The neurologist gazed intently at a magnetic resonance image of my brain. The same brain a radiologist referred to when he said, “You have small vessel brain disease” (SVD) (I covered that half of the story in this article).
Still looking at the MRI, the pretty brain doc said, “Your brain isn’t normal, Mr. Perkins.”
Three weeks before that meeting I visited my internist—my go-to doc. He viewed the image of my brain on an office monitor. After a moment he stepped away. I thought to myself, he has no idea what he’s looking at.
“Take a look,” he said as he invited me to his side. He pointed at the image of my brain and said, “I don’t know what I’m looking at.”
He pointed at a part of my brain image and said, “Maybe it’s this. Or, this. I don’t know.”
I smiled again because I like my doc and was pleased with his honesty.
“I’ll refer you to a neurologist.”
Between that moment and meeting with the neurologist I read a surprising statistic. It’s estimated that 80%, or more, of the population fifty-five and older may have SVD. It sobered me to consider how many of us are losing our minds. And how little is known about the disease we have.
Back to the neurologist.
She turned to me and said, “It’s not normal at all. It’s healthier than normal. You don’t have small vessel disease.”
For six weeks I thought I had a brain disease that could destroy my memory and take my life. Such a new idea caused serious reflection. Early on I turned to Psalm 39:4, “Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is” (NIV).
I’ve often prayed that prayer. Over the last few months God answered it. He caused me to ponder what I use my brain for. What do I fill it with? What could I use it for? If it will only work for five more years, what will I fill it with this year? Suddenly I realized I had only a little time left to prep my brain for eternity.