Peter Monti, aged 69, from the United Kingdom suffered with headaches since 1980. Ten years later he also started to experience memory problems. The first neurologist said that Peter imagined his problems and so didn’t propose any treatment.
Peter explains his situation:
“Instead of testing me for neurological symptoms he suggested I have my back x-rayed and see an orthopaedic consultant. To wait for an appointment for this would have taken about a year at the time, and my memory and headaches were getting worse. I had to go private.”
This was only beginning of a long journey. Five years later another neurologist came with the diagnosis of ventricular dilatation of the brain. During the next 8 years several different specialists across the country came with various different diagnosis – confirming the ventricular dilatation, suggesting hydrocephalus, brain tumour, suspecting a mini stroke, anxiety or simply saying that the patient doesn’t suffer from any disease. None of these helped Peter to relieve his pain. Peter adds:
“I had pressure in head like pumping up a football or like an elephant sitting on my head. I had difficulties in remembering times of appointments. 99% of the time, my wife had to be with me when I went out.“
The situation was very frustrating, and Peter felt that he didn’t get enough attention from doctors who explained very little to him about his symptoms. What was even worse, his condition wasn’t getting any better and he was still suffering from headaches and memory problems. Peter says:
“I felt very exhausted one afternoon, that I lay down on the couch, but on awakening I found that my speech was slurred, the left side of my body, face and mouth felt numb and my leg and arm were numb with no life in them. These appeared to be typical stroke symptoms. This eased off, within reason, in a day. However, it did leave me with a dribble from the left side of the mouth and some numbness in other parts which is still there today. The main headaches and pressure were still there, and I had lost my large word vocabulary and spelling.”
In 2006 Peter used the freedom of information to get all his GP’s, council, and hospital notes. Later he contacted Diagnose.me for a second opinion as he wanted to find out the cause of his problems to enable him to get the proper treatment. Peter explains:
“I needed a means of finding what was happening inside my head, the consultants up north, as I have said, did not believe the south and living in the north I could not access any more help. Therefore I started looking on the internet for any means of going private, without having to give all my old notes to the new consultants, simply a fresh start.“
He approached Professor Majda Thurnher, a leading specialist for neuroradiology who is also a President of the European Society of Neuroradiology-Diagnostic and Interventional (ESNR).
Dr. Thurnher carefully reviewed Peter’s brain MRI and the clinical information he provided. Her detailed report revealed that there were no signs of acute lesions or other brain diseases on the MRI. She also said that there were no signs indicating hydrocephalus. She concluded that the neurological examinations and MRI of the brain did not show any abnormality that would explain Peter’s clinical symptoms. However, she confirmed slight widening of the ventricles. Finally, further neurological examination was recommended.
Even though Professor Thurnher didn’t come up with a diagnosis or give clear explanation of Peter’s headaches, she provided him with a detailed description of her findings and the information he was missing along with recommendations for the next steps. Peter summarises:
“This at least has given me the knowledge, that at least, there are no major problems in my head. It is certainly worthwhile having this second opinion, as at least I now know just what is going on and that the headaches and pressure are not an indication of any major problems.“