After seven years of wondering and stress, I finally have an answer. Tuesday this week, I had a re-ocurrence of symptoms from August 2010. A temporary loss of vision in my left eye coupled with a terrible headache. Since I'm currently enlisted in the Navy and only got in with a medical waiver, I figured I was finished. I wrestled with the decision to go to medical to get looked at, but in the end, my conscience won out. I could not in good conscience remain in the service if my condition would place my shipmates in danger. Yesterday, I went to the opthalmology clinic on base and was examined.
After a certain amount of poking and prodding, plus having my pupils dilated, the doctors told me about two related phenomena in the medical field: overdiagnosis and incidentalomas. An incidentaloma is where medical imaging conducted for a specific complaint reveals an unrelated condition, usually benign growths or the like, but in my case it was the blood clot which resides in my left jugular vein. Overdiagnosis often follows the discovery of an incidentaloma. When you show a specialist something weird and unspecific, they'll assume it's related to their specialty. In my case, we showed the doctors visual field losses, incapacitating headaches, and a blood clot. They put two and two together, got four and figured I'd had a venous thrombosis which was kind of like a stroke. Since the neurologist who evaluated me was a stroke specialist, this is not unexpected.
When I was examined yesterday, the opthalmologist pointed out that since I haven't had any new clots, but keep having symptoms, it was foolish to assume the two were related, and that the clot could've been present much longer than initially thought. They also pointed out that nineteen is a classic age for migraines to begin presenting. All of the symptoms I had given them were classic migraine symptoms. Faced with the conclusion that there was no mystery here, all I could feel was relief.
In other words, there isn't a damn thing wrong with me. The last seven years of my life have been filled with confusion, stress and worry over what was wrong with me. That chapter in my life is over. I will not be medically discharged. I won't be sent home unfit for service. I can be treated. I'm free. I walked out of the hospital laughing and crying at the same time.