic diet.  He is allergic to wheat, dairy, corn, soy, meat, etc.  He is  working on the farm day in day out and further aggrivating all symptoms daily. 

Living with him is the hardest challenge of my life.

Any other treatment suggestions you might recommend?  Are the symptoms going to increase?  Will the pressure cause permanent damage?  Is this a fatal illness?  We have small children so I need to know what our future is going to look like.  He doesn't believe in life insurance. Any response you could give me would be fantastic.

susan