Friday, March 30, 2012

It's No Wonder I can't See

I went to the Boston Foundation for Sight Wednesday with high hopes. They'd re-plasma my lenses and check my eyesight and all would be well. But I knew that all would not be well. My vision had been getting worse, which I attributed to the debris building up on the lenses. But even when I first put them on, I couldn't focus clearly on long distances.

Diagnosis: cataracts. Another older person's disease to add to my collection. When I had radiation before my second transplant, they told me cataracts were a possibility. Sigh. At least it's something that can be fixed. I'll have it done in New York, one eye at a time. Maybe by the summer I'll be able to see clearly.

Does this get me down? Of course. Next week I'm having a tooth pulled (not related to gvh, but still), and I have a mild cold which is just enough bother to pull me down another small notch. Fear not, comrades. The cold will go away, the pulled tooth will be replaced by an implant, and those nasty cataracts will be a thing of the past.

Stay calm and carry on.

Monday, March 26, 2012

New Skin Doc

I went for a skin check at my new dermatologist. I liked the old one well enough but want to use the doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering so we're all on the same page. My diagnosis of melanoma in October means I have to be alert, and have my skin checked every 3 months. I also have to examine my own skin to look for anything suspicious. I'm good at this. When my former oncologist said it was chemo burn, I went to the dermatologist myself.

Dr. Mario Lacatoure (I keep think "locatelli") said there was no sign of cancer on my skin, but he was going to prescribe various ointments for my skin tightening and flakiness. I'll give it a try, especially if I can ameliorate the rock-hard feeling in my arms and mid-section.

Tomorrow I head for Rhode Island to stay with my friend Sue. On Wednesday I have an appointment at the Boston Foundation for Sight to see why my new lenses are misbehaving. It's always something.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Hey, I'm Getting Better

My new Nurse Practitioner Christine called me Friday afternoon with the results of my blood work. I had a fasting cholesterol count and I'm way down, from 250 to 167. My good cholesterol is a whopping 141. I'll stay on the Zetia but I've really made progress and I don't think it's from the drug alone, which I've only been on for 3 weeks.

Another sign that I'm healing is that my thyroid level was very high. I've been on 137 mcg of synthroid for 2.5 years. I thought my thyroid was shot but it's not. My TSH level was very low, meaning I've been taking too high a dose. I'll get new rx today.

Liver numbers are still funky. One (or 2) things at a time.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

March Madness

This morning, while I was waiting in my car for alternate side parking to be over, I felt a strange lump on my left thigh. Naturally, my first thought was leukemia cutis, which I'd had before and which signaled my 3rd relapse. I thought about the lump on and off through yoga and immediately checked it out when I got home. There was nothing there.

Of course there was nothing there. But I'm gun-shy in March. Call it March Madness. It was in March 6 years ago that I was diagnosed with leukemia. I never liked March. It's neither here nor there. Bulbs bloom and a string of warm days makes everyone smile, but it's a brown, ugly month, last years' dead sticks you neglected to pull mocking you from every corner of the garden. The Ides of March sit sentinel to warn you that winter is still here and snow might bury you yet.

March isn't all bad, of course. There are some great birthdays in March, my daughter's, my friends Karen's and Patty's. There's St. Patrick's Day with corned beef. There's that college basketball tournament that to me is duller than dishwater--I don't have a horse in the race--but exciting for a lot of fans. There's much beer to be had in the month of March, and a lot of unnaturally green food.

March, you don't scare me any more. At least not until next year.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dr. Girault is a Gem!

I had to wait a long time to see Dr. Girault but it was well worth it. He has lots of ideas for treating me. He apologized for not dressing up to see me but he'd just done a bone marrow extraction. I was sitting there in a gown and quipped, that's okay, this isn't my best look. He has a sense of humor.

Memorial Sloan Cancer Center takes a holistic approach to patient care. I'll be seeing a survivor counselor, a dentist, a dermatologist and have a pulmonary function test. I'll stay with my current internist for basic care. I'll meet with the Nurse Practitioner in two weeks. In six, I'll meet with Dr. Girault again to set goals and make a treatment plan.

Everyone I met on the staff is really nice and seems to know what they're doing.

I'm so relieved about this move. I feel so positive. I can't wait to call my former doctor and tell her I won't be back.