Location: one hour from Suffolk, Rockingham, and Scarborough, United States

I'm one of the co-authors of Point of Hopes, Point of Dreams, and The Armor of Light (which, contrary to some reviews is NOT a Points novel). Proud member of CoastLine SF, Piscataqua Obedience Club, and admin for Horseboard.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Oooops. :-)

Before you ask, umm, no, we didn't make it to Saratoga last weekend. On the other hand, I didn't end up in an emergency room, either. I did end up calling my oncologist on Saturday morning (he was on duty, and it wasn't that early), as I had been feeling... unsteady... since that Wednesday or Thursday. And I didn't think I would enjoy walking around Saratoga when I was worried about my balance. (Then there was the weather, too.)

Of course at first, I thought it was worst case, tumor regrowth, etc. Then I remembered something. On the 6th, he said I could come off the decadron. So I hadn't taken it for something like five days. And since decadron is taken to reduce swelling, it was, it seemed to me, just possible that what I was experiencing was a typical effect of the radiation itself.

But it was confusing, because sometimes it felt like my knees were weak (a side effect of the decadron, though why it should be worse when I had stopped it, I do not know), or like my blind eye was somehow... blinder. So, my doctor slotted me in on Monday morning (which was really good of him, as they do a lot of treatments on Mondays), and because I wasn't able to point my finger to precisely where the problem originated -- knees, eye, or head (do not go there), he suggested I try my eye patch for a few days and see if that helped at all. Especially since I had an MRI scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

So I tried it. Did it help? I'm honestly not sure! Sometimes I think it did. Sometimes it felt like the problem was in my knees. All I know is that, with a turtleneck sweater, eye patch, and watch cap pulled down to keep my head arm, I looked like a WWII commando! Though some waggish souls suggested I get a dangly earring and a parrot. I declined, not wanting to compete with Johnny Depp.

Wednesday, January 18. First MRI since the radiation. Bloody miserable weather, too -- rain, wind (lots of it). More wind hereabouts than rain. Walked over to the library at lunch, was ahead of the rain, but the wind had me going thither and yon. So, Melissa picks me up, we drive out to the hospital. We get out of the car -- and there is the most gorgeous rainbow I have ever seen. It was a bright, complete arc, and a double rainbow to boot (though the second one was pretty faint). A bunch of people stood around outside the hospital, on the sidewalk, in the parking lot, gazing at the rainbow, silly smiles on our faces.

Still had to have the MRI done. The tech was, as usual, very nice, and more than usually efficient: "This next set will take about 2 minutes," and bam, it would start, no fiddling around. The longest single part was carefully injecting the contrast, since my veins are so awful.

Cut to the chase: I called my doctor Thursday just before noon --and he had just gone in with a patient. But he called me within a half hour or so. "Has the eyepatch worked?"

"I can't tell!" I practically wailed. "Sometimes I think it has, other times, no."

"Well, the good news is the tumor has shrunk. But there is still swelling in the brain."

"Oh. What from?" I asked, having my own notion.

"If I were to hit you on the arm, your arm would be bruised and swell up. The same thing with your brain."

"So what causes that?"

"The radiation. It causes the healthy tissue to swell."

Now, I could be wrong, but I think that is what I was suspecting earlier. And I am profoundly grateful to my doctor for confirming it, frankly (though I think I would have made a great instinctive oncologist!).

The cool/convenient thing is that I am seeing Dr. Singh (you remember Dr. Singh?) this afternoon, and the good folks at my doctor's office said they'd fax the radiologist's report over to him, so he'll have the most recent hard info in front of him, so this could be even more useful than the general follow-up it was going to be. While my doctor said he could not, with any medical reason, strong arm me either into going back on the decadron or staying off it, well, it's Dr. Singh's swelling, as it were, and he started me on the decadron, so I figure I'll go straight to the source and ask his opinion.

So, Saratoga -- and Mayakovsky, Dr. Singh's equine stand-in -- will wait. We're now looking at the first weekend in February and no, not just because that's when the harness racing track re-opens. Much. (Wish I were in Saratoga today, though, it's 50 degrees and quite lovely.)


Blogger Dale said...


I was wondering how the trip went....I am glad you are getting the best possible care! I know what it is like to go through those times just after treatment. Rest, recover, and laugh as much as possible!!! You are healing, it just takes time. In the mean time, enjoy lots of good movies and relaxing music.

2:45 PM  

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