Understanding what Hydrocephalus is can be a little confusing, overwhelming or just plain and simply do your head in. I remember when I first saw the word on a scan result I had done. I remember going “Huh? Hydro what?” Since that day, now just over 8 years ago, I have learned as much as I possibly can about the condition and I still feel like there is much more, that I don’t know.
About two years ago, I consulted with a Neurosurgeon who referred me for a second opinion to a Neuro specialist as he, “is only a plumber who fixes and replaces faulty parts“. It made perfect sense when he told me this. You can read more about it in my eBook
In a nutshell, Hydrocephalus is an abnormal condition that occurs when there is an imbalance between the rate of cerebrospinal fluid production and the rate of absorption. Blockages, for whatever reason, cause problems in the rate of absorption. A Shunt can be inserted or an Endoscopic Third Ventriculostomy (ETV) can be done to help with moving the fluid along. I have had both of these done and my shunt has been removed.
If I had to explain it to someone who does not have this condition and wanted to understand a little better, I would paint this picture.
A few years ago, we rented a property and started having plumbing problems. At first, the signs weren’t too noticeable. We had water running slowly at first when doing the dishes, I noticed a build-up of water from the outside drain until eventually, we could no longer flush the toilet. I think you get the picture (it was not a pretty sight). Also, these signs did not at first alert us to the fact that there was a problem with the plumbing (we just never suspected it). It was only after further investigation, that a plumber found the roots from the trees on the property had actually grown through the plumbing and started causing a blockage and build-up. It had to be replaced, no matter which way you looked at it. Since then, the type of piping installed had been changed and newer, better pipes were being used. Fortunately for the plumbing problems of that household, a cure was found and a way around the trees and their damaging roots. Unfortunately for people with Hydrocephalus, a shunt or ETV is NOT A CURE. There are instances where people have managed to go years without needing a revision done and they manage fine. There are also people who I know of, who have had so many revisions, it scares me just to think about it.These are some of the typical Complications of Shunt Systems
Remaining vigilant and being aware of the Signs and Symptoms of Concern is the key to survival. If I have any word of advice for someone in this situation, then that would be to be the boy who cried wolf, no matter how many times you end up at the GP or Emergency Department.