I am a disabled Army Veteran who was injured in the Army back in 2001. I was active duty performing a training mission when I fractured six vertebra in my spine. 2 cervical, 2 thoracic, & 2 lumber spinal compression fractures. Not to be confused with slipped discs or bulging discs. In my case the bone itself was broken. This left me with some paralysis of my left side and lots of nerve damage throughout body making life painful but manageable.
In this incident I also received a severe brain injury called a TBI. This left me with constant non-stop headaches and severe migraines that have me in and out of the emergency room regularly (twice this month alone).
I have to do physical therapy for life at regular intervals in order to keep a functional active life. I also need to stay as active as possible. The more active I am (with in reason) the less pain I have which is why I hike so much.
I have had all kinds of CT scans and MRI's. In fact I just had one MRI last week and will be getting two more MRI's on the 29th. I also will be getting another CT scan which will be my 2nd this year. Not to mention several X-Rays of various parts of my body to. And in February I am getting an ocular scan to check my optic nerve and some other things that might be causing issues.
I have also since developed some pretty bad tremors that mostly affect my right side. The Veteran Affairs Hospital is currently trying to diagnose these tremors and have arranged for me to get a DaTscan. I have never heard of this type of scan before and thought I needed to research it. Hence this article.
I don't know what exactly to hope for with this new scan. On one hand I want it to define what is going on in my brain but on the other hand I am hoping it doesn't find anything at all. I guess we will find out soon enough.
As of current I am not dying so that is always a PLUS right :) and no matter what happens or what these new battle of tests reveal it wont change my plans for the next few years if I have any say. My hiking & biking adventures WILL continue no matter what I have to do. All kinds of special equipment out there I can utilize to make it happen :)
I am assuming most people have heard of MRI's and CT scans before and have a good idea what those are.
So what is a DaTscan?
This link explains in detail what a DaTscan is: http://us.datscan.com
The following questions and answers found on google search here:
What is a DaT scan test?
In 2011, the FDA approved a diagnostic test for Parkinson's disease. The DaTscan (Ioflupane I 123 injection, also known as phenyltropane) is a radiopharmaceutical agent which is injected into a patient's veins in a procedure referred to as SPECT imaging.
How long does a DaT scan take to do?
The DaTscan once started takes approximately 30-45 minutes. However, following injection of the DaT agent approximately 3-6 hours are required before the agent has achieved appropriate concentration in the brain.
How does a DaTscan work?
It contains a substance called ioflupane, which is labelled with 123I (iodine-123), a radioactive form of the chemical element iodine. ... When DaTSCAN is injected, ioflupane (123I) is distributed through the body in the blood and accumulates in the striatum, where it attaches to the structures that transport dopamine.
What we are checking for:
What is an essential tremor?
Essential Tremor is a nerve disorder characterized by uncontrollable shaking, or "tremors," in different parts and on different sides of the body. Areas affected often include the hands, arms, head, larynx (voice box), tongue, and chin. ... It is only when the tremors become severe that they actually cause disability.
Is Essential Tremor dangerous?
Essential tremor is a nervous system (neurological) disorder that causes involuntary and rhythmic shaking. ... It's usually not a dangerous condition, but essential tremor typically worsens over time and can be severe in some people.
What is Wilson disease?
Wilson disease is a genetic disease that prevents the body from removing extra copper. The body needs a small amount of copper from food to stay healthy; however, too much copper is poisonous. Normally, the liver filters extra copper and releases it into bile. Bile is a fluid made by the liver that carries toxins and wastes out of the body through the gastrointestinal tract. In Wilson disease, the liver does not filter copper correctly and copper builds up in the liver, brain, eyes, and other organs. Over time, high copper levels can cause life-threatening organ damage.
What is Parkinson's disease?
Parkinson's disease affects the way you move. It happens when there is a problem with certain nerve cells in the brain.
Normally, these nerve cells make an important chemical called dopamine. Dopamine sends signals to the part of your brain that controls movement. It lets your muscles move smoothly and do what you want them to do. When you have Parkinson's, these nerve cells break down. Then you no longer have enough dopamine, and you have trouble moving the way you want to.
Parkinson's is progressive, which means it gets worse over time. But usually this happens slowly, over many years. And there are good treatments that can help you live a full life.
Those are the three things they are testing for and trying to rule out.
And now you know more about the day in the life of FixedByDoc :)